Two Action groups rip into proposals for
Garden village in Churchill 

Members of two residents groups – Churchill and Langford Residents Action Group, CALRAG  and Congresbury's CRAG– joined forces to rip into North Somerset Council’s proposals for a new “garden village.”


The Council’s plans were put to a meeting of the executive committee, chaired by Nigel Ashton, in a report submitted by committee vice-chair, Elfan Ap Rees.


Situated on land to the west of Congresbury, behind Mendip Spring Golf Club in Langford, the plans represent the council’s attempt to satisfy government-imposed housing needs up to 2036 with some 2,800 houses, and dual carriageway and a spur road coming out at 'Churchill Junction'.


But a three-pronged attack from Jan Murray, co-chair of CALRAG, Mary Short, chair of CRAG and co-chair of North Somerset Villages Alliance and Dr Robin Jeacocke co chair of CALRAG exposed deep flaws in council thinking.


Jan Murray began the assault, pointing out the anomaly of consulting on the Issues and Options Local Plan, before the Churchill site had been through the Public Examination process.


She quoted an inspector’s comment on the Essex Joint Strategic Plan who said that proposals for garden villages and Strategic Development Locations (SDLs) should not progress into a local plan until it had been demonstrated they are properly justified and realistically developable. “These proposals are neither,” said Jan.


 Mary Short questioned why the council had not addressed the alternative option of The Vale, a scheme to provide thousands of homes of land close to Bristol. “Why is the council proposing to roll back the Green Belt to accommodate the expansion of Bristol Airport but not even considering or consulting on The Vale.”


Academic Dr Jeacocke addressed the highways inadequacies of the council plan. “The proposed new motorway junction 21a cannot be implemented as you originally supposed, and so it cannot fulfil the function originally envisaged for it,” said Robin.


“Consequently, it has little chance of being implemented. Moreover, its associated housing projects will prove impossible to achieve without it.”