Castle Cary Town Council has been sent the closing submissions from Friday 1st April 2022 of the Public Inquiry into the proposed 200 house development at Ansford Hill near the railway station:

Closing Speech of the Appellants

LPA Closing – FINAL

5th April 2022

PUBLIC INQUIRY: the proposed 200 house development at Ansford Hill near the Railway Station

The Inquiry opened on 9th November 2021 at Caryford Hall as an ‘in person’ public Inquiry (as a result of strong representations to the Planning Inspectorate by Castle Cary Town Council and Ansford Parish Council) when CCTC, APC and other groups and individuals spoke as third parties against the development. It was adjourned by the Secretary of State’s appointed Inspector Hayley Butcher (because of venue limitations, Covid risks and poor IT) and re-opened online on Tuesday, 29th March. The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) enabled third parties to attend along with SSDC and the Appellant. The Inquiry was also Livestreamed for the public on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with over 200 viewings each day. Friday’s meeting could not be Livestreamed because of a technical problem but was recorded and is promised by PINS to be available. The Inquiry concluded on Friday, 1st April with final addresses by Mr Robson, counsel for SSDC, and Mr White QC, counsel for the Appellant. The Inquiry saw contributions from expert witnesses on both sides with continual references to a vast quantity of documents, technical discussions about landscape and planning matters, examinations of witnesses by both counsel and questions by the Inspector. Some third parties including CCTC made comments ‘behind the scenes’ to SSDC to inform their case. It is now for the Inspector to review all the evidence, written and oral, including the several contributions made by CCTC, APC and others about, for example, the Neighbourhood Plan, safety on the A371, access to the town’s facilities, drainage pumping, etc., before it was adjourned.

It is not possible to say when the Inspector’s decision will be published but probably it will appear only after some weeks given the quantity of evidence, the time to consider it and the need for the decision to take account not only of the evidence but also planning law, regulations, official guidance, case law, professional standards and so on.

In this short layman’s note it is not possible to do justice to the issues raised, to reflect the technicalities or to be comprehensive. Mr White QC raised concerns about the national housing crisis and the time taken to progress the development application and the appeal. The value of the landscape of the Brue valley and the visual impact of the development were clearly central points but other issues include whether the site is inside or outside the town, the current lack of a 5 year Housing Land Supply (HLS), the prospect of a solution to the phosphate neutrality problem affecting the Levels (which holds up otherwise consented housing delivery), whether the site is within or without the ‘direction of growth’ of the town (a factor related to the significance of the Local and Neighbourhood Plans which in turn depends on the HLS), the heritage associations of the Victorian Railway Station and the Monarch’s Way footpath, and other matters. All these are material to some degree, even factors not yet completed, but their weight depends on the Inspector’s view. In some cases there were fundamental disagreements between the parties – for example, about windfall contributions to the HLS – and questions about the capacity to deliver incomplete factors such as the phosphate solution in good time. It is also fair to say that there were several factors not in dispute between the two parties such as, for example, the Appellant’s scheme to offset increased phosphate discharge from the site using fallowed land within the catchment. If the appeal were to succeed the required obligations and conditions are agreed between the parties subject to the Inspector’s amendments.

It is not of course possible to predict the outcome. Everyone will have their own views as to the weight to be given to various aspects of the appeal but it is the Inspector’s view that counts. It is not permissible to submit further evidence now the Inquiry is concluded.

CCTC would like to thank APC, C4C, the Neighbourhood Plan group and CPRE (who formed a coordinating group), the petition organisers and volunteers, the Bailey Hill Bookshop, our local MP, our District and County Councillors, Cary Moor PC, Ditcheat PC, North Cadbury and Yarlington PC, Caryford Hall, everyone who contributed and the hundreds of local people who attended – or tried to attend – the Inquiry at Caryford Hall last year. We value your support.’

 

 

 

Information from South Somerset District Council about the 200 houses Appeal, starting on Tuesday 29th March at 10am via Teams and telephone and also livestreamed. Details about how to participate are below.

Date: 8 March 2022

Our Ref: 19/01840/OUT

Tel No 01935 462462

Email [email protected]

TOWN & COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 – SECTION 78

APPEAL IN RESPECT OF APPLICATION DECISION REFERENCE: 19/01840/OUT

PLANNING INSPECTORATE APPEAL REFERENCE – APP/R3325/W/20/3259668

APPEAL STARTING DATE – 15 June 2021

APPEAL BY – Wyke Farm Ltd And Andrew Hopkins Concrete Ltd APPEAL TYPE: Public Inquiry

Proposal: Erection of 200 dwellings (70 affordable and 130 open market) with associated highways, drainage, landscaping and public open space.

