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SOMERSET: Castle Cary homes second inquiry

SOMERSET: Castle Cary homes second inquiry

CREDIT: Google Maps

A second public inquiry will be held before Christmas to decide whether dozens of new homes will be built in a Somerset market town.

Castle Cary (BMI) Ltd applied in mid-2018 to redevelop the former BMI complex on the A371 Cumnock Road in Castle Cary to deliver a total of 81 new homes for the town.

South Somerset District Council’s area east committee voted to refuse the plans in July 2019 – a decision which was subsequently upheld by the Planning Inspectorate in December 2020 following a public inquiry.

But the developer successfully challenged this decision at the High Court – meaning a second inquiry will now be held to decide the homes’ fate once and for all.

Under the proposals, the existing mill buildings will be converted into 11 dwellings, with a further 70 properties being constructed on the surrounding land within the brownfield site.

The plans were turned down twice by the council – first in July 2019 by the area east committee (which makes decisions on major planning applications in Castle Cary) and then by the regulation committee the following month.

Councillor Kevin Messenger, who represents Castle Cary, stated at the time: “All this is going to lead to is people leaving their cars on the main road, and it’s already difficult to get out of that area.

“Speaking as an ex-firefighter, sooner or later there is going to be a loss of life from fire engines or ambulances not getting through.”

The Planning Inspectorate ruled in the council’s favour in November 2020 – but ordered the local authority to pay the developer’s legal costs due to “unreasonable behaviour” on the former’s part during the appeal process.

Inspector Jasmine Rogers has now confirmed that a second inquiry will be held, stating in a letter to council officers: “Following a High Court challenge to the inspector’s decision on this appeal dated November 11, 2020, the court has ordered that the appeal be redetermined.

“This does not necessarily mean that the inspector will reach a different overall decision.”

The Planning Inspectorate has confirmed the new public inquiry will begin on December 7, with the outcome expected to be published in early-2022.

Words:  Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter


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