Town village green application refused for Clevedon site earmarked for school

Brookfield Walk campaigner Jakobus Van Blerk with North Somerset MP Liam Fox.

Brookfield Walk campaigner Jakobus Van Blerk with North Somerset MP Liam Fox. - Credit: Archant

A proposal to stop a special school being built on a green space in Clevedon has been rejected.

The Times reported last week Clevedon Town Council and more than 150 people backed Jakobus Vanblerk’s application to list Brookfield Walk as a town green.

The land is owned by North Somerset Council and it has submitted plans to create a second site for Baytree School.

The council’s planning committee members refused the application for town green status at its meeting on August 19.

Cllr David Shopland asked for the proposal to be deferred for three months, but his request fell. He then moved to accept the application, going against officers’ recommendations, but this again fell.

Plans to expand Baytree School onto a second site in Brookfield Walk.

Plans to expand Baytree School onto a second site in Brookfield Walk. - Credit: Archant

Campaigners began to seek town green status in October after the town council voted to support the status application.

MORE: Campaigners fight to protect land earmarked for school.

Baytree School has room for 72 pupils but increasing demand means more places are needed.

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North Somerset said expanding Baytree at its site, in Locking Castle, is ‘impossible’, and looked for alternative sites, concluding Brookfield Walk was the best option.

In May, a planning application was submitted to build the second site on Brookfield Walk. The site was whittled down from a shortlist of 528 alternative spaces.

Advising North Somerset, Leslie Blohm QC said the land is held by the council for planning purposes, meaning it would be available for development, resulting in a ‘statutory incompatibility’ with the town green application.

MORE: Plan submitted to build second school site in Clevedon.

Mr Vanblerk said: “I object to the conclusion the council has taken on this town village green application. The process of getting to where we are has been extremely exhausting, not having the opportunity to speak to decision makers directly does not help.

“If there has ever been any doubt that this land is more than just a piece of land at the end of the street, then a town village green application with more than 450 responses must go some way to disprove it.

“Without prejudicing my next step, I would propose a public enquiry and perhaps a site visit for the decision makers. Approving this application is the only way to protect this last open space greenbelt land in Clevedon once and for all, a space that has enriched the lives of so many local families.”

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