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Protesters set to lose Shudrick Valley fight
1:46pm Wednesday 16th January 2013 in News
CAMPAIGNERS fighting housing development in Ilminster’s Shud-rick Valley claim they have been ‘ignored’ by planners.
Tomorrow (Thursday), South Somerset District Council will verify final proposals for the Local Plan, which will guide development across the district until 2028.
Despite a vigorous campaign by protesters, it looks as if 340 homes will be earmarked for the Shudrick Valley site.
Campaigners felt they were moving in the right direction when a public meeting was held over the proposals last July, but the council has made only one small change in its plans which, if agreed, will go to an inspector for final approval later this year.
When the plan initially went out to public consultation in October 2010, the council’s preferred direction of growth was in the Canal Way area of Ilminster, but the Save Shudrick Valley group was launched when that option changed in July 2011, without public consultation, to the south-east area of the town.
The group only found out about the change when the district council adopted the plan in April 2012.
A final public consultation was held a few months later and 293 comments were received, which included 232 against the Shudrick Valley proposals and calls for the planned development to be moved back to Canal Way.
Group spokesman Rob Drayton said: “That’s 80% of the comments, yet the district council has chosen to ignore us.”
Though the district council wants to go ahead with the Shudrick Valley plan, it has proposed to reduce the amount of land earmarked for development.
A council report said: “It was not the intention to develop land identified as landscape and accordingly it is proposed to reduce the direction of growth to exclude such sensitive land.”
But Mr Drayton said: “This makes no difference to our campaign. The development shouldn’t be in Shudrick Valley, but on the obvious Canal Way site.”