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Dancing Lane Development Appeal

Monday 20 April 2015, 20:25
By Nick Colbert

The entrance to the appealed development plot off Dancing Lane, Wincanton

Some would tell me I should have spent the last two days canvassing (I did go to the hustings at the Bear) but I spent both days at the appeal from the developers to overturn our decision to refuse planning permission on the farmland, much of which is Grade 1 & 3a land, behind Dancing Lane, which they want to develop by building 35 houses there.

Before the meeting at which we refused the planning permission, their barrister emailed us in an attempt to intimidate us to pass 25 houses or they threatened they would go to appeal on 35 houses and claim substantial costs against us.

Colin Winder and I definitely have them on the defensive. They have, during the course of the two days, offered to reduce the number of 35 back to 25 and are concerned the hearing will go over two days, clearly showing they are not so confident about being awarded their costs.

Yesterday I gave my statement and was cross-examined by the appellant’s barrister. It could not really have gone any better.I got all the important points across that I wanted to, and their barrister challenged me very little, only on the potential flooding issue.

By offering to let myself be cross-examined my evidence carries much more weight, but of course you leave yourself open to being ridiculed by a highly intelligent person who is trained to try and make you look stupid. But as I said it could not have gone better and I am sure the inspector took all my points on board, which were more than those shown on my written statement, which for those interested, I attach below.

I hope it does the trick. I am concerned the District Council’s approach is destroying the character of our Market Towns and allowing building on good quality farmland.

If we win control of South Somerset District Council in May we will try to alter the Local Plan to alleviate the pressure on our Market Towns. Unfortunately the current lot that run the council have put 3,000 more houses in Local Plan than we would have done, which is causing much of the problem.

A view of Wincanton Racecourse from the Dancing Lane plot



Following unanimous votes against the 25 dwelling application on the Dancing Lane field in both the Town Council and the District Council, I will outline the reasons for my refusal.

Nick Colbert, District CouncillorIn 2012 we refused the Wincanton Community Hospital site, which was consequently also refused on appeal by the inspector, quite rightly, in my opinion, on the grounds of unsustainability. This equally applies to this site which is in an almost identical location. The unsustainability is particularly true when compared to the many other more suitable sites available in Wincanton, particularly the sites to the west of New Barns Farm which are within short walking distance of the Health Centre, supermarkets, and employment land on the industrial estates. Plus there is the added advantage of that area being more compliant with the NPPF as the applicant's site in Dancing Lane is Grade 1 and 3A land whereas the available land west of New Barns Farm is Grade 4, and it does not damage the integrity of any listed buildings, clearly more compliant with the NPPF.

The danger to children accessing King Arthur's school is severe due to the lack of pavements and narrowness of the lane in that part of Dancing Lane. As previously mentioned, this site is on Grade 1 and 3A land but it breaks the existing boundary line of housing, bursting into a lot of our best and most versatile farmland.

There are also potential flooding issues and there are already flooding problems there.

The site impinges on the integrity of Verrington Lodge, a Grade II listed property.

We have had a permissive approach to housing in Wincanton, having now passed 760 properties – a surplus so far of 57 over the 703 mentioned in the local plan required by 2028. Unfortunately, the high level of housing, particularly social housing delivered incorrectly, caused major problems in the town which was acknowledged by Inspector David Hoggard in his report in the local plan in January 2015, where he firmly states he does not think Wincanton needs any further housing in the short term and that housing numbers should be reviewed by the District Council and the position of new housing requirements reviewed in 3 years, i.e. 2018. Accordingly, on the grounds of unsustainability and the other reasons mentioned in my statement, in common with the Wincanton Community Hosiptal site and Goldworthy Farm site in Crewkerne, I respectfully request that you dismiss this appeal.


Tim Carroll
Posts: 1
Dancing Lane Development Appeal
Reply #1 on : Tue April 21, 2015, 11:21:01
Dear Nick

An interesting version of proceedings. Now I do not expect for one moment for you to acknowledge the fact that I too took time out from the hustings attend this appeal for the two days this week and also submitted a statement.

BUT what saddens and disappoints me most is the fact that nowhere in your piece do you acknowledge the contributions from others like Richard Pratt, Peter Brennan, Susan Tindal and many other residents who attended the appeal enquiry and made submissions.

