Anger as homes on Keynsham street's green 'haven' get go-ahead

Published on: 04 Sep 2015

A decision to allow an open space on a residential street in Keynsham to be turned into housing has been met with anger.

Keynsham Town Council’s planning committee initially supported an application to create two semi-detached houses on land between 86 and 88 Hurn Lane – a decision made in May before they had been made aware of a number of objections to the scheme sent to Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Residents attended the town council’s planning committee meeting on August 3 to raise concerns at the decision to support the proposal, and members agreed to withdraw their backing at the following full council meeting on August 18.

They have been accused of “shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted”, however, as the plans were passed by B&NES Council’s planning team at the end of July.

Andy Wait, one of nine objectors to the scheme, described the site as a haven for both residents and wildlife and said: “Did they [councillors] not appreciate or understand the importance of the amenity and recreation space on the estate?”

An application to “call in” the scheme by Keynsham councillor Bryan Organ to give B&NES’ planners and residents the chance to discuss the proposal before a decision was made was unsuccessful.

Mr Wait said: “I am appalled that none of the local objectors had any opportunity to express their concerns at a council meeting before the decision was made and that none of their objections have ever appeared on the B&NES website.”

Residents’ only option now if they wanted to fight the decision, he said, would be to mount a costly judicial review process.

Keynsham town councillors have voted to give their backing to any application to gain protected green space status for the site and said that their planning committee’s original decision to support the development scheme was based on the information available at the time.

The piece of land on Hurn Lane was initially designated a play area when the estate was constructed in the 1970s. It had been maintained by Keynsham Town Council until ownership reverted back to the developer last year.

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