The hearing is a result of an appeal by Barratt Homes against the refusal of outline planning permission by Mendip District Council‘s Planning Board on 20 August.
In total 61 members of the public wrote in to comment on the original outline planning application, all of whom were against it.
Nunney Parish Council was hoping to get 23 new houses, including 7 affordable homes. Mendip District Council wanted 54 homes to meet its building targets. At the start of this year developer Barratt Homes took everyone by surprise by pushing for up to 100 houses.
Case Officer Matthew Wiliams of Mendip’s Planning department recommended that outline planning permission be refused. He argued that the proposed development of up to 100 dwellings would represent “a significant, unnecessary and unjustified encroachment of built development which harms the scenic and distinctive rural character of the site and significantly degrades the quality of the local landscape.”
The Department for Communities and Local Government, led by Secretary of State Eric Pickles, has now appointed an Inspector to head the Public Inquiry. All responses previously received from the public and other stakeholders will be taken into account.
Since the original outline planning application, a Government Inspector has given a clean bill of health to Mendip District Council’s Local Plan and formally pronounced it as ‘sound’.
All district councils are required to prepare a local plan but, by law, they must be scrutinised by a Government Inspector before they can come into force.
The Government inspection assesses the plan’s overall ‘soundness’ by examining whether it accords with government policies such as boosting house building and checking if it has been based on up-to-date evidence and public consultation.
Without the framework of a Local Plan in place in Mendip, housing developers have found little to stop them building wherever they felt like it in the last few years.
The plan was adopted with a few changes. The final plan does not reject new housing development in Nunney – without specifying a specific site -, but calculates the number of new properties required by 2029 at 55 – the construction of one of which has already been approved elsewhere in Nunney.
Attend the hearing
You may attend the Public Inquiry if you so wish and, at the Inspector’s discretion, will be allowed to present any views that you have on the matter. Facilities (access, toilets and parking spaces) for the disabled are available on site. Parking for the public is available in the pay and display car park in Commercial Road, Shepton Mallet.
Statements from Barratt Homes, Mendip District Council, Nunney Parish Council and others plus any further comments will be available to view at the Planning Department, Council Offices, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet during normal office hours from 7 November 2014. Please phone 0300 303 8588 before travelling to make sure that someone is available to assist you.
You can also read the statements online under the original planning application reference number (2014/0198/OTS) on the planning pages of Mendip District Council’s website at www.mendip.gov.uk.
More information about taking part in appeals is available at www.planningportal.gov.uk.
Free and independent professional advice on town and planning issues to people and groups who cannot afford consultancy fees is available from Planning Aid:
Planning Aid England
41-42 Botolph Lane
London EC3R 8DL