Location: Land North Of Ansford Hill Ansford Castle Cary Somerset BA7 7PD

I write to inform you that the above appeal will be resuming on 29th March 2022 at 10.00am.

An Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State will hold an Inquiry resuming on the date shown above to decide the appeal. The Inquiry will be held as a virtual event run by an Inspector in the normal way, but with the parties invited to join via Microsoft Teams or telephone.

This event will be Livestreaming. Please use link below

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQqDetL1R5aRgbNm8PDViNw

Documents relating to the appeal can be viewed at the Council offices by prior arrangement or on the Council website (19/01840/OUT)

Anyone wishing to take part in the inquiry must make that interest known to the Planning Inspectorate Case Officer as soon as possible prior to the Inquiry, either by email or telephone after reading the Inquiry Attendance Information set out below.

Inquiry Attendance Information

Before deciding whether to take an active part in the Inquiry, you need to think carefully about the points you wish to make.  All written submissions from application and appeal stage will be taken into account by the Inspector and re-stating the same points will not add any additional weight to them.

If you feel that taking part in the Inquiry is right for you in whatever capacity, you can participate in a number of ways:

To take part using video, participants will need to have access to Microsoft Teams (via an app or web browser). This link gives further information on how to use this. https://support.office.com/en-us/teams . Alternatively you can take part by telephone.  Calls would be to a 020 number which will incur charges. https://www.gov.uk/call-charges

If you just wish to observe the event, you should use the YouTube link provided.

If you wish to take an active part in the proceedings, please make clear in your response whether you wish only to appear at the Inquiry and make a statement, or whether you would also wish to ask questions on particular topics. If you want to take an active part but feel unable to for any reason, and/or the points you want to make are not covered in the evidence of others, consider whether someone else could raise them on your behalf

Registered participants in whatever capacity will receive individual joining instructions, providing details of any requirements, guidance and support, whether joining by Teams or telephone.

Planning Inspectorate Reference(s): APP/R3325/W/20/3259668

Contact point at the Planning Inspectorate: Robert Wordsworth, Tel 0303 444 5608,

Email [email protected]

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Development Management

Service Delivery

South Somerset District Council

 

March 2nd 2022

There’s been an update on the BMI site re-appeal:

ADVICE OF FORTHCOMING HEARING

Date: 23 November 2021

Our Ref: 18/01602/FUL/Colin Begeman (Principal Specialist)

Tel No: 01935 462476

Email: [email protected]

TOWN & COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 – SECTION 78

 APPEAL IN RESPECT OF APPLICATION DECISION REFERENCE: 18/01602/FUL

PLANNING INSPECTORATE APPEAL REFERENCE – APP/R3325/W/20/3247647

APPEAL STARTING DATE – 13 July 2020

APPEAL BY – Castle Cary (BMI) Ltd .

APPEAL TYPE: Informal Hearing

Proposal: Demolition of existing buildings, conversion of and alterations to listed buildings to form 11 No. dwellings, the erection of 70 No. dwellings (total 81 No. dwellings) and associated works, including access and off-site highway works, parking, landscaping, open space, footpath links and drainage infrastructure

Location: Former BMI Site Cumnock Road Ansford Castle Cary Somerset BA7 7HR

I write further to my recent letter informing you of the forthcoming hearing regarding the above application.

I confirm the hearing will start at 10:00am on Tuesday 22nd March 2022 via a Team’s event.

Please find the link below :

Click here to join the meeting

The decision will be published on The Planning Inspectorate’s Website and documents published under the original application reference on the Councils Website.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Begeman (Principal Specialist)

Planning Officer

February 20th 2022

Ooops! I missed the deadline for the Parish/Town Newsletter, so here’s the article:

220211 Planning for Newsletter

 

February 24th 2022

Foxes Run

Many concerned residents came to the Full Town Council meeting on Monday night to express their concerns about several items relating to the proposed Foxes Run development. Castle Cary Town Council supports these views and last night (23rd February) this letter was sent to those listed in the final paragraph. Foxes Run letter as sent

23rd November

CCTC has received a letter from SSDC:

TOWN & COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 – SECTION 78

APPEAL IN RESPECT OF APPLICATION DECISION REFERENCE: 19/01840/OUT

PLANNING INSPECTORATE APPEAL REFERENCE – APP/R3325/W/20/3259668

APPEAL STARTING DATE – 15 June 2021

APPEAL BY – Wyke Farm Ltd And Andrew Hopkins Concrete Ltd APPEAL TYPE: Public Inquiry

Proposal: Erection of 200 dwellings (70 affordable and 130 open market) with associated highways, drainage, landscaping and public open space.

