A FIELD that was the subject of a major planning battle is included as a potential development site in the new South Gloucestershire Local Plan.
The field between Cossham Street and Rodway Hill Road is known locally as the Taylor Wimpey field, after the developers who own it.
It is one of several sites that could be earmarked for development, including one off Pomphrey Hill for 65 homes and two on the other side of the Avon Ring Road at Shortwood, which the council says could accommodate 1,430 homes.
A public consultation is now under way and the authority is encouraging people to have their say.
The council says it has to find new sites for 9,260 new homes to help meet a target of 20,490 homes in the district between 2025 and 2040.
Out of the 9,260 new homes, council leaders believe at least 7,813 will need to be built on greenfield land outside the existing urban area and towns, “some of which is currently designated Green Belt”.
The council says: “We know this will be very challenging for those communities affected by this.”
A further 8,080 homes already have planning permission and 3,150 will be built on small sites not included in the plan.
The council has posted a series of maps and web pages explaining the thinking behind its ’emerging preferred strategy’, which includes allowing housing on the designated Green Belt sites at Mangotsfield and Shortwood, as well as a huge area of land between the M4 and Westerleigh Road, north of Lyde Green, which the council thinks could accommodate 800 homes by 2040 and 1,200 after that.
The council cabinet member with responsibility for the new Local Plan, Chris Willmore, said it has to “tackle several challenges”, including where and how the next generations live while preserving the area’s “wonderful environment”.
She said: “The ideas we are putting forward in this consultation are our emerging preferred strategy. That means the council hasn’t made any decisions yet, but we want to talk with our communities about these ideas and to hear theirs.
“When we say it is ‘preferred’, that simply means that we think the approach we’re presenting is a positive way of meeting our collective needs in response to the challenges we are all facing together.
“Those include the cost of living crisis, the risk of dramatic changes to our climate and environment, and the need for more homes that people can afford to live in.
“But we are still open to hearing more ideas. We want to know where people think this draft plan is right and where it can be improved.”
The online consultation includes three alternative views, called ‘lenses’, which show other ways the housing could be planned.
One is called ‘No Green Belt Loss’, and would involve building thousands of homes in the north of the district near Thornbury and Yate.
Another is called ‘Urban Edge’ and would concentrate new development in Green Belt land next to existing built-up areas: it would involve building around 5,500 homes on a swathe of land from Pucklechurch through Shortwood and Siston to Warmley.
The third, called ‘Transport corridors’, would involve building homes on greenfield sites near main roads, including 3,500 near Winterbourne and Frampton Cotterell and around 3,000 between Almondsbury and Thornbury.
Past battle over field
THE Taylor Wimpey field between Mangotsfield United’s Cossham Street ground, Cleve Rugby Club and Mangotsfield School was the subject of an application for 180 new homes in 2009, which was rejected by South Gloucestershire Council the following year, after a huge campaign by residents.
Once farmland owned by the Cave family, the field is currently designated as Green Belt land and is part of Mangotsfield but within the boundaries of Emersons Green Town Council.
Taylor Wimpey owns the field as part of its ‘land bank’ of potential housing sites.
In 2022 residents’ groups and councillors called on Taylor Wimpey to take urgent action to maintain the land and fix collapsing fencing which was creating a hazard for people walking past and allowing unauthorised access to the field.
Councillors, Mangotsfield Residents Association and Mike Reeves, who chaired the Save Mangotsfield Open Green Spaces Group (SMOG) that successfully fought the previous housing plans, called on the company to make the site a nature reserve.
However at the time Taylor Wimpey said it was “working closely with South Gloucestershire Council to promote the Mangotsfield site for development, as part of the wider South Gloucestershire Local Plan”.
How to find out more
THE council is inviting comments on the Local Plan until February 7.
Full details have been published online at www.southglos.gov.uk/newlocalplan.
People who are not online can call the council on 01454 868009.
It is organising a series of meetings, including one at Mangotsfield Football Club on January 17, from 4-7pm, one at Emersons Green Village Hall on January 19 from noon until 3pm and one at Shortwood Methodist Church on January 25, also from noon until 3pm.
Online events on January 10 and 16, from noon to 2pm and 6.30-8.30pm can be accessed via the plan’s web page.