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Housing developer fights for police station scheme

ANAPPEAL will be launched this week against Mendip’s decision not to allow 61 new homes to be built on the old police station site on Oakfield Road.

Newland Homes’ appeal against the planning refusal will be heard at Mendip District Council’s offices in Shepton Mallet this Thursday 20th November. Mendip has indicated that, following the hearing, it is likely the inspector will decide early next year.

The company has had two applications for the site refused in as many years, with both being slated by councillors for being too densely populated and not contributing positively to the local area, or providing enough affordable housing.

The council’s official decision was issued in April this year. It read, “The proposal would represent an unacceptable form of development in terms of design. The street frontage is bland and does not contribute to the street scene, the houses do not make a positive contribution to the local vernacular and the scheme as a whole does little to contribute to the local identity and distinctiveness of the area.”

Councillor for the area Helen Sprawson-White said at the time, “There is unanimous community objection to this application. The community is accepting of the fact that this site will be developed for housing, despite being a previous employment site, but this must be a sensible build that takes into account the various sensitive needs of the area.”

Newland Homes has submitted an appeal addressing all the reasons for refusal, and maintains that the development would not cause traffic problems and that the density and appearance of the site are in keeping with the area.

The appeal also shows how Government rules on Vacant Building Credit can justify building only four affordable housing units in the development.

To see the appeal or more details about the application enter 2014/ 2211/ FUL in the planning search at www.mendip.gov.uk