Residents living near a proposed housing development of up to 150 homes on arable land south of Kithill, presented a united front when the outline planning application came up for discussion by town councillors on Monday evening. The Planning & Highways Committee, chaired by councillor Jo Roundell Greene, was held in Victoria Hall due to the large number of people attending. In a further change to the regular format, there was no open forum at the beginning of the council meeting but the public were invited to have their say directly before councillors considered the application. Residents living at Wynyards View, Seaborough View, Cowen Close, Henley View, Manor View and Lang Road had waited a year to voice their objections.
The application included amended plans/additional information – Addendum to Transport Assessment, Proposed off site carriageway works and Transport Assessment Addendum. A roving microphone was made available and at least 17 concerned members of the public voiced their objections. Misterton Parish Council chairman Iain Rowland said: “It will have a severe detrimental effect on Misterton with around 350 more vehicles, allowing for two per household, adding to the road congestion and making traffic movement intolerable. We ask that it be refused.”
Apart from the safety issues of increased traffic along Cathole Bridge Road and the danger posed with the only access via Lang Road on the brow of a hill, objections were raised that the current infrastructure could not cope with a major housing development. One objector said: “The schools are full to capacity, jobs are not here and it’s impossible now to get an appointment at the health centre. It is totally unrealistic. The CLR scheme is the way forward, not infilling and messing around in a semi-rural area with scenic views and at the expense of natural habitats.”
A large mains water supply pipe, leading from Sutton Bingham Reservoir to Maiden Beech Academy was raised as another major concern and loss of the rich bio-diversity of wildlife which lives in the fields and hedgerows, which includes many protected species. A question was asked why a public footpath known as Kithill Lane was no longer on the footpath list? Crewkerne Town Councillor Charles Aslett proposed that the council reject the plans as the town wouldn’t be able to support a development of that size with the current infrastructure.
Councillor Mike Best said: “Although the Highways Authority does not wish to raise an objection, it still has safety concerns. The proposal is contrary to Section 9 of the National Policy Framework and prejudicial to highways safety.” Councillors were also concerned that emergency vehicles would be inhibited and that cutting back the hedgerows at certain points along Cathole Bridge Road and widening it slightly would not alleviate road safety concerns along the narrow busy road and would not improve visibility for motorists or pedestrians. Crewkerne Town Council were unanimous in their decision to reject the outline planning application. South Somerset District Council’s Area West Committee will make the final decision on the outline application. It is likely to be at their August meeting on Wednesday 21st in Chard Guildhall (no confirmation of agenda yet), beginning at 5.30 pm.