Backwell still ‘in the firing line’ for more houses as Government minister delays appeal decision again
PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 October 2017
Anxious campaigners in Backwell will have to wait even longer to hear whether 220 new homes will be built in the village, after a Government minister said he needed more time to make a decision.
Developer Charles Church appealed after its plans for 220 homes on Farleigh Fields were rejected by North Somerset Council.
The plans are contentious, as the land was not marked for development in Backwell Parish Council’s neighbourhood plan, which lays out how the village will grow in the future.
The neighbourhood plan was developed through consultation with residents, and the parish council has spent thousands of pounds in legal fees to fight the Farleigh Fields proposals.
Parish council chairman Bob Taylor said: “If Farleigh Fields goes against us, it blows the plan out of the water and developers will swoop. We are in the firing line and we need to be aware of that.”
If the plans are given the green light, it could grow the village’s population by more than a quarter.
It was initially thought the appeal decision would be made in May, but since Government minister Sajid Javid chose to make the final decision, instead of a planning inspector, the announcement has been delayed.
North Somerset Council has since sent Mr Javid an updated plan for where houses could go throughout the whole of the district. In light of that new information, Mr Javid says a decision will not be made until November 7.
The delay means other housing plans in Backwell are being put on hold.
Cllr Taylor said: “We have said all along we will not say anything about the future development of Backwell until we know about Farleigh Fields, which will affect the neighbourhood plan.”
Moor Lane was included on the neighbourhood plan as a site to develop, but Cllr Taylor said discussions over the mixture of homes to be built there has been ‘a bit of a nightmare’.
The council wants developer Taylor Wimpey to build a mixture of bungalows and smaller houses on the land.
However, it has expressed concerns about the developer’s current housing mix proposals, which include four-bed bungalows which would not be appropriate for people to downsize to.