Developer accused of ‘arrogance’ despite U-turn over housing plan
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Plans to build houses on a field which has been used for fairs for years have been scrapped.
Newland Homes revealed the U-turn on Monday night meaning Claverham’s May Day Field will be protected following concerns raised by villagers.
But the developer was accused of ‘arrogance’ for considering building houses on the field north of the UTC Aerospace System factory – contrary to a neighbourhood plan villagers voted through last month.
The scaling-back of the housing development means Newland is considering building 70-75 homes for the factory footprint, with a further 18 on the northern field. Dropping the May Day Field from the scheme sees the number of homes proposed fall from 102.
Campaigners, who support redevelopment of the disused industrial plant, however are fighting the northern field plans which they feel could jeopardise Claverham’s future.
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Nigel Cooper, who is involved in Claverham Future which put together the neighbourhood plan, said a ‘precedent’ would be set if it was ignored, because once one field is built over, adjoining ones become vulnerable.
Newland’s Tom Sheppard, speaking at Yatton Parish Council’s meeting on Monday, said it may not look to develop the northern field after all.
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North Somerset Council has failed to show it has planned for enough homes to be built over the next five years and Mr Sheppard said homes on the northern field would help solve the shortage.
But he conceded if that problem was rectified, then Newland’s plan would be looked at again.
But some parish councillors feel Newland’s scheme is in complete disregard of the neighbourhood plan – a document which took three years to make and was due to be ratified by North Somerset Council last night (Tuesday).
Cllr Andy Warren said building on the northern field would ‘drive a coach of horses’ through the plan and smacked of ‘arrogance’.
While Cllr Wendy Griggs said the scheme would make a ‘mockery’ of neighbourhood plans if accepted.
A decision on North Somerset’s housing supply is expected within the coming weeks.
Newland will use the result to determine if its proposal needs tweaking before submitting a planning application in April.
If accepted promptly, Newland hopes to have builders on site by the end of the year.