Village unites to battle homes plan
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 April 2015
VAST crowds of villagers turned up to show a united front against developers at a public meeting in Locking on Saturday, amid fears new housing could see their community 'swallowed up'.
The meeting was called to discuss plans for up to 130 new homes at Elm Grove Nursery in Elm Grove and queues of people lined up to attend.
Such was demand for space, plans to host the meeting in the village hall were scrapped and talks were instead staged outside.
The public meeting was called to discuss residents’ fears the village is ‘in danger of being swallowed up’ by housing developments.
The parish has already had two large building schemes in the form of 900 homes at Hayward Village and 1,450 homes at Locking Parklands.
Now Cheshire-based company Gladman Developments has requested screening opinions on whether an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would be required for Elm Grove project ahead of a formal application.
Parish councillor Heather Willis chaired the meeting, and said: “We are opposed to this, we are very much against this development. We don’t support any proposal by Gladmans.
“The problem with this development is that there can be a domino effect. We are opposing this and standing as a united front.
“It is absolutely fantastic to see the support the village has and the best thing everyone can do is to write to North Somerset Council raising your objections to this development taking place.
“If we all do that individually it will show the village has a united front.”
Members of the public raised concerns about construction traffic, added pressure on drainage systems leading to potential flood risks and the strain on infrastructure.
Locking resident, Jane Griffiths, said: “Residents feel the village is in danger of being swallowed up by the development sprawl, already being surrounded by two massive housing developments.
“This application to now develop so many homes within the village itself poses a real threat to our cherished village environment.”
Parish councillor, Elfan Ap Rees, who recently completed a term as North Somerset Council’s deputy leader and executive member for strategic planning, spoke at the meeting.
He said: “We have a number of strengths in this village that we need to capitalise on. First of all North Somerset recognises us (Locking) as an infill village, which means development is only allowed within the boundary and this site is outside the village boundary in parts.
“The other strength we have got is that developments are already going on elsewhere in the parish, that is going to provide any shortfall.”
Cllr Ap Rees also advised villagers to submit written objections once a formal application is submitted ‘within the next month or so’.