Third time lucky for new homes plan?

The orchard would not see homes built on it, but it would have a road run through the middle of it,

The orchard would not see homes built on it, but it would have a road run through the middle of it, if Persimmon Homes' planning application is accepted. Picture: Steve Bridger - Credit: Steve Bridger

Councillors – for a third time – are set to debate the merits of a housing plan in Yatton which would change an orchard on the edge of the village forever.

Dozens of homes are planned for the field behind Yatton Rugby Club.

However, the unpopular part of Persimmon Homes' plan, is a road to access the development would need to be built through a historic orchard, off Moor Road, which critics say would be harmful to both the environment and the village's aesthetic gateway.

The idea was put before North Somerset Council's planning committee in March and April, but on both occasions a decision was deferred.

On the second occasion, in the run up to the council elections in May, then councillor Jill Iles called for a decision to be postponed so an alternative access point could be looked into with a farmer.

But many campaigners say that if Persimmon's scheme for 66 homes is to go ahead, the only way homeowners should be able to access the development is via the sports club.

Yatton Rugby Club has been expected to one day sell up to a developer and move to a new site, which would pave the way for cars to get access to Persimmon's housing estate.

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But with no plans imminent to redevelop the rugby club, or planning permission being sought at this stage, Persimmon has argued that option must be discounted at this time.

North Somerset Council planning officers are recommending the application - including the orchard road - is passed by councillors this afternoon (Wednesday).

Since the two deferments changes to the council's make-up and the increase in independents will mean a new set of members will get the final say.

One of Yatton's two new councillors, Steve Bridger, is a member of the panel.

At March's meeting, before he became a councillor, he addressed North Somerset on behalf of the No Moor Development group.

He said: "The setting of the orchard is a valued gateway into the village that must be protected. The proposed scheme would significantly compromise the character of the gateway approach to the village.

"This is a very sensitive site. Two years of construction traffic through the orchard would cause in my view irreparable harm."