Step forward for plan to build 250 homes on former green belt between Keynsham and Saltford

Published on: 04 Mar 2016

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March 2016

A bid to build hundreds of homes on former green-belt land between Keynsham and Saltford has been submitted to Bath and North East Somerset Council.

At the time of going to press, the outline application for 250 homes to the east of the town had not yet been published online by council officers but developer Mactaggart and Mickel told Keynshamvoice a number of changes had been made to the masterplan following a well-attended public consultation event in December.

Revisions included changing the location of green spaces and some minor tweaks to the internal road layout, but no changes to the planned two traffic light-controlled junctions onto the A4 or to the A4 itself, the developer confirmed. 

A spokesperson said: “Further to the consultation, we have taken on board the extensive comments made by the public and as a result changes have been made to the masterplan relating to the siting of open space, amenity/viewing areas, landscaping and roads. 

“The revised masterplan, together with full supporting technical information should be available to view on the B&NES website in the next week or so.” 

The 250 homes and a primary school form the first phase of the developer’s plan, with the development adjoining existing communities at Ellsbridge Close and Teviot Road, as well as Manor Road Community Woodland. The wider masterplan for the site includes another 250 homes that could be built in a second phase, a woodland visitor centre, green spaces, sports pitches and a wetland park among other features. 

Members of the public will be able to comment on the plans when they are published in the next few days, but some residents have already approached Bath and North East Somerset Council in a bid to halt the scheme, which they say has overlooked the rights of existing residents according to national planning policy.

Members of the Friends of Breaches Gate, which was set up to try to prevent the land losing its green-belt status as part of the council’s core strategy process in 2014, have said they want a Stop Notice issued to prevent the development moving forward before their concerns have been addressed.

They say there will be a loss of amenity to local residents who have used the land for generations for recreation, that they should have the opportunity to nominate the site as Local Green Space, and that the new scheme doesn’t take into account local character of existing homes that look out over the land or the development’s visual impact.

The group also raises concerns over the sustainability of the site and its effects on traffic and air pollution, with a spokesperson adding: “Currently, without the extra homes proposed, the A4 is already at gridlock in the mornings and evenings. Add to that what is the equivalent of a small town all trying to access the A4 at the same periods and it is clear air quality would suffer just at the time when children are walking to school.

"The burden of proof is for the builders to show that their proposed development is sustainable and does not represent a future threat to health and safety in terms of air quality.”

A council spokesperson said, however, that the allocation of the site for development followed a detailed independent examination held before a government inspector and that residents had the opportunity to engage in the examination.

The spokesperson said: “The council has ensured further opportunity for local communities to be involved in the detailed planning of this site through the requirements that the developer must prepare a masterplan with public consultation. Mactaggart & Mickel have now prepared a draft masterplan and it is this masterplan which has recently been the subject of public consultation. Therefore, Mactaggart & Mickel have been undertaking work that accords with the process set out in the core strategy.”

They added: “Consideration of the masterplan by the council and determination of any subsequent planning application(s) will provide the opportunity for the council to consider the issues raised and whether the proposal meets the requirements set out in the core strategy. 

“As no development has taken place at the present time, there has been no breach of planning control and, therefore, there is no basis for considering taking enforcement action against Mactaggart & Mickel.

“The council has provided opportunity for communities to nominate land for designation as Local Green Space in the area through the preparation of the Placemaking Plan. There is a clear process for considering Local Green Space nominations through the Placemaking Plan, including examination before a government planning inspector later this year.”

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