'Harmful' housing scheme for village knocked back on appeal
PUBLISHED: 06:35 23 December 2017
Campaigners are rejoicing this Christmas after fending off a plan to increase Congresbury's size.
Strongvox Homes wanted to build 24 homes off Brinsea Road, but its plan was turned down by North Somerset Council and then again this week by planning inspector Gareth Thomas.
After chairing a one-day hearing last month, Mr Thomas ruled against Strongvox, citing concerns over the safety of pedestrians walking from the houses into the centre of the village and a lack of public transport.
He added: “Overall, the substantial environmental harm arising from the development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the socio-economic benefits.”
Congresbury Residents’ Action Group (CRAG) is delighted.
Chairman Mary Short said: “CRAG is not opposed to all development – we are certainly in favour of social and affordable housing. But that is for the village and local authorities to decide where it is appropriate – not speculative builders.
“Residents have to live with the bricks and mortar of new housing and we are best placed to comment what is and what is not appropriate. We are delighted the inspector supported our view. This is the third time CRAG has been involved in fighting decisions and three times the inspectors have recognised we know local conditions and tell the truth about what they are.”
Two years ago Barratt Homes wanted to build 80 homes off Brinsea Road, but also lost an appeal.
North Somerset councillor Tom Leimdorfer said the Strongvox refusal was an ‘excellent’ result.
He said: “It really should put an end to any thought of a new development proposal on the west side of Brinsea Road as well.
“It also helps us to maintain one of the key policy principles of the emerging draft neighbourhood plan which envisages no development on the south side of the village.”
Strongvox’s scheme received 110 objections and such strength of feeling was invaluable, says CRAG.
Its secretary Viv Tomkinson said: “On behalf of CRAG I would like to repeat our heartfelt thanks to all of those who supported us at the hearing and those who submitted comments.”
Strongvox was approached for comment.