Fears orchard may be destroyed if councillors back housing estate

PUBLISHED: 06:57 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 06:57 13 March 2019

The proposed site is off Moor Road. Picture: Google Maps

The proposed site is off Moor Road. Picture: Google Maps

Google Maps

A new housing development should be permitted in Yatton, but only if homes are not built on an orchard after critics said the village would be 'betrayed' if it was sacrificed.

Persimmon Homes wants to build 70 houses off Moor Road – the latest in a large number of residential proposals Yatton has faced in recent years.

The area was once home to Yatton’s junior rugby sides, but it still has an orchard which many villagers and Yatton Parish Council feel should be maintained.

A decision will be made by North Somerset councillors today (Wednesday), but its planning officers feel the scheme should be allowed.

But the feeling within the village is somewhat different – prompting Cllr Jill Iles to call for members to make the final decision instead.

The council has received 223 letters of objections against the plan, with the damaging impact on the environment flagged up multiple times.

The access route, through the orchard, has also been a highly contentious issue, with critics unhappy Persimmon has seemingly chosen convenience at the expense of nature.

It wanted five of those houses to be ‘executive’ ones within the orchard, by council planners are recommending the scheme is approved as long as that part is eradicated. It also wants a footpath link through the orchard scrapped too.

But it is prepared to accept a tarmac road through the orchard to access the estate.

Yatton Parish Council voted last summer to oppose the scheme, with the access to Moor Road labelled ‘lethal’ by Cllr Roger Wood, while others said it would make more sense if access was provided through the rugby club, assuming the sports ground is redeveloped as previously mooted.

But he was not the most outspoken critic, with Cllr Chris Jackson slating the ‘LEGO-style’ houses put forward by Persimmon and saying Yatton would be ‘betrayed’ if the scheme – as it stands involving the orchard – got the green light.

Persimmon says 49 homes would be sold on the open market and 21 will be marked as affordable.

Councillors will vote at Weston Town Hall this afternoon (Wednesday) at 2.30pm.

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