'Dangerous' plan for housing off A370 criticised
PUBLISHED: 15:30 20 September 2017
A 'mad' plan to build a housing estate off the A370 near one of North Somerset's 'most dangerous junctions' has been slated by councillors.
Freemantle Development’s 21-home scheme near Smallway in Congresbury won favour among North Somerset Council officers, but a decision whether to grant planning permission was deferred by councillors on September 13.
Members were concerned that homeowners and visitors will have to turn off the A370 into the development, although the council’s highways team said its surveys showed it would be safe.
But Congresbury’s councillor Tom Leimdorfer said it was odd the council had refused housing there for 30 years and now is happy to accept access off the A370.
He said the ‘chaotic’ Smallway junction regularly witnesses crashes and drivers often exceed the 30mph limit when driving towards Cleeve, increasing the potential danger.
Freemantle wants to build the homes opposite the Tesco Express store, with the single entrance and exit point being in line with the end of the A370 bus lane.
Council planners say the road would be widened to allow a two-metre central area for cars turning right into and out of the development to stop so they can safely join the A370.
However, the idea was heavily criticised by the council’s planning committee.
Cllr Chris Blades said: “This is probably the most dangerous junction in North Somerset. It’s so congested and it’s probably the biggest bottleneck outside Bristol.
“The access plan screams danger.”
Cllr David Shopland said it was ‘mad’ to build a housing estate for families next to such a busy road. He said the planning department should be disbanded if its experts believe such a scheme would not compromise public safety.
Councillors voted to defer the application for one month and ask the authority’s highways team to seek a better solution.
Most speakers said that if an improved plan was presented they would support the application. The site was added to the council’s sites allocation plan earlier this month.
Rebecca Morgan, speaking on behalf of Freemantle, said the developer hopes to begin building work within four months of planning permission being granted, should the council give the green light.