Plans for a 99-home development on Green Belt land on the edge of Saltford are to be decided by an independent Planning Inspector after the developer decided to take the application to appeal on the grounds of non-determination by Bath and North East Somerset Council.
The appeal means that the decision over whether or not to grant permission for the development has been taken out of the Council’s hands. The Council can, however, put to the planning inspector the decision it would have taken on the application if it had been able to.
Developer Crest Nicholson has decided to take the application to appeal after Bath and North East Somerset Council failed to take a decision on the plans within the required time period. No date has yet been set for the appeal hearing, but it is expected that it will take place at some point in the summer.
Local councillors Mathew Blankley and Francine Haeberling (Cons, Saltford), who have been opposing the application, have said they are angry that Crest Nicholson has chosen to go to appeal rather than allow the Council’s democratic process to run its course.
Cllr Mathew Blankley (Cons, Saltford) said:
“We’re obviously very frustrated that Crest Nicholson has decided to take this action, which it did not have to do. We’re also disappointed that the Council has allowed the application to get to the point where Crest is able to take the matter to appeal on the grounds of non-determination.
“It would clearly have been far better for this application to be decided democratically by the Council’s Planning Committee rather than by a Planning Inspector who does not know our community so well.
“I think that residents in Saltford will be angry that Crest Nicholson has decided not to allow the Council’s democratic process to take its course.”
Cllr Francine Haeberling (Cons, Saltford) added:
“We will continue to fight this application all the way and take our campaign to the planning inspector. Residents in Saltford have made it clear that they value the sanctity of the Green Belt and want to see it protected. There are also issues with the impact on traffic and lack of spare capacity at Saltford Primary School. Working alongside the Parish Council, this is what we shall argue at the planning appeal.”