Villages blast development plans

A BLUEPRINT that involves building thousands of homes on greenfield sites between Shortwood and Warmley over the next 15 years has been condemned as “unimaginative and inward looking”.

The accusation comes from Pucklechurch Parish Council, which says South Gloucestershire Council’s proposed Local Plan “is not proportional, is extremely destructive and does not present the best options for a prosperous future”. 

In its response to the ‘emerging preferred strategy’ for development in the district, the parish council, which includes Shortwood within its boundaries, says the proposals concentrate too much development in east Bristol, close to the already congested Avon Ring Road, rather than spreading new housing more evenly across the whole district.

It says: “While 60 homes at Pucklechurch can be viewed as a proportionate to its facilities, building in excess of 5,000 homes in or adjacent to the settlement of Shortwood is obliteration.

“The parish council does not believe there is enough evidence to support the proposed release of green belt on the scale being promoted.

“Overall the feel is of plans being driven by investor profit and what the powerful large developers want, rather than what is in the best interests of your electorate, the people who call South Gloucestershire home.”

The parish council says there is “already constant pressure on the local rural road networks around the Pucklechurch and surrounding area”, particularly when there is congestion on the A4174.

All of the parish councils which cover areas where new housing is proposed have written to oppose the Local Plan.

Emersons Green Town Council has submitted a 25-page statement of “formal objection and concerns”, in which councillors say they “share the same view” on the majority of the response from Pucklechurch.

The town council criticises the small number of homes proposed in some other areas, such as Thornbury and Yate, and says the plan is “defending ‘not in my back yard’ for some towns whilst allowing the destruction of large swathes of green belt with the resultant loss of agricultural land, damage to vital strategic green corridors and loss of habitat and bio-diversity”.

It says the development proposed on Green Belt land next to Shortwood and north of Lyde Green”opens the floodgates to Bristol expansion”.

In a statement on behalf of Siston Parish Council, which covers the Siston Hill estate near Mangotsfield as well as Warmley, Bridgeyate and Siston itself, chairman Andrew Stacey said: “Siston Parish Council and its residents feel the number of homes planned for the parish is wholly disproportionate to the total number of houses required across the whole of South Gloucestershire.”

He said residents, who attended a public meeting called by the council in January, wanted to see the “rural identity of the area” protected and said the road infrastructure was already “inadequate” for current traffic levels.

Staple Hill & Mangotsfield Parish Council also said the area lacked the roads, public transport, schools and health facilities to support new development.

The council said: “Lots of land has already been given up by Mangotsfield with the Emersons and Lyde Green developments.

“Mangotsfield does not want any more development.”