Council rejects plans for new villages in greenbelt

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 September 2018 | UPDATED: 07:49 27 September 2018

An artist's impression of The Vale.

An artist's impression of The Vale.

Archant

Plans for three new villages on the edge of Bristol, which have been touted as a remedy to North Somerset’s housing shortage, have suffered a major setback.

Taylor Wimpey’s vision to build 4,500 homes on greenbelt land near Long Ashton has been discounted by North Somerset Council as a potential housing site.

The developer brought the plans forward as part of the council’s call for sites exercise in developing the local plan – which will be the blueprint for where 25,000 homes are built in North Somerset by 2036.

The council assessed the sites brought forward to see whether they are feasible locations, and officers ruled out The Vale.

The council’s verdict has angered some villagers, who feel The Vale – located close to Bristol with convenient transport links and more employment opportunities – could ease the pressure on the rest of North Somerset to deliver thousands of homes.

A council spokesman explained the decision.

They said: “The council is committed to protecting the greenbelt and as this location is in the greenbelt it has been discounted as a possible housing site.”

But Congresbury Residents’ Action Group has called on the authority to review its greenbelt, which acts as a buffer between the city and North Somerset.

A spokesman said: “We fervently believe the council needs to revise the approach to the greenbelt – it is not sacrosanct.

“Houses need to be located adjacent to employment opportunities and public transport routes.

“Use of the greenbelt land adjacent to Bristol will accommodate the houses required without any major overhead in terms of road infrastructure, making deliverability more likely.”

Despite the decision, Taylor Wimpey is confident its plans will materialise.

Project director Gareth Hawke said: “The Vale is the most sustainable location to build homes in North Somerset.

“While the local authority wishes to exclude development adjacent to Bristol where most people work, we will continue to promote the land through the Government examination, where a highly-experienced, independent planning inspector will decide if the local plan can be sound without The Vale in it.”

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