Traffic fears over plan for 70 homes in Keynsham

January 29 2022
Traffic fears over plan for 70 homes in Keynsham

PLANS to build 70 homes on a site in Keynsham have sparked opposition from residents.

Taylor Wimpey UK wants to build the properties on a field behind Minsmere Road, bordering Hygge Park and the Chandag estate.

Its outline planning application to Bath and North East Somerset Council includes access for vehicles and pedestrians onto Minsmere Road, public open space, tree planting and habitat creation.

But more than 200 residents have registered their objections, voicing concerns about extra traffic and the loss of green space.

Keynsham Town Council and Saltford Parish Council are also opposed to the scheme. In their consultation response, both councils said the scheme went against the Prime Minister’s statement that new homes should be built on brown-field sites, not green-field ones.

They also said that “no planning permission should be considered for safeguarded Green Belt land before the Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU) Public Examination outcome has been determined.”

The town council stated: “Keynsham’s overdevelopment, especially in the Keynsham East area (with proposals for further extensive development in Keynsham North) is already causing regular traffic gridlock on the town’s main and side roads during commuting hours, which will only be exacerbated by this proposed development without serious upfront infrastructure improvements to alleviate this issue.”

Saltford Parish Council said traffic gridlock caused by the “over-development of Keynsham” already overspilled through Saltford on the A4 Bath Road and the country lanes between the two communities.

“That problem of insufficient road capacity needs to be rectified before any further new housing developments are considered at Keynsham East or Keynsham and the surrounding area.”

Both councils call for new public parks rather than “small, grassed areas with a few trees” to accompany new housing developments.

The town council also added there was considerable concern about the “potential impact on the adjacent Manor Road Community Woodland.”

 Among those who have lodged objections is Liz Barling, who writes the ‘Changing for the Better’ column for the Voice.

She wrote: “The lack of transport and other infrastructure, the additional pressure on local roads and green spaces and the associated increases in pollution and road-based dangers to pedestrians and cyclists, and the fact that Taylor Wimpey has made no attempt to make the development sustainable in any way (e.g. encouraging fewer cars by providing fewer parking spaces, including native planting within the development to create rich habitat corridors) lead me to object strongly to this application.”

Comments from other objectors included: “This application is another ‘nail in the coffin’ re the green belt that currently exists between Keynsham and Saltford.”

Another said: “We don’t have enough doctors or dentists to cope with the community we have, and the field is full of natural habitat for bats and owls.”

Another added: “We need to protect our green spaces.

“I believe this will be a great loss of woodland. These fields are used daily by so many people. Not only will it be destroying more wildlife but also ruining a lovely quiet neighbourhood.”

It was also suggested that Taylor Wimpey should consider gifting the site to the residents of Keynsham in protect the community woodland it adjoins.

One objector said: “Traffic congestion is already a huge issue in this area.

“An additional 70 homes, which could add upwards of 150 cars, would only make this problem much worse.”

In its design and access statement, Taylor Wimpey says the scheme would contribute to BANES’s housing need and provide a green environment that enhances biodiversity and ecology.

In a statement issued to the Voice, the company added: “Taylor Wimpey is bringing forward carefully designed proposals for 70 new high-quality homes for the land off Minsmere Road.

“This site was released from the Green Belt several years ago, is safeguarded for residential development and included in the emerging B&NES Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU).

“The proposals will deliver a range of benefits for local wildlife and balance the need for new homes and the climate and ecological emergencies declared by B&NES Council.

“Existing trees and hedgerows will be retained, with new native species planted to protect and attract wildlife.

“We are aware of the local bat population and our plans include a perimeter open space corridor with sensitive lighting included to minimise any impact on the bats whilst offering a set back from the edge of the Manor Road (LNR) Community Woodland.

“Throughout our consultation, we have engaged with a range of stakeholders, including the Friends of Manor Road Community Woodland, meeting the group on-site to discuss the plans in detail and take on board any concerns.

“Importantly, the woodland will be unaffected by our plans and the existing public right of way through the site will be kept and connected with other perimeter paths around the site.

“We want to play as major a role as we can in making a real difference to how people travel, and the site’s ideal location will encourage active travel.

“We will contribute to the significant sustainable transport upgrades around Keynsham that are in the process of coming forward.

“For more information on our proposals, visit our project webpage https://www.taylorwimpey.co.uk/new-homes/keynsham/minsmere-road.

Pubic consultation on the scheme has closed. B&NES Council has set a target decision date of March 15.