Published: March 9, 2010
Decision on Burnham seafront flats plan deferred by councillors

Residents campaigning against controversial plans for a huge block of 13 flats to be built next to Burnham-On-Sea beach were given fresh hope on Tuesday (March 9th) when councillors delayed making a final decision about the scheme.

Proposals to build a three-storey property at the end of Allandale Road were considered by Sedgemoor District Council's Development Control Committee in Bridgwater.

And while the council's planning officer Chris Gomm recommended that the committee approve the scheme, the councillors instead voted to defer their final decision until after they have made a visit to the site.

It comes after they heard claims from campaigners that the new building would be out of keeping with the surrounding area.

Cllr Neville Jones spoke out strongly against the scheme during Tuesday's meeting, when he held up several photos of the older-style properties in the area to demonstrate how he believes the proposed property would not fit in.

A spokesman for the developers also spoke at the meeting and said that last year's planning application for the site had only been rejected due to concerns about the design. Now that a Victorian and Edwardian design had been introduced to replace the previous modern approach, he said no further stumbling blocks should be in place.

However, John Conder, an ex-planning officer for SDC acting on behalf of the Allandale Road Group, explained that although the design has improved, the building would still be bigger than the previous design and its mass would also be out of keeping within the context of the road.

After hearing a lively debate, councillors decided to delay their decision until after they have made a site visit to the property.

Allandale Road Group Treasurer Tom Ashton told "About 25 residents of the road attended the meeting and we felt they had a good hearing. We are delighted that the councillors want to look closely at the other properties in the road before giving a decision."

Residents previously won a bid in November 2008 to get the first planning application at the site, for 14 flats, rejected on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate.

However, since then, the developers have submitted a new, amended planning application - as first reported here - with one less flat and a different building design that they argue fits in with the surrounding area.

Sedgemoor's Development Officer Chris Gomm agrees, stating in his report to the Development Control Committee that the development would "not harm the character or amenity or the adjoining residential area."

But the residents argue the new property's height would be out of scale with all other neighbouring buildings, and that the building would dominate the skyline and be out of character with the area.


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