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CRAG: Appeal Victory Against Strongvox – by John Mills

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Congresbury Residents Action Group (CRAG) is celebrating the fact that another speculative building scheme for the village has been thrown out by a planning inspector.

Last month, more than 25 supporters of CRAG turned up for the official hearing into the Strongvox scheme to build 24 houses on land off Brinsea Road – almost opposite the site where Barratts were turned down two years earlier.

Planning Inspector Gareth Thomas heard from North Somerset Council the reasons why the scheme had been refused planning permission. And he upheld the council’s decision and agreed with residents that the scheme would change the character of the approach to the village.

Like the decision in the Barratts case, Mr Thomas also mentions the scheme’s distance from village amenities, the unpleasant nature of walking along Brinsea Road and the close proximity of HGVs.

After the decision, district councillor Tom Leimdorfer said: “Excellent news. It really should put an end to any thought of a new development proposal on the west side of Brinsea Road as well. It also helps us to maintain one of the key policy principles of the emerging draft Neighbourhood Plan which envisages no development on the south side of the village.”

A delighted chair of CRAG, Mary Short said the result was a victory for village residents. “CRAG is not opposed to all development – we are certainly in favour of social and affordable housing. But that is for the village and local authorities to decide where it is appropriate – not speculative builders.

“Residents have to live with the bricks and mortar of new housing and we are best placed to comment what is and what is not appropriate. We are delighted the inspector supported our view. This is the third time CRAG has been involved in fighting decisions and three times the inspectors have recognised that we know local conditions and tell the truth about what they are.”

CRAG secretary Viv Tomkinson added: “On behalf of CRAG I would like to repeat our heartfelt thanks to all of those who supported us at the hearing and those who submitted comments in response to the Strongvox planning application.”

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.


5 Comments

  1. Please do something about the HGVs; THEY ruin the life and look of the whole village and are dangerous to us all!

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