Village affordable homes plan: ‘Much needed’ or ‘dangerous’? – dispute as housing society is given go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 July 2017

12 affordable homes have been approved in Mark.

12 affordable homes have been approved in Mark.

Archant

Plans to build affordable housing in Mark could be ‘very dangerous’, according to the chairman of the village’s community land trust (CLT).

The South Western Housing Society (SWHS) this week won permission from Sedgemoor District Council to build 12 affordable homes to the south of Northwick Road.

Access to the site is earmarked via Northwick Road which Mark Johnson, chairman of the village’s CLT, believes is ‘unsuitable’.

He said: “That site has previously had four previous applications for development turned down because the county council has said the road is unsuitable because of its size and width.

“It is an eight-foot wide country lane with no passing places.

“It is just potentially very dangerous.”

Opposition to the development has been so strong that the board of the previous CLT resigned, leaving Mr Johnson to take up the mantle, with the previous board passing the application on to the SWHS.

But Mr Johnson says residents were not consulted properly and that documents created by the previous CLT should not have been used by the SWHS.

He said: “Our gripe is that community consultation has never been done properly.

“Back in September 2015 the CLT held a public meeting and a presentation which showed 16 sites they considered in and around Mark, and cut them to a shortlist of four.

“The public weren’t given any opportunity to debate that or question it.

“We are quite keen to find some land for affordable housing, but in a much more viable location.”

A spokesman for the SWHS told the Mercury: “The site location in Mark was brought to SWHS by the Mark Community Land Trust, which had worked closely with Sedgemoor District Council on sequential testing.

“It (the site) sits opposite an existing housing development and therefore lends itself to complementing what is already there.

“The planning application made for the development at Mark demonstrates the thought put in to ensuring access and egress is safe, and that local flooding risks are managed and mitigated.

“SWHS believes this site will deliver 12 much-needed, good quality and sustainable homes that will benefit Mark and its local people for generations to come.”

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