Housing scheme allowed despite school safety concerns

An appeal involving 61 dwellings opposite a Somerset school has been allowed despite widespread local concern being expressed about the impact of the traffic generated from the development on the safety of school children and on the workability of the surrounding narrow streets.

An inspector stated that while she appreciated that concern for the safety of children was paramount in the minds of local residents there was no absolutely safe amount of traffic generation except zero and an element of risk was unavoidable. The scheme involved redevelopment of a police station site and it was not in the wider interests of the town to leave such a large site unused or underused. The proposal would not have a materially adverse impact on the flow of traffic in the area and the inspector, after watching how the children arrived at and departed from the school, concluded that the proposal would not have a materially adverse effect on their safety. In addition, the proposed parking arrangements would not cause unacceptable pressure on the surrounding streets or affect highway safety.

The design and layout of the proposal would be in keeping with the broad character and appearance of the area and as it would be well separated from the adjacent conservation area it would preserve the character and appearance of that area. Whilst the site was proposed for employment uses in an emerging neighbourhood plan, this plan had not been subject to examination, so attracted limited weight. The contribution towards the provision of an additional nine places at the school would mitigate the effect of the proposal on the educational infrastructure of the area. Considerable weight was also given to the contribution that would be made to the area’s housing supply

Inspector: Jacqueline Wilkinson; Hearing

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