South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18)

Comment ID 512
Document Section South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18) Rural Centres Land south of Court Lane Text Block View all on this section
Respondent Milborne Port Parish Council View all by this respondent
Response Date 07 Oct 2019
Attachments
Comment

C3. Land South of Court Lane

C3.1 We continue to oppose development of this site.  To the extent that SSDC have issues with this position, we would be happy to discuss them in greater detail, and indeed would anticipate that such a discussion would be prompted by and welcomed SSDC prior to any decision to proceed with this site as a preferred option.

 

C3.2 We note that a number applications for development of the site have been rejected, most recently in September 2014 (application 14/01055/OUT).  The reasons given for refusal were:

  • Inability to respect the form, character, setting and distinctiveness of the locality, and would result in unacceptable material harm to the character and quality of the local landscape
  • Insufficient evidence that demonstrates no adverse impact on the local highway network
  • Loss of high quality agricultural land
  • Poor public transport, lack of available jobs, reliance on private travel for employment and service facilities contrary to the core principles of the NPPF
  • Lack of adequate mitigation of the risk of surface water and foul drainage flooding

We believe that all of these issues continue, or may continue, to apply.  However, there are a number of additional considerations that have come to light since 2014 which enhance some of these points

C3.3 Local Character and Landscape – the proposed extension of the Conservation Zone would abut the southern and eastern boundary of the site, and any development thereon would therefore impact the environment of the conservation zone.

Further, the location is of interest from a heritage perspective.  Court Lane is named after the Baronial (Manorial) Court that was held there for the settlement of Kingsbury Regis, which forms the northern part of Milborne Port.  Kingsbury itself means King’s Borough, and is believed to have been the site of an Anglo-Saxon Royal Mint.  It is for this reason that Milborne Port had two Members of Parliament until the Great Reform Act of 1832.

The various buildings to the east of the site down Court Lane likely all date back to, at the latest, the 18th century (the Manor Court itself was still in operation in 1805, and probably only ceased in 1832).  This includes the buildings at the foot of Court Road which, whilst they look much more recent are actually the sites of labourers’ cottages for Manor Farm.

We believe that development of the site at all, and certainly with 30 houses, is unlikely to be consistent with the local environment and the setting of the new Conservation Area and historical assets.  We strongly oppose any development of the site, and were this for whatever reason to go forward, it would have to be on a much smaller scale, with rigorous consideration given for architectural design and layout that is in sympathy with the location and its heritage.

C3.4 Roads – The observation regarding the junction with Wick Lane (8.60) is valid, but perhaps not the worst issue regarding road access to the site.  In order to gain access to the A30 vehicles would need to pass through the centre of the village and would then either be led up onto Station Road/North Street and add to traffic volumes at the bottleneck North Street/A30 junction; or, worse, exit via Rosemary Street.  Access to the more accommodating Gainsborough would only be possible via Manor Road, which, with vehicles parked on road, including numerous home-based business vehicles, and often multigenerational occupation with several vehicles per dwelling, is not a functional thoroughfare. Going north to exit the village on Station Road towards Charlton Horethorn, vehicles would inevitably use Lower Kingsbury which is a narrow lane on a steep hill, with a narrow switchback bridge at its foot.

 

It seems to us that the wider limitations on access through the village were not fully considered in either the HELAA,the committee planning decision or in this proposed preferred option paper

C3.4 Public Transport/Available Jobs/Reliance on Vehicles for Commuting or access to services – All of these continue to be issues. The public transport provision has deteriorated since 2014, with a reduction in buses. Employment and concern regarding the unusually high levels of commuting continue to be specific and identified issues for Milborne Port and are acknowledged as such within the draft Plan. Tucked away as it is on the fringes of the least accessible part of the village we see no real prospects of this site improving the employment capacity through home-business development, and given the road access constraints it is questionable whether this would be desirable.

C3.5 Surface Water and Foul Drainage – whilst it should not be beyond the wit of a developer to put in appropriate surface water mitigation measures (though noting that it drains into a location of flood risk and the applicant failed to do so to the satisfaction of SSDC in 2014), the sewage issues are of much greater concern.  Problems have arisen with sewage along the line of the Gascoigne River due to surface water confluence, and it is into this part of the system that foul water would logically go.  We are far from experts in this field, but, logically, adding more sewage into a system that is already encountering issues does not seem likely to improve the situation.

C3.6 Summary re MIPO2 – we do not support this site as a preferred option, and, whilst we would clearly need to look at the detail of any future proposal, we do not anticipate that we would support development at this site at all.  There are better sites, if sites are genuinely needed as preferred options, but we also feel that a number of the identified reasons for the 2014 rejection of application continue to exist, and are generic to the site itself, rather than specific to any weaknesses in that specific application.