MP says plans for 'garden villages' are 'stinkers' in letter to JSP
PUBLISHED: 14:59 12 January 2018
Weston-super-Mare’s MP has branded a plan to build 25,000 homes in North Somerset as a ‘stinker’, saying it will not solve traffic jams on the M5.
John Penrose has supported North Somerset Council’s plans to ‘build up, not out’ in its joint spatial plan (JSP) for the West of England but says it is ‘misleading’ to call two new towns – which are near Churchill and Langford – ‘garden villages’.
In a letter submitted to the JSP, Mr Penrose welcomes the Banwell Bypass but says the proposal for housing in North Somerset and the new M5 junction 21a will need to be improved as he believes it will not solve traffic jams by Weston’s motorway junction.
He slated the plans to cope with traffic to Bristol Airport, calling it ‘more expensive’ and ‘less green’ than the alternative plans.
He added: “These plans will be used at the framework to guide housing, employment and infrastructure for the next 18 years.
“They will define how our homes and neighbourhoods look and feel, for better of worse, for years to come.
“There are plenty of good ideas which we should all support, but a couple of real stinkers too. We need to get this right.”
The plan will see 105,500 homes built across the region, not only in North Somerset, but in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset too.
JSP proposals also earmark land to the north west of Banwell for 1,900 homes and outline ambitions for a 2,675-home village near Langford.
The plan has had wide spread opposition from residents, including the Churchill and Langford Residents’ Action Group who said Churchill would ‘be destroyed’.
They added: “Many are still unaware of the plan or the scale of the development which will turn the village of Churchill into a town the size of Wells, but without the essential infrastructure or cultural centre offered by the cathedral and market place.”
Council leader Nigel Ashton has said the plans are ‘probably our least worse option’ after the council reluctantly agreed to move forward to public consultation.