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Pirate’s Island & Mansbury Mound under threat from developers

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Mansbury Mound

Pirate’s Island, a limestone mound in a Congresbury field used as a playground by generations of village children, is under threat.

That’s because Mansbury Mound, composed of carboniferous limestone is slap bang in the middle of a proposed housing development.

The scheme for 50 houses on land off Wrington Lane, is proposed by land agents Gladman, but is opposed by many local people.

Planning authority North Somerset Council at first opposed the scheme, on grounds that the site was too far from village amenities and that it would change the nature of the landscape. Now the council has changed its collective mind.

Local resident Jonathan Stone recalls playing on the mound as a 10 year-old. “At one time there were crab apple trees in the crater at the top of the mound,” said Jonathan. “But I think they were hit by lightning – there are certainly no trees there at present. “We also got excited when we found iron pyrite – fool’s gold – on the mound.”

Village action group CRAG, with the backing of hundreds of residents and the Parish Council, is set to take on the developer at a public inquiry due to be heard at Weston Town Hall on 28 March.

CRAG’s Mary Short added: “There is already one scheme approved for 38 houses on land off Wrington Lane. This second scheme was quite properly turned down on planning grounds by North Somerset. Now the Tory majority on the planning committee has reversed that decision – it’s outrageous.”

Recent research by Yatton, Congresbury, Claverham and Cleeve Archaelogical Research Team has shown good reason to suggest Mansbury Mound was the meeting place of the Hundred of Congresbury, which existed from about 1060 to around 1300.

The name means something like ‘mound of the community’, although today it is recognised as ‘The Island’, or ‘Pirate’s Island’.

*The public hearing into Gladman’s scheme is due to be heard at Weston Town Hall, Tuesday 28 March starting 10am. Anyone wishing to speak at the hearing should contact CRAG’s Susan Hibberd – susanhibberd@gmail.com.

CRAG would welcome donations to help pay the fees of a transport consultant who is helping with evidence against the scheme. Cheques should be made payable to Congresbury Parish Council and marked CRAG on the back. Or visit the Parish office next to the library.

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.

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