A COMMUNITY in Coalpit Heath is breathing a sigh of relief after a deadline passed for a housing developer to appeal a decision against building on treasured green space.
Barratt Homes was given six months to appeal when South Gloucestershire Council threw out its plans for 330 homes to be built on Woodlands Farm last July. But the deadline has passed and there has been no sign of an appeal.
Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh) said: “The deadline has now passed for Barratt Homes to lodge an appeal against the council's refusal of their application to build hundreds of new houses on land at Woodlands Farm.
“The good news is that they haven't done so. This doesn’t mean that we won’t see another application at some point.”
The land, once a farm belonging to the family of popular children’s author Dick King-Smith, was the subject of a huge, community-wide campaign to keep it last year. Jen Dunford, from Village Action in Frampton Cotterell, said the land had important historical and literary connections and should be kept for community use.
She said: "Woodlands Farm is essential for the wellbeing of local people as it is a popular flat walk with no stiles. There is forceful opposition to it and we say no.
"Keep Woodlands Farm green, open and accessible."
Westerleigh parish councillor Eve Carey said: "We feel the development would be a burden on this community and cause problems for schools and GP surgeries."
Barratts had argued the scheme would include public transport and drainage improvements which would benefit the existing community and the new homes would help contribute to the district’s required five-year housing supply.
However, councillors agreed they could not support the plans because the site was outside the settlement boundary for Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell and was not included in the authority’s own planning blueprint for the future, its Core Strategy.
Although Barratts has not appealed the council's decision it could still lodge a different application for the site.
Cllr Dave Hockey (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) said: "Residents can be pleased at the moment. But this has not gone away, it has just been deferred.
"South Gloucestershire Council has a commitment to build 29,000 homes up to 2027 and deliver a five-year housing supply. We are doing everything we can to make sure that happens but if the delivery falls behind the expected rate then applications could come forward.
"I think Barratts has judged that now is not sensible to appeal but they will wait and see what happens. It is a challenging position."