Mayor denies that plans to build on Green Belt at Bishopsworth were hidden

March 29 2019
Protest at plans to build on Green Belt at southern edge of Bristol

THE CITY council is trying to “rip up the Green Belt and concrete over it by deception” in its latest housing masterplan pinpointing where homes will be built over the next two decades, a leading opposition councillor claims.

By Amanda Cameron

Local Democracy Reporter*

Picture: Bristol Live 

THE CITY council is trying to “rip up the Green Belt and concrete over it by deception” in its latest housing masterplan pinpointing where homes will be built over the next two decades, a leading opposition councillor claims.
Tory Cllr Richard Eddy hit out at the authority for failing to include two sites earmarked for development in his Bishopsworth ward among the 70 locations across the city listed for building in the latest review of the Local Plan.
Land east of Yew Tree Farm and a site adjacent to Elsbert Drive, next to the May-Hassell playing field, which is owned by Bedminster Down School, are set to be stripped of Green Belt protection, with a combined 350 houses built.
Bristol’s Labour mayor Marvin Rees insists the proposals were “clearly identified” in a previous consultation and that the two sites in the south of the city are included in the development strategy section of the Local Plan main document, which was published on Monday, March 18.
But Cllr Eddy said the fact they were not listed in the ward-by-ward housing site allocations list where most people would expect to find them meant “the explosive revelation is buried”.
He said: “Fortunately, the week before the Local Plan consultation was launched, councillors were briefed and, to be fair to the planning officers, they were quite frank with me about the two large pieces of land to be removed from the statutory greenbelt and up to 350 houses built.
“Since we are planning to distribute 5,000 leaflets to my constituents in the next few weeks, I just had time to alter the content and urge residents to respond to the consultation over the threat to our greenbelt and the massive housing proposed.
“However, any member of the public scrutinising the council’s 70 targeted housing sites will not find either location listed here.
“Instead, the explosive revelation is buried in the substantial paperwork of the draft policies appendix.
“Bishopsworth residents are not NIMBYs and are resolved to play our full part in addressing Bristol’s housing crisis.
“Over the last three years, more than 200 planning consents for new homes have been granted locally, plus 100 flats are being built at Lakeshore under a previous consent.
“I do not think you need to be too cynical to suspect Bristol Labour is seeking to avoid highlighting the local issue and secretly hiding the fact that they aim to rip up the Green Belt  and concrete over it by deception.”
He said 200 houses were earmarked for the Yew Tree Farm site and 150 at the land near the May-Hassell playing field.
Mr Rees said: “As previously made clear following a Bristol Post article about the same topic last year, the proposed changes were clearly identified in an initial Local Plan consultation and received 85 responses.
“Due to the extent and significance of the plans for these sites in South Bristol, we have included them in the development strategy section of the main consultation document which covers the major areas of growth and regeneration planned for the city.
“The Bristol Local Plan outlines the council’s approach to delivering inclusive growth and development over the next 20 years, including over 33,500 homes by 2036.
“These sites are also outlined in the map on page 10. The document can be accessed via http://www.bristol.gov.uk/localplanreview and the consultation is open until May 24, 2019.’’

 

* The Local Democracy Reporter scheme is funded by the BBC out of the TV licence. It pays for 150 reporters around the country to cover some of the issues that newspapers often do not have the staff for any  more – mainly council issues but also involving other public bodies including the police and schools. South Bristol Voice is a member of the scheme, which means we have the right to use the stories produced by the three Local Democracy Reporters in Bristol. We aren’t able to influence which stories are chosen or how they are written. The  Local Democracy Reporters work at the offices of Bristol Live (publisher of the Bristol Post) and are managed by Bristol Live.