Plans for extra homes spark fears Yate will not be able to cope

First published in News Gazette Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury

OFFICIAL calls to increase the pace of housebuilding in the area, including 240 new homes in north Yate in the next five years, have sparked concerns that the town will not be able to cope.

The local community has already accepted that 2,700 homes will be constructed north of Brimsham Park after years of speculation, following planning inspector Paul Crysell’s ruling that South Gloucestershire must accommodate 28,355 homes by 2027.

But after an examination in public of South Gloucestershire Council’s planning blueprint, the core strategy, Mr Crysell has said that the pace of development must accelerate to meet land supply. It means an extra 850 dwellings would have to be built on top of the 8,493 already proposed between 2012 and 2017.

The authority has hit out at the instruction, but says if it is forced to meet the five-year target, 240 houses at Brimsham Park could be brought forward alongside similar increases at other sites in the district.

But town councillor and long-term objector to the north Yate development, Chris Willmore, said road networks and sewerage systems needed to be in place prior to any more houses being built in Yate.

She told the Gazette: "Work cannot start in north Yate any earlier. We don’t have any of the roads or drainage sorted out yet. It is a disastrous idea, we need the infrastructure in place first."

Yate’s sewage system is nearing capacity but Heron Land Developments, which owns the land at Brimsham Park, has already signed an agreement with Barratt Homes, which has planning permission to build a further 250 homes on an adjacent site at Peg Hill, to contribute to a new sewerage system to accommodate the new houses.

Patrick Conroy, strategic planning manager for the council, said building 240 homes in north Yate earlier than planned could be supported.

"That amount can be supported by the sewerage system," he said. "It has been approved by Wessex Water and they have made it clear it is part of their strategic investment plan."

To meet the inspector’s requirements the council has suggested bringing forward the building of 40 homes on the Barnhill Quarry site in Chipping Sodbury. A total of 160 houses are planned for the development, which will also include a Waitrose supermarket, but the housing was not due to start until nearer 2017.

The authority is also suggesting that approved plans for 14 houses in Broad Lane in Yate and 34 homes on the former Minelco site in Randolph Avenue, Yate, as well as 63 homes at the former Rodford Primary School site in Yate yet to be approved, should go towards meeting the five-year target.

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