Retirement homes for Backwell?

Retirement homes for Backwell?

PROPOSALS for three new retirement homes in Backwell has sparked some controversy.

Mr and Mrs Keel, the owners of Farleigh Garage, in Farleigh Road, are hoping to knock down the garage and adjoining house at numbers 136 and 138 and build three retirement homes and a separate house.

However, the property is in an area of the village where town leaders are campaigning to get the speed limit reduced from 40mph to 30mph due to the difficulties villagers have in crossing the dangerous road.

There is also no pavement on part of the road, so pedestrians have to cross the A370 to access the village centre, which has sparked fears that residents will be forced to use their cars to travel everywhere.

Councillor Sarah Ould said: “Why would anyone want to live there when they would be constrained to their car because you cannot get out of that end of Backwell.

“Should our council be recommending a retirement place where it’s not appropriate? We need these facilities within safe access of the village centre.

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“There’s no pavement on part of the road. Residents would have to cross the road and we know how difficult that is.

“We are trying to prevent people from living in our village and driving to Weston and Bristol for work. If we recommend this, we are saying to these people ‘you will always have to get in your car to go anywhere’.

Despite the traffic fears, the prospect of new homes has been welcomed by some speed limit campaigners.

Sue Merriman, of Backwell Hill Road, said: “I think it’s a good idea to have retirement homes but I can understand the concerns if the residents are really old. There is a bus stop right outside though.

“I don’t think it would be a problem. There are so many people living in Farleigh now and quite a lot of them are elderly.

“We definitely need more homes in Backwell, especially affordable ones.”

John Keel, from Farleigh Garage, added: “When we bought the property 39 years ago our intention was after 40 years to pull it down and build on it.

“It’s not as easy as that though because people want these houses but they don’t want them in their garden.”

Backwell Parish Council agreed to recommend the proposal at its meeting on Thursday. North Somerset Council is expected to make a decision early in the new year.