The planning application by social housing landlord Curo looking to build 36 new homes on Maynard Terrace in Clutton prompted comments from more than 500 people.
Last week a government planning inspector allowed the appeal which overturned the earlier refusal by Bath and North East Somerset Council.
Some of those involved in the long battle have now given their views on the decision which will see the mixture of affordable and open market homes built on the greenfield site.
Landowner Neville Harvey, who featured on the front page of the Somerset Guardian last December when he said he had faced on-going intimidation and harassment over the application, said he is ‘absolutely delighted’ with the inspector's decision to allow the ‘ground breaking new development'.
He added: “From the outset our goal has been to deliver good quality affordable homes for local people from Clutton. I look forward to working with Curo to help ensure that all the affordable homes are occupied by people with strong Clutton connections and to ensure that the other contributions to new bus services, open space and highways improvements help to sustain the Clutton community for the future.”
The comments were echoed by James Read, development manager at Curo, who said the next step is to look building materials and design in preparation for the reserved matters application which is needed before the development is build.
Opponents of the scheme and members of the Campaign to Protect Rural Clutton who fought hard to stop the development say their battle is now over.
The group, which was initially founded to fight another housing development in the village, found themselves defending their views at the B&NES planning committee on three separate occasions, after the council was asked to consider the application a number of times.
Each time they persuaded the majority of councillors to refuse the application.
Rosemary Naish from the campaign group said: “We won the support of the parish council and B&NES planning committee. Indeed it was unusual and unprecedented in that B&NES planning Councillors meeting as the Development Control Committee were made to consider this application 3 times. On each occasion they refused permission by huge majorities ranging from 11:1 to 10:2.
Despite the Planning Officer changing his advice to grant permission, the DCC stood firm in their convictions and rejected his advice. They also rejected the highways department’s advice that the Maynard Terrace/Clutton Hill/Station Road junction be changed so that Clutton Hill became a side road off of Maynard Terrace. This was considered as plainly idiotic and dangerous, suiting no-one but the developer. The developer duly appealed and we took an active part with Clutton Parish Council and B&NES in presenting the case and cross examination. But we knew the odds were stacked against us and we have just heard that despite the will of the people, as expressed by their elected council, the government policy of ‘the default answer to development is yes’ was used as the blunt instrument to kill off the objections and outline planning permission has been granted. However, it is interesting that the inspector took the unexpected step of not granting the award of costs to the developer because the case against the development was not unreasonable.”
Mrs Naish said it has been decided that the group would now be disbanded and the remaining £25 in their funds passed on to the parish council, which is currently working on a neighbourhood plan to highlight where development would be considered acceptable in the village, and Campaign to Protect Rural England.
She said the campaign group had some success and were pleased that 27 other homes were being built on brownfield sites in the village because it stops greenfield agricultural land being lost to housing.
She added: “We urge you to carry on the fight against the destruction of our countryside by joining the CPRE who have just established a thriving branch in B&NES. You can join their action committee which is now starting a dialogue with B&NES to influence planning policy in the future.”