The reality is that to win this appeal requires a joint effort by everybody because individually they bring something different to the table in terms of opposing this unwelcome development. It sometimes just takes one obscure fact raised by anybody to tip the balance in favour of refusal so that is why input from others is so important.

Yes, you and Colin did play your part but please remember that there a wealth of valuable and valid evidence being submitted by others that will ensure that we are successful in resisting this inappropriate and speculative development.

Tim (Carroll)
Posts: 1
dancing lane appeal
Reply #2 on : Tue April 21, 2015, 12:53:24
I too took two days out to attend this appeal.
Nowhere does Nick say that other people are not contributing. We have yet to hear from other people who wish to speak. We do, however, have to wait until the date for the 3rd day of the appeal, still to come. At that time , I am quite sure that Wincanton Window will report on the next stage.
Nick Colbert
Posts: 5
But you wern't there
Reply #3 on : Tue April 21, 2015, 13:10:46
Dear Tim,

I hope it is an interesting version of proceedings, and an accurate one.

Unfortunately you were not there, having left early, so you are unaware of the fact that I gave my statement that day. As the appeal will run into at least a 3rd day I might have not been available and as you know a statement carries much more weight if the person making that statement allows themselves to be cross examined, which I did.

I have not mentioned statements made by Richard Pratt, Peter Brennan or indeed the Tindals because they along with Colin Winder chose to save their statements for the final day, but again you would not have known that because you were not there. I am confident their statements will be impactful too, many of us have been working for some time opposing this application and some working on the Local Plan too.

I must point out, as you have responded Tim, that you are the portfolio holder responsible for the failed local Plan and the high number of properties we are suffering in all our market towns. I do not need to remind you that Colin, myself and the entire Conservative group pressed you to go for lower numbers but you insisted on these high numbers which we believe are unattainable. We also requested a direction of growth for housing in the Local Plan to help fight of these unwanted developments, you point blank refused to allow one, the lack of a direction of growth has been mentioned several times during this apeal and it is most unhelpful that you would not allow one.

I would also point out that you are deputy Leader of the Lid/dems who run this council and your planning department supported this application, the hospital application and Mr Hopkins 44 dwellings at Bayford Hill. We feel badly let down by the Council chasing these high housing numbers and believe there were genuine planning reasons to refuse these developments.

I sincerely hope you do give your statement and allow yourself to be cross examined, if you had been there in the afternoon session you would have had the opportunity to do so.

Last Edit: April 21, 2015, 13:19:13 by Nick Colbert  

Posts: 1
Next stage...
Reply #4 on : Tue April 21, 2015, 17:10:47
Hi Rentawitch. Just wanted to assure you that Wincanton Window is very keen to report on the next stage of developments, but I'd just like to remind everyone that in most cases, owing to Wincanton Window's volunteer status and our lack of journalists, the news has to come to us.

In cases such as this where there has obviously been a great collaboration of effort by many, the ideal situation is where everyone involved agrees a spokesperson who can report the story to us. I realise that's not always possible, so we do appreciate all the comments and extra feedback which is left under articles.
Posts: 4
The Blame game!
Reply #5 on : Tue April 21, 2015, 18:16:08
It never ceases to amuse me when the Tory Nick Colbert and LibDem Tim Carroll decided to have a public display of who can out do the other with facts and submissions. It's the classic 'Blame' game and I'm sorry to tell Wincanton Windows readers if you go an elect these characters back into office as your District Councillors you will get more of the same over the next four years. I sure hope I don't have to come back on this site and say I did warn you so! You see the Problem here is not whether the LibDems are pushing more homes on Wincanton or whether The Tories are the local Hero's who want to restrict William Hopkins development plans....No, it's a lot deeper than that, it's comes direct from Central Government, it's this out going Coalition (Remember that) Government that through the Housing Minister who have the final say. The 'Local Plan' has only been agreed recently even then the 'Blame game' was used by both sides. That should have been in place ages ago. The C.R.E Campaign for Rural England estimate that over 219,000 new homes will be built on 'Green field' sites, many far superior quality Farmland than that of Dancing Lane. Labour are committed to building 200,000 and the Tories claim they will match this. They will need to be built somewhere? Only a few weeks ago thousands gathered at Westminster Hall in protest about the lack of affordable housing both to buy and even now to rent. Whatever Nick Colbert or Tim Carroll argue the fact remains new homes will be built in Wincanton as other areas of Somerset. The real question is that they should be a priority for those who live here, period. 'Brown field' sites should be the priority but they need to be made safe from contamination. Of course the one aspect neither the Tories or LibDems don't mention is that we have a growing population and faced with a huge influx of Immigration especially from Eastern E.U. countries, this is placing a huge burden on Housing, schools, health care and taking up all semi/unskilled employment in the Town. We need to Stop the blame game and work for the best interest of Wincanton Town and it's residents. If you agree don't vote for either Tory or LibDem or you endorse the 'Blame Game'
Last Edit: April 21, 2015, 20:08:56 by UKIPcandidate  
Nick Colbert
Posts: 5
Reply #6 on : Wed April 22, 2015, 08:42:53
Ahh a UKIP candidate who dosn't give his/her name has logged in to blame us for blaming each other.

