Councils consider legal advice to challenge plans for thousands of homes

PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 April 2018

Backwell residents encircling Backwell lake.

Backwell residents encircling Backwell lake.

Archant

Two councils are considering working together to challenge the soundness of the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) which has earmarked hundreds of new homes for their parishes.

Backwell Parish Council and Nailsea Town Council are exploring the possibility of jointly employing a consultant to develop a formal challenge to the document.

North Somerset Council has produced the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) alongside other West of England authorities in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset.

The document, which sets out development until 2036, includes 2,575 homes for Nailsea and 700 for Backwell.

Nailsea Town Council has a number of concerns about the JSP including the location of the new homes and the lack of infrastructure.

Town council clerk Ian Morrell said: “The town council is exploring the possibility of working jointly with Backwell Parish Council to challenge the soundness of the JSP.

“Both communities are greatly affected by the proposals for new developments in the plan to 2026 and will look at all options to collaborate.

“Discussions will now be undertaken with relevant planning experts to determine the next steps.”

The new homes are earmarked for the south west of Nailsea along with shops, four primary schools and a secondary school.

Plans include improvements to Nailsea and Backwell Railway Station to create a transport hub and a ‘new or improved’ connection to the M5.

Backwell Parish Council is concerned the transport hub will have an impact on the strategic gap between the two parishes.

Chairman, Cllr Bob Taylor said: “We are looking at highways and planning issues and taking legal advice with regards to the soundness of the JSP.

“Backwell Parish Council is keen to preserve the strategic gap which includes Backwell Lake and Backwell Common.

“The plans suggest the railway station could become a transport hub, but we don’t think that’s acceptable or possible bearing in mind the strategic gap.”

The planning consultant would help the councils to challenge the soundness of the document at the next stage of the JSP which will be held later in the year.

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