REVEALED: New sites for housing agreed by North Somerset Council
PUBLISHED: 15:44 22 September 2017
A further 22 probable sites for housing have been agreed by North Somerset Council as it seeks to comply with the Government’s orders
Housing sites revealed
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The authority’s executive has agreed to include room for another 821 homes into its housing strategy after being told by a Government inspector that it was not providing sufficient land for houses to be built over the next five years.
The new sites allocation plan includes allowing 170 homes at Youngwood Lane in Nailsea, more than 20 at Smallway in Congresbury plus sites in Barrow Gurney, Clevedon, Portishead and Wrington. Other sites further afield in North Somerset include Winscombe and Weston.
Council leader Nigel Ashton is unhappy with the Government’s instruction as North Somerset lacks the infrastructure required for such large development.
He said: “We are fighting back weekly. We have said we don’t need this number of houses – but if we don’t do it we will be overruled.
“It’s the biggest single issue we have to deal with but we don’t have the political power.
“I totally get the frustration of villages. I have always supported the greenbelt for rural areas but I’m having to allow applications to go through which are disgraceful, but we don’t have a choice.
“It happens to be my party (in power) at the moment but I think it’s disgraceful.”
The council – again at the Government’s demand – has had to find room for 20,985 homes between 2006-2026 but due to concerns over the speed of delivery was asked to find extra sites to make sure short-term targets were met and it was these which were agreed on September 5.
But the new sites allocation plan has not won favour with campaign groups.
Adrian Hopkins, speaking on behalf of the Wrington Village Alliance, said new homes were unsuitable at Coxs Green as the roads are ‘hazardous’ and key services including the bank and GP practice have moved away in recent years.
Steve Bridger, co-chairman of North Somerset Villages’ Alliance, added: “If we are being asked to give up our precious countryside this should be for genuine housing need, not for private profit.
“There is simply no evidence whatsoever that releasing more greenfield land around our villages, allocating more sites will persuade the volume private house-builders to build on the scale that is deemed necessary, or to the high design quality that communities want.”
He called for the council to ‘show resolve’, but executive member Elfan Ap Rees said the plan was the best option under the circumstances, even if it does not please councillors.
He said: “We absolutely have to meet the inspector’s requirements otherwise we risk letting developers build wherever they want.”
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