Welton Bag regeneration plan – “it’s a set back,” says applicant

By Becky Brooks in Planning

Midsomer Norton Retail Estates (MNRE), the applicant for the Welton Bibby and Baron factory site has reacted to B&NES Council’s decision to turn down its planning application.

In its published decision, the Council said that the application was too vague to assess properly, leaving the empty site’s future once again uncertain.

Malcolm Ross, on behalf of Midsomer Norton Retail Estates, told The Journal this week that the plans were submitted prior to a developer for the site being found:

“This decision by B&NES Council is a set back, since we expected to be marketing the site with the benefit of outline planning permission at this point, to secure a developer (or developers) for the site, to deliver local jobs, services, homes and environmental improvements. The Council has decided otherwise.

“In this case, the applicant (MNRE) is not the intended developer of the site, so we sought a platform to bring the site forward. An outline planning application was submitted, addressing the general principles of how the site could be developed.

Naturally, as you would expect with an outline planning application, we are unable to stipulate precisely how many jobs are going to be provided, or the exact type or number of housing units.

“We would have anticipated that outline planning permission would have been granted subject to conditions, requiring subsequent approval of one or more reserved matters including design, scale and layout.

“It would be irresponsible to suggest that the project is being given a limited or low priority. Parties following the development of the proposals over the last year will know that our consultants have worked closely with local residents to integrate considered community aspirations into the outline proposals.

“Three consultation events took place prior to, and during the process, which were well attended and supportive. Local community representatives attended the consultations, as well as specific briefing sessions,

during which the intended outline planning process was fully explained.

“Our consultants are currently reviewing the decision and the full range of options available for taking the site forward.”