The final Town Council Planning Panel for this period of office was held today under the chairmanship of elder statesman Cllr John Turner and featured several items of interest to Westover residents.
King Square Outreach Centre proposal
First item was the proposal to turn 12 Kings Square into an outreach centre for St Margaret’s Hospice. The application had come to previous panel as a late item and was broadly supported with some reservations regarding installing a lift in an historic 18th century building. The panel were also aware that there was widespread support for St.Margarets and their bid to have a Bridgwater base. Westover councillor Brian Smedley said there were concerns from residents about the location “Whilst we want to support such a centre in Bridgwater we could do better for them rather than putting them on this site. King’s Square has poor traffic access, especially for ambulances or minibuses, with no drop off facility on the Square itself and the proposed rear access is a backstreet which has largely pedestrian usage. The building is listed and is in a conservation area which is also becoming increasingly more residential. There are better places for them to locate an outreach centre for users and residents alike.” The panel voted to add an addendum to their submission raising these concerns.
Backland development in North street
The planning bid for 3-7 North street has been before the Panel several times with variations and rejected each time. On this occasion a full ecological appraisal was submitted to back up an attempt to locate 3 dwellings to the rear of North street with access from Milton Place. Some members felt it was difficult to object to the proposal as it involved social housing on a brownfield site. Cllr Smedley said “Neighbours are concerned about backland development, overshadowing and poor traffic access and that needs to be reflected in our submission.” The Panel voted to object.
Licensing applications coming before the Panel for comment included an extension of opening hours at the Fountain Inn at West Quay where they wanted to open an hour earlier in the mornings as part of their quest to add a first floor restaurant, which was supported, a bid for extension of opening hours until 3am from International Food Centre of Binford place – which was opposed, and a licence for an all day street festival by the Bridgwater Art Centre on 4th July, which was supported.
Southern Access road
A further item flagged up at the meeting but not directly affecting Westover was the tentative steps towards the construction of the Colley Lane southern access road, which will lead from the Showground road junction on Taunton road, across the river and into Colley lane. The much heralded (barely progressed) project would see 840m of new carriageway, 4 new junctions, 2 new bridges (over canal and river) plus pedestrian and cyclist facility. Cllr Turner (Hamp) described it as “a move forward” however Cllr David Baker (Wyndham) was concerned that “It could cause problems at the Colley lane-Weston Zoyland road end for people trying to get through to East Bridgwater.”
Recommendations from the Town Planning Panel are submitted to the Sedgemoor District Council Development Control Committee where the final decision is made.