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CRAG: Wrington Lane public inquiry

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A view of the field off Wrington Lane (pic: Jo Williams)

After three and a half days of close argument – CRAG’s team at the Wrington Lane public inquiry, ably led by Peter Walton, are quietly hopeful of a positive outcome.

Praise for CRAG’s efforts came from District Councillor Tom Leimdorfer who said he was immensely proud of the village. “We knew that we were up against land agents with very deep pockets using top experts and an aggressive business model.”

Friday’s session ended with evidence from two important witnesses for Gladman.

The first, a landscape architect tried to argue that 50 new houses in a field would not alter the character of the surrounding area. The second, Gladman’s town planner, tried to convince the inspector that because North Somerset could not prove a five year supply of land for development, their appeal should be allowed.

Like many in Weston’s council chamber, the inspector wanted an explanation about why Gladman was bringing this appeal against non-determination, when the firm already had outline planning permission on an identical scheme.

Tom added: “It was clear that the officers who attended and the their barrister Tim Leader were embarrassed by the way this application had been handled. Tim Leader was also very impressed by the quality of the case CRAG and local residents presented, both in substance and the way it was delivered.

“I also had the impression than the Gladman team were less than comfortable with the way things were going. At the same time, they remained complacent about the outcome.”

Cllr Leimdorfer paid tribute to Peter Walton and the back-up team from CRAG.

“Whatever the outcome, we can be proud of how we stood up to a well-oiled, slick and professional outfit.”

The inquiry winds up on Tuesday morning with closing statements from all three parties. Accompanied by representatives of those involved, the inspector will then make her site visit.

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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