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Vistry visionaries?

CRAG’s John Mills sends us the action group’s latest thoughts:

“More signs of peripheral activity at the Wrington Lane site, recently transferred from Bovis Homes to Vistry Group.

“A CRAG informant spotted two Bovis men on the field with a clip board and when asked what they were doing replied: “Just having a look.”

“As Bovis has had several years in which the whole company could have visited the site, it is reasonable to think that they were doing more than just having a look. In the absence of concrete information, we are free to speculate.

“Maybe it was a couple of managers saying a fond farewell to the site that had now passed to Vistry? Much more likely, the new owners had discovered The Mound.

“Some objectors had already indicated that to squeeze 50 houses onto the site, developers would have to build on Mansbury Mound, a limestone outcrop that dominates the centre of the site.

“The historical significance of the Mound was referenced on this page several weeks ago, along with a question of how they might remove the outcrop whilst maintaining Vistry Group values of ‘integrity, caring and quality.’

“And in their latest Design Compliance Statement, Vistry states that one of the opportunities of the development is “to retain and enhance existing landscape features……within the site, where possible.“

“With those reassuring words, the good citizens of Congresbury should be able to look forward to Mansbury Mound surviving for another few hundred years . . .”

Planning Application

Land North Of Electricity Substation Off Stock Lane And Iwood Lane Congresbury

DateTue 02 Mar 2021
Application TypeVariation of condition 7 (length of planning permission) attached to planning permission 13/P/2382/F (Solar PV array Park)
DevelopmentApplication to vary condition 7 (length of planning permission) attached to planning permission 13/P/2382/F (Large scale major development for a Solar PV array Park to produce up to 8 megawatts of electricity from ground mounted panels (max 3m high), 1no control building, 8no inverter buildings and to include a maintenance track with access off Stock Lane and Iwood Lane, security fencing and landscaping to preserve disused railway line and footpath crossing the site) to allow a 15 year extension to planning permission from 14/05/39 (25 years from date of planning consent) to 14/05/54 (40 years from date of planning consent)

Link to full details

Call to oppose new homes plan

Many villagers will know of the years of frustration suffered by residents of Wrington Lane with seemingly endless schemes by land agents Gladman and construction firm Bovis Homes to build on a field off the lane.

Plans to build 50 houses have been  thwarted by the foresight of North Somerset councillors – and Tom Leimdorfer in particular – when outline planning permission was granted subject to a continuous footway being provided along the lane before construction could begin.

Over the years, Gladman have tried several wheezes to get round this perfectly reasonable condition but have failed because the lane in several places is just too narrow to allow a proper pavement alongside the carriageway.

Now there is a new effort following a merger between builder Bovis and Linden Homes. Enter the Vistry Group with new pretty drawings of houses and trees and hedgerows, and details of wild flowers and play areas. 

Their tactic is to ignore the question of access. It is as if the site exists in splendid isolation where real-life problems do not happen. In their fantasy world, practicalities like access to and from the site for construction, service and emergency vehicles, along with the safety of pedestrians and cyclists are banished.

But the firm is not stupid – it must be assuming that the rest of us are so busy worrying about Covid that we would not notice that it has included the application under Reserved Matters in a previous application made two years ago.

Says CRAG’s Mary Short: “This is clearly an attempt to get approval before residents have time to object by the deadline of 15th March – please don’t let them get away with it.”

To register objections to this cunning plan, go to North Somerset Council’s website and under Planning Applications, go to 19/P/1657/RM. When you’ve found the application, scroll down to find “make a comment.”

If you do want to comment we would suggest that you look at a document called the Design and Access Statement – DAS Rev A published on the web site on 17th February.

We suggest that any comments are focussed on issues or concerns about the latest drawings and the site layout.

There is no need to comment about access from Wrington Lane because as you will recall  this is a separate issue. In 2017 when Gladman secured outline planning consent North Somerset Council stipulated that no residential development would be allowed until the works detailed in an agreed roadways scheme to improve the footway and carriageway along Wrington Lane had been completed. 

John Mills

Planning Application

Land Off Wrington Lane, Congresbury

DateFeb 2021
Application TypeReserved Matters
DevelopmentReserved Matters application for appearance, landscaping, layout and scale for the erection of 50no. dwellings and associated work pursuant to outline permission 16/P/1521/O (outline planning application for the erection of up to 50 residential dwellings (including up to 30% affordable housing), structural planting and landscaping, informal public open space, surface water attenuation, vehicular access point from Wrington Lane and associated ancillary works. All matters reserved with the exception of the main site access point)

Link to full details

Planning Application

20 Silverstone Way Congresbury BS49 5ES

DateFri 26 Feb 2021
Application Typenon material amendment to application 04/P/2045/F
Developmentnon material amendment to application 04/P/2045/F (Loft conversion and rear extension to garage, rear replacement conservatory and dormer window to the rear. ) to allow an amendment to proposed roof plan to replace existing asbestos roof with membrane roof but retain existing roof design. Amendment to ground floor plan to convert part of the garage into a Home Office / Studio and add 1.2m wide french doors to side of garage (opening onto existing yard).

Link to full details

Airport appeal over expansion refusal

Bristol Airport has submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against North Somerset Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the expansion of the airport. To find out more, click on this link

If anyone wishes to make further comments to PINs, or modify/withdraw previous representations, can do so online at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk or by emailing Leanne.palmer@planninginspectorate.gov.uk. The deadline is Monday 22nd February.

New homes plan – reasons to object

Congresbury residents should know that there is a substantial development in the pipeline for our neighbours at Wrington.

Objections to the scheme for 71 houses at Butt’s Batch have to be with North Somerset Council by 26 January.

Although it falls outside the remit of CRAG, there is little doubt that if it succeeded, the addition of at least another 150 cars on our roads would add to the ever-increasing traffic problems in this corner of North Somerset.

Details of the scheme, planned for a field off the road between Wrington and Langford, can be found on the Keep Wrington as Wrington website accessed via CALRAG’s page.

The Wrington site lists a number of planning reasons why people might want to object including:

contribution to urban sprawl

unsustainability in that residents would use cars to travel to work and access local services

increase pollution and contribute to the climate emergency which is against council policy.

Says CRAG: “This is another example of a development scheme which is undesirable for many reasons.

“It would obviously contribute to greater car use because there is no public transport to support an influx of commuters. And that goes against the council policy of reducing pollution. 

“Such a development would have a detrimental impact on the Wrington Vale landscape; would increase hazards to pedestrians and cyclists and have an adverse impact on an area already subject to regular flooding.”

John Mills