Residents voice anger at bid for 2,000 homes in north Bristol
PEOPLE living on Bristol's northern fringe have told planners – don't build a 2,000-home estate on our doorstep.
The new development – currently known as East of Harry Stoke – is in South Gloucestershire Council's planning blueprint, which aims to help it meet its housing targets for the next decade and beyond.
But residents of nearby Stoke Gifford say they have been kept in the dark about the plans – and feel that too much new housing is being focussed in the north Bristol area.
At an often heated meeting at Little Stoke Community Hall yesterday, about 60 people turned out to make their feelings known to council officials.
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They said the development would add to traffic congestion, air pollution, noise, flooding, sewerage problems and loss of greenbelt land and wildlife.
On Monday The Post reported that householders living around Hambrook Lane had formed an action group to fight the scheme, which would also include some business development, on green belt land between UWE and Winterbourne Road. Yesterday's meeting was called by the group.
Although intended for council officers Patrick Conroy and Donna Windham to answer previously written questions only, many people in the audience could not hold back, with fierce debate breaking out.
At one point Mr Conroy, the council's strategic planning adviser, told chair of the meeting David Bradshaw: "We either come here in good faith to try and explain or we are ridiculed from the floor – you cannot have it both ways."
But despite Mr Conroy's protestations, some people left the 75 minute meeting feeling they had not been given proper answers to their questions.
Martyn Mitchell, 66, of Highfields Close, off Hambrook Way, said: "They talk about having methods of easing congestion but we already choose to walk to Sainsbury's rather than drive."
Lesley Cox, who lives in Stoke Gifford, said: "You could drive a coach and horses through nearly every sentence (the council said)."
Chris Carpenter, 63, of Hambrook Lane, said: "They just fell back on policy all the time. In my view the development will go ahead whatever they or we say."
Responding to a question regarding why so many homes were being built on land in north Bristol, Mr Conroy said the area had high employment opportunities, adding that areas like Frampton Cotterell, Winterbourne and Coalpit Heath did not, so were not deemed suitable for development.
Mr Conroy said claims the proposed development land was flood plain were incorrect, saying a "vast majority" of it was not according to the Environment Agency.
He also said any traffic issues would have to be continually addressed.
Steve Bassett, 45, of Hambrook Lane, told him: "I appreciate that you have come here and sat there to be shot at but we need the council to listen to our views. You can see the level of feeling and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
"I hope you can take that message back to the council offices."
However, after the meeting Dr Nicola Hembry, leader of the new Hambrook Action Group, said she was pleased to start interacting with the council.
"I feel encouraged because it is the beginning of a dialogue," she said.
"I want to work with the council so we can have some influence."
Dr Hembry said she was looking to set another meeting for residents to identify issues.