Crewkerne Town Councillors were unanimous in recommending refusal of an outline planning application for the development of up to 85 dwellings on land at Gold Well Farm, at Monday’s meeting of the Planning and Highways Committee. Voicing strong opposition to the proposals by Gleeson Strategic Land Ltd, Councillors were reminded of a previous planning application by the developers for the same plot of land, seven years ago, that had gone to Appeal and was ruled against by the Secretary of State, Planning Inspectorate in November 2014.
Councillors Mike Best, Jo Roundell Greene and Robin Pailthorpe who clearly recalled the previous application and planning process, determined on Monday that “nothing had significantly changed” apart from a reduction from 110 homes to 85 and the access road no longer coming out onto the A30 Yeovil Road but onto Ashlands Road, opposite Wadham School, making it in a “more dangerous position than before.”
The majority of the green belt site up for development at Gold Well Farm lies in the parish of Merriott, although it is nowhere near the village itself. Crewkerne would bear the extra strain on its infrastructure without the financial benefits from a CIL agreement, which would in the main be claimed by Merriott. The safety of students walking to and from the upper school in Ashlands Road, would need to be fully addressed and satisfied, as traffic coming in and out from the new housing development would pose an added road risk.
Crewkerne Town Council had not heard from Merriott Parish Council (who were also holding their council meeting on March 8th and had the item on the Agenda). Chairman of CTC Planning and Highways Committee, Cllr. Charles Aslett said: “Crewkerne Town Council understands that Merriott Parish Council are taking a very neutral view on this.”
The grounds for the town council’s recommendation to refuse 20/03708/OUT Land at Goldwell Farm, Yeovil Road, Crewkerne have been officially presented to SSDC. They are in the main as follows: Housing land supply – SSDC can demonstrate a six year land supply so no requirement for this additional housing. Impact on Crewkerne infrastructure given that Kithill and CLR are going ahead. Majority of CIL funding will be allocated to parish of Merriott who will not be impacted by the development. Access – even more dangerous than previous proposal. Impact on landscape character. Issues raised at the Appeal of previous planning application have not been addressed. Anyone who wishes to comment on this planning application on the SSDC planning portal can do so by visiting www.southsomerset.gov.uk/services/planning.