Location: Land North Of Ansford Hill Ansford Castle Cary Somerset BA7 7PD

Case Officer: Area East Planning (Generic) Tel No: 01935 462462 Email:[email protected]

I write further to my recent letter informing you of the forthcoming appeal regarding the above application.

The Public inquiry will resume as PINS hosted event, to resume at 10.00am on the 29thMarch to 1st April 2022, if you would like to take part in the event

Please Contact:   [email protected]

If you wish to observe, we will also live stream the event, and it can be accessed via the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQqDetL1R5aRgbNm8PDViNw

 

16th November:

PLANNING APPEAL AT ANSFORD AND CASTLE CARY: THE FIRST DAY

A SUMMARY FROM CASTLE CARY TOWN COUNCIL

The Public Inquiry into the proposal to build 200 houses on the green field above Castle Cary Railway Station started on Tuesday, 9th November at Caryford Hall. The Inquiry was organized by South Somerset District Council (SSDC) which had refused Outline planning permission. We estimate over 200 local residents attended with a queue for signing in across the car park. There were considerable problems caused by the need for Covid distancing and SSDC’s microphone technology but after a number of people went home to watch the livestream the Inquiry was opened by the Inspector with addresses by Counsel for the appellant and for SSDC.

There followed contributions by speakers from Castle Cary Town Council, Ansford Parish Council, Care4Cary, the Neighbourhood Plan group and CPRE which were reinforced by several individual speakers. All objected to the proposed house building for a variety of reasons.

The main points made by speakers were:

  1. The significant and adverse impact the development would have on the landscape of the Brue valley, a point made by CCTC, APC and CPRE and individuals.

  2. The adverse visual impact the development would have on the Northern setting of Castle Cary and Ansford, an impact impossible to mitigate, argued CCTC.

  3. The scheme would be well outside the direction of growth in the Local and Neighbourhood Plans.

  4. The 200 houses were not necessary to meet housing needs in the town when some 600+ new houses had been built or consented and the Neighbourhood Plan required a ‘pause’.

  5. To ignore a Neighbourhood Plan made as recently as 2019 would undermine public trust and confidence in the planning process, a view put by CCTC. The Plan had been passed by referendum notwithstanding SSDC had no 5 year Housing Land Supply and therefore had validity, a point made by the Neighbourhood Plan group.

  6. A professional Traffic Report, prepared for Care4Cary, had identified a number of very serious road safety problems on the A371 and these were highlighted to the Inspector by Care4Cary.

  7. The above included the narrow footways and lack of safe crossing points, made worse by a blind bend and speeding traffic including HGVs, which would be a grave risk to schoolchildren from the 200 houses walking to Ansford Academy and the Primary School as well as adult pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.

  8. The out of town location, distant from shops and services, would mean more car use and parking congestion, and was unsuitable walking for people with disabilities, elderly people and parents with toddlers.

  9. Walkers on the Monarch’s Way long distance footpath would lose views across the green field and across the valley, a point made by Care4Cary;

  10. A petition on paper was presented by Care4Cary with almost 1,500 signatures objecting to the scheme.

  11. Questions were raised by Ansford Parish Council about surface and foul water from the site which required uphill pumping to the A371 sewer at risk from power cuts and consequent backing up.

  12. CCTC, Care4Cary and CPRE also provided the Inspector with a proposed walking route for her to see the adverse impact of the scheme on views of the Brue valley and the traffic risks of the A371.

  13. A speaker for the Millbrook Surgery referred to the increased load on doctors and other health workers which would arise from a further 200 houses, commenting on current pressures and the lack of space for expansion.

  14. Several Ansford residents drew attention to the dangers of the A371.

  15. An online petition with some 500 signatures objecting to the scheme was presented by a member of the public.

On Day 2, 10th November, the Inspector adjourned the Inquiry, citing audience numbers, the Covid risks and insufficient microphone and IT provision. The date to resume the Inquiry was 24th November but we understand from the Planning Inspectorate this may change: a firm date will be published once a decision has been made by them. It may be in Spring, 2022.

 

10th November

Due to IT issues at Caryford Hall that cannot be resolved by SSDC,  the Inspector has announced that the Public Inquiry will be adjourned and will reconvene as a virtual event on 24th November, 1st, 2nd & 3rd December. More details to follow.

