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Voters to decide on village’s future

PUBLISHED: 06:43 14 January 2018

Claverham neighbourhood development plan committee.

Claverham neighbourhood development plan committee.

Archant

Villagers are being urged to give up five minutes to secure Claverham’s long-term future.

Claverham neighbourhood development plan committee. Claverham neighbourhood development plan committee.

Three years of hard work by volunteers will be put to the test next week when the village votes on whether to adopt its neighbourhood plan.

Nigel Cooper, of Claverham Future, said the group was created to protect the area from inappropriate development.

The group felt it needed to secure some control for the village with North Somerset Council facing big housing targets and developers circling.

Gladman Homes wanted to build 70-80 homes off Chestnut Drive but axed plans in 2016 amid concerns over housing density and poor travel connections.

Nigel said: “The Gladman application was one of the first things which sensitised the group to the fact that we were vulnerable.

“We wanted to find a more permanent way to provide guidelines up to 2026.”

Over the past three years, Claverham Future has consulted with villagers and liaised with parish and district councils to come up with a document which can shape planning for the next eight years.

Nigel praised North Somerset’s planning team and volunteers, including his deputy Dave Hayler, for their work, but admits he never realised it would take so long to reach the referendum stage.

He said: “We want to preserve Claverham’s character and make sure development is appropriate.

“On one side we have greenbelt and on the other side we have farming (land) and that’s always been the way Claverham has been and there’s a good reason for it.

“We are almost at our limits. We wanted to try to find a significant development opportunity within the village and that’s available at the old factory site.”

UTC Aerospace Systems runs a plant off Bishops Road but is vacating it. The site has been on the market and has attracted would-be developers.

But Nigel first of all wants people to back the neighbourhood plan.

He said: “This is about their community’s future up to 2026 and the way development takes place. I think it is well worth spending five minutes to gain that modicum of control so Claverham develops the way it should.”

Votes can be cast at Claverham Village Hall from 7am-10pm on Thursday.

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