Statement to P & R Committee (10 Feb 2016)

No Moor Development made the following statement to the Planning & Regulatory Committee on Wednesday 10 February 2016. 

The Hallam application was on the Committee’s agenda, although a decision was deferred until 9 March.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Today and in the coming weeks, Members will make decisions which will have a profound and irreversible impact on the future of Yatton as a village.

The Committee Report that Officers have prepared makes light of the strongly-worded objections of Yatton Parish Council, Kingston Seymour Parish Council, PACT, and nearly 400 Yatton residents.

In this case there are several reasons why this relatively large scale extension to the village is inappropriate:

  • Is it fair and democratic that the Hallam application is being discussed today when the consultation period for proposed new housing allocations in the district (including the site in question) has yet to begin?
  • Why has the Council not undertaken a Cumulative Impact Assessment to consider the aggregated impact of all the proposed developments at North End?
  • The assumption that the lack of primary school places in Yatton can be overcome by transporting young children considerable distances to other schools in North Somerset where there are vacancies will I am sure come as rather a nasty shock to young families moving into our community.
  • The Council’s own Highways report concluded the development would increase the level of traffic through the centre of Yatton by nearly 6% during peak hours. I quote: “This level of additional traffic can be considered material… and the impact on the already sensitive High Street is likely to be disproportionately large.” In the words of Yatton Parish Council, “the inadequate highways infrastructure would result in a socially isolated housing development that no S106 agreement could possibly mitigate.” Any visit to the site would confirm this.
  • The stormy weather we’ve been experiencing recently reminds me of the very wet winter of 2012. Following that (supposedly 100-year event) the Council’s own assessment about the likely cause of the flooding in North End was the suspected collapse of a drainage pipe along parts of the B3133 through the village. Again, I quote: “The limited capacity of the drainage assets contributed to the flooding. Furthermore, the excessive rainfall flooded the foul sewer causing it to surcharge.” We can only assume that drainage pipe remains in a precarious state. I would like to ask if the main foul sewer has been replaced with a larger diameter pipe to provide spare capacity for extra rainfall and new housing development on the scale proposed?

These are material planning considerations and by these measures, you must judge this application not to be sustainable development. Overall the negatives are sufficient, cumulatively, to outweigh the benefits of this scheme and not being able to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply. This conclusion is backed up by many appeal cases we have studied.

In contrast to Weston-super-Mare, the Council has completely failed to make it clear how it intends to ensure essential infrastructure is delivered in Yatton in step with new development. Why not? Where is the plan?

Why can’t the Council say, hold on… within a year we’ll be back on track? Why should Yatton be the sacrificial lamb on the housing target altar?

Yatton has already accepted significant housing development. But in recent decades there has been a disconnect between new housing and infrastructure in Yatton, so understandably many residents are deeply sceptical. We need more than a pedestrian crossing, school portakabin, and a few more library books.

Last month, a member of this Committee suggested that Congresbury is now an urban area. Presumably Yatton also falls into that category, despite accounting for only 4% of North Somerset’s population. I respectfully remind Members that the clue is in the name: these are Service Villages.

When Councillor Cave was asked by BBC Radio about protecting the ‘green corridor’ between Bristol and Long Ashton, he said he would “fight to the death for that.” Mr Chairman, we feel equally strongly about the integrity of our own community.

During last month’s P & R meeting, some Members asked for clarification on the meaning of ‘sustainability’. Mr Chairman, the Secretary of State, Greg Clark recently said “In building more homes, communities must have confidence that they will become better, not worse places to live as a result”. We agree with the Minister.

In short, we are not anti-housing; we are for housing in the right place, at an appropriate scale. The Hallam development would make living in Yatton materially worse.

We ask Members not to accept the recommendation of Officers’ and refuse the Hallam applications before you today.

Thank you for listening.

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