In late 2019, central government changed the rules as to calculation of housing need supply. As a consequence, 56% of local planning authorities no longer have a 5 year housing supply. Mendip is one of these. Speculative developers are now taking advantage of this situation by seeking to side-step the policies set out in the Local Plan which was approved in 2014. They are also arguing that the Local Plan is out of date. As regards applications made now, there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development and this can only be rebutted if adverse impact of developing would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits when assessed against the policies in the NPPF.
Hence, an application (2019/2883) has been submitted for 148 dwellings on land between Wookey Hole Road and the southern boundary of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, west of Underwood Industrial Estate – and, incidentally, on a Special Landscape Feature. At the date of writing 119 objections had been lodged.
Furthermore, on the 30th of January this year, Gladman – who recently gained outline planning consent for 100 houses south of Elm Close – circulated details of their intention to seek planning consent for 90 dwellings in the green gap between the Bovis Estate and Haybridge.
Local Plan Part Consultation
This started on the 21st of January and ends on the 2nd March. There are two significant “Major Modifications” proposed. One is to delete the list of 17 Local Green Spaces. It is hoped that the revived Wells Neighbourhood Plan will seek to provide protection for most of these spaces. The second proposed modification relates to an anticipated shortfall in planned housing and, in particular, sfour sites in Wells
WL1 – West of Keward – 120 dwellings
WL2 – Wells Rugby Club – 80 dwellings
WL4 Tincknells – 25 dwellings
WL5 – South of Elm Close – outline consent granted – 100 dwellings.
In each case the Plan refers to “Up to” and the proposed new wording would be “A minimum of”.
Application for prior development notification of proposed development – 2020/0073. Eastern end of Tor Furlong.
This is notification under the Permitted Development Regulations of 2015 – Schedule 2 Part 16 which relates to permitted development for mobile phone masts. Mendip has an opportunity to notify the developer within 56 days that they require further information. Once they do that they may refuse the application but only on grounds of siting or appearance.