Unpopular housing plan rejected due to lack of jobs and services

A plan of the proposed development.

A plan of the proposed development. - Credit: Archant

Villagers from Sandford are ‘delighted’ a planning appeal for 85 houses has been rejected.

The application by developer Aurora would have seen the village's population increase by 90 per cent with no facilities to support them.

The developer wanted to build the houses off Greenhill Lane, close to the Strongvox development where 118 homes are being built.

More: Plan for 85 homes in village rejected again by councillors.

North Somerset Council's planning and regulatory committee turned down the application in August last year.

Aurora appealed against the decision, but the proposal was dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate.

Cllr Ann Harley, who represents Banwell and Winscombe for North Somerset Council, said: "I was delighted with the result of the Aurora decision.

"It was very much a team effort, the previous administration who supported my recommendation for refusal and the villagers of Sandford, the parish council, the officers and the barrister acting on behalf of North Somerset.

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"The inspector, as I did, recognised that since the Strongvox decision our Core Strategy has been adopted which obviously alters the situation - particularly that since the decision was taken Winscombe no longer has a bank and a bus service has been lost.

"He also took into account the facilities offered in Sandford were not sustainable and would necessitate increased vehicle movements in order to maintain daily living.

"I think the decision has sent out a very clear message to any future development, particularly in the rural areas, where they are being swamped with unsustainable, and out of character estates, that enough is enough and it is time to reflect on what is acceptable."

More: Appeal set for unpopular housing proposal in Sandford.

In his report, planning inspector Richard Schofield said Sandford was not an appropriate location for the homes because it conflicts with the requirements of council policies which direct development to bigger settlements with more job opportunities, services and access to public transport to reduce reliance on private vehicles.

He added: "Overall, I consider the adverse impacts arising from the proposal's conflict with the adopted development plan would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits that the proposed scheme would deliver."