Council has 'given away our countryside' in Keynsham
Published on: 08 Aug 2014
Large areas of countryside on the edges of Keynsham will lose their green-belt status despite a campaign to protect it and the town’s councillors opposing the move.
At a meeting on July 10, Bath and North East Somerset Council voted to adopt its core strategy, the document that sets out development across the district for the next 15 years.
The decision means land to the south of Keynsham will be removed from the green belt to allow up to 200 homes to be built on it, while land to the east, called Breaches Gate by residents, has been earmarked for up to 250 homes.
At the council debate, representatives from the Friends of Breaches Gate Green Belt presented councillors with more than 250 letters of objection from neighbours gathered in just three days.
Member Bob Elcome-Thorpe said if the vote went in favour of the strategy, the council would be “remembered for generations to come as the council that gave away our countryside”.
Following the result, which saw 40 councillors vote in favour and 21 against, Councillor Marie Longstaff (Cons, Keynsham East) said: “Protection of the green belt surrounding Keynsham has been a strong matter of principle for us for many years, and so Councillor Organ and I are deeply disappointed that this land has now been earmarked by the council for development.
"The green fields to the east of Keynsham are a totally inappropriate place for new housing, and will simply add yet more traffic to the already congested A4.”
Saltford councillor Mathew Blankley (Cons) said: “Earmarking this land for new housing development is just another step towards our communities being merged into one large conurbation along the A4.”