'Enough is enough' - North Somerset villagers gather to criticise plans for 5,400-home garden village
PUBLISHED: 11:00 26 May 2017
Villagers gathered last week to assess housing plans which could cause 'deterioration in the quality of village life'.
Churchill and Langford Residents’ Action Group (CALRAG) hosted a meeting at Churchill Primary School on May 17 about housing issues affecting the parish.
Presentations were given on North Somerset Council’s Site Allocations Plan (SAP) and the West of England Local Enterprise’s Joint Spatial Plan (JSP).
The SAP requires more than 20,000 homes to be built in the district by 2026, while the JSP aims to plug the region’s housing shortage with a number of large developments by 2036.
The draft JSP proposes a 5,400-home garden village and new transport infrastructure will be built between Banwell and Churchill.
CALRAG spokesman John Whitewood said: “Enough is enough. Further developments are not sustainable for our residents.
“We accept new houses need to be built, but no real strategic planning appears to have been undertaken.
“These proposals will lead to the deterioration in quality of village life.”
An alternative to the garden village has been offered by developer Taylor Wimpey, which wants to build The Vale – three new villages in the green belt near Long Ashton.
Churchill and Langford Parish councillor Simon Hegarty discussed The Vale proposals at the meeting.
He said: “That would satisfy a huge amount of the housing numbers.
“In a rather sad way, we could potentially have a battle between Churchill and Long Ashton.
“If we don’t put our case well enough we could see urban sprawl leaping over Bristol Airport and landing in our area.”
Cllr Hegarty also called on villagers to put pressure on authorities.
He added: “Write to North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton. I would love to see letters landing on Nigel’s desk.
“He needs to understand the welter of feeling against this and the urbanisation of the North Somerset villages.
“It has been frustrating with this planning process where reasoned and logical arguments fall on deaf ears.
“It may well be that an angry gathering of rural villagers outside North Somerset’s offices may be needed. If the consultation doesn’t make a difference, you’re going to have to turn up and make a vocal demonstration.”