Campaigners rally to fight 700-home plan over fears village will be ‘decimated’

PUBLISHED: 16:00 20 November 2017

An aerial illustration of where the Grove Farm homes would go in Backwell.

An aerial illustration of where the Grove Farm homes would go in Backwell.

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Backwell will be ‘decimated’ if plans to expand it by 700 homes go ahead, according to a new campaign group.

The proposals for 700 homes are outlined in the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP), a document created by North Somerset Council and neighbouring authorities to decide where houses should go across the whole of the West of England.

Consultation on the JSP will start on Wednesday but a group of worried residents have created the Backwell Resistance group to air their concerns about the proposals for Grove Farm, where developer Taylor Wimpey wants to build the houses.

MORE: Developer advances plans for 700 homes in Backwell.

Lorraine Hopkinson-Parker, who lives in Backwell Common, set up the group after she learned of the plans.

One of the scarecrows in Backwell opposing the homes. Picture: Lorraine Hopkinson-Parker One of the scarecrows in Backwell opposing the homes. Picture: Lorraine Hopkinson-Parker

She said: “I was shocked by the scale of the development. It will decimate Backwell as a village.

“One person said ‘do you think North Somerset will accuse us of being NIMBYs?’ My answer is no, because Backwell was the first place in North Somerset to come up with a neighbourhood plan.

“That was about ensuring housing which came to Backwell was proportionate to the number of people living here and the resources, facilities and infrastructure already here.

“I understand the neighbourhood plan has been used as an example across the country, it was considered so good.

“Our concern is Backwell will be lost as a village and will become a suburb of Bristol and a transport hub.”

Over the weekend, campaigners printed 1,000 leaflets to deliver to homes and scarecrows have been installed around the village to highlight the plans to others.

Campaigners also met with North Somerset MP Liam Fox at the weekend, and said he was against the proposals.

The plans include a new road linking the A370 to Nailsea and Backwell station, and a MetroBus route from Bristol to Nailsea.

Karen Barclay, who represents the village on North Somerset Council said she recognised the need for houses but said the proposals appeared to be ‘unpopular’ and ‘unworkable’.

A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said: “As a considerate and responsible developer, we strive to ensure local people, businesses and community groups are kept fully informed of our proposals – and give them every opportunity to comment on our plans so we can respond positively to local views.”

The first Backwell Resistance meeting will take place on Thursday at the parish hall in Station Road at 7pm. Taylor Wimpey’s consultation on www.taylorwimpey.co.uk ends on Friday.

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