Developer’s scaled-back housing plan gets council approval

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A former orchard in Portishead is going to have 14 new homes built on it after a ‘contentious’ planning application was given the go-ahead by councillors on May 11.

The applicant, Freemantle Developments, first sought planning permission to build 19 houses on Battens Orchard, off Elm Walk, in November 2014.

But neighbours and Portishead Town Council rallied against the scheme, saying the area was ecologically important and home to lots of wildlife.

Freemantle Developments dropped the number of homes to 10 in June last year and North Somerset Council subsequently approved the scheme.

In August, it put in another application for 16 homes – which was rejected by the council in April – but the decision went against the planning officers’ recommendation so, as part of council protocol, had to be voted again at the next meeting.

Ward councillor Felicity Baker said neighbours were upset the applicant had already stripped the site of its grass and foliage, making it look like a ‘ploughed field’.

Speaking at the meeting on behalf of the applicant, Kit Stokes said the applicant would reduce the plans to 14 homes, in response to ‘the residents’ concerns about density’.

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Ward councillor David Jolley believes reducing the development by two homes will make sure the site is not over-developed.

He said: “It has gone from 16 to 14 houses, which will allow for a less cramped scheme.

“It has clearly been very difficult, very contentious but this was the best of all options.”