Quarry entrance revamp with business park expansion plan
PUBLISHED: 06:51 27 June 2019
The entrance to Backwell's recycling centre will receive an estimated £300,000 overhaul to prevent cars queueing down narrow roads.
The scheme got the green light from North Somerset Council's planning committee on June 19, in addition to an unpopular scheme to expand the business centre at Coles Quarry.
Concerns over pollution and increasing traffic on Dark Lane and Church Town were raised by villagers, but planning officers and the majority of councillors did not share their fears.
Planning permission to turn the old quarry into a commercial area was granted four years ago, but a change of direction saw Bristol and South West Developments Ltd seek changes to the previously accepted scheme.
Attracting distribution firms was the aim, but councillors were told a technological focus was now sought to better suit the village's demographic.
The plan includes expanding the site by 40 per cent compared with the 2015 scheme, and creating more than 120 parking spaces.
Such numbers have caused consternation from Backwell Residents' Association and the parish council, with 125 letters of objection submitted.
Cllr Bridget Petty said: "Dark Lane isn't a big road.
"It's a main walking route to the junior school and the primary road to the recycling centre."
The tip is open five days a week and it is not uncommon for cars to queue along Church Town.
So, Bristol and South West proposed to alter the entry system for motorists to alleviate the issue. The entry gates will be pushed back and a two-lane circular route created, meaning more vehicles can use the centre and waste disposal lorries can have a separate exit to the public.
Cllr Peter Bryant said: "At the moment you get cars congesting Dark Lane but you can get 50 vehicles parked in the (waiting) area. That's a big plus and comes at the cost of £300,000 (to the applicant)."
Planning officers said the added traffic using the business park will not exceed levels from when it was a quarry and the steps to alleviate the recycling centre's jams will help villagers too.
Cllr Petty said: "I'm disappointed the needs of our residents wasn't considered highly enough.
"Concerns over road safety and children walking to school seem to be a good enough reason to refuse a large industrial centre in the heart of the village."