VILLAGE residents say a council meeting where planning permission was granted for a new development was ‘a sham’.

Earlier this year, South Gloucestershire Council granted outline planning permission to Spitfire Bespoke Homes for 21 properties off Park Street in Hawkesbury Upton, near Old Sodbury.

This was met with huge opposition from residents with over 30 comments of dissent submitted on the council’s planning website.

Concerns raised by residents included damage to wildlife, low hanging telephone cables which could be hit, inappropriate roads for lorries, the planned access to the site being on a bridleway, and parking.

The site also falls within the AONB (area of natural beauty) and residents and councillors made it clear at a meeting in May 2018 that the development could cause ‘serious harm’ to the area.

A spokesman for Spitfire Bespoke Homes said the company ‘completely understand’ residents’ concerns, adding: “The site already has outline planning consent for 21 homes which was granted in 2018. Spitfire will look to encourage further community and neighbourhood consultation as the plans progress.”

However, some homeowners claim that the whole planning permission process was not carried out correctly.

“It felt as though the decision had been made before the meeting had even started,” one resident, Andrew Musty said. “It almost verged on being unlawful, the board knew that decision would be made and it felt as if they railroaded the decision.”

His thoughts were echoed by Roger Jones, who said: “At both committee hearings, members of the committee wanted to reject the application on grounds of access, and were seconded.

“However, at the first hearing, the chairwoman would not let them refuse it on grounds of access because the Highways report was satisfied with it, and at the second hearing she refused the application to be turned down on grounds of access, because it hadn’t been refused on grounds of access at the first hearing. Legal advice has told us that is incorrect.”

Emma Roberts, another resident, described the planning meeting as ‘a sham’.

However, a government ombudsman found that South Gloucestershire Council had not breached any regulations in granting the planning permission.

A spokesperson for South Gloucestershire Council said: “We have determined the applications presented to us for this site in accordance with planning law, with the outline planning consent being granted by Members of the Development Control Committee, in public, in 2018.

“On investigation the independent Ombudsman found no fault in the council’s handling of these applications.

“We are currently considering the latest application in relation to this development.

“A report, which will include the comments made by the public via our online planning portal, will be made available to Councillors in the coming weeks, who will be able to call the matter in for consideration by Committee if they are not satisfied that application meets the planning law requirements.”