Village of Whitchurch could be swamped by Bristol if 300 new homes are built on greenbelt corridor
A PLAN to build nearly 300 new homes on the edge of Bristol would destroy the greenbelt corridor between Whitchurch and Stockwood, according to the city's planning officers.
They are urging councillors to recommend refusal for the scheme submitted by developers Robert Hitchens Ltd on land off Staunton Lane.
The site lies over the border in Bath and North East Somerset which means city councillors can only pass on their observations. The planning decision will be made by councillors from Bath and North East Somerset.
In a report to a Bristol council meeting on Wednesday, planning officers say the main cause of concern is "the in-filling of the rural break between Whitchurch village and Stockwood to the north".
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They say: "This would have a significant negative impact on the distinctive character and identity of Whitchurch village as a separate historical entity."
The report also explains the traffic impact of what is described as a "car-dependent" scheme.
It points out that there is already significant queuing at key junctions in the area, particularly the traffic light junction where Staunton Lane meets the busy A37.
It says: "The layout (of the plan) would result in a cul-de-sac development that is car-dependent in nature. Access is limited to two vehicular routes off Stockwood Lane and several pedestrian links to surrounding streets.
"Stockwood Lane does not offer an attractive walking or cycling link and other footpaths are not overlooked and do not therefore offer a realistic alternative to car use."
Bath and North East Somerset councillors turned down the original homes plan which led to an appeal being lodged but later withdrawn.
A new application was submitted in October last year which has yet to be decided. It includes up to 295 one to five-bed houses, access roads, open space, allotments and landscaping.
In the meantime, a planning inspector has raised concerns over the number of new homes in the council's area and where they should be built.
This has led to Bath and North East Somerset 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 for 200 homes – where they could be built.
The proposal will be put before the planning inspector when he continues with his public examination in June or July.
Comments can be made by visiting the council's website at Banes core strategy website.