NORTH SOMERSET: Plans for 168 Nailsea homes approved
Nearly 170 homes are set to be built on the edge of Nailsea after detailed plans were approved this week.
Outline permission for 450 homes on the greenfield site off Netherton Wood Lane was granted on appeal in 2019 but concerns remain about the cumulative impact of developers “shoehorning in houses on any spare green space”.
Taylor Wimpey’s new neighbourhood will be built west of the Engine Lane development, where 171 homes have been approved, and south of Uplands, which is allocated for another 50.
The developer secured reserved matters permission for 168 homes this week and will submit detailed plans for the remaining 282 homes on the site at a later date.
Nineteen residents objected to its phase one proposals.
The most damning comment read: “There seems to be a belief by developers that any spare green space around Nailsea is ripe for shoehorning in new houses in dense developments without taking account of the weaknesses in the infrastructure which impact on the town and its residents.
“North Somerset Council’s planning department cannot keep looking at these plans to build houses piecemeal in Nailsea in isolation from each other – there has to be some consideration for the adverse impact on existing residents and pressure on infrastructure.”
Similar concerns were raised by officers when the outline application went to appeal after North Somerset Council failed to reach a decision in time. They told the hearing they would have rejected the bid for the 24-hectare site, arguing the development would “undermine the coordinated planning and expansion of Nailsea”.
But planning inspector Dominic Young said the council could not rely on policies in the joint spatial plan – a regional housing strategy put forward by the council and its West of England neighbours that has now been scrapped.
Approving the outline plans in November 2019, he said: “To contend that a development might impinge upon something that might happen in the future seems to me to be a particularly weak basis for decision taking when there is so much uncertainty over those future considerations.”
Taylor Wimpey said in its plans it would create a new neighbourhood with “truly accessible” public space and access across the site.
A potential link road crossing the site will be safeguarded to provide bus routes to future developments. A route has now been agreed.
North Somerset Council’s planning committee meeting on January 20 heard that the developer would also pay £300,000 towards a cycle link from Engine Lane to Backwell railway station.
Thirty per cent of the homes will be affordable.
Taylor Wimpey said in its application: “Nailsea will be a highly desirable place to live for the 21st century and beyond.
“The proposals respect the local character but also move the community towards a more sustainable future, through a significant increase in housing choice.
“The aim is to achieve a development with a strong identity and distinct sense of place, whilst at the same time integrating with the existing community.”
But for Councillor Mike Solomon the designs were not up to scratch.
He told the meeting: “Some of the larger developers are just looking at their profit, how many buildings they can get into a site and are looking no further.
“It’s about quality of life for the people that live on these sites. We could be doing an awful lot better.”
Cllr Steve Bridger said there were still too many outstanding issues that needed to be addressed.
But a majority of committee members were happy with the plans and voted for approval.
Words: Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter
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