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Norton St Philip in a modern-day rebellion over new homes plans

By Somerset Standard  |  Posted: December 05, 2013

Church Mead where there is an application on an adjacent field for 49 homes

Church Mead where there is an application on an adjacent field for 49 homes

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THE villagers of Norton St Philip feel under siege.

Families living in the historic village, the site of a battle during the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685, are rising up in protest against what they believe is an onslaught from developers.

In November 2012 there were 309 homes in Norton St Philip. Today there are new permissions or applications for a further 206 houses in the village, a possible 67 per cent increase.

The issues has been brought up in Parliament by Frome MP David Heath and the community has organised itself into an action group called The Pitchfork Rebels.

Already plans have been approved for 57 homes on the former chicken factory site now known as Fortescue Fields, with an application to build a further 49 on the west side next to Church Mead.

There are proposals to build a further 49 homes on land known locally as the Great Orchard at Bell Hill and houses on the Mackley Lane triangle. Appeals are underway for houses at Longmead Close/Shepherds Mead and on a site known as Foma, with further planning approval on a site opposite Laverton Lane.

Now protestors fear their cherished historic village is disappearing before their eyes.

David Millett has lived in the village for 70 years and believes this sudden rise in plans to build new houses is too much too soon.

He said: "The new houses on the old chicken factory site are barely sustainable now and not all the homes have yet been built. There is now another application to build even more houses in an area where there is already a problem of surface water drainage.

"More and more houses are only going to make the situation worse."

Traffic congestion through the narrow high street is another major concern among villagers who say new families moving in will be forced to commute because there is very little employment within Norton St Philip.

The Pitchfork Rebels are girding themselves for a battle. They lay the blame for an influx of developers wanting to build on the green fields that surround them at the door of Mendip District Council, which had overestimated the expected number of homes that would be built in the next five years against national government policy and has had to go back to the drawing board and revise its Local Plan.

As a result villages such as Norton St Philip, Beckington, Rode and Faulkland have seen a rush of applications. Last month permission was given for 75 new homes in Beckington despite strong opposition form locals.

Villager Mike Kann has lived in the village for ten years and he believes residents owe a duty of care to rural villages such as Norton St Philip.

He said: "We appreciate the need for more housing and welcome development, but it must come with a proven requirement in our area and with a plan which demonstrates a carefully considered approach rather than the frenzied siege which we find ourselves the target of.

"If these many applications are successful due to the government's callous and ill-thought polices, the damage which will be done will remain forever, doubling the size of the village in a matter of years with some extra 300-odd houses being applied for."

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  • george11  |  March 28 2014, 6:51PM

    come on you selfish village NIMBYs the Government says we ' need ' millions of houses so why not near you, the bottom line is that there are simply too many people on this small planet but no one wants to address that so we have to keep building

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