Planning chief gets tough on design

A SENIOR North Somerset councillor has told RAF Locking developers to 'pull their finger out to get something sorted'. The council's planning

A SENIOR North Somerset councillor has told RAF Locking developers to 'pull their finger out to get something sorted'.The council's planning chief, Elfan Ap Rees, made the remarks at a meeting in Weston Town Hall while discussing a planning application from Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology to relocate to the former airbase.The company currently based in Yatton is the first to set up home on the site, now jointly owned by the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) and English Partnerships. The agencies are behind plans to regenerate it with industrial buildings to provide jobs, as well as homes.However, the design and location of the new Oxford Instruments buildings were called into question at the south area committee meeting.Cllr Ap Rees said: "I am disappointed that SWRDA has not ensured a high standard of design has been followed through."My first question to the officers is to go back to the applicants to ask for a better standard of design. Most people in the area are disappointed with it. "The real problem I think is the application being a bit premature."We do not have the master plan for the whole site so we have this application in isolation. They need to look to the SWRDA people to ask them to pull their finger out to get something sorted."Speaking after the meeting, OIPT finance director Keith Edwards said: "It will be useful to have the opportunity to meet both the planning chief, the leader of the council and all other interested parties to explain the application in more detail. "We were slightly surprised at some of the comments made about the design as it has come out of consultation with SWRDA and English Partnerships to ensure a high standard environmentally and in its appearance."Oxford Instruments, which makes precision tools, wants to move to Locking Parklands in 2008. The firm employs 122 people and hopes to create more than 60 new jobs once it has had time to settle in its new location.

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