Login Register

Fears houses could be built on green belt around Bath and north east Somerset

By Bath Chronicle  |  Posted: December 05, 2012

Sarah Bevan

Comments (0)

Developers could be allowed to build houses on green belt land around Bath and north east Somerset as a political row rages over the area’s planning blueprint.

The local authority has faced a struggle in getting its core strategy approved after a Government inspector questioned exactly how many new homes the district would need over the next 14 years.

Liberal Democrat-controlled Bath and North East Somerset Council is blaming the set back on the opposition Conservatives, who last year refused to pass a proposal for contingency housing sites.

The fact that B&NES does not have a core strategy at the moment, because the process has been paused while the housing situation is resolved, means there is a risk that new development in the green belt could be approved by a planning inspector.

Councillor Sarah Bevan (Lib Dem, Peasedown) said she was now concerned that her rural ward could be under threat and accused Tories of playing politics.

This week the Conservatives responded angrily to the Lib Dems’ accusations and pointed the finger of blame back at the ruling group.

Councillor Geoff Ward (Con, Bathavon North), the shadow cabinet member for homes and planning, said it was “plainly ludicrous” to suggest that Conservative councillors had put the green belt at risk.

Read more from Western Daily Press

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters
  • TeabagTerry  |  December 16 2012, 2:14PM

    Shock horror - there's a housing crisis in Bath and some irresponsible people might want to build houses in what are now fields. And - OH MY GOD - other people might even be able to actually see these houses - how revolting and inhumane!

    |   3
  • Viscount_V  |  December 08 2012, 10:35PM

    Southstoke. Newton St Loe. Who wrote them off as contingencies? Who are the ward councillors there? Who would have had to make unpopular decisions in these wards? Answer these and you may find out who really put others green belt at risk for votes."

    |   -3
  • BrookWhelan  |  December 08 2012, 10:21PM

    Hi '26sean', the lady I met from Peasedown earlier today put me in the picture regarding the housing pressures there. She knows the area very well and was very concerned about the prospect of even more houses being built. Up until today, I was not aware of any specific proposals for additional housing in Peasedown, and so I clearly hadn't done my homework on that one. Sorry! I fully agree that the Core Strategy needs to be adopted as quickly as possible, and I hope Councillors from all parties will work together to achieve this.

  • Viscount_V  |  December 08 2012, 10:10PM

    Labour voted against the proposal for housing at Hicks Gate Sean, the first piece of green belt land mooted for the Core Strategy. Hugely expensive infrastructure would have been required and Keynsham would have merged into Bristol. It would have involved the co-operation of Bristol who have plentiful ways of meeting their core requirements without splashing out on a greenbelt development at Hicks Gate to save Bath Lib Dems skins. This is all because the Liberals failed to plan ahead properly, (Ask Emerson) thought Labour Group would back them no matter what their personal beliefs were, and along with the Tories scrapped all previous, better thought out "contingencies" as soon as this rotten government cut the housing requirements put in place by Labour. People didn't want to be tagged on to Bristol, they wanted homes within their unitary authority. This is a bed entirely of the Lib Dem and Tory making, stop spitting feathers at us.... You only have to see the hash your lot have made of the travellers sites, no doubt that will be left to the next administration -ad infinitum. ConDems- both as bad as eachother. When you see democracy in action it's so alien that you fail to grasp the specifics of it, its only to be expected from an unelected pair of traitorous Parties hellbent on destroying all we hold dear nationally.

    |   -19
  • 26sean  |  December 08 2012, 9:24PM

    @BrookWhelan you are missing the point you said the Chronicle article is more about what Sarah is doing in her ward do you know what cllr's bevan and hartley are doing ? and yes approx 100 houses are mentioned for PSJ . The fact that B&NES does not have a core strategy at the moment, because the process has been paused while the housing situation is resolved, means there is a risk that new development in the green belt could be approved by a planning inspector. because the labour and the tories put a stop to it .

    |   1
  • BrookWhelan  |  December 08 2012, 5:36PM

    Hi '26sean', as it happens I met someone from Peasedown earlier today in Bath, and she has excellent knowledge of the area. In our very brief chat today, she confirmed that developers are already eyeing up various plots of land. I was unaware of the extent of it before today, so I do now recognise fully the problems facing Peasedown.

