More homes planned close to ‘most dangerous junction in North Somerset’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 August 2018

The Smallway and A370 junction in Congresbury has witnessed many accidents over the years. Photo by Jeremy Long.

The Smallway and A370 junction in Congresbury has witnessed many accidents over the years. Photo by Jeremy Long.

Jeremy Long \ JCL Photography

More houses could be built close to ‘the most dangerous junction in North Somerset’, just a year after more than 20 were approved.

Freemantle Developments is eyeing a site in Congresbury’s Smallway for a 21 houses, next to a field which it has already secured planning permission to harvest for the same number of homes.

The first application, which was passed in October after drawn out negotiations between Freemantle and North Somerset Council, secured consent for 21 houses on a parcel of land along the A370, despite criticism from villagers and councillors alike.

Now the developer is eyeing the adjacent field, which neighbours Cadbury Garden Centre.

The site is earmarked for housing in Congresbury’s draft neighbourhood plan, which could implement a cap of 150 new homes over the next two decades if villagers are successful in getting it ratified.

But at a meeting of the council’s planning and regulatory committee a year ago, Cllr Chris Blades said the Smallway junction, which is a crossroads on the A370 yards from the proposed site, was the ‘most dangerous in North Somerset’.

He added the plans to build near the accident blackspot ‘screamed danger’ – but highways experts were satisfied by the Freemantle’s blueprints.

At the same meeting Congresbury councillor Tom Leimdorfer criticised the developer for not delivering enough affordable housing.

The developer agreed a deal where only two homes would be allocated for housing associations, rather than the standard 30 per cent, after arguing a greater proportion would undermine the financial viability of the project.

Similar concerns could be raised for this latest application, but Freemantle believes ‘the development will provide a mix of housing types and tenures which reflect local environments and housing needs’.

Its design and access statement added: “Buildings will be designed and integrated with landscaping to define and enhance streets and spaces.

“The development is in close proximity to facilities such as the supermarket and the garden centre as well as the village centre, primary school and recreation grounds.

“The layout will encourage walking and sustainable modes of transport to these destinations.”

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