Countryside charity condemns plan to build 600 homes in village

Nailsea Holdings\'s initial concept masterplan for green belt land on the edge of Nailsea.

Nailsea Holdings's initial concept masterplan for greenbelt land on the edge of Nailsea. - Credit: Nailsea Holdings

A countryside charity has condemned plans to build hundreds of homes in a village.

The North Somerset branch of Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has condemned Nailsea Holdings' proposal to build 600 homes in Wraxall.

The Times reported in September that Nailsea Holdings is eyeing up 25 hectares of arable farmland.

It has asked North Somerset Council to take a look at early proposals that also include two hectares of land for commercial, leisure or specialist housing to consider the environmental impact. 

The authority confirmed that an environmental statement would be required.

A CPRE North Somerset spokesman said: "We are aware of the request from the prospective developer, Nailsea Holdings, to North Somerset Council for a 'so-called screening opinion' under your call for sites. However, we would remind you that the site is in the greenbelt and in our view, there are no exceptional circumstances that would allow this development.

"CPRE North Somerset believes that a screening opinion may have already been given to an earlier submission and that an environmental impact assessment is required. We are unsure as to whether Nailsea Holdings also provided an earlier 'scoping opinion'?

"We would stress the importance of not encouraging through any interaction with the developer at this stage a belief that a future planning application is likely to be accepted, provided the developer satisfies the requirements of the environmental assessment.

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"Should a formal planning application be forthcoming, CPRE North Somerset will robustly defend the greenbelt, in accordance with both national policies and those of North Somerset Council."

A previous scoping opinion request to the council in 2018 by Land Value Alliance – which says it focuses on 'forming responsible alliances with landowners and all other stakeholders to create developments which add value to their communities' – was not followed by a planning application. 

Nailsea Holdings said in its request for a screening opinion: “Upon completion, the delivery of around 600 residential units and two hectares of land for commercial, leisure or specialist housing is likely to provide benefits in respect of local housing demand, job creation and increased spending in the area. 

“The introduction of a new residential population may lead to some demand on nearby community facilities such as primary schools, healthcare facilities and secondary schools."