'Work, live and grow old' plan

PUBLISHED: 04:48 07 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:49 24 May 2010

A HUGE historic site could be transformed from its redundant state into a residential and business complex, creating more than 130 jobs. Ambitious proposals for a prominent 12.2acre site in a North Somerset village have been unveiled by a major Welsh-base

A HUGE historic site could be transformed from its redundant state into a residential and business complex, creating more than 130 jobs.Ambitious proposals for a prominent 12.2acre site in a North Somerset village have been unveiled by a major Welsh-based developer.The company wants to develop businesses, homes, community facilities and a 2.2-acre 'wildlife haven' on the former home of Sandford Railway Station and Sandford Stone.The development would have a huge impact on the village and would be one of the biggest regeneration projects in the district, revitalising an area which has been vacant for more than a year.Developer the Bird Group believes it can create 130 jobs by comprehensively rebuilding the former home of the Strawberry Line station, a large part of which was formerly occupied by Sandford Stone.Small business units would be built along with work studios and offices with living accommodation above them.A residential care home is planned for the centre of the former Sandford Stone site, with separate supported accommodation for the elderly nearby.Four listed buildings on the Station Road site which date from the late 1860s - the old station ticket office, the station master's house, goods shed and a brick-built barn, would be kept as focal points of the project.Elsewhere on the site terraced, semi-detached and detached homes, including some affordable housing, designed to fit in with the character of the railway buildings would be built.The scheme also includes a 2.2-acre wildlife haven along the southern end of the site which would also provide a footpath link to the Strawberry Line railway walk.The developer held talks with the Cheddar Valley Railway Walk Society and cycle charity Sustrans about the site becoming a 'pit stop' for people using the Strawberry Line. Facilities could include a cafe, railway heritage centre and cyclists' rest area.The Bird Group is a group of companies based in Monmouthshire, Wales. It wants to build a mini-roundabout at the site's entrance to make it safer for cars driving in and out, and to slow down traffic entering the village.Villagers will be able to get a detailed look at the scheme at an exhibition being held at the site in Station Road. There will also be a questionnaire so people can comment on the plans and residents will also be able to walk around the area. The exhibition will be open from 10am-4pm from September 8-10.Feedback from the day will be considered when a planning application is submitted to North Somerset Council in the coming weeks.Bird Group managing director Brian Bird said: "We have taken a great deal of care in preparing the scheme."Our aims are to find viable new uses for the redundant Sandford Stone site and to give something back to the village."The exhibition shows our vision, but we feel sure that others will have valuable insight into how the location should develop. We hope everyone in the area will visit the exhibition and give their views.

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