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Portland housing scheme rejected in favour of 'green gap'
COUNCILLORS stressed the importance of keeping a clear gap between villages on Portland as they threw out a proposed housing scheme.
Members of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s planning and traffic committee unanimously rejected an application from Betterment Properties to build 32 homes in a field off Reap Lane at Southwell.
Betterment, which applied for outline permission, says it is an ‘ideal site’ and that the development could be delivered within five years in a ‘sustainable location.’ More than 30 people wrote to the council objecting to the plan and the authority’s own officers urged the planning committee to refuse it, which they subsequently did.
The reasons for refusal include the fact the site is outside the development boundary in an ‘important open gap’, is of landscape importance, is close to underground stone reserves, and the houses would stand out in the environment and be widely visible.
Planning officer Chris Moscrop added there was a potential for archaeological finds under the site with latest results from a survey indicating a ‘modest’ building of Romano-British origin.
Councillor Margaret Leicester said there had been an increase in housing in the area over the years and said development had ‘already intruded into the open gap’ between Southwell and Weston.
“This would intrude into that gap even further,” she added.
Coun Leicester said Reap Lane should act as the ‘demarcation mark’ for Southwell so a clear gap remains between the next settlement.
Coun Paul Kimber agreed, saying it was important the council maintained the development boundary and kept a gap between Southwell and Weston.
He also said the site had important flora and fauna.
Coun Ian Roebuck said there was no point in councillors having a long discussion about the application as there were ‘so many reasons for refusal.’
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