Whoever this person is has clearly never read or heard me say countless times that our net population has increased by 5,000,000 over the last 6 years which means that to house the growing population, caused mainly by immigration, the number of new dwellings that have to be built at 2.1 persons per household equates to 2.35 million houses and for every 1 million we allow our population to grow thereafter we need a further 475,000 dwellings built.

I view this as unsustainable and would like us to reinstate our border controls by whatever means it takes, including leaving the EU. Sadly that is way above the responsibilities of a District Councillor.

However our immediate problem is stopping the Lib/dem District Council who are supporting all these applications on good quality farmland and in inappropriate locations.

I have been very active in stopping inappropriate development and in influencing the Inspector at the 6 day local plan hearing with regard to Wincanton, securing an opinion from him that he sees no need for further housing in Wincanton for 3 years, funnily enough I didn't see a single UKIP representative taking an interest even though the public were invited to participate, there were representatives from the Conservatives, Labour and Lib/dem parties attempting to influence the Plan that dictates our area with regard to development up until 2028. The Lib/dems pressing for very high housing growth, the Conservatives for less. I guess there's an election on now and some people want to make it look as if they have been involved.
Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 09:02:51 by Nick Colbert  
Posts: 4
Blame game continues!
Reply #7 on : Wed April 22, 2015, 15:46:55
Sorry Nick, but you conveniently forgot to mention Roger Clark, UKIP, who held a meeting locally on the Housing concerns well before the 'Wincanton in Crisis' march earlier this year, so please quit the Tory 'cape crusader' bit that you and your side kick Colin Winder are the salvation to what happens to Wincanton as a Town. You like Tim Carroll and Colin winder as District Councillors have the privilege of senior Officers for guidance and advise that we simple Town folk are not privy too. Again you go back to blaming Tim Carroll and the LibDems, yet the Tories were at six and sevens over supporting the current 'Local Plan' and again even if the Tories win a majority of seats on the 8th May, nothing, I repeat nothing will change. If we have Cameron back it will be more of the same and if Miliband is there expect a lot more new homes on 'Green field' sites. Central Government pull the strings so you and Colin winder should stop the blame game and be more sincere to the Electors on what is achievable. Interestingly it would appear that one of your biggest Party Supporters is a major player with some of the very plans you seek to stop. It hasn't gone un-noticed by the large Vote Conservative signs around the town! Your confrontational attitude and arrogance as shown at the hustings at the Sweetman Hall the other Wednesday is well known Nick, like that of Mr Winder, this is not what voters expect, they want and expect local Politicians to work for the interest of the Towns Council taxpayers not in the interest of their Political allegiance and point scoring against their opponents. Yes, there is an Election on and no one here in UKIP is attempting to claim any involvement to date, but as we still have a democracy we still do have free speech and the right to an opinion. Sadly you and your colleague Mr Winder seem to assert that only the Tories have all the right answers and no one else has a clue....Maybe, just maybe you might be in for a shock in a couple of weeks!
Nick Colbert
Posts: 5
Roll on May
Reply #8 on : Wed April 22, 2015, 17:37:01
It should be an interesting election, I trust Wincanton peoples judgement when choosing who they want to fight for the towns interests.

When you find yourself in a District Council that takes Wincanton peoples money and spends it in Yeovil, a District Council that endorses building on top quality farmland behind Dancing Lane and behind Wincanton Community hospital and a District Council that doesn't act on eyesores in parts of the town where it has powers to act it might be that a confrontational and pushy attitude is helpful because if you don't confront these issues and fight against them then nothing is done and Wincanton suffers.

