Residents’ fight to save Bedminster ‘wildlife sanctuary’ from developers

‘The many locals whose gardens back onto the land have been totally mislead’

Residents are taking a stand against plans to build houses on a stretch of land behind a ‘packed in’ Bristol street - a move they have deemed ‘disgusting’ as it will impact rare species of wildlife that have made the site their home.

The residents are also concerned that the development, which would see five houses built on 204sqm landlocked space behind Marksbury Road in Bedminster, would devalue existing houses while creating extra noise and pollution.

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A drawing showing a location of the site and a rough outline of the new dwellings that would b

Planning officers have recommended that Bristol City Council approve the plans during a meeting next week, despite a ‘significant amount’ of objections from residents.

A report by officers to the Development Control Committee says the city council’s ecologist saw no problem with the proposals by Alex Fry Rental Properties Ltd, as long as conditions such as including green roofs along with bat, bird and insect boxes within the development were met.

But a petition launched by residents in opposition to the development begs to differ, stating: “This land and the trees living on and around it have been a wildlife sanctuary for red-listed badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, squirrels and many different varieties of birds, some also red-listed, for a very long time now.

“What this precious land so desperately needs is to be allowed to return to and stay the treasured wildlife sanctuary/corridor that it is, with more trees planted and for it to be in the hands of our caring community and the deserving families whose gardens back onto it.

“There have been far too many builds in this area over the last few years, which means that these treasured pieces of land are now sadly very fast depleting and extremely scarce - the wildlife is really struggling to survive.”

But regulations are at play which may halt the development without the need for further intervention from residents.

Marksbury Road, close to the site that has been earmarked for the build of five new houses.

It is understood that a protective covenant was placed on the site in 2017, leading them to question why the ‘farcical’ application has even been written up.

Under the covenant, the land can be only be sold for agricultural use.

This was backed up by local Councillor Christopher Jackson, who opposed the development in principle due to flooding concerns, but added: “Councillors on the Development Control Committee also need to keep in mind that there is a covenant on the land that means it’s not allowed to be developed.”

The petition adds: “Why on earth is this person even able to apply for planning?

Here’s what the houses would look like.

“The many locals whose gardens back onto the land have been totally mislead.

“If they’d had any inkling that the land was not protected and that the covenant could in any way be lifted, then they would most certainly have got together and applied to buy the land between themselves.”

While previous planning applications for the site have been thrown out, planning officers said these new plans had seen a reduction in the amount and scale of the proposed houses, ‘significantly reducing the effect’ on neighbouring properties.

The project would also see a house at 149a Marksbury road knocked down to make way for the new builds.

A decision over the development is set to be made at a planning meeting on April 6.