30 January 2010

Planning matters........

Yesterday I heard that a new application had been lodged with regard to another parcel of land in the vicinity of Badger's Cross:

10/00231/CPO 26 January 2010 Quarry Badgers Cross Lane Somerton Somerset TA11 7JF Proposal: Section 96 review of old minerals planning permission (ROMP) under section 96 of the Enviroment Act 1995. (GR 348358/127733)

The applicant is listed as Mr & Mrs M Squire and the application only effects the land owned by the applicant. However, the existing quarrying consent encompasses both this land and the adjacent land owned by Mr A H Canvin. In common with the proposals for a Household Waste Recycling Centre at Badger's Cross, this application raises the question about future planning issues on the edges of Somerton.

It may be that, with the election of a new Town Council, now might be an appropriate time to review planning policy and strategy as it effects Somerton. Such a review might propose some sort of definition of the areas around the boundaries of Somerton where commercial development would or would not be preferable.

One reason for undertaking a serious review of local planning policy is that, for the last 10 years, the local development community have enjoyed a significant degree of access to strategic planning. That access has been represented by the involvement of Mr A H Canvin at both Local and District level. Mr Canvin and his friends and associates in the property and development community hold significant land investments in and around Somerton and it is inevitable that those landholdings will have had an influence on planning strategy.

The enthusiasm for development in the Badger's Cross area is a perfect example where there seems to be a clear effort to establish a new industrial area to the south of Somerton. However, the Bancombe Road Trading Estate is well established and it would be sensible to propose that future industrial development for Somerton continue to the west/north west.

At the same time, the New Town Council could also undertake a review of the Conservation Area with the intention of establishing a detailed policy document to support the Conservation Area. Such a document would seek to clearly define the character of the Conservation Area and take the heat out of the consideration of applications within the CA.

I don't under-estimate the amount of work that these ideas would involve but by establishing clearly defined policy and strategy documents, all sectors of the community, both residents and businesses, would have a clearer idea of what they might expect and what might be expected of them.

It might also help reduce the stress on parts of the community, and in this I refer to the residents in and around Badger's Cross, who don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Till next time, I'm Niall Connolly