Farleigh Fields given protection from development after 220-home plan dismissal

BRA and parish council members celebrating Farleigh Fields housing decision.

BRA and parish council members celebrating Farleigh Fields housing decision. - Credit: Archant

Two fields which were considered for housing earlier this year have been protected.

BRA and parish council members celebrating Farleigh Fields housing decision.

BRA and parish council members celebrating Farleigh Fields housing decision. - Credit: Archant

Developer Charles Church wanted to build 220 homes on Backwell’s Farleigh Fields.

Backwell Parish Council and Backwell Residents Association spent around £60,000 fighting the application, a decision which was vindicated when the Government rejected Charles Church’s planning appeal in March.

Two of the six fields have been granted extra protection, as North Somerset Council has designated them as a local green space.

Parish council chairman Bob Taylor said: “It means it will always be a green space.

Farleigh Fields.

Farleigh Fields. - Credit: Archant

“Some 12 months ago, North Somerset asked us to designate local green space and we chose those fields because we don’t want houses next to the church.

“It means those two fields will never be developed, so it was worth doing.”

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Local green spaces are defined by the Government as areas which have particular importance to communities, and should be given extra protection from development ‘other than in very special circumstances’.

MORE: Government housing minister dismisses appeal for 220 homes on Backwell fields.

Farleigh Fields where Charles Church wants to build 220 homes.

Farleigh Fields where Charles Church wants to build 220 homes. - Credit: Archant

The land should hold a local significance because of its beauty, recreational value, wildlife or historic links.

North Somerset’s sites allocation plan, which suggests where developments could go across the district, proposed Farleigh Fields as it met those requirements.

Its document says the fields are ‘pasture, but considered to exceptionally warrant local green space designation because of their particular importance in terms of the setting of the grade I-listed St Andrew’s Church, being high lying, prominent and visible from a significant distance to the south’.

Documents add: “They are also crossed by public rights of way, which lead towards and afford views of the church.”

BRA and parish council members celebrating Farleigh Fields housing decision.

BRA and parish council members celebrating Farleigh Fields housing decision. - Credit: Archant

The council says there is also an archaeological site within the northern field in the form of a neolithic stone slab.

New Home Secretary Sajid Javid, as then secretary of state for housing, made the Farleigh Fields decision in March, and decided the 220-home development would ‘significantly affect the setting and character of Backwell’.

Backwell Lake is also proposed by North Somerset as a public green space.