4:00pm Wednesday 30th January 2013
By Alexandra Womack
PEOPLE living near farmland in Coalpit Heath are up in arms over a planning application for 380 homes which they say would rob them of a treasured green spare forever.
Residents living in the vicinity of Woodlands Farm have branded Barratt Homes’ plans for the site ‘unacceptable and unsustainable’.
Richard Merrick, co-ordinator of the Save Woodlands Farm campaign, said: “Many local residents are greatly alarmed that Barratts intend to cover the whole of Woodlands Farm with houses and thereby losing forever the green fields which form a highly important part of the local environment.
“Many families who have moved into this vicinity in recent years have done so because of the attraction of the rural character of the surroundings.
“In addition to losing a valued open space, residents are extremely concerned that the addition of nearly 400 more houses could well mean about 800 more cars on the narrow local roads which they consider to be completely unacceptable and unsustainable.”
Just before the company submitted a formal planning application to South Gloucestershire Council earlier this month, Barratts exclusively spoke to the Gazette about its plans for the site.
Strategic land director for the South West Jeremy Sutcliffe said: "We expect there to be further changes as discussions with the council continue during the planning process.
"We do not have a decision date in mind but we feel it is important to get it right."
The firm revised the plans before submitting them, from 400 homes to 380, and included more green spaces. A local centre including an independent shop, doctors’ surgery and dentists is also likely to be built and if approved, Barratts would pay for the building of new classrooms at Watermore Primary School as there is not considered sufficient need for a new school.
There would be two main access points for vehicles from Park Lane and off Badminton Road, where traffic lights are being considered to ease queues.
Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh) is urging residents to have their say on the plans before the deadline of February 15.
She said: “There has already been very strong local opposition to losing this remaining countryside between The Meads development currently underway and the railway.
"It is now time to make formal objections to the planning application either by writing to South Gloucestershire Council for the attention of Helen Ainsley or on line via the South Gloucestershire website.”
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