Fears for Portishead's future as more flats to be built
PUBLISHED: 15:55 12 April 2018
More employment land has been sacrificed in Portishead to allow dozens of homes to be built.
Two blocks of flats, containing 33 in total, will be constructed off Wyndham Way and Cheviot Meadow after North Somerset Council’s planning committee gave the scheme the green light, despite major reservations within the town about a lack of infrastructure.
Churngold Construction Ltd had planned to build headquarters on the site, but changed plans a few years ago when the economic downturn began to hit.
It marketed the site to find another company keen to operate from Portishead, but no acceptable offers were made.
Insufficient demand for business space in Portishead has been blamed for the move towards housing – although one councillor believes that will change once the long-awaited railway line is built and opened.
Cllr David Pasley last month asked Churngold to provide marketing evidence before the planning application was voted on. But with council officers shown three years of documents, he proposed the flats were given the green light.
Cllr Pasley, speaking at yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) council meeting, said: “I’m between a rock and a hard place.
“I’m very unhappy about losing this employment land.
“If the railway had been running by now, then I think this would have been different as I believe it will attract business to Portishead.”
The much-delayed railway is due to open in December 2021.
The development will feature affordable housing but the idea of creating more homes in Portishead did not please everyone.
Cllr David Shopland, who was the only member to vote against the plan, said yet again Portishead was losing employment land and nothing was being down to replace it.
He added: In the end we will turn this (Portishead) into a commuter town; Portishead was once industrial.”
Cllr Shopland fears Portishead faces ‘no future’ if such a strategy continues to be pursued.
Cllr Pasley said the authority remains committed to protecting employment land at Old Mill Road.
North Somerset’s long-term housing strategy had looked into allowing a small amount of housing in the area, but since Standard Life Investments came forward with plans for 350 flats and leisure facilities, the council has removed the site from its plans up to 2026.