Scheme for 300 homes on greenbelt dismissed
A PLAN to build almost 300 new homes on the edge of Bristol in the greenbelt corridor between Whitchurch and Stockwood should be thrown out, city councillors say.
The site off Staunton Lane lies over Bristol's boundary with neighbouring Bath & North East Somerset, which will make the final decision as to whether developers Robert Hitchens Ltd should be given planning permission.
But city councillors were asked for their observations on the scheme.
At a meeting of the city's south and east area planning committee yesterday, they unanimously voted to oppose the scheme.
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Many agreed with the objections raised by council planning officers, including the negative effect on the greenbelt, including the in-filling of the rural gap between Stockwood and Whitchurch village and the negative traffic impact on Bristol roads.
Chris Windows (Con, Henbury) pointed out that the scheme was not the only planning application on the city's borders that councillors had recently been asked to give comment on.
Last week the city's north are planning committee was asked to consider a scheme to build 1,100 homes on land next to Filton Airfield.
That application, which will eventually be determined by South Gloucestershire Council, was also unanimously opposed by city councillors due to the negative impact they said it would have on Bristol.
Mr Windows said: "There is something inherently wrong with the local authorities near Bristol, that often don't want to be considered part of Bristol, wanting to site developments right on our border.
"It's going to make life very difficult for people in Bristol."
Mark Wright (Lib Dem, Cabot) said: "This green belt land is the worst place for neighbouring authorities to develop.
"There is no public transport, no train stations and no employment potential anywhere near it.
"All of the 300 families will be car commuters into Bristol."
Labour group leader Helen Holland (Whitchurch Park) said: "It's very hard to find anything positive about this scheme – it's in the wrong place and of the wrong design.
"Many of the new residents will not use the A37, but use shortcuts through Whitchurch Lane – many going past my constituents' houses.
"The other big reason to reject it is that B&NES council is currently working on its core strategy and this big application has been put in before it is agreed – it's premature."
B&NES councillors originally turned down a similar planning application in 2011, which led to an appeal being lodged but later withdrawn.
A new application was submitted in October last year but it has yet to be decided.
It includes up to 295 one to five-bedroom houses, access roads, open space, allotments and landscaping.
In the meantime, a planning inspector has raised concerns over the number of new homes in B&NES area and where they should be built.
This has led to councillors proposing to increase the number of new homes from 11,500 to 12,700 between 2011 and 2029.
It has identified seven sites – including land at Whitchurch – where they could be built.
The proposal will be put before a planning inspector when he continues with his public examination of the council's planning strategy blueprint in June or July.