Villagers prepare for inquiry into ‘speculative development’

PUBLISHED: 07:41 24 October 2017

Congresbury Residents' Action Group (CRAG). Photo by Jeremy Long.

Congresbury Residents' Action Group (CRAG). Photo by Jeremy Long.

Archant

A Congresbury action group is calling on villagers to make their concerns over a ‘speculative development scheme’ heard at an upcoming housing inquiry.

Congresbury Residents’ Action Group (CRAG) wants people to ‘demonstrate the strength of feeling against Strongvox Homes’ plans to build 24 houses off Brinsea Road at a Government appeal next month.

Strongvox’s plans were rejected by North Somerset Council earlier this year because the site is isolated from key amenities, in addition to fears over flooding and road safety.

But Strongvox is appealing the council’s verdict, and an inquiry will be held by the Planning Inspectorate at Weston’s Royal Hotel, in South Parade, from November 21-22 at 10am – after which a final decision on planning permission will be made.

And CRAG hopes villagers will attend to ensure North Somerset’s verdict is upheld and the plans are torn up.

A spokesman said: “The site, opposite the field where Barratts suffered a notable defeat two years ago, is unsuitable for homes for many of the same reasons.

“It is not within easy walking distance from village services, and would therefore promote more use of cars; part of the field is subject to flooding and there are objections on the grounds of highway width.”

CRAG chairman Mary Short added: “We know that it is important to demonstrate the strength of feeling against these speculative applications.

“Some people may want to speak at the hearing, and there may be a limited opportunity. But just being there on the first day will send a strong message to the inspector.”

But Strongvox believes the development would offer economic, highways and landscape benefits, in addition to helping the shortfall of housing supply in North Somerset.

The developer’s appeal documents added: “We find no evidence to suggest that the harm resulting from the appeal proposals comes anywhere close to significantly and demonstrably outweighing the benefits. As such the appeal should be allowed.”

Ahead of the inquiry, CRAG will host a public meeting at Congresbury Methodist Hall, in High Street, on November 1 at 7.30pm to update people on planning issues in the village.

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