Have say on 500-home masterplan for former green belt east of Keynsham

January 06 2016
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Residents got their first look at plans for hundreds of new homes on land to the east of Keynsham – and developers got their first insight into the strength of feeling among residents over losing the former green-belt fields.

January 2016

Residents got their first look at plans for hundreds of new homes on land to the east of Keynsham – and developers got their first insight into the strength of feeling among residents over losing the former green-belt fields.

The vision for 500 houses and a primary school, with a woodland visitor centre, green spaces, sports pitches and a wetland park among other features, was revealed to the public at a consultation event on December 15 at the Community Space.

The land was earmarked for housing in Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Core Strategy and removed from the green belt in 2014, and now developer Mactaggart and Mickel is drawing up a masterplan for the 12.6 hectare site – and asking for public feedback – before submitting an application for the first phase of development, comprising 250 homes and the primary school.

With the proposed new homes adjoining existing communities at Ellsbridge Close and Teviot Road, as well as Manor Road Community Woodland, the public exhibition was very busy, with residents asking plenty of questions of the developer’s representatives.

One issue at the top of the agenda was vehicle access to the site, which plans showed would be off the A4 Bath Road, with two light-controlled junctions leading onto the existing road system.

While welcoming the inclusion of a primary school, some residents queried whether there would be provision for nursery and secondary-age children, while many asked about flood measures planned for the site.

One concerned Ellsbridge Close resident said: “It’s the effect on the community as a whole that worries me as it’s going to grow so substantially. My big concern is the road system, it’s hard trying to leave Ellsbridge Close at 7.45am and now they could be adding another 1,000 cars. Every corner of Keynsham is now being developed and I don’t think we have the infrastructure.”

Bob Elcome-Thorpe, a Teviot Road resident who helped set up the Friends of Breaches Gate group in 2014 in a bid to prevent the land being taken out of the green belt, said he felt there was no compromise being made by developers with existing residents.

He said: “This is for profit, it’s not a gift to the community, let’s not dress it up any other way. Everyone accepts the need for development but this is too much in too small a space.

“The school is a great start but it needs a doctor’s, a pharmacy, a nursery, which are not unreasonable things to ask for. And they’re not going to do anything to the existing roads, just encourage people not to use cars – it’s laughable.”

The developer is still welcoming comments on the proposals so far before an application is submitted, with residents invited to respond until Friday, January 15.

Louise Seaman, land manager at Mactaggart & Mickel Homes, said: “Given the time of year, we were pleased with the high attendance at the public exhibition for the planning proposals for East Keynsham.

“The first phase of the development will comprise 250 homes, a new primary school and a variety of communal open spaces. There were a number of useful observations from local attendees and we will be revisiting the masterplan layout to explore different possibilities for open spaces and green planting.

“The land at East Keynsham was formally identified as part of a mixed use allocation in B&NES Core Strategy and this exhibition marked the next step prior to a formal planning application.

“One of the main concerns at the consultation was the possibility of additional traffic on the A4 Bath Road. B&NES has completed an extensive highway modelling on the site before confirming its formal allocation and I can confirm that current proposals involve additional traffic light junctions to manage this.

“A large number of comments also referred to potential flooding and we have fully outlined our strategy for creating flood storage areas as part of a scheme to mitigate the impact of rainfall in the event of high rain.”

All information on show at the public exhibition is available at www.macmicgroup.co.uk/land/england/east-keynsham/ or by emailing eastkeynsham@macmic.co.uk. Comments can be emailed, submitted at the same web address or sent to Mactaggart and Mickel, PO Box 1224, Bristol, BS40 8WD.