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

Comment ID 792
Document Section South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18) Rural Centres (no name) View all on this section
Respondent concernedMP View all by this respondent
Response Date 16 Sep 2019

Of the two sites identified in the Preferred options paper (and underlying HELAA map) in Milborne Port, the site at Wheathill should be favoured to take forward, and the site at Court lane should be dismissed as unsustainable.

The site at Wheathill lane is contiguous to land that has recently been approved and found to be sustainable development. This site will be sufficient to meet all Milborne Ports Residual Housing requirement, after newly approved sites are taken into account (see comments in 2.5 above).

The site at Wheathill has identified accessibility issues at the junction of Wheathill and Station Road, that will need to be resolved satisfactorily prior to any new development starting at this site.

Further ‘windfall’ sites should not be considered in Milborne Port in the plan period, given the cumulative detrimental impact of the village having over delivered against its housing target in recent years (unlike other rural centres).

The Neighbourhood Plan should be given time to evolve and deliver the preference of residents, before any new decisions are made on development in the Village.

The site at Court lane is not a sustainable sight, and should be withdrawn for the reasons outlined in detail below:

Court Lane Access & Highways safety:

  • Every access route to site from A30 or Station road, involves traversing narrow twisting single track lanes, bounded by historic stone walls
  • All routes have on-street parking throughout with and no adequate pavements
  • All routes drive through dense residential areas - with many pedestrians, dog walkers, children playing, as well as horse riders
  • Delivery lorries, including those belonging to the nearby laundry, frequently become stuck and/or strike obstacles in streets.
  • Court lane itself is a narrow old sunken road on a significant camber and bend. In 2011 it was the subject of a serious accident involving a car and lorry, which necessitated the air ambulance being called to land in a neighbouring field.
    • via lower Kingsbury Hill/Kingsbury Bridge
      • listed walls and bridge frequently struck by large vehicles
      • children playing in river area and spilling into nearby roads with bikes
      • Horse risers use this area on a daily basis
      • 90 degree blind corner at bottom of court lane
      • Serious accident in 2011
      • Flooding & run off at bottom of river valley
    • Via Rosemary street and Higher Kingsbury or wick road
      • blocked by parked cars of residents and workers at laundry
      • Struggling with huge increase in commuter traffic after 100+ houses recently completed in Tannery Way development
      • Single track with cars struggling to pass, especially at peak time, bounded by historic walls
      • Children cross the road between on street parked cars at the Play park opposite The Brambles
    • Via Gainsborough and Manor Road
      • Manor Road has on street parking, interspersed on both sides, making passing oncoming traffic difficult
      • Manor road is dense residential zone, with children playing, people washing cars on street, cyclists etc – not ideal to have heavy commuter traffic passing this
      • Gainsborough has heavy farm traffic (feed wagons and large tractors) taking feed and waste between satellite Farm sites north and south of the A30 on a daily basis, as well as increased traffic at harvest time


Valuable Heritage & Landscape Assets

  • Milborne Port is shortly to have an extension to its conservation area, including the north south river valley, from the centre of the village to The Granary in Kingsbury in the north. Consultation started 2 years ago, and it was confirmed by the district councillor in August 2019 that the final stages of enacting this are now complete.
  • This extension recognizes extensive valuable heritage assets in this area, including
    • 11 Listed buildings
    • The farming heritage of the village, and associated buildings and open space
    • The history of the Methodists in Milborne port, and the Methodist church and associated buildings
    • Kingsbury Regis as a separate historic settlement, separate to Milborne Port to the south, separated by open fields
    • The Kingsbury bridge, clapper bridge and Gascoigne river area, used recreationally by of walkers and children playing
  • Court Lane and its environs have ancient origins, the Richardson Archeological Assessment of Milborne Port (Richardson) notes Court lane as being “in the vicinity of the later medieval manor of Kingsbury”. The mill at Kingsbury is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. This area has produced significant archaeological finds, and is believed to be the site of the anglo- saxon mint at Milborne Port.
  • Recent work by the Somerset Vernacular Group has dated buildings in the Kingsbury Area back to the late 15th /early 16th Century, much earlier than previously understood, emphasizing their importance. These buildings and their setting in Court lane, are soon to be protected by the Conservation Area extension, and the proposed development site in Court lane immediately abuts them.
  • Flooding and Run off
  • Heavy rains bring extensive run off into Court lane from neighbouring fields on both sides of road, which flow downhill and congregate in deep puddles on Lower Kingsbury road at the bottom, before draining into the river. This standing water is prone to freeze in winter periods presenting a risk to road traffic
  • Water runs off the court lane area through natural springs on the corner of Rosemary street and Paddock walk, and at the bottom of Southview Road. Water can be draining onto the road in these areas at any time of year, and is worse after heavy rain. This standing water is prone to freeze in winter periods presenting a risk to road traffic
  • The undeveloped fields either side Court lane, including the proposed development site, clearly act as the catchment area and a natural soak away for rain in the area. Developing these areas would present large risks to properties at the bottom of the valley
  • It is notable that residents in the new properties at the bottom of valley in tannery way, have had ingress of sewage in wet periods
  • The Gascoinge river itself floods onto lower kingsbury road regularly, most recently in 2013 and 2014, when both sides of kingsbury bridge were underwater and not easily passed by traffic and pedestrians.
  • Planning Policy
  • The proposed site at Court lane consists of 2 separate portions, a larger northern area, and smaller Southern area.
  • Both sites have had a number of planning applications made in the last 25 years turned, consistently rejected by SSDC, and appeals dismissed by the planning inspectorate.
  • The Court Lane site is dispersed a long distance from what amenities the village has, situated on the far north periphery, meaning accessing amenities by foot is problematic for many residents.The Court lane area is known to have important Biodiversity, which requires proper research and documentation:
  • Environment and ecological
  • Bat feeding grounds, exact roosts still unknown, requiring urgent survey work
  • Otters have been sighted in Kingsbury valley
  • Barn Owls
  • Slowworms and newtsConclusion: For the above reasons the Court lane is not a sustainable site for development, and should be removed from the Preferred Options paper, following the clear precedent of previous planning committee and Inspector findings.