Questions for the Church Commissioners’ agents concerning development plans for land off Roughmoor Lane

By now all villagers should have received a leaflet notification from Lichfields, the consultancy acting for the Church Commissioners on their proposals for new housing in the field to the South of Roughmoor Lane. This consultation will run from 12 to 26 January with an on-line presentation and opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions in person on 20 January from 5pm. This will be on Zoom and a link will be made available. On the website, which should be live from 11 Jan, you will find a short questionnaire which they would like you to complete, but there is also space to include your own opinions. Those residents without internet access will be sent a hard copy of the information on the website, but because of the Church Commissioners’ interpretation of Covid restrictions the live consultation will be on Zoom only. All written comments will be taken into account, so do urge all your neighbours to write in. There is a postal address on the leaflet.
This consultation is being organised at the preplanning stage so it should influence what the Commissioners put forward for outline planning permission to the Mendip planners in February. This is your first chance to challenge and influence the plans so do take advantage. Your Parish Council, informed by all of you, will then have an opportunity to comment formally at this second stage. If outline planning permission is granted, the Commissioners will then sell on the site to a developer who will come back with more detailed plans which again will be subject to Parish and District comment. (Third stage) These may well be substantially different from the original proposals. So this is the first, but not the last opportunity to comment on the largest housing development proposal in Westbury for many years, if not ever.
The Parish Council wants to encourage a high level of engagement with this consultation throughout, but does not want to influence your responses in any way. To help you think about this, here are a series of questions which you may wish to consider when formulating your thoughts. And, of course, you will have your own questions too. Don’t hold back. Some people are asking for a village discussion meeting in the village hall. Please let us know if you would like us to organise this.
We would also be grateful if you would share your comments and opinions with your council so we can represent your views as fully as possible at each stage of the consultation.
• Are the number of houses suggested about right/too many/too few?
• What do you think about the proposed layout and street pattern?
• What mix of housing ( full market price ,affordable (85% of full price), social(for subsidised rent)) would you like to see?
• What size mix (1 to 5 bedroom) should there be?
• Do you have an opinion of how many storeys and what mix would be suitable – e.g. two storey, three storey, bungalows, apartments?
• What size gardens would be suitable- and for which houses?
• Is the car parking provision clear and adequate?
• What sort of materials and design standards would you want to see?
• Bearing in mind that Westbury is a dark skies village, what street lighting, if any, would be acceptable?
• Views from the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) are considered to be an important aspect of local conservation. What can be done to protect the view from above?
• Is there enough green space included in the plans?
• What other suggestions could you make to maintain the rural nature of the setting?
• Is the suggested community space in the right place?
• Is it the right size?
• Where else might you want to see it?
• What uses for this community space would be your priority?
• What do you think about the suggested change of road layout?
• What do you think of the suggested new foot and cycle paths and links?

Sue Isherwood
Chair Westbury-sub-Mendip Parish Council
01749 870457

4 replies
  1. Alistair Hood
    Alistair Hood says:

    Thoughts on the proposed development off Roughmoor Lane.

    The number of houses is very high a I am surprised that the road layout is as proposed and the exit onto Stoke road is not moved further west out of the village to decrease the impact on traffic and those living near the junction. The proposal will add increased pressure on the road junction with Stoke Road, there is already a build up of traffic with both cars and agricultural vehicles. The increase of traffic will cause bunching and idling traffic around this narrow junction. There is a lot of traffic on this road and adding more onto what is a single car width seems dangerous in terms of pollution and collisions.

    The buildings should be of a similar construction / appearance to existing houses in the village as they will have a significant visual impact and if more than 2 storeys have a very detrimental effect on those living near them. The materials and design of the estate is critical to it becoming part of the village. It must not be red brick or cheaply rendered. It must maintain the character of the village with a stone construction or cladding.

    Open green space must me maintained to stop the estate feeling separate from the rest of the village and to tie it in visually. The fewest number of houses with the largest green spaces around them would be ideal.

    It is very unclear on the plan where car parking for the houses is planned. If this is not adequate it will spill out onto the already busy main road.

    To light up Westbury-sub-Mendip like a motorway would be to destroy its charm and its dark sky status. I would not like to see any additional lighting on the new development as this would add unwanted light pollution and seems and unwanted waste of energy. If it were essential to have some lighting it would have to be discreet low level lighting below waist high to light footpaths only.

  2. Ian Harvey
    Ian Harvey says:

    The site borders on to a significant village conservation area so it is extremely important this planned development does not degrade or conflict with the historic features of the village.

    The number of houses proposed is far too high for a village the size of Westbury sub Mendip and in my opinion should be reduced to a maximum not exceeding 30 and not above 2 storeys.

    I notice from the photo a clear red line covering the top end of the land proposed. Is it the intention of the Church Commissioners at a later date to sell the remaining part of the field for more housing??

    Do we really want to see what is happening in Wells and Cheddar? Please do not destroy our village.

  3. John Field
    John Field says:

    John Fieldsays:
    January 22, 2022 at 11:31 am
    Response to the Consultation for The Church Commissioners Proposal for Roughmoor Lane.

    Having spent time reading the various comments and suggestions from many of our residents within the friendly Village of Westbury-sub-Mendip I can truthfully say that I concur with the majority of points itemised.

    I have lived in the Village for just over 40 years with my wife and we have brought up 2 children.

    However we cannot stop progress and yes we are very lucky to have a Village Shop, a Village School, a Church and a Pub with a Restaurant but there has to be an equal balance to enable these establishments to continue trading.
    It will be so important to ensure that the right number of houses are built with adequate Parking and Safe Access and that great attention is taken as to the style of houses with adequate Drainage and Sewerage together with Play Facilities, Open Spaces and due ​consideration to Wildlife.

    It is imperative that an Open meeting is held in the Village Hall where questions can be asked and hopefully answered.

    We need to give everyone the opportunity to attend in person whereas Zoom meetings will cause a problem to many who will wish to be heard and want to join in an Open Debate.

    I look forward to meeting the Panel at an open meeting where many of our grievances will be discussed and hopefully answered.

    John Field
    President of The Westbury Friendly Society


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