Hundreds expected at gatherings to oppose possible development around Weston Big Wood
- Credit: Lily Newton-Browne
A campaign to stop future development around a site of historical and environmental importance on the outskirts of Portishead is gathering momentum.
Hundreds of people are expected to turn up at two separate gatherings that will be held simultaneously on Sunday, to demonstrate support for protecting Weston Big Wood and put a stop to any future building on land around it.
While no firm proposals are on the table at this stage, North Somerset Council has received a number of expressions of interest from landowners willing to sell their land for development. One of the sites is in North Weston, between Clevedon Road and Weston Big Wood and another is Tower Farm, also adjacent to the ancient woodland.
Drilling works carried out in May on the fields next to the Clevedon Road, to explore any possible drainage issues, provoked significant opposition from people living in Portishead and North Weston, who said they saw this act as a sign of intent to develop.
As well as opposition from people living in the area, Wild Portishead, a community service which works to protect, preserve and conserve the town’s green spaces, said Weston Big Wood should be allowed to expand, not have its status threatened by building on the surrounding fields, which it said provides a crucial protective buffer zone to the Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Portishead Town Council vice chairman, Paul Gardner, said: “Residents are extremely concerned about any possibility of housing development around this important woodland and do not want to wait until a planning application is submitted to let their views be known.
“Feelings are very strong and local people want their voices heard. Portishead Town Council has agreed to support this campaign and help residents protect the area.”
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The meetings on Sunday, one on the North Weston fields off Clevedon Road while the other is at Merlin Park, on the edge of Tower Farm, will both take place at 3pm.
A formal public meeting has also been arranged for September 20 at 7pm at Somerset Hall in Portishead.
Anyone keen to find out more or get involved in saving the area from development can email email@example.com, write to the town council at the Folk Hall or contact either the Friends of North Weston Woods or Portishead Down Safeguarding group via Facebook.