We are sorry, and disappointed, to report that, on Wednesday morning, South Somerset District Council (SSDC)’s Regulation Committee in Yeovil overrode the 9 October rejection from our local Area East Councillors, and voted to approve the 60-home Brewham Road southside development in principle, together with its dangerous pedestrian access proposals.
Chair of Bruton Town Council, Ewan Jones, said…
“The Bruton community did itself proud in making clear and professional presentations on why this planning application had to be rejected.
SSDC had received legal advice on the difficulty of proving ‘demonstrable harm’ to defend the integrity of their Local Plan Settlement Hierarchy. Sadly, many of the Yeovil area Councillors also seemed to have made up their minds to place the financial risks of losing an Appeal to the Planning Inspector above road safety.”
It was notable that the only three Councillors to prioritise pedestrian safety were women. I now only hope that the verbal commitments made by District Councillors not to cave in to developer pleas to remove the promised social and affordable housing on grounds of ‘financial viability’ will be honoured.”
Chair of the Town Council’s Transport Committee, James Hood, said…
“My personal view has long been that our current planning laws and system are not fit for purpose. This meeting was a demonstration of why this is so. Planning law is quite explicit in its bias towards development. The technical advice given to the councillors was that the pedestrian proposals were ‘acceptable’, and so they heeded this technical advice rather than the objections.
‘Acceptable’ is no longer good enough (if it ever was). We cannot continue to sanction schemes, such as this one, which leave people no choice but to cling to their car. The only schemes which should now be built are those of the highest environmental standards, and which make it easy and attractive for people to walk and cycle. I was disappointed that our elected representatives lacked the courage to stand up for principles which their own council says its supports. All it takes for a climate emergency to turn into a climate catastrophe is for everyone to wait for someone else to take the lead, and this is what they did, rather than taking it themselves.”
The Town Council have worked in partnership with a group of local residents to oppose the development. The group were extraordinarily disappointed by the decision and do not feel their concerns were appropriately considered.
At the Area East Committee of 9 October, local District Councillors had previously resolved that the application be refused for the following reasons…
- The proposal for up to 60 dwellings would take the level of growth for Bruton up to 253 dwellings over the plan period. This would represent a scale of growth which is 24.6% over the target for this Rural Centre as set out in Policy SS5 of the South Somerset Local Plan (2006-2028). As such, the development would be a significant increase over that envisaged in Policy SS5 and would be contrary to the intended growth strategy and settlement strategy and therefore contrary to Policies SD1, SS1 and SS5 of the South Somerset Local Plan (2006-2028).
- The development fails to provide inclusive, safe and convenient access on foot and cycle by reason of a narrow footway and contrived routing via Darkey Lane, meaning pedestrians will be forced to walk in the highway east of Darkey Lane creating conflict prejudicial to pedestrian and highway safety. Furthermore the inclusion of a new footway narrows the useable carriageway, especially on the junction of Brewham Rd and Frome Rd, which would result in the overrunning and over-sailing of the footway by HGV and agricultural vehicles, prejudicial to pedestrian and highway safety. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policy TA5 of the South Somerset Local Plan (2006-2028), the National Planning Policy Framework and Manual for Streets.
- The development, when taken with the existing use of Brewham Rd by existing residential, commercial and agricultural traffic would create a residual impact which is considered severe, contrary to para. 109 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
Following positive feedback on our first more welcoming and inclusive “Town Matters” meeting in September, we are delighted to announce our second in this style at 7:30 pm Tuesday 26 November.
There will be three main Town Matters on the Agenda:
- Bruton’s Budget 2020/21. The Chair of the Finance & General Purposes Committee, Justin Robinson, will outline how the Town Council spends public money, our budget-setting process for the financial year beginning 1 April 2020, and the Community Grant applications which have been received.
- Bruton Parking Pressures. The Chair of Transport Committee, James Hood, will provide an overview of Bruton’s car parking situation, and outline specific proposals for Station Road Car Park. Followed by a discussion to guide Town Council decisions.
- Project Prioritisation 2020/21. Facilitated discussion of proposed Bruton Town Council projects for the financial year beginning 1 April 2020, including guidance on prioritisation by members of the Bruton Community.
Councillors will sit together with fellow Brutonions on café-style’ tables, to hear your views. Fitting this format, tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.
Ewan Jones, Chair of Bruton Town Council said: “Please join us from in the Community Hall, from 7 pm for 7:30 pm, on Tuesday, 24 September, for another inspiring evening. Greater demands are being placed on Towns and Parishes to solve our own challenges. As Bruton’s 2017 Town Plan says, ‘We hope you agree that Bruton deserves a bright future, and we urge you to get
On Tuesday 19 November 2019 South Somerset District Council’s Regulation Committee will make the decision about whether to approve an application to build 60 houses in a field immediately to the south of Brewham Road. If they approve the application on Tuesday, there is no right of appeal. This is the final opportunity for Bruton residents to influence their decision. Turning up in numbers will show the committee that their decision matters to local people.
Please attend if you can. The Committee will sit at 10.00 am in the District Council Offices in Brympton Way, Yeovil, BA20 2HT. There is free parking for visitors. Please arrive by 9.45 am. (Allow 40 minutes for the drive. The best route is normally via the A303 west to the Podimore Roundabout then left into Yeovil on the A3088).
Bruton Town Council is not opposed to the principle of development on this site, but we are recommending refusal of this particular proposal, as ‘the potential scale and density of the proposed development would have a detrimentalimpact on the character, biodiversity and appearance of the area’. We have also decided to ‘oppose the proposed development unless proper provision is made for the safety of pedestrians and for highway safety more generally’. The decisions were made at an Extraordinary Town Council meeting on 4 April 2019.
The agenda for the Regulation Committee, together with supporting documents, can be viewed here: http://modgov.southsomerset.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=140&MId=2638&Ver=4.