Development 'disaster' fears for councillors

PUBLISHED: 15:00 24 July 2015

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Long Ashton parish councillors have voiced concerns over a potential housing development in Barrow Gurney.

Pre-application plans to build 156 homes at the former Barrow Hospital site in Wild Country Lane have been revealed by developer Crest Nicholson, but at a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Monday, councillors voiced their opposition to the proposals.

The development would see a mix of houses of between two to five bedrooms and would also contain affordable housing.

Although the location of the possible development is outside the Long Ashton parish boundary, councillors are concerned about the impact it would have on the village due to increased traffic and pressure on its services.

There was particular concern raised about the number of extra school places that would be needed, with the village’s two primary schools, Birdwell and Northleaze, already struggling to cope with demand.

Councillor Nigel Moorcroft said: “Affordable homes will lead to a higher density of people.

“It will end up with housing associations buying them and putting whoever they like in there.

“Long Ashton won’t be able to cope with the higher number of cars, children and people.

“Firstly, we want the site to include a care home and secondly, we want less houses.”

Councillors also expressed concern the GP surgery in Rayens Cross Road would not be able to cope with the number of extra potential patients.

English Care Villages was granted permission to build a care village on the site in 2012 but was prevented from working on the project after struggling to find financial backing.

Cllr Charles Cave said: “I don’t want to give up on the care home.

“I think this is far too much housing and it needs to be substantially less.

“It’s going to be a disaster for Long Ashton.”

Cllr Phil Jackson added: “There is no attempt to make this part of a community.

“It is just a set of houses in the middle of nowhere and everything requires transport.”

The site was used as a mental health hospital until it finally closed in 2006 leading to uncertainty over its future.

The owners of the land, Del Piero Ltd, also explored the possibility of building offices on the site but now appear to have settled on a housing arrangement with Crest Nicholson, and insists it will minimise the impact on Long Ashton.

Andy Cox, design and planning manager at Crest Nicholson, said: “Del Piero tried other options but found they wouldn’t work.

“Education and health go hand in hand and we will have to mitigate our impact.”

The site covers an area of 6.7 hectares and the development includes landscaping and the potential creation of woodland walks.

The hospital was built between 1934-1937 with the first patients admitted in 1938. During World War Two the hospital was used as the Royal Naval Auxiliary Hospital and treated servicemen wh were injured or suffering from psychological distress.

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