Charity pulls out of Somerdale nature reserve plan over funding

Published on: 04 Oct 2014

A wildlife charity has withdrawn from plans to create a nature reserve at the Somerdale site, because of a lack of “any significant financial support from Taylor Wimpey”.

Avon Wildlife Trust had been in talks for a year with the developer about transforming a 2km area of riverbank, but a statement on its website reveals that the charity pulled out of discussions.

The group said it had hoped to replicate a succesful reserve at Portbury Wharf near Portishead, where land was set aside alongside a development of 2,600 homes.

The statement continued: “Having been approached to be named in the planning application, the trust are extremely disappointed at the lost opportunity of the Somerdale development and would encourage Bath and North East Somerset Council and local communities to ensure that ecological enhancements promised for the site are delivered.”

Taylor Wimpey, which is building up to 700 homes at Somerdale, declined to respond to the statement, but a spokesperson said the developer was offering community or environmental groups the opportunity to put themselves forward to manage the land.

A £25,000 grant has also been made available for the establishment and ongoing management of the land.

Keith Simmons, managing director of Taylor Wimpey Bristol, said: “This really is a unique opportunity for a group with an interest in the local community and the environment to create a fantastic new area of public green space for the whole of Keynsham to enjoy.

“We were working with a particular organisation for the management of this land, but the organisation concerned has now withdrawn its interest in the site.

“We have therefore taken the decision to open up this opportunity to the wider community in the hope that someone will come forward with their own ideas about how the land can be preserved for the benefit of future generations.”

Anyone interested in putting forward proposals for the site can contact Somerdale project director Adrian Slade by emailing or by writing to Taylor Wimpey Bristol, 600 Park Avenue, Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4SD.

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