29th October 2019
A meeting of SSDC Planners and Members of Yeovil South and Yeovil East committees took place on 29th October at Yeovil Council Offices.
The meeting was to determine the two applications related to the proposed Mudford/Primrose Lane Development (14/02554/OUT and 15/03942/FUL).
Following a 2 hour presentation by the planners in which they took the opportunity to downplay all the previous matters of concern by FOMAG and FOMAG’s experts, representatives of FOMAG and other members of the public were allowed to make three minute statements. There was scarcely any time to raise concerns over flooding, traffic, local services and the real possibility of anthrax contamination.
Apart from two residents of Wyndham Park who brought attention to the need for a community centre to be built as soon as possible on the Primrose Lane site to foster cohesion within Wyndham Park, key members from FOMAG and our colleagues in Dorset County and Queen Thorne Parish Council gave pithy and pointed presentations.
Following this three (!) committee meetings took place. The first was Area South who have a very small portion of the Primrose Lane site within their area. Concentrating mainly on matters which related to Wyndham Park and the need for the proposed Community Centre to be built within the Primrose Lane development to service that requirement, the Area South Committee voted to approve the two planning applications. Although strictly speaking Area South’s interest is based on a tiny proportion of the development, and therefore they have a say in the planning process, their influence was clearly out of all proportion.
The second meeting that day was that of the Area East Committee representing the Mudford area. This was a livelier and more testing debate. Taking the lead from a proposal that sustainability and a green agenda recently approved by the full SSDC should underpin any planning approval the Area East Committee challenged several matters with the planners and eventually voted overwhelmingly to reject the planning applications.
As is normal where two committees deliberate, the final say went to the Regulatory Committee where again a pointed debate took place with serious doubts on the questions of landscape and environmental impact of the proposed development, plus issues relating to anthrax and the lack of affordable homes against viability figures which were challenged by FOMAG’s expert. The vote from the Regulatory Committee was close until finally Area South members pushed the debate to less contentious ground and the Committee voted 7 to 5 in favour of the development. This was very disappointing.
However FOMAG continues to oppose this development. The whole application now goes to the Secretary of State for Environment having been called in following both our local MP’s Sir Oliver Letwin and Marcus Fysh voicing concerns to the Minister.
FOMAG is consulting with legal experts in the next days and with many issues having come to the table at the SSDC 81/2 hour meeting we believe that we have a convincing case to be set to a fully unbiased authority.
FOMAG has put in train the process to take the matter forward but we look to our supporters to help us fund a final effort at a senior and decisive level.