North Somerset Council leader slams area's housing approach amid calls to protect Yatton orchard

PUBLISHED: 17:30 31 October 2016

No Moor Development has been campaigning for a long time against what it fears are unsustainable housing developments.

No Moor Development has been campaigning for a long time against what it fears are unsustainable housing developments.

Archant

The leader of North Somerset Council has spoken out against the prospect of more housing being built in Yatton, after campaigners called for the authority to protect a 'special' part of the village from being developed.

Roughly 700 new homes are expected to be built in Yatton between now and 2026, despite fears from villagers that this will place transport links and school places under extreme pressure.

However, the council’s leader Nigel Ashton said looking at applications for new homes in Yatton individually ‘has to stop’ and instead, planners should consider development in the village as a whole when weighing up future proposals.

Cllr Ashton made his remarks at a meeting of the council’s executive on October 18. He said: “I think it is about time we looked at Yatton in the whole, not site-by-site.

“It has got to stop.”

An area off Moor Lane has been earmarked for residential development as part of the council’s emerging site allocations plan, which decides where new homes across North Somerset should be built between now and 2026.

This site includes the Grange orchard, and Cllr Ashton told the meeting he supported the orchard being potentially excluded from the plan. However, the council’s executive member for highways, Elfan Ap Rees, said removing the whole area completely would not be possible as it would create problems concerning access to the site.

Cllr Ap Rees said: “I think while I can recommend an amendment to reduce the allocation to 60 (homes) with no development in the orchard other than access, I cannot recommend anything else.”

Yatton villager Steve Bridger spoke at the meeting on behalf of the No Moor Development action group.

He said: “If you cycle or drive into Yatton from across the moors, you will appreciate that this is by far the most special, and most valued, of the village gateways.

“You can’t take the magic out of the orchard, but you can take the orchard out of the plan.”

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