Quarry plan to bring village jobs?

AN EXCITING development in Backwell could bring 350 new jobs to the area.

A proposal to fill in Coles Quarry, in Cheston Coombe, could bring a new lease of life to Backwell with new office and business units, a sports field and car park for the junior school and a covenant to protect 70 acres of surrounding woodland.

Planning agent Fred Malton has confirmed the business site will be a mix of office and industrial units to meet the needs of the local area.

He said: “It is very similar in style to Kestrel Court in Portishead with craft workshops, gyms, physiotherapy offices and eco-friendly businesses.

“We are not building an estate and then asking people to rent a space. We are asking what the area needs and then building it.”

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Villagers first heard about the plans last summer and since then planners have been consulting with villagers, Backwell Junior School, councillors and businesses to ensure the proposals meet everyone’s needs.

They include a 40-space car park for the school and Mr Malton believes planners have addressed villagers’ fears about the regular use of Church Town road by making part of the route pedestrian-only.

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The quarry is surrounded by 66 acres of woodland, which will be donated to Backwell Environment Trust, and the trees will act as a screen so the development will not spoil villagers’ views.

Mr Malton said: “The airport is gradually creeping towards Backwell and this would keep a green space in the middle that can’t be built on.

“It’s an exciting project that provides much-needed local jobs and at the same time we are able to improve the recreational facilities, help with the safe delivery of children to and from the local junior school and provide a nature reserve which we hope to protect from further development.”

The first units could be ready for business next year, but the whole development is expected to take about two years.

A planning application is due to be submitted to North Somerset Council next month and Mr Malton and Bristol-based architects Angus Meek will be displaying their plans and answering residents’ questions at the village hall, Station Road, next month.

Villagers can see them on November 8 from 6-9pm, November 10 from 2-6pm, on November 22 from 6-9pm and from 9am to noon on November 24.

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