Residents campaign to save much-loved communal garden in Portishead
- Credit: Lily Newton-Browne
Residents are campaigning to save their communal garden from being developed into a ‘concrete jungle’ for car parking.
People living at White Lodge Park in Portishead say the garden is a ‘haven for wildlife’ which has kept them ‘sane’ during lockdown.
Relatives of those which tend to the garden, which sits behind the block of 16 flats at White Lodge Park, are ‘extremely worried’ about their loved ones’ mental health and the ‘detrimental effect’ it may have on them to lose the facility off Nore Road.
Developer and owner of White Lodge Park, ERE LLP, has submitted a pre-planning application to North Somerset Council to build two additional storeys of eight flats on top of those pre-existing at the site which were built in around 1974.
The company has also outlined plans to build a 16-space car park, 18-space cycle shelter and a waste and recycling store which, if approved, will replace up to 75 per cent of the communal garden at White Lodge Park.
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The pre-planning application on the authority’s online portal has received 42 comments mostly in objection to the development, and a White Lodge Park resident, aged 86, says it is a ‘bombshell’ decision and feels she cannot move out or ‘do anything’ about the plans if approved.
Residents have also written to their MP Dr Liam Fox in a bid to preserve the garden from being converted into car parking.
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Spokesman for the White Lodge Park group, John Richier, said: “There are elderly people mostly living here aged between 75-90 years old who want a happy, peaceful retirement, and it doesn’t just affect them, it affects the neighbours living around them.
“Portishead Town Council has motioned an objection to the proposed development and has been supportive of the residents’ objection to the plans.
“There are people here who just don’t want the distress.”
A cover letter submitted to the council from CSJ Planning on behalf of the developer says new landscaping will be provided to ‘soften’ the parking area to compensate for any lost vegetation.
The letter also says the creation of eight new flats is ‘not considered to result in a harmful increase in traffic congestion’.
The developer will need to submit a full planning application before North Somerset Council can decide on the proposal.