 

9th November

There was an amazing turnout for Day 1 of the Public Inquiry for Castle Cary and Ansford regarding the field above Castle Cary station, so much so that the Inspector was extremely concerned that Caryford Hall was overcrowded. Therefore, a decision was made to ask people to go home, after adding their names to the list of attendees, and follow the YouTube live feed. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed, the Inspector was overwhelmed by the turnout and Castle Cary and Ansford Councils very much appreciate your attendance.

Links to  YouTube and Zoom are here: https://www.castle-cary.co.uk/public-inquiry-links/  and will be updated as soon as we receive the daily links from South Somerset District Council.

Meanwhile the timetable, which is also on the SSDC website, is here: Timetable

The Inquiry will resume at 09:30 on Wednesday 10th November.

 

28th October 2021: for all documents relating to the application and Appeal Inquiry: https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/forms/planning/planning-documents?ref_no=19/01840/OUT

UPDATE ON PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO APPEAL

The Inquiry, which will consider whether 200 houses are to be built on the green field rising above Castle Cary Railway Station to the A371, will open at 10 am on 9th November 2021 at Caryford Hall, Maggs Lane, Ansford BA7 7JJ, and continue on 10th, 11th, 12th and 24th November under an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State.

Members of the public are entitled to attend and are strongly encouraged to do so. Sign the local petition to reject the 200 houses.

If you wish to speak at the Inquiry please turn up by 10 am on the first day as Inspectors usually ask early on who wants to speak. You can also email [email protected] to register a wish to speak. You may be asked to speak on the first day after the opening statements from the main parties or later.

You should think about what to say. You need to stay relevant. Your speaking time, likely a few minutes, is at the Inspector’s discretion.

Some possible points to make are:

  1. 200 houses will spoil the countryside and views
  2. This development is unnecessary given we already have some 600 new houses built or approved, well above our allocation
  3. It will add to traffic, pollution, commuting and the A371 is already a very busy road
  4. Castle Cary is a small, delightful market town and it needs protection from excessive development
  5. It will be another burden on local infrastructure such as roads, the NHS, schools, sewerage and add to parking congestion
  6. Your own thoughts about this green field development

This is your opportunity to object to this green field scheme.

Please sign the petition against the proposed 200 house development on Ansford Hill above the station:

https://www.castle-cary.co.uk/petition-against-200-houses-above-the-station/

5 YEAR HOUSING LAND SUPPLY UPDATE

1ST OCTOBER 2021: Welcome news about the updated SSDC 5 year housing Land Supply.As expected, SSDC cannot currently demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply but, at 4.7 years, the position is a lot better than expected given the continuing phosphate problems.

Here is a link to SSDC’s Paper compiled in September 2021 covering the period 1st April 2021 to 31st March 2026.

south-somerset-district-council-5-year-housing-land-supply-2021-to-2026-september-2021-new.pdf (southsomerset.gov.uk)

Here are the relevant pages of the housing table for Castle Cary and Ansford: CC&A housing table SSDC September 2021

APPEALS

24th November

Appeal Re-determination Hearing Location: Former BMI Site, Cumnock Road, Castle Cary BA7 7HR 18/01602/FUL and 18/10603/LBC: APP/R3325/W/20/3247647 and APP/R3325/Y/20/3247652

This was discussed at the Planning meeting of Castle Cary Town Council on Monday 6th September and the following submission was made to the Planning Inspectorate CCTC observations BMI re appeal

Further details can be found on the Inspectorate website: https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3247647

The informal hearing is due to take place on 7th December; the hearing will start at 10:00am on Tuesday 7 December 2021 via a Team’s event. If you wish to participate please contact [email protected]

The decision will be published on The Planning Inspectorate’s website and documents published under the original application reference on South Somerset District Council’s website.

APPEAL 19/01840/OUT APP/R3325/W/20/3259668 Location: Land North Of Ansford Hill, Ansford, Castle Cary, Somerset BA7 7PD

Update  September  2021: The appeal date is confirmed as 9th November for four days followed by one day on 24th November and will be an in person Inquiry at Caryford Hall.

CCTC observation for the above Appeal: CCTC Appeal statement

See here for further updates: https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx

Appeal decision 37 High Street (old Nat West/Stuckey’s Bank) Appeal dismissed 13 January 2021: APPEAL DECISION

PHOSPHATES

26th February 2021 update: https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/news/2021/2/councils-publish-phosphates-calculator/

Another key planning issue that has come to the fore recently is that of the potential for developments to affect the already high levels of phosphates in the Somerset Levels and Moors. SSDC has issued a further briefing paper on this here and updates can be found on the SSDC website: https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/services/planning/somerset-levels-and-phosphates/