Residents ‘quite hopeful’ after village housing inquiry concludes

PUBLISHED: 14:00 06 April 2017

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An application to build 50 homes in a North Somerset village has been under the microscope at a planning inquiry this week.

CRAG outside Weston Town Hall protesting against the Barratt Homes application.CRAG outside Weston Town Hall protesting against the Barratt Homes application.

Cheshire-based Gladman Developments has been locked in a five-day inquiry with North Somerset Council and Congresbury Residents’ Action Group (CRAG) at Weston Town Hall over plans to build homes off Wrington Lane.

The inquiry was held after the council did not make a decision on the plans in time, allowing the applicant to appeal.

Gladman already has outline planning permission to build 50 homes on the land after having a duplicate application approved by the council in March.

But Gladman pressed on with the appeal anyway amid fears its successful application could be called in for review by the Government and possibly quashed.

It is also believed that a victory in this inquiry will increase the value of the land if Gladman were to sell it, as the conditions in the application are more favourable to developers.

John Barrett, representing Gladman, told the council chamber: “Congresbury is recognised as being a sustainable location. The appeal site is a sustainable location and it is close to the services in Congresbury.

“The appeal site will deliver a wide choice of quality homes and it will make a significant contribution to the recognised shortfall of houses in North Somerset.”

CRAG, represented by member Peter Walton, raised a range of concerns over the potential impact of the plans.

Mr Walton told inspector Anne Jordan the plans were not in accordance with the council’s core strategy, and would be detrimental to the character of the village, ecology and the landscape.

He said: “CRAG believes the harm caused by the development would materially outweigh the benefits derived from the scheme and respectfully ask the inspector to dismiss this appeal.”

CRAG chairman Mary Short said: “The inspector has given everyone their say and herself asked very pertinent questions.

“We’re quite hopeful that we have a better chance than it looked when we started out.”

Ms Jordan conducted a site visit on Tuesday, and will now review the evidence before making a final decision.

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