Eco homes to be built on 'local oasis'
- Credit: Mikhail Riches
An open space enjoyed by generations of Nailsea residents will be redeveloped with 52 energy efficient homes despite 190 objections.
Proposals submitted by North Somerset Council – the owner of the Uplands site and the decision maker – were hailed for their green credentials but opponents said it was 'simply the wrong location'.
Designed by award-winning architects Mikhail Riches, the gas-free properties will have triple glazing, solar panels and electric car charging points, and 30 per cent of the homes will be affordable.
Councillors were warned that refusing the authority’s own 'exemplar' application would send a 'very difficult message'.
Nailsea West End’s Councillor James Tonkin told the planning meeting on February 17: “In 1976 the then owner of the land applied for planning permission to build but was refused on the grounds of overdevelopment. The land was bought by the then Woodspring council as public open space. Nothing has changed.
“Now we have an application for 52 houses, which no one in the locality wants.
“To make matters worse, the land immediately to the south of the site was granted planning permission at appeal for 450 dwellings. There’s another reason this site should remain a local oasis among all the other developments.”
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He said there is another council-owned site north of Youngwood Lane that would be far better suited to development.
But councillors were told that the Uplands land was owned by the council and its allocation for housing would help meet the shortfall in North Somerset.
One objector urged the council not to take away a 'facility that has been used continuously by generations'.
Cllr John Ley-Morgan said aspects of the application were among the best he had seen but the site was too far from the town centre – and residents’ reliance on cars could counter the development’s eco-friendly ambitions.
Proposing refusal, Nailsea Yeo councillor Mike Bird said: “There’s no question against the ethos and the standards trying to be set by this development. The question is whether those high standards can be met given its location and distance from facilities.”
Richard Kent, the council’s development chief, said the project would set an example to other developers, and warned that rejection of the authority’s own application would send a “very difficult” message.
The committee voted to approve the application by seven votes to four against.