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Reactions to Clutton housing appeal

By SG_SNorbury  |  Posted: July 16, 2013

Reactions to Clutton housing appeal

Landowner Neville Harvey

Comments (5)

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.”

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5 comments

  • MendipMike  |  July 23 2013, 10:30PM

    This is a really sad day for Clutton. We can all agree we need a small number of affordable houses in the village but not at the detriment to the village itself. The scale of the development will cause a huge amount of traffic through the village putting at risk all those who walk or cycle. Destruction of a beautiful pasture for profit when we have a brown field site in the village is tragic. It is likely that the school will be oversubscribed so some local children won't be able to be taught in the local school. There has always been an underlying threat that for efficiency reasons Banes would close Clutton and expand Camely. They have a good reason too now. There is also naivety that local people will be first in line for the affordable housing. As I said earlier, this is a really sad day for Clutton

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  • MendipMike  |  July 23 2013, 10:18PM

    This is a really sad day for Clutton. We can all agree we need a small number of affordable houses in the village but not at the detriment to the village itself. The scale of the development will cause a huge amount of traffic through the village putting at risk all those who walk or cycle. Destruction of a beautiful pasture for profit when we have a brown field site in the village is tragic. It is likely that the school will be oversubscribed so some local children won't be able to be taught in the local school. There has always been an underlying threat that for efficiency reasons Banes would close Clutton and expand Camely. They have a good reason too now. There is also naivety that local people will be first in line for the affordable housing. As I said earlier, this is a really sad day for Clutton

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  • davidbob  |  July 22 2013, 11:23AM

    Thanks, but I'm not ignorant of the facts and have a number of friends living in Curo houses. You're right, these are usually allocated to people who have a connection (even tenuously) to the locality, but normally only for a period of 2 years. I'm not a Nimby and not tucked up in a house in Maynard Terrace either, thanks. I just think its a shame that Mr Harvey chose the most unsightly attachments to his gates for several years, causing a blot on a very picturesque landscape. I certainly care very much for the village and hope the development will turnout much better than it currently looks on the plans. With any luck the ridiculous and antagonistic letters delivered to houses in Clutton from both sides of the argument will now cease.

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  • BristolLass  |  July 22 2013, 10:43AM

    @davidbob - what a shame that you are so ignorant of the facts. On the contrary, Mr Harvey cares an awful lot about Clutton, unlike other landowners. Had he been an unscrupulous developer, he could've sold the whole lot to a private developer, but instead he chose generously to have a large portion of the housing given over to CURO, who as you know (actually, perhaps you don't, let me enlighten you) are a social landlord. This means that now, by law, these houses cannot now be sold to just anyone - they are for the people of Clutton, who need affordable homes, and for people who have a connection to the village. I am heartily sick of the hypocrisy of the people who have opposed this development from the start - most of whom aren't even from the village originally. Did the inhabitants of Maynard Terrace not remember that their housing stock originally was a social housing development for the Miners who worked at Greyfield? I suppose that's easily forgotten when your property's worth £280,000 and you're wrapped up secure in your bed of NIMBYISM each night. Sleep well!

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  • davidbob  |  July 22 2013, 12:06AM

    Unfortunately Neville Harvey seems to have worked hard to make himself an unpopular figure, by putting up unsightly steel sheets across the entrance gates to the field and having big keep out signs in the field for some time. His actions show he doesn't care a jot about the rural nature of Clutton unlike other local landowners. I hope he's satisfied - well I guess he will be now that he's about to make shed loads of money.

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