Flat decision delayed over fears about loss of employment land
PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 March 2018
A decision on whether to allow developers to build a block of flats on land originally earmarked for employment has been deferred for another month.
Churngold Construction applied to North Somerset Council to build 33 flats off Wyndham Way, near Cheviot Meadow.
The land was once intended to be used for offices, and Portishead councillor David Pasley questioned whether enough had been done by Churngold to market it as future employment space.
He said at the planning meeting on March 14: “It is very sad to see more and more land designated for employment is being lost to development. The problem is we will not have any room for businesses to go.
“The company claims it has tried to market the site for business use, and if it provides evidence I would be happy to support the application as it stands.”
Despite concerns about the loss of employment land in Portishead, it is complicated by the fact the land was recently added to North Somerset’s Sites Allocation Plan (SAP) to be used for housing.
The council had to amend the SAP as a planning inspector said the houses already proposed would not be built quickly enough to meet the 21,985-home target by 2026.
Around 500 of those houses allocated for Portishead are yet to be built.
Cllr Jan Iles said: “I have a lot of sympathy with the Portishead councillors. But when looking at the sites, the objections should have been raised then to make sure it was taken out of the allocations plan.”
Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, the executive member responsible for housing, opposed deferring the decision.
He said: “It [the plan] includes affordable housing which we need everywhere in the district.
“It is a site already very much surrounded by housing.
“What is important is this site keeps us over the five-year housing target.
“If we don’t go ahead we are at risk on numerous other sites around the district, some coming up to appeal currently.”
The committee decided to defer the decision for another month so Churngold Construction could show evidence of marketing the site for office use.