Affordable housing plans to help young families in Pill

The field where the housing is proposed.

The field where the housing is proposed. - Credit: Archant

A proposal to build up to 16 homes in Pill has been put forward to provide much-needed affordable housing for young families and older residents looking to downsize in the village.

Pill and District Community Land Trust (PDCLT) wants to build the homes to rent on greenbelt land close to the Ham Green development.

The proposal has sparked objections due to its proximity to Ham Green Lake, but PDCLT chairman Don Davies said the plans have been put forward to address ‘the significant’ need.

Cllr Davies, leader of North Somerset Council and ward member for Pill, said: “An awful lot of people were concerned about the lack of affordable housing to rent in the village for the village’s young people starting families. We set up the community land trust to look at potential sites.

“There are rural exception sites throughout the country, including in national parks, where you can build on greenbelt adjacent to a village as long as it’s for affordable housing to rent for local people.

“It’s got to have local connection, so only people from Pill and Abbots Leigh parishes can live there. They are used specifically to address local need.

“We spoke to numerous other land owners but none of them want to sell. Every field around the village of Pill and Easton-in-Gordano has got commercial proposals on it to put housing there.

“They (housing developers) are offering £500,000 an acre, so they don’t want to sell to us.

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“Developers are saying the Government is going to force North Somerset to build on the greenbelt to meet the national housing targets, not address local need.

“We looked at 20 sites and some of them were not available for that reason and some weren’t appropriate as they were too difficult to build on.

“So we looked at a site right next to Ham Green estate. It’s adjacent to land Network Rail wants to use and above the lake by an existing housing development.

“We are trying to support families in the village who want to stay there. So many children have to leave when they grow up, which means all the support networks for older people are gone, and also the support for new parents who might need help with child care.

“We are still negotiating with the land owner, so it’s still at a very early stage at the moment. Once we get over those hurdles we have still got to go through the planning process.”