The Brislington countryside at risk of development - as builder waits on decision over huge estate

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Bellsway Homes wants to build a housing estate with up to 555 homes on the Green Belt land

Up to 750 homes could be built on fields off the Bath Road between Brislington and Keynsham according to a proposed new Local Plan for Bristol - which is out for consultation until January 20. Brislington Park and Ride could also be relocated in a bid to maximise space for new homes.

Earmarking the large area for housing for the next 20 years would provide a major boost for Bellway Homes which has already signalled its intention for a residential estate with up to 555 homes on 39 acres of the gateway site.

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And it could also help the owner of the former Wyevale Garden Centre in his bid to redevelop land at the back of the closed-down centre. Sam Litt, of Wyevale Bristol Ltd, is in a battle with Bristol City Council over alleged development on the protected land.

The draft new Local Plan sets out where development should take place in Bristol over the next two decades, as well as setting rules and policies which developers must follow, like on supporting the climate and nature, and affordable housing.

Under the sub heading ‘Bath Road, Brislington’, the consultation document states: “Whilst the loss of the Green Belt would result in a reduction in the separation of Bristol and Keynsham, the gap between the settlements would remain.

“Development in this location on the edge of the city has the potential to be sustainable in terms of its relationship with the services and transport connections in Bristol. It is estimated that this location could provide for 500 to 750 homes. The relocation of the park and ride to a suitable new location could allow for the higher end of that range .”

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The consultation document proposes retaining trees, hedgerows and a linear park at Scotland Bottom. The existing allotments off Bath Road would also be kept and developer contributions would be required for local primary schools. Up to 40% of the homes would be affordable.

In May last year, Bellway Homes approached Bristol City Council on its plans for up to 555 homes, a local centre with a mix of retail and community uses, roads, children’s play areas and green space on land next to the Park and Ride.

The site off Bath Road earmarked for housing under the consultation for the new Local PlanThe site off Bath Road earmarked for housing under the consultation for the new Local Plan
The site off Bath Road earmarked for housing under the consultation for the new Local Plan

It wants an agreement that an Environmental Impact Assessment is not required ahead of the full submission of its plans, claiming the estate is ‘unlikely to have significant effects on the environment’ - the city council is yet to make a decision.

Meanwhile, at the 11-acre former Wyevale Garden Centre site, owner Mr Litt has said the likely inclusion of the location in the Local Plan provides ‘very special cirumstances’ for the alleged breach of planning laws, which include the creation of a builder’s yard and scafford storage yard on the land.

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The Government’s Planning Inspectorate will make a decision on the appeal - later than some locals will have hoped after a council gaffe delayed the process.

Along with the land off Bath Road, other Green Belt sites earmarked for housing are Elsbert Drive in Bishopsworth, where 350 homes could be built, and Silbury Road in Ashton Vale, where 510 homes could be built under approved plans for a new sporting quarter arena.

The 39-acre site off the Bath Road where Bellway Homes want to build up to 555 homesThe 39-acre site off the Bath Road where Bellway Homes want to build up to 555 homes
The 39-acre site off the Bath Road where Bellway Homes want to build up to 555 homes

Elsewhere, three sites which were at risk of development are now no longer allocated housing in the new Local Plan. Hundreds of homes are planned for Yew Tree Farm in Bishopsworth, Brislington Meadows and the Western Slopes. Removing these sites would make it much harder for developers to get planning permission to build there.

The new Local Plan is being drawn up by a cross-party working group of councillors at Bristol City Council. The draft was published as part of the ongoing public consultation, seeking views of people in the city about future housing developments.

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The next step will be a draft plan published next Summer for representations, before being examined by the Government in early 2024. The finished Local Plan will then be signed off autumn 2024.

The consultation on the draft plan can be seen here. The deadline for public comments is January 20.

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