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Revised Cobthorn Way development plan approved

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SunleyNorth Somerset Council has approved the building of 38 houses on land off Cobthorn Way, Congresbury and a development of three houses opposite the village garden centre.

In February, the council’s planning committee rejected the Cobthorn Way scheme for 54 houses from developers Sunley Estates. That sent the firm back to the drawing board to come up with their revised scheme for a reduced number of buildings and other changes. It still attracted 14 letters of objection and only one in favour.

District councillor Tom Leimdorfer summed up the feeling of some local residents when he asked the committee to vote in favour: “No-one is jumping for joy and ideally we would prefer to see fewer (houses) still.

“I have looked at this from every which way and perhaps this is the best we can get.” Earlier CRAG’s Mary Short put the case against the revised development: “Two months ago this committee refused permission on this site for sound planning reasons.

“The development was too big, an intrusion on the local landscape. It didn’t encourage people to leave their cars at home, putting too many vehicles onto poor access.”

Mary cited the threat to the local bat population, problems with the drainage system and maintenance of the land as valid reasons for refusal. She argued that although there were fewer houses, the site was still unsustainable. Mary also raised the question of whether the site contained important Roman remains.

“Two months ago you made a good decision for the right reasons. Making a bad decision for what you know are the wrong reasons is never justifiable.”

But the committee could not be swayed – earlier it had approved the building of three houses on land opposite Cadbury Garden Centre. On this and on the Sunley scheme Cllr Leimdorfer insisted there should be strict limits on building work hours.

The district councillor also got the committee to put a block on further development in the area with the agreement that this constituted the maximum number of houses to be allowed on the Cobthorn/Verlands estate.

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.


  1. i think Tom did not fight hard enough on Wednesday and am disappointed to say the least. the impact on our landscape and months of disruption and poor access made this a totally unsuitable site to build on. i feel let down CRAG oppossed it and our Green representative rolled over!

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