9:30am Friday 23rd November 2012
By Marion Sauvebois
LABOUR will not give up their fight against "short-sighted" plans to redevelop Filton Airfield.
The party in South Gloucestershire wrote to the government inspector in charge of reviewing the region’s core strategy, slamming his decision to approve turning the world-famous airfield into a housing estate.
In their response to inspector Paul Crysell’s main draft modifications document, which sums up his comments on local authority's 15-year planning blueprint, Labour warned of the "irreparable damage" the proposals would cause to the region's aviation industry.
Group leader Cllr Andy Perkins urged Mr Crysell to save the airfield. He said: "We continue to believe that plans to develop Filton Airfield are short-sighted and would be an irrevocable mistake.
"We urge the inspector to abandon them even at this late stage. The airfield is a key component of the unique hub of high-tech industry located at Filton and Patchway. The whole issue of aviation capacity is very much a live national debate and no decision should be made on Filton Airfield until the government’s review of aviation capacity requirements has been completed and national conclusions reached."
Members also hit out at Mr Crysell’s instruction to dramatically accelerate the pace of development over the next five years.
In his main draft modifications report, the inspector suggests working on an annual development quota, bringing forward the countruction of hundreds of houses, orginally planned for 2020. This means an extra 850 dwellings would have to built on top of the 8,493 already proposed by the council between 2012 and 2017.
Cllr Perkins deemed the inspector’s demands "unsustainable."
"We are extremely disappointed that the inspector has foisted huge numbers of extra houses on South Gloucestershire and in a way which we feel is unrealistic and unsustainable," he added. "We implore him to pull back from forcing this unacceptable revised housing figure onto South Gloucestershire."
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