Developer behind plans for 400 homes in Coalpit Heath criticised for 'misleading' claims

A busy Coalpit Heath Cricket Club for the public consultation on development at Woodlands Farm in Coalpit Heath

A busy Coalpit Heath Cricket Club for the public consultation on development at Woodlands Farm in Coalpit Heath

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

A HOUSING developer which wants to build 400 homes on green fields in Coalpit Heath has been slammed for ‘misleading’ residents.

In display boards at an exhibition on its plans for Woodlands Farm, Barratt Homes claimed independent Government inspector Paul Crysell confirmed that Frampton Cotterell was suitable for new homes following an examination in public of South Gloucestershire Council’s core strategy this summer.

In fact, Mr Crysell did not support the company’s wish to build on the site and said a maximum of 30 new houses should be allowed in the area.

Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh) said: "This land has not been identified for development and I do not think holding a public exhibition is appropriate at this time.

"It is wrong for them to say the inspector identified this land, it is not true."

Residents also spoke of their anger at the proposals, which they say would change the nature of the area and introduce so much more traffic that both Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell would be gridlocked.

Mauren Foley, who has lived in Harris Barton, for 25 years, said: "I am worried about the amount of houses they will cram in there, there will be very few open spaces and parking spaces."

Chris and Mike Batt, who have lived in Church Lane for 30 years, said they cannot get out of their driveway at rush hour already.

Said Mrs Batt: "Traffic has more than doubled since we came to the village and with 400 homes that will potentially mean 800 cars.

"This will change the area completely. It will lose its village appeal."

Frampton Cotterell parish councillor Bob Tompson said this new development, the third phase of Barratt’s plans which already includes homes in The Meads estate and St Saviour’s Rise, would require investment in community facilities.

"This is an absolute disaster," he said. "The infrastructure of the parish will not cope with what they are proposing. I don’t trust them to fulfil their promises because facilities they promised in their last project have not materialised."

Jen Dunford, chairman of the Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath parish plan, said 91 per cent of residents surveyed were in favour of either infilling or no development.

No-one from Barratt Homes attended the exhibition but a spokesman said the statement that Frampton Cotterell was suitable for development related to a planning appeal for The Meads in 2009, not the summer examination in public.

He added: "We are in the process of assessing the contributions required to enhance local community infrastructure and South Gloucestershire Council will consider the contributions that will be required and are justified to enhance community facilities such as local schools.

"The current masterplan includes a small local centre which could accommodate a doctor’s surgery, which could serve the wider area."

The company intends to submit an outline planning application to South Gloucestershire Council before Christmas.

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