Bath City

Village where the demand for housing authorized in appeal “has always been behind” Bath City News

A village that has seen a controversial 63-unit project approved on appeal has been “still on the back” in trying to oppose the project, the parish council said.

The proposal based in the village of Coleford, near Radstock, had proposed to build up to 63 houses on an entirely new site in the area.

The proposal was initially refused by Mendip District Council in September 2020, with the council’s planning committee saying it “would have a significantly harmful visual impact” on the surrounding area and the village.

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However, the proposal has now been accepted after the developer appealed the decision, leaving Coleford residents fearing the loss of more green land in the village after a nearly two-year struggle against development.

Residents have spoken out that the housing estates are “ruining our villages” and continued urban growth will see a “real town” form in the Somerset countryside.

The developers, Gladman Developments, said in its application that the project “meets the current and future needs of the colony,” as well as in its design and access statement that the development was intended to be “sustainable” and “appropriate. “. .

However, the Coleford Parish Council has now denounced the decision to approve the request, saying any opposition in the village had been ‘in vain’ and the community had ‘always been on the sidelines’.

He also said the decision represented a loophole in the local plan for the Mendip region, as the plan set “a very high bar” for denying planning requests, and questioned why approval was recommended by local governments. council agents as part of the plan.

Plans for 63 houses on Anchor Road in Coleford (Image: Aspect Landscape Planning)

The statement said, “All the hard work of the villagers and councilors for 25 months has been in vain. There were over 300 opponents, well over ten percent of the village.

“More than six years of involvement in Part 2 of Mendip’s Local Plan have been in vain. The village asks, where is localism and local democracy?

“We felt we were still in the background, with Mendip’s planning manager twice recommending acceptance despite the site not having been allocated for development in the emerging local plan.

“Highways and Wessex Water has also seen no problems despite a well-documented history of major incidents. The biggest obstacle has been Mendip’s failure to produce a local plan giving a five-year advance supply of housing land as mandated by national policy.

“Accordingly, any request for housing planning anywhere in the district must be approved, unless the negative impacts ‘significantly and manifestly outweigh the benefits’ of providing housing. A very high bar.

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“Many felt that the inspector’s opinion to rule out all the harms we identified was finely balanced and subjective, but not open to legal challenge. The parish council investigated the option of seeking judicial review, but the opinion of a lawyer was that our chances of success were poor.

“So the door is immediately open around us to speculative developments already likely to appeal to Leigh on Mendip, Stoke St Michael, Chilcompton and the White Post, as well as applications to Writhlington, Norton St Philip and Beckington – all of which are outside development boundaries designated in the new Local Plan.

The council also confirmed that it had taken the matter to David Warburton, the Somerton and Frome MP who covers Coleford, and that he was “sympathetic” to the views of the village.

Gladman said in his application for approval that the program would address this housing problem, stating, “The proposal positively addresses the identified needs for the market and affordable housing in Mendip.”

Gladman also identified Coleford, as one of the larger villages in the region, as “best placed to accommodate new homes in the rural area”.

A transport assessment carried out by Odyssey found that “an appropriate access arrangement has been prepared” for the site, and also that the development is in accordance with “relevant national and local policy”, with “minimal impact on the site. local motorway network “expected.

The design and access statement also addressed the impact of development on roads, saying the design “seeks to link with and improve the existing public right-of-way network” and “promote the use of sustainable transport “.

Mendip District Council was approached for comment, but chose not to.

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This notice was published: 2021-12-15 00:00:00

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