It’s been a couple of months since our emotional victory at Committee, so you may be wondering where the party is?
Well, we’ve been a little cautious, keeping the champagne on ice and the balloons in the box, until we know whether Ware and Pegasus plan to appeal the Council’s decision.
And so far, so good. However, that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods!
Here’s a summary of what’s been happening.
The big day…
As you know, the Committee overturned the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the development, so we’d like to formally thank Tom Clifford (RPP), Karen Walker (Parish Council), Chris Dance (RPP’s planning consultant), Nathan Hartley and Sarah Bevan (Parish Councillors), for their superb representations on the day. We’d like to thank you, too, for your unwavering support.
Such was the strength (and sense) of the arguments put forward by the community, when the Chair put the motion to refuse permission to the vote, seven councillors voted in favour, three voted against, and three abstained. The refusal was based on these grounds:
- It would cause significant adverse impact and serious permanent harm to the rural character and landscape of the site
- It would have an unacceptable adverse pressure on the school
- It is unsustainable due to the unacceptable adverse pressure it would put onto already overstretched services, particularly health services
The result is testament to what a community can do when it pulls together!
Unfortunately, Edward Ware has until 21 February 2014 to appeal (six-months from the official notice on 21 August 2013).
Given the Core Strategy is yet to be approved, there is every chance Ware will appeal the Committee’s decision. If he does, the case will be Ware vs B&NES Council and largely out of our hands.
However, we can assist the Council in its preparation and, should an appeal be launched, we may seek professional help in the form of an independent landscape assessment, providing more detailed, professional evidence of the harm the development would cause to the rural landscape.
Meanwhile, a government Planning Inspector has been reviewing the Council’s draft Core Strategy, and the good news is… he seems pretty happy! So with the Somer Valley housing quota largely catered for, Ware cannot confidently argue for the need to build on unsuitable greenfield land.
Here’s an extract from the Council’s press release, following the planning inspector’s review:
Councillor Tim Ball (Lib-Dem, Twerton), Cabinet Member for Homes and Planning, said, “It is good news that the Core Strategy will proceed. Let’s be clear. Had the Inspector called a halt to the process, this would have played into the hands of developers and encouraged speculative development proposals around our area in unsustainable locations. Most probably, these locations would have resulted in a free for all Green Field land grab.
“The Core Strategy focuses development on brownfield sites as far as possible and seeks to limit the use of Green Belt land to achieve our homes target to support local need.”
Of course, Ware may still risk appeal.
What you can do
Keep a look out for our emails and posts on Facebook and Twitter. As soon as we have any news on Ware’s appeal status (good or bad), we’ll call a public meeting to agree a way forward.
Meanwhile, the balloons and champagne are staying in the box.
Thanks for your continued support! We really appreciate it.