An appeal has been lodged against the refusal by South Somerset District Council’s Regulation Committee to permit an outline planning application for 150 dwellings on arable land to the south of Kit Hill in Crewkerne. The Regulation Committee unanimously voted against the scheme on September 17th, due to serious road safety concerns with the only proposed access coming out onto Lang Road near the junction with Cathole Bridge Road.
The appeal submitted by Pegasus Planning Group Ltd on behalf of the applicant, Land Value Alliances LLP, refutes the reasons given for the refusal that Cathole Bridge Road by reason of its restricted width is considered unsuitable to serve as a means of access to the the proposed development. The proposal is contrary to Section 9 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Policy TA5 of the South Somerset Local Plan (2015). The proposal is contrary to the above Section 9 and NPPF and Policy TA5 of the afore mentioned Local Plan since the increased introduction of conflicting traffic movements onto Cathole Bridge Road, such as would be generated by the proposed development, would be prejudicial to highway safety.
In the appeal, it is stated that it is not contrary to the above reasons given as the mitigation proposed in the form of road widening, passing bays and improvements to the junction with the B3165, will improve the existing highways arrangements on Cathole Bridge Road and that there would be no prejudicial harm to highway safety. In the Traffic Statement Case, following an independent traffic survey carried out on behalf of the applicant, it is stated that there were: “Occasional times where some vehicles would wait for other vehicles to pass at the entrance to narrower sections. These were short lived due to the relatively low volumes of traffic along Cathole Bridge Road. The predicted trips will be along Lang Road and Kithill with fewer trips along Cathole Bridge Road.”
A road traffic survey carried out by residents in conjunction with Crewkerne Town Council over seven days, showed 2000 vehicles either travelling along Cathole Bridge Road or at its junctions, over a 12 hour period on one day alone. During the Regulation Committee meeting, Vice Chairman of Crewkerne Town Council’s Planning & Highways Committee, Cllr. Charles Aslett played a video of the traffic congestion and the problems encountered by vehicles when traffic is flowing in both directions at the same time along Cathole Bridge Road. Cllr. Robin Pailthorpe said: “Cathole Bridge Road is historically a single track lane.” The Chairman of SSDC’s Regulation Committee, Cllr. Peter Gubbins said: “I drove it on Sunday and had a shock. Highways have passed the buck to us and left everything open.” Anyone wishing to send a letter to the Appeal Inspector, which could include a suggestion that a site visit is essential before reaching a decision, should submit three copies of the letter, before January 21st,2020 to Colin Begeman, SSDC, Brympton Way, Yeovil, BA20 2HT. The appeal reference is APP/R3325/W/19/3240967. Crewkerne Town Council will be discussing the appeal at their January meeting of the Planning & Highways Committee on Monday 13th.