Final rejection of the “unsustainable” development of the village of 70 homes
Plans to build a “completely unsustainable” housing development on the edge of a Somerset village have been rejected by councilors for a second time – despite developers trying to make the scheme more palatable.
Developer M7’s proposal to build 90 homes in a field off a cul-de-sac in Congressbury was rejected by North Somerset Council’s planning committee in October. But as the decision goes against the recommendation of council planning officers, council rules mean the decision must return to the committee for confirmation after a “cooling-off” period.
Councilors met again on November 15 to confirm their decision – at a meeting again packed with people from the village – and councilors were presented with a watered-down version of the proposal, asking for permission to build only up to 70 homes. But no agent from the developers showed up to speak at the meeting.
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Amy Price-Bates, a spokeswoman for Congressbury residents, said the proposed location for the homes was “completely inappropriate.” “Congressbury has suggested other suitable sites that have not yet been developed,” she added.
The fact that the village had developed a neighborhood plan that identified other areas where they thought housing projects should go was a major factor in why the plans were rejected the first time, though planning officials cautioned that their weight was limited only by housing. The situation in North Somerset.
Councilor Mike Solomon said: “It is interesting that as soon as we rejected the application, the applicant came in and reduced the number of homes to 70 homes.” But he added: “I haven’t changed my view since the last time.”
Council planning officers, who recommended the scheme be approved, warned that the M7 could appeal if the council rejects it, because a “skewed balance” would have to be applied in favor of the development due to the council’s lack of a five-year housing supply. But Mr Solomon said: “I’m not convinced, anymore, that we will lose appeals over our housing numbers.”
Councilors voted unanimously to stand by their decision and refuse planning permission for the homes again.
In response to the decision, Mary Short from the Congressbury Residents Action Group (CRAG) said: “We are delighted that councilors have endorsed their decision to reject the M7 application. The support from the local community has been exceptional, and we are also grateful to our new borough councilor Dan Thomas who has so effectively contributed to our cause.” “
She added: “Special thanks should go to Amy Price-Bates, who presented our objections so clearly.”