Council quits hearing over new homes for Wrington

Wrington villagers campaigning against the development at Coxs Green with North Somerset MP Liam Fox

Wrington villagers campaigning against the development at Coxs Green with North Somerset MP Liam Fox back in 2016. - Credit: Archant

Campaigners who fear a housing estate in Wrington will have a devastating effect have hit out at North Somerset Council for ‘stabbing them in the back’.

Wrington Village Alliance has over the past week been engaged in an inquiry for 59 homes proposed for Coxs Green.

The council was supporting its fight against Redcliffe Homes’ appeal, however, on Friday, it pulled out midway through the hearing. The council though says it remains opposed to the large-scaled development proposed.

North Somerset’s executive agreed a 28-home development on half the site was acceptable for its housing plan last month, which campaigner Sally Bartlett feels has wrecked the alliance’s chances.

A council spokesman said: “The planning appeal is for an outline planning application for ‘up to’ 59 houses on the edge of the village.

“An outline application is one which leaves all the details of design and layout to a later stage called reserved matters. The council considered a development of this size to be excessive and to have an adverse impact on the landscape and has been fighting the appeal on this basis.

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“We did not consider a smaller proposal for up to 28 houses would have the same impact. It was therefore included as an additional housing allocation in the Site Allocations Plan.

“During the ongoing public inquiry, and in response to queries from the inspector, it became apparent that once all the detailed evidence had been considered, the council’s objections to the larger scheme could be resolved at the reserved matters stage, if the appeal were to be allowed.

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“The council will continue to maintain its objections at the next stage, if the appeal is allowed.”

Ms Bartlett said villagers have given up their own money to fight the appeal and the council’s move was ‘lamentable’.

She added: “North Somerset has really stabbed us in the back – it just caved.”

Ms Bartlett said council leader Nigel Ashton’s criticism of the Government for high housing targets was of little value if the authority bows to developers’ demands and pressure.

The hearing was due to finish yesterday (Tuesday) with a decision announced in the coming weeks.

More than 100 people turned out last week at a public hearing in Wrington to show the inspector the level of concern.

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