Plans for Old Mill Road homes could ‘damage community’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 August 2018

An artist's impression of what the new-look Old Mill Road would look like. Picture: Standard Life Investments

An artist's impression of what the new-look Old Mill Road would look like. Picture: Standard Life Investments

Standard Life Investments

Plans to build 350 flats in Portishead’s Old Mill Road will be ‘damaging to the community’ unless Portishead’s infrastructure is ‘significantly improved’, says the town council.

Standard Life Investments wants to build the homes as well as restaurants, a six-screen cinema, bars and shops at the industrial site.

The developer applied to North Somerset Council for planning permission in June and hopes to begin work in 2019 if its plans are approved.

Although Portishead Town Council is supportive of more jobs being created at the site it has voted against ‘inappropriate’ conversions of employment land to residential use.

The authority’s planning committee agreed to fight such applications unless ‘significant’ improvements are made to the road network, to junction 19 of the M5 and the Portishead railway line is reopened.

Planning committee chairman Peter Burden said: “I consider it has been demonstrated there is significant demand for employment use on this site and that its loss to residential uses will be detrimental to the local economy.

“This is particularly the case in Portishead where the opportunities for new employment sites are limited.

“Portishead Town Council believes that further significant residential development in the town will be damaging to the community unless there is significant improvement in our infrastructure.

“This town council will continue to support appropriate development but inappropriate conversions of retail employment land to residential purposes and changes of use to empty office blocks will be strongly opposed.”

The view was echoed by Cllr Marilyn Koops who urged councillors and residents to continue fighting the plans and resist any possible appeal.

Cllr Marilyn Koops said: “This is an amazingly stupid development but I was astonished how the residential proposal here has increased from only 20 and suddenly is now 350.

“We do not need any more restaurants, we do not need any more zero-hour contract jobs.”

The future of businesses already operating in Old Mill Road is also uncertain with their leases due to end in March next year.

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