Brislington Meadows campaigners accuse government of ‘sidestepping democracy’ ahead of planning inquiry

Bristol City Council did not decide on the plans within the statutory 16-week timeframe due to delays at City Hall
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Campaigners fighting controversial plans to build 260 new homes on rare grassland and historic hedgerows at Brislington Meadows in south Bristol have accused the government of ‘sidestepping democracy’ as a planning appeal has been made against Bristol City Council.

The government-run Homes England applied for planning permission on April 12 this year but because Bristol City Council hasn’t decided in the statutory 16-week timeframe due to delays at City Hall, Homes England has now appealed.

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Homes England claims the council has ‘failed to determine the application within the appropriate period’ and now the Planning Inspectorate has said a public inquiry will be held to determine the appeal, rather than local councillors.

Sandwiched between School Road and the trading estate, with Victory Park to the bottom and Broomhill Road at the top, the greenfield land is an SNCI (site of nature conservation interest) and the wildlife-rich meadows have existed since the enclosure of Brislington common in 1778.

Dougal Matthews of Help Save Brislington Meadows, which is campaigning against the development of 260 homes on the land, says the group is unhappy about the appeal and concerned about what it means for the future of the historic meadows.

“I don’t see how the A4 corridor and our local infrastructure can cope with so many new people. Just the meadows alone is a 5% increase in the population of Brislington East if it happens.

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“This feels like sidestepping local democracy and local planning process. It stifles our voice as local residents and removes our democratically elected councillors’ ability to decide on the issue.

“The current government’s agenda for growth at any cost and disregard for wildlife and the climate emergency feels dangerous both to our cause on the local scale and our future safety.”

Brislington MeadowsBrislington Meadows
Brislington Meadows

The Planning Inspectorate has indicated that a public inquiry will be held to determine this appeal, at a date still to be confirmed.

The Planning Inspectorate has asked that local residents and others affected by the proposals be informed and given the opportunity to make representations. Any views must be submitted by November 28.

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