‘Speculative developer’s’ plan for orchard housing on hold

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

Plans to build a road through a historic orchard linking to a new housing development have been delayed again.

Councillors voted to defer the decision – until after May’s elections – to see if an alternative route into the estate could be agreed on.

Passionate speeches to try to defend the land off Moor Road have been made at planning meetings in March and again on April 10, but a final decision has yet to be reached.

Persimmon Homes has agreed to purchase the land from Children’s Hospice South West, on the proviso it gets planning permission from North Somerset Council to build more than 60 houses.

While the council’s planning staff have expressed their support for the scheme, members have yet to give it the green light.

Campaigner and villager Judith Cockram told the committee Yatton was already ‘overburdened’ with hosing and asked if it considered ‘the opinion of a speculative developer to be of more importance than that of Yatton residents’.

She called for the council to take a ‘holistic view’ with all the developments proposed within Yatton.

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Many of the campaigners’ main concerns is the loss of the historic orchard, with a road to the homes proposed.

Other suggested options include building a route through Grange Farm Road or the rugby club – once the latter’s own expected housing redevelopment is progressed. However, Persimmon says neither are possible at this time.

Not every councillor though saw the value of the old orchard, with Cllr David Shopland labelling it as ‘just a few trees at the bottom’ of the field.

But he did object to the council’s acceptance of house-building in locations where roads are narrow.

He said: “This is a continuation of the council’s disastrous AAA policy – anywhere, any time, any how.”

Cllr Jill Iles called for the scheme to be put on hold for two months while conversations were had with a landowner in Kenn Moor Road as to whether an access route could be created to the north of the proposed development, thus protecting the orchard.

Her move was supported by Cllr Tom Leimdorfer who felt removing trees would ‘destroy a pleasant rural aspect’.