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BANES Council sets out response to Mendip Local Plan

Press release from BANES….

Council sets out response to Mendip Local Plan

Objections by Bath & North East Somerset Council to a local plan which proposes more than 500 houses on sites near Midsomer Norton will be heard in September.

The Planning Inspectorate has confirmed that a two-week re-opened hearing, into the Mendip Local Plan, will start on September 22 giving the council the opportunity to put forward its concerns around the impacts of additional housing on the infrastructure and services in Midsomer Norton and Westfield.

All local authorities have to produce Local Plans which set out a vision for the future of each area and a framework for addressing housing needs and other economic, social and environmental priorities.

Mendip Local Plan (Part 2) is currently being examined by a Planning Inspector and the Inspector concluded that an additional 505 dwellings should be planned for and provided in the north/north east of Mendip District.

In response Mendip District Council has proposed changes to its Local Plan Part 2 to allocate three sites on the edge of Midsomer Norton to provide a total of 450 dwellings.

Mendip District Council published these proposed changes for public consultation in earlier this year and B&NES Council objecting to the proposed changes on the grounds that:

  • The need for the additional 505 dwellings is not clear and specific focussing on the north/north east of Mendip not justified
  • Even if 505 dwellings are needed they should be directed to more sustainable locations in Mendip (in accordance with Mendip spatial strategy)
  • Allocating sites on the edge of Midsomer Norton does not accord with the B&NES spatial strategy and will worsen the existing imbalance between homes and jobs in the area and high levels of out commuting
  • The impact of additional housing on the infrastructure, services & facilities in Midsomer Norton & Westfield and the environment has not been properly considered
  • Insufficient opportunity for the affected communities in B&NES (as well as B&NES Council) to be properly engaged in the work/process

Due to Covid-19 the hearing was delayed and it will now happen in September. The hearing will relate to the additional 505 dwellings and the sites identified to accommodate them including those on the edge of Midsomer Norton and Westfield.

Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Housing, Planning and Economic Development, said: “Mendip Local Plan Inspector has considered issues raised by us as well as the parish and town councils and residents and in April agreed to re-open the Examination hearings so that the issues could be properly discussed. These hearings were delayed due to Covid-19 and I am pleased that we will now have the opportunity to raise our objections at the two-week hearing scheduled for September.”

Further information on the Examination, including the Inspector’s recently issued notes (ID29 & ID30) can be found here: https://www.mendip.gov.uk/article/7764/Examination

ENDS