This is the submission by Wells Civic Society on the pre-submission draft of the Mendip Local Plan Part 2.
1. Paragraph 10.5.5 refers, inter alia, to the draft Wells Neighbourhood Plan and comments that “work on the plan is under way”. The Steering Group, made up of representatives of Wells Civic Society and Wells City Council, which produced the draft Plan was disbanded by Wells City Council in December 2016 and since then, as far as Wells Civic Society are aware, no work on the draft Plan has been carried out by the Council.
2. Wells Civic Society are pleased to note, at 10.5.6., that provision is being made for a primary school on the site previously occupied by Thalys.
3. We note, at 10.5.7, that the shortfall of housing in the Plan period is 70 units. With this in mind, Wells Civic Society consider that the proposed allocations should be limited to WL4 – Tincknells Depot (25 units) and WL2 – the Rugby ground (60 units). These sites would more than provide for the shortfall. Furthermore, both sites are closer to the centre of Wells than WL1 – land adjoining Bubwith Walk (120 units). WL4 has the added benefit of providing employment land close to the City centre and development of the Rugby ground, WL2, would lead to the provision of useful sports facilities at Haybridge. Wells Civic Society do not favour early development of WL1 as there are still concerns about smell from the Sewage Treatment Plant, the site is further away from the centre of Wells and there are significant flooding problems to be overcome. We consider that this allocation is inappropriate, unnecessary and should be deleted.
4. Wells Civic Society has serious misgivings about the Future Growth Allocation on land adjoining Elm Close. The application for housing development on this site (2014/0437) was refused on robust grounds in 2014. These related to: adverse affect on the landscape, pattern of development and character of appearance; failure to provide an assessment of the traffic impact of the proposal; adverse affect on the local bat population and failure to include in the proposal adequate provision for public recreational space, a Travel Plan or affordable housing. It is worth noting that the proposed developers did not have the confidence to pursue the appeal which they lodged. Furthermore, Wells Civic Society recall that the FGA on land west of Wells was not effective in postponing development, to be deferred until 20125/6, as the appeal in 2016 (3129620) proved to be successful. Given the fate of that FGA, Wells Civic Society consider that MDC’s caution that “the release of the site before 2024-5 should only be considered if necessary to make up a shortfall in delivery from allocated and committed sites in Wells” is simply a pious hope that a developer could easily undermine. This proposal should be deleted.
5. Wells Civic Society has no comments on the proposed Local Green Spaces listed at 10.5.12.