Castle Cary crunch time

A planning application for Castle Cary is returning to haunt local objectors. No matter how many times it is turned down, it will not go away. The Leveller has reported on this application more than once, as it has been rejected by:

  • Ansford Parish Council
  • Castle Cary Town Council
  • South Somerset District Council

The application, 19/01840/OUT, was subject to 68 letters from members of the public, 67 of whom objected. Objectors noted the application ignored the wishes of people set out in the Neighbourhood Plan and Local Plan. These plans matter as they are approved democratically, representing the will of local people. Unfortunately, as developers well know, when a council cannot show a 5 year land supply, they are set aside.

Having been turned down, the applicants, Wyke Farm Ltd And Andrew Hopkins Concrete Ltd have appealed. Ordinarily that means the decision would go to a Planning Inspector. The Inspector would review the case pepares and reach a decision. This time noting the degree of local angst over the plans, the Planning Inspectorate have taken a different route. They have decided to hold a Public Inquiry. That will meet between 9 and 12 November at Caryford Hall in Castle Cary.

Care4Cary, Castle Cary Town Council and Ansford Parish Council are getting together a petition of objectors to put before the Public Inquiry. For more information contact info@care4cary.co.uk

Ordinarily an application for 200 homes in South Somerset would be a difficult proposition. The extra sewage created would add to the problem of phosphates on the Moors and Levels RAMSAR site. That at least has been Natural England’s position on similar applications. Natural England currently require equivalent land to be taken out of dairy use to compensate for any new builds. However Wyke Farms probably own enough dairy acreage to accommodate such a requirement should they wish to set the land aside.

Local residents are unhappy that one of the last green spaces between the town and the station is to be developed. Not least because the town has experienced significant growth in recent years. With 600 houses already in development or completed, the nature of the town is bound to change.

It has been noted that 70 of the 200 houses will be affordable. As the Leveller has reported many times this means “Affordable”. It is a legal definition that requires rent to be at least 20% below market rent. In practise this usually means exactly 20% below market rates. And as residents of Somerset are painfully aware, that is not the same as affordable (without a capital “A”).

There is also the issue of climate change. With COP26 looming it is disappointing that this issue has been omitted. There is no commitment to zero carbon housing by the developers. So every one of these new houses will have to be retrofitted at some point in the future. A cost to be carried by future generations. Current Building Regulations require “Nearly Carbon Neutral Housing” to be built. But as we have also pointed out before, these are words only. The actual requirements are to reduce emissions to 35% below 2020 requirements. Which is a long, long way from being genuinely nearly carbon neutral housing.  

We will certainly be looking at the outcome of this application with interest.

One comment

  • As has been evident in so many Somerset developments, the provision of affordable housing can’t be left to the market. The only reliable way is for the council or a housing association to step in.

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