Parish poll declared after anger among Yatton villagers

PUBLISHED: 13:00 31 March 2016

Yatton High Street

Yatton High Street

Archant

Villagers in Yatton have taken the unusual step of organising a parish poll after they called for North Somerset Council to review the impact an extra 520 homes could have on a particular area of the village.

The poll will ask villagers whether they believe the council should carry out an environmental impact assessment on the collective impact of developments at North End.

The move comes as developer Bloor Homes is in the process of building 150 new homes off Arnolds Way and was also granted planning permission to build a second phase of 200 homes at the same location.

The council has also granted developer Hallam Land Management permission to build 170 homes off Arnolds Way, but villagers say the overall impact of the developments has not been properly considered and will be too much for North End to cope with.

The poll was proposed at Yatton Parish Council’s annual meeting on March 21 by Steve Bridger.

Mr Bridger said: “We have constantly asked them (the council) the question and they have stonewalled us.

“We have continued to write letters and lobby them and we have proposed to call for something called a parish poll to consider the question, which would be posed to the local government electorate here in Yatton.

“To land that number of developments on that part of the village without considering the cumulative impact is completely unacceptable. Hopefully North Somerset can reconsider and will not be able to ignore so many people voting.”

The poll is expected to cost £4,000, though no date has yet been agreed.

It was demanded by dozens of villagers at the meeting and under local government law, if a poll is demanded by more than 10 electors or one-third of electors attending a meeting, it has to take place. However, the ruling council is not obligated to take any notice of the poll’s result.

Parish councillor Richard Westwood was also in favour of the poll. He claimed North End was referred to as a separate hamlet in the village’s 2002 character statement, but had simply been treated as part of Yatton by planners.

Cllr Westwood said: “Parish polls are a last-ditch attempt by an area which thought it was being dumped on by Whitehall, or a greater authority, to say ‘we do not like this and we want you to do something else’.

“The council is using the bulk of Yatton to say we do not need an environmental impact assessment (on North End) and I think they are wrong.”

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