In this letter Bridgwater and District Civic Society chairman Dave Chapple argues overdevelopment is becoming a 'serious blight' to Bridgwater.

THE scourge of overdevelopment must stop.

The executive committee of the Bridgwater and District Civic Society agreed at its New Year meeting that planning overdevelopment of extra dwellings within already existing housing areas is becoming a serious blight to Bridgwater.

Whether it is a three-bedroom Victorian terraced house being converted into a seven-roomed multiple occupancy, or one or more houses being built in original gardens of fine - if unlisted-period detached houses, a cramming process amounting to panic-building for quick maximum profit is beginning to seriously disfigure our town.

Rents for a single room, flats or housing are rising fast, and that has meant a rise in homelessness and evictions for those unable to pay the extra rent demanded.

Greed is one name for this unsocial development; and as long as our ridiculous planning laws only allow appeals by the developer, it is hard to see this ending without a radical change in how governments view the whole planning process.

So a local council can appeal against a planning application that is either ugly or an excessive bedsit conversion, only to risk forking out huge sums of taxpayers' money when the appeal is presumed to favour the developer.

The Civic Society planning officers will continue to closely monitor all unwanted over-development and if necessary ask for support not just from our local councils but also Bridgwater people in general.

Chairman, Bridgwater and District Civic Society