Congresbury Residents Action Committee (CRAG) has decided take on a development company at a public inquiry due to take place later this month. CRAG made the decision to fight Gladman Homes after North Somerset council’s U-turn to approve a decision to allow building.

In August 2016, North Somerset planners cited four good reasons for opposing an appeal lodged by Gladman Homes for their application to build 50 dwellings on land off Wrington Lane.

Now six months later, following advice from planning officers, the council has done a 180 degree turn and approved the plan – even though they had already approved a scheme by Sunley Homes for 38 houses in a nearby field.

As the Parish Council did not have a meeting scheduled in time, CRAG decided to go it alone and mount a defence against the developer.

Said CRAG’s Mary Short: “The council’s behaviour is absurd. We cannot rely on their help to protect our village so CRAG has applied for and been granted Rule 6 status at the public inquiry.”

In effect, this means that CRAG, now with some support from the Parish Council, will take on the legal challenge with Gladman, scheduled to take place at the end of March.

“Our members who live close to the site have worked hard and done a magnificent job preparing the case. They know the area intimately and can see how damaging such a development would be,” said Mary.

“For example, they know it would mean a huge increase in road traffic to and from the proposed site because it is so far from most village amenities. Traffic is already set to increase with the Sunley development. To put another 50 in the same area would be little short of vandalism.

“There are many other reasons why this site is totally unsuitable. It is next door to Cobthorn Trust’s rare breeds farm and it would urbanise the rural character of that edge of the village and threaten wildlife flora and fauna. The landscape issue was one of the reasons why North Somerset originally turned down the proposal.”

CRAG is organising a village wide protest at the appeal, due to be heard by a government planning inspector at Weston Town Hall beginning March 27.

For more information about CRAG email:

Two years ago, CRAG made a telling contribution to the win at a public inquiry battle with Barratts who wanted to build 80 houses on land behind Silver Street.

John Mills