LONGER WAIT: 165 homes inquiry delayed
Oak Tree Way In Cannington Gladman, Image: LDRS
Somerset residents face a longer wait to find out whether more than 150 new homes will be built just outside Bridgwater.
Gladman Developments applied in September 2019 to build 165 houses north of the A39 in Cannington, near the Hinkley Point C park and ride facility.
Sedgemoor District Council turned down the outline plans in mid-May 2020, prompting the developer to appeal and a public inquiry being set for late-September.
But the Planning Inspectorate has now announced the inquiry has been pushed back to early-November – meaning a final decision will not be published until early-2022.
The proposed development site lies between Oak Tree Way and the park and ride site, just south of the village’s health centre.
Rather than surround the park and ride site entirely, much of the site’s northern edge will be dominated by communal green space near the Cannington Brook, with access being from Oak Tree Way.
The council refused the outline plans on May 18, 2020 by delegated authority – meaning the decision was taken by its planning officers rather than members of the development committee.
Stuart Houlet, the council’s assistant director for inward investment and growth, laid out three grounds for refusal:
- Oak Tree Way would be “insufficient to serve as a means of access” due to the “restricted width and poor alignment” of the existing roads
- Since only one access route is proposed, there would be “limited accessibility” for paramedics and emergency vehicles
- The proposed layout would lead to more on-street parking and therefore “an increase in conflict between vehicles and pedestrians”
The Congleton-based developer said building on this site would provide much-needed new housing and deliver space for a new community hall at a later date.
A spokesman stated in July: “The proposed site is a suitable and sustainable location for new development.
“We believe that new homes will enhance the village and support its existing services and facilities.”
The inquiry will begin on November 2 – a week before a separate inquiry into 200 homes near Castle Cary railway station – and will include a site visit by the appointed inspector.
The Planning Inspectorate has not provided an explanation for the delay, but said the inspector’s decision would be published in early-2022.
Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter
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