Angry villagers from Cobthorn Way, Wrington Lane and Verlands besieged Congresbury Parish Council meeting on Monday to raise their strong objections to the tactics adopted by Strongvox, who have taken over the development at the bottom of Cobthorn Way from Sunley Homes, the original developer.
Strongvox have applied to the planning authority to replace the original mix of 38 properties with 21 four-bedroomed houses, instead of a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroomed units, and the original four bungalows reduced to one. The 11 affordable units cannot be changed.
Strong views were expressed by all residents on the need for smaller properties in the village since recent developments have catered wholly for large houses and smaller units are desperately needed for first time buyers and older folk wanting to downsize.
There is an urgent need in the community for bungalows, which are always snapped up when they come on the market.
Strongvox already have contractors on site preparing to build the foundations of a sub station in a position which is totally different to the situation agreed with the original developers.
Access to and from the site down Wrington Lane, with no footpath on either side of part of the road, was always going to prove a problem, and with additional four bedroomed properties, traffic would increase.
Fears were expressed that the Strongvox design for these larger units showed additional parking and garaging, which would increase the flood risk, and the Environmental Agency has already raised this point.
With no consultation with the Parish Council or local residents, the well-used footpath to the river has been diverted and bordered on both sides by 6 ft. high steel fencing, while heavy plant moved onto the site to replace the electric pylons with an underground supply.
Parish councillors unanimously agreed to object to the changes to the original plans, and District Councillor Tom Leimdorfer was asked that the issue should be called in by North Somerset Planning Committee, if the developers do not modify their proposals.