Housing saga restarted after developer lodges appeal to reverse council verdict

PUBLISHED: 10:08 06 August 2017

CRAG has been campaigning against unsustainable development following multiple proposed developments in Congresbury. Photo by Jeremy Long

CRAG has been campaigning against unsustainable development following multiple proposed developments in Congresbury. Photo by Jeremy Long

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A developer which was told its bid to build more than 20 homes would 'harm' a North Somerset village has appealed a local authority decision to refuse planning permission.

Strongvox Homes wants to build 24 homes to the east of Brinsea Road, and has called for a Government inquiry in an attempt to reverse North Somerset Council’s verdict.

The council rejected the plans in February, deeming the development location was unsustainable, too far from key services, and outside of the settlement boundary.

North Somerset also said the development would ‘be out of keeping with the rural landscape character and quality of the area and will result in harm to the rural setting and edge of the village’.

But Strongvox hopes the Government will overturn that decision, and believes its scheme promises a number of benefits to Congresbury and North Somerset.

The developer argues its plans will help address the district’s ‘significant housing supply shortfall’, boost choice in the local housing market, improve highway safety, and bring economic opportunities and jobs.

Strongvox’s appeal documents said: “Harm arising from the proposal is minor and relates to the loss of a small parcel of agricultural land and some minor changes to localised views.

“The proposals result in significant benefits which outweigh the very minor and localised harm. Accordingly, we respectfully request that the Inspector allows this appeal.”

Strongvox defeated the local authority in a housing inquiry last year, where the inspector granted planning permission to build more than 100 homes in Sandford after the council did not return a verdict in the permitted timeframe.

It is believed the appeal may be heard remotely via post, rather than by a formal public inquiry.

Congresbury Residents’ Action Group opposed the initial application and believes the Planning Inspectorate should dismiss Strongvox’s appeal.

A spokesman told the Times: “Our original objections to the scheme still apply, namely that it would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of that approach to the village.

“It should be refused for the same reasons that the Barratt Homes appeal was rejected two years ago – on landscape and sustainability factors.

“It is too far from the main village services and would therefore increase private car use.”

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