SOMERSET: Chilcompton homes appeal
Residents of a Somerset village face a further fight to stop nearly 100 homes being built on their doorstep after an appeal was lodged.
Gladman Developments applied for permission to build up to 95 new homes at the Naish’s Cross site in Chilcompton, just south of Midsomer Norton.
Mendip District Council refused the plans in August, to the joy of local campaigners who felt the village could not expand at this pace without putting a strain on nearby amenities.
The Congleton-based developer has now lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate in a bid to overturn the decision – with a public inquiry scheduled to take place in early-December.
If the council’s decision is reversed, the new homes would be built on grazing land surrounded by Stockhill Road, Hoecraft Gardens and the B3356 Naish’s Cross/ Rock Road.
Access will be from a new junction onto Naish’s Cross, with a children’s play area being provided in the middle of the site and new woodland being planted at the south-eastern corner.
A spokesman stated in March: “The aim is to design a high-quality development with a strong sense of place that responds well to its existing context, will stand the test of time and meet the needs of current and future generations.
“Up to 95 dwellings can be accommodated in this sustainable location, while remaining sympathetic to the existing setting of the site and providing a wealth of benefits for the community of Chilcompton.”
The council refused the plans in August, arguing they would cause “an unacceptable degree of visual encroachment into the countryside and harm to the rural character of site, the edge of the village, and the wider landscape”.
Planning officers also argued that Gladman had provided insufficient information about the site would contribute towards affordable housing, education provision and public open space.
The Chilcompton Against Rural Over-development (CARO) pressure group welcomed this decision, with spokesman Rich Morgan describing it as “a great outcome for CARO members and all of those who have rallied with objections.”
The Chilcompton case will make the fourth major appeal which the council has had to fight this calendar year.
The council lost an appeal in August against Family Sutton Solutions Ltd.’s plans for four new homes and an employment studio near The Retreat in Frome – which could threaten public access to a contested footpath along the nearby River Frome.
The outcomes of two other appeals are expected before Christmas – a ruling over Gladman’s plans for 63 homes on Anchor Road in Coleford (following an inquiry held in mid-August) and Ashford Homes (SW) Ltd., plans for 29 homes on The Mead in Rode.
The council is also expected to rule shortly plans for 270 homes on the A367 Green Park Road on the southern edge of Midsomer Norton, between the White Post Inn and the town’s rugby club.
The Planning Inspectorate has confirmed the Chilcompton appeal would be decided through a virtual planning inquiry, rather than via written representations.
The inquiry is provisionally set to begin on December 7 and will last for up to four days – though it is not yet clear whether it will be live-streamed to the public via the council’s website or the inspectorate’s own YouTube channel.
Anyone wishing to make a formal representation to the inspector ahead of the inquiry should visit www.planninginspectorate.gov.uk, quoting reference number 3280802, by October 21.
Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter
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