Orchard ‘destruction’ fears aired as opposition mounts to plans for countryside homes

PUBLISHED: 15:53 25 January 2018

Yatton Rugby Club used to lease the land where homes are proposed from Children's Hospice South West.

Yatton Rugby Club used to lease the land where homes are proposed from Children's Hospice South West.

Archant

‘Dull, pokey, identikit executive homes’ are not wanted in Yatton.

That was the resounding message from Yatton Parish Council on Monday night as members voted to oppose plans to ‘destroy’ an orchard and build on former sports pitches, off Moor Road.

Last week the Times reported on Persimmon Homes’ desire to build 69 houses in the area – a scheme which initially had been earmarked for 83 properties before being scaled down.

Persimmon wishes to build the houses on land owned by Children’s Hospice South West, which used to be leased to Yatton Rugby Club for its junior teams to play on. Access to the estate would be provided through the orchard.

But the revised application continues to win little favour within the community, with Cllr Christopher Jackson leading the opposition.

He said: “This application is without merit.

“I think it has lots of integral problems, especially with the access road, which looks to be a nonsense to me and the number of affordable houses is below the number recommended (by North Somerset Council’s planning strategy).”

He went on to criticise the appearance of the homes and said the countryside was being blighted by similar housing estates which are full of homes not suitable for first-time buyers.

Members of the public said bats and fungi would be threatened and the orchard risked ‘destruction’, if the access route was allowed.

Their views were echoed by councillors, with Cllr Jonathan Edwards saying it would make more sense to use Grange Farm Road as an entry point.

The land however is owned by a rival developer but Cllr Edwards said that was Persimmon’s problem ultimately, and the orchard should not be tarnished simply because it would be easier and cheaper for the housing firm.

Cllr Wendy Griggs said: “We have got a big problem in Yatton on the roads... it beggars belief that anyone could think this (a road through the orchard) is the way forward.”

Persimmon in its application said its houses would be a ‘natural extension’ to the village and would be in keeping with the landscape.

The parish council voted in favour of recommending North Somerset Council refuses Persimmon’s scheme.


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