Committee rejects Sunley development scheme

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SunleyA twin assault on the Sunley development scheme for 54 houses on land off Cobthorn Way, Congresbury, saw North Somerset’s planning committee ignore the advice of their officers – a vote to reject outline planning permission.

First up was CRAG’s Susan Hibberd, who lives in Wrington Lane. She addressed members of the committee with a plea to refuse the application on ground of access, landscape and biodiversity.

Saying that she had walked the fields for nearly 30 years with dogs, children and now grandchildren, the doughty ex teacher gave councillors a lesson straight from the heart: “Seeing kestrels launch their young on their first flights is a privilege we are not likely to experience again once construction has started.”

Susan quoted Sarah Dale, North Somerset’s ecology officer who “strongly advised refusal of the application because of the damage to wildlife – particularly the endangered greater and lesser horseshoe bats which roost in the King’s Wood SSSI just a couple of hundred metres away.”

Then Congresbury’s district councillor Tom Leimdorfer who had arranged a site visit for councillors the day before the meeting, weighed in with a telling performance. He ripped into the report from the council’s highways consultant, which he thought could have been taken from the developer’s brochure.

He then detailed several planning reasons why the application should be deferred, including access to the site, drainage and biodiversity. “To the north of the development is a rare breeds farm of national, if not international importance, which could be put at risk by this development.”

Tom added that the farmer, Andrew Sheppy, was an acknowledged expert and a consultant for the government’s department of agriculture Defra.

He was supported by Cllr David Shopland who said he was aware of the important work Andrew did with poultry breeding. “If there were residential houses near the farm, he could be closed down.”

The committee voted to reject the proposal which, because it was against the advice of the officers, will be considered again next month. Afterwards, CRAG chair Mary Short said: “We are very pleased with the committee’s decision. I think this shows the importance of a visit to the site, because then they can make an informed decision.

“Susan gave a very impressive speech and Tom’s performance was outstanding,” she added.

John Mills John Mills

Journalist and jazz saxophonist John Mills has lived in Congresbury for more than 25 years, moving to the village from West London with his wife Rocki and 10 month old son, Sam in 1979. After a few years in Clevedon, John and Rocki moved back to the village in 2006, renovating and extending a bungalow in Yew Tree Park. Sadly, Rocki died in 2013. John, 71 keeps busy musically, playing with Cadbury Wind Band, with his son in the Sam Mills Quintet, and with a newly formed duo, Sax in the City with fellow Congresbury saxophonist and vocalist, Louise Harris.


2 Comments

  1. Well done CRAG lets just hope Cobthron will be saved from Sunley. Keep up the good work!

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