  • 26sean  |  December 08 2012, 11:56AM

    @BrookWhelan "Hi 'capndave', basically the Chronicle article is more about what Sarah is doing in her ward Wake up man and read the artical again, cllr laming is spot on with all his comments on this artical . Brook have you been to PSJ latley so see what cllr's hartley and bevan are doing? drop them an email im sure they will let you know what's going on http://tinyurl.com/c2voj5x

  • Viscount_V  |  December 08 2012, 9:29AM

    Let's not forget that the Hicks Gate land is in itself greenbelt. Whether the Liberal Democrats claim it was unlikely to be built on once approved is cold comfort for those who'd then be in "Bristol" and North East Somerset. The Duchy is desperate to build on NSL, a site that would not put city or town boundaries at risk. Villages expand, many are desperate to do so, cities are tacked onto and have been since dot for the purpose of housing the people. Let's not get hysterical about this, a little sensitivity and forethought would not have left Hicks Gate as the only option.. The so called "contingency plan did not meet democratic approval by a majority of elected representatives, that's democracy. I fully agree with the unfailingly "politically opportunistic" Lib Dems, that this issue is far too important for point scoring. Ironic then that Sarah Bevan is pictured above claiming Peasedown is under threat because of Tories playing "Party politics". For my own intrusion into the Tory/LibDem point scoring session in headlong progress at the moment, let's not forget whose government has given us a "Developers Charter" that will see mass building with scant few homes to benefit those who desperately need them.

    |   1
  • WillSandry  |  December 08 2012, 8:14AM

    My recollection of the meeting is as follows… As Councillors, we were being asked to approve the Core Planning Strategy for Bath and North East Somerset. The advice from our Council Officers was that we needed to include a contingency housing area around Hicks Gate. This land was presented with an additional lock – it needed Bristol City Council to also approve development in its contingency land at Hicks Gate (about half the land there is in the Bristol authority area). This meant that the Hicks Gate land was the least likely of all B&NES development sites identified to be built on. Therefore it was quite correctly called contingency land. During the debate Cllr Tim Ball (Lib Dem cabinet member for housing) made it explicitly clear that the Inspector was likely to reject the Council's Core Strategy without this additional contingency land being included. Despite this, as CapnDave, has said the Labour and Conservative Groups voted on block to defeat the minority Lib Dem administration – because combined they can. As a result the Core strategy was approved, but without the contingency land at Hicks Gate. I did smile when I read Cllr Ward's additional comments in the Chronicle print edition of this story. He is quoted saying: "It's plainly ludicrous to suggest Conservative Councillors have put our area's green belt at risk and at no time have the council's planning officers said this." They NEVER would. Councillor Officers are the professionals who give Councillors professional advice. They then implement the decisions made by Councillors irrespective of whether they personally or professionally agree with the decisions or not. Now that the Core Strategy has been rejected - which indeed may make it harder for the Council to refuse unregulated development in many areas of Bath and North East Somerset until a suitable plan is approved – what's next? At some stage a revised core strategy will come back to Council for approval. I don't know what additional development areas will be included – chances are that Hicks Gate may be included as well as some others. No matter how politically sensitive these areas may end up being, I very much hope that Councillors of all political parties work constructively to deliver a Core Strategy. The chosen Strategy may not please everyone - and may be "politically difficult" in some communities - but decisions must be made in the best interests of the whole of Bath and North East Somerset, and not for short term political opportunism.

    |   4
  • MALCSALT  |  December 07 2012, 10:22AM

    Yes rottidog a senior moment. comment now directed at right story I hope!

    |   1