Objections to a local plan which proposes around 450 houses on sites near Midsomer Norton and Westfield, have not been upheld by a Planning Inspector.
Last year the Planning Inspectorate held a two-week hearing into the Mendip Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2) which included the allocation of three sites, on the edge of Midsomer Norton, Stratton on the Fosse and Kilmersdon, to provide a total of 450 dwellings.
B&NES Council says it put forward its robust objections based on the impacts of additional housing on the infrastructure and services in both Midsomer Norton and Westfield, but local villages say they have been left behind with a lack of consultation on a move that could have far-reaching implications and potentially double villages in size.
Following the Examination Hearings, the Inspector’s Report has recently been published and is available on the Mendip District Council website.
It says the Inspector considers the Mendip LPP2 to be sound and recommends that the proposed three allocated sites adjoining Midsomer Norton/Westfield should be retained in the Plan. The report will be considered by the Mendip District Council Cabinet next week on October 4th.
All local authorities have to produce Local Plans which set out a vision for the future of each area and a framework for addressing housing needs and other economic, social and
Councillor Tim Ball, B&NES Council’s cabinet member for Planning and Licencing, said: “The decision reached by the Planning Inspector is extremely regrettable. We objected very strongly to the plan based on an imbalance between homes and jobs in Midsomer Norton, Radstock and Westfield and the resultant high levels of people who would be commuting out of the area, as well as the need to deliver job growth first before additional housing.”
Malcolm Daniels, Vice-Chairman of Stratton on the Fosse Parish Council, told The Journal that should Mendip’s Local Plan be approved next week, it is likely to have far reaching consequences for the village. He said: “This amount of housing will substantially affect Stratton on the Fosse. With the new housing, Stratton will effectively be two villages, which are over a mile apart, in one parish.
“It was a foregone conclusion, because the Planning Inspectorate really had no other place to allocate for this amount of housing, given the Government’s apparent need for 505 houses in North East Mendip. The whole thing is fraught with problems, because of a lack of employment in the local area and our road systems, which are chaotic already. With further housing potentially coming to Chilcompton and another application underway near Beecham Drive, also in Stratton Parish, our infrastructure will not be able to cope. Goodness knows where all of the children will go to school.
“It could also completely change the demographic of our village With further housing potentially coming to
Chilcompton and another application underway near Beecham Drive, also in Stratton Parish, our infrastructure will not be able to cope. Goodness knows where all of the children will go to school.
“It could also completely change the demographic of our village. Throughout, the planners have referred to housing on the edge of Midsomer Norton. The fact that the housing will be in Stratton on the Fosse has not been mentioned once.
“If Mendip’s Local Plan is to be adopted, then the Parish Council have decided that, rather than fight the application at this stage, we’ll be concentrating our efforts on what we can achieve for our village in terms of public transport, road links and local services. The B3355 past the site, in particular, is a disgrace. Traffic gets trapped outside the Rugby Club as it is, without any increase in vehicles.”
Independent Councillor for Midsomer Norton Redfield, Paul Myers, added: “My deep concern about Mendip dumping its housing allocation on our border is that this massive housing development will have a significant adverse impact on Midsomer Norton’s infrastructure whilst adding no commensurate planning gain contribution to tackle it. If schemes are approved by Mendip, it would mean all these new home owners would largely access Midsomer Norton’s schools, roads, doctors surgeries, green space, etc. If Mendip are to pursue this level of development on our border, they should handover significant planning gain to provide for investment in Midsomer Norton projects such as doctors surgeries, roads and the Town Park, and B&NES should
ensure that such monies are specified/ring fenced.”Shaun Hughes, Independent, Midsomer Norton North also told The Journal: "For me, this is an absolutely ridiculous decision, it’s clear that Midsomer Norton does not have either the infrastructure or employment opportunities to support this type of development and the increased traffic and commuting will impact on our ability to meet our climate and carbon reduction targets, our B&NES officers put forward a clear case to the inspector for refusal of this plan that seems to have been completely ignored."Cllr Michael Evans, Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Conservative ward member for Midsomer Norton, said: “It is regrettable that the Planning Inspector has come to this decision, and I thank the Council for submitting the initial objections.“Developments of this size and at these locations are unjustified and unsustainable, and I raised strong objections on behalf of Midsomer Norton Town Council when they first came to light.“Any future planning applications lodged for the proposed locations will be challenged by me and my fellow Conservative ward Councillors as we strive to put the best interests of residents in Midsomer Norton first and foremost.”