NORTH SOMERSET: Village housing rejected
Image: Strongvox Homes
A new estate with 61 homes will not be built in Wrington even after more than 800 objections.
Strongvox Homes originally wanted to build 71 homes on a 4.5-hectare greenfield site outside the village settlement boundary but later scaled back its plans.
It said compared to other locations Butt’s Batch was unencumbered and an ideal opportunity to meet the housing shortfall in North Somerset.
The firm said in its application: “Significant weight should be attached to the benefits of the scheme in terms of its contributions to the provision of much needed affordable housing and open market housing. The harm would be negligible and the benefits considerable.
“The scheme offers an exciting new development for Wrington that is sustainable, well integrated and a natural organic extension to the village and its surrounding environment.”
Those claims were challenged by hundreds of objectors who Wrington Parish Council said “wish to protect the village character of the area and its surroundings and not see them trashed by inappropriate development or speculative building projects such as this”.
The parish council wrote nearly 19,000 words objecting in the strongest possible terms.
It said the site was “absolutely not serviced by any realistic public transport system” and blamed the perceived housing shortfall on developers failing to carry through their plans in a timely fashion.
Villagers said Wrington would suffer if the homes were built at Butt’s Batch.
One objector said: “The houses will not be affordable for most of the local population.
“The land owners and developers will not be inconvenienced – their children will not be trying to get into the local school, nor will they have to put up with the sights and sounds involved.
“The houses will make an awful lot of money for those behind it with absolutely no thought or care whatsoever for the impact they will have on the lives of others.”
Another said: “Given the climate crisis we need to preserve our farmland for future food provision, not build houses on it when other brownfield sites are available.”
A third opponent of the plans said: “This development offers nothing of any value to the village. It damages the local environment, blights the views of and around the village and makes it a much less safe place to live.”
The application was rejected by North Somerset Council on September 17.
Planning officers accepted that the district has a housing shortage but said the scheme would “substantially alter an area of attractive open countryside to an urbanised area” and harm the significance of the grade I-listed Church of All Saints and the Wrington Conservation Area.
Words: Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter
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