Failed housing plan was like ‘lipstick on a pig’

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

A housing developer says it will consider its options after being refused permission to build 66 homes, and a road through a historic orchard, for a second time.

Persimmon Homes' efforts to build off Moor Road in Yatton were rebuffed by North Somerset Council's planning committee on July 17.

Cllr John Crockford-Hawley slammed Persimmon and other major developers for 'holding rural areas to ransom'.

He said they do not try to produce properties that suit the setting and just impose 'standard pattern-book designs'.

Cllr Steve Bridger, who represents Yatton, led the opposition.

He said: "The proposed road will result in an unacceptable loss of trees and have a detrimental impact on the former orchard and the gateway to the village.

"The application has an extremely complex history and is deeply controversial locally.

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"Over the years the applicant has attempted to dress it up. It's like putting lipstick on a pig."

The 66 homes would be built on former junior rugby pitches - land owned by Children's Hospice South West.

But concerns over building a road through a former orchard and increasing traffic on a rural route saw it rejected.

The decision ratified the one made in June where councillors went against the authority's planning officers, who felt the scheme was acceptable.

Similar criticisms were made by members of Yatton Parish Council about large housing estates in the village.

But North Somerset councillor Claire Cherry did support the application, saying: "There's a desperate need for housing in North Somerset.

"There are many people who require housing.

"People under 30 can't afford to live in much of North Somerset - they're living in Wales because there's no housing."

Cllr Ciaran Cronnelly 'reluctantly' said he may no longer be welcome in Yatton but supported the application, because he was uncomfortable spending public money on an appeal he believes the council will lose.

A spokesman for Persimmon said: "The site has the benefit of an allocation within the North Somerset site allocations plan and we will now consider how best to realise this allocation."