If we run the Council after May we will be in a position to change the way the market towns are discriminated against and that will benefit Wincanton hugely, roll on May.

I just hope we don't nationally end up with the Scots Nats being the tail that wags the dog at England's expense.
Last Edit: April 22, 2015, 17:55:27 by Nick Colbert  
Posts: 4
The Election!
Reply #9 on : Thu April 23, 2015, 16:29:47
I totally agree, the people of Wincanton should be the ones who decide who they want to serve them as councillors for the next four years. I agree too that I believe it's been a political decision of the out going LibDems to funnel section 106 agreement monies into Yeovil's coffers at the expense of benefiting the residents of Wincanton. I am in receipt of both the Conservative and LibDem election address for the District Elections. Curious about the £10,000 extra funding for High street improvements that you secured Nick! did I blink? what improvements in the High Street? The old Co-op and Green Dragon remain eye sores, now the White Horse has gone....Seems to me the Planners and developers have concentrated too much on the West end of the Town and catering for those using the A303 who don't stop and spend money here but head off down to Devon and beyond. Any future A303 improvements need to benefit the Town in General and it's residents. I see the Dynamic duo of Carroll and Denton are not beyond playing the 'Blame game' too...this time attacking the Tory run County Council. Boring Tim and Sarah, negative, this is why 19 million people failed to vote at the last G.E. they are tired of this rubbish and want action not hollow words....See Nick I don't just pick on you :-)
Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 16:31:28 by UKIPcandidate  
Nick Colbert
Posts: 5
Reply #10 on : Thu April 23, 2015, 17:32:44
Well Mr/Mrs unnamed UKIP nothing curious about the £10,000 extra funding I secured for High Street improvements in Wincanton, it is helping many of our shop and pub frontages get tidied up so when other new business's look at our High Street they see a prosperous town that makes them want to invest here. We have awarded grants to quite a few business's whose appearance is much better than it was. We allow up to 50% of the cost and the additional money is making a difference.

You must have noticed the scaffolding up at quite a few places and if you walk around the town you will see it is much more attractive than it was.

I could have applied for a grant for my own place but chose to fund it myself, what a saint.
Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 17:43:41 by Nick Colbert  
Posts: 4
Reply #11 on : Thu April 23, 2015, 18:09:11
Seriously Nick? You think that the Current High Street looks attractive enough? If you read page 7 of this weeks WestGaz, UKIP & Town Council candidate, Mark Vallance, is quoted mentioning the state of the High Street, Green Dragon, closing of the White Horse. The only scaffolding I see is Roof work being done, not shop frontages. In fact I would like to know exactly which shops in the High Street have benefited from this £10,000 funding you are claiming benefit High Street shops. Actually any shop trader was able to apply to S.S.D.C to get a grant for shop frontage improvements, providing they obtained three independent quotes. But I now understand this could be under threat due to cut backs! I know that Andrew Barclay Butchers paid their own, as did the Lunch Box. Think Alleycuts Hairdressers paid their own. So who are we referring to? The State of the old Co-op site, Green dragon and general drab appearance of the High Street simply is not attractive. Sorry Nick, I think you and Colin Winder like to claim credit but sadly facts suggest very little has improved in the past four years we've had Tory Councillors, time for change in two weeks some thing different from the Tory/LibDem Blame gang!
Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 18:10:06 by UKIPcandidate  
Nick Colbert
Posts: 5
Reply #12 on : Fri April 24, 2015, 12:59:58
I suspect you are doing your party harm by coming onto Wincanton Window in a cowardly anonymous way and making unfounded accusations.

Please, if you have the courage of your convictions, sign in in your real name, but be careful what you say and the unfounded insinuations you make.

If you want to check the facts go to the minutes of the Area East Committee meeting in July 2014 where you will see the £10,000 top up to support Wincanton business's through the Retail Support Inititave was agreed, its on the SSDC website.

This was additional money I agreed with one of the officers at Churchfields and passed with the goodwill of my colleagues.

I know the business's that have applied for the grant monies and had work done but I am not going to publish their names and the fact they applied for grants on a public website.

However you can telephone SSDC on 01935 462462 and ask for an Area East Development Officer and they will be able to confirm this to you.

Then you can come back on Wincanton Window in your real name and apologise to me like any decent person would.
Last Edit: April 24, 2015, 13:01:39 by Nick Colbert  

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