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Greenfield site saved as Wembdon application rejected
5:10pm Wednesday 5th September 2012 in Bridgwater Area News
CAMPAIGNERS have hailed people power after a bid to build 400 homes on greenfield land was thrown out a second time.
Sedgemoor District Council turned down the application for land at Cokerhurst Farm, Wembdon, last year but developers Cavanna Homes and Ensign Group appealed the decision.
A two-week public inquiry was heard at the start of this year and now a Planning Inspector has again rejected the scheme.
The council’s planning policy manager Nick Tait said: “This is an excellent result and shows the Secretary of State has backed local policy.
“The council has a clear strategy that has seen record numbers of new homes and affordable housing in the last year despite the recession.
“There was simply no current need or justification to release this site.”
In his decision letter, Secretary of State Eric Pickles agreed with the recommendations of the planning inspector who heard the appeal.
Mr Pickles concluded the proposal was not in accordance with local or national policy and there was no current need to release the greenfield site.
He also said it would result in harm to the rural character and appearance of the area and the loss of locally significant wildlife habitat.
District councillor Ann Bown said: “I am delighted for the residents and parish council who have worked so hard to prevent this inappropriate development going through. It proves that people can be listened to.”
Fellow district councillor Gill Slocombe said: “I’m really pleased with this decision; it shows democracy works.
“There are already major problems on the A39 and this would only have made them worse.
“Also, there are other prime sites that can be developed – we need to be careful about overdeveloping greenfield sites.”
No-one from Cavanna Homes was available for comment at the time of going to press.