Greenbelt surrounding Saltford has been saved from the prospect of large-scale development in Bath and North East Somerset Council’s new planning blueprint.
Local Conservative councillors Mathew Blankley and Francine Haeberling led the fight to protect Saltford’s Greenbelt in the Council’s revised Core Strategy, which could have seen up to 5000 new homes being built to the south of the village.
As part of the process of producing the revised Core Strategy, planning officers at the Liberal Democrat-run authority put forward options which could have seen extensive development all along the A4 corridor. One of the options presented to councillors was to build around 5000 homes to the south of the village.
Councillors Mathew Blankley and Francine Haeberling, alongside Saltford Parish Council, fought to ensure that this option was not taken forward, arguing that the plans would destroy the character of the village and exacerbate traffic on the A4, which is already at capacity.
Cllr Mathew Blankley (Cons, Saltford) said:
“The fact that Saltford’s Greenbelt has ultimately been protected in the Council’s latest development plans will come as a great relief to local residents.
“B&NES had considered the possibility earmarking Greenbelt to the south of Saltford for thousands of new houses. This would have been catastrophic for our village had it been taken forward, destroying our countryside and bringing the A4 to a standstill.”
Cllr Francine Haeberling (Cons, Saltford):
“There are still some proposals for building around Keynsham which we remain concerned about, but we are extremely pleased that our calls to protect the Greenbelt around Saltford have been listened to. In the Core Strategy more generally, Conservatives believe the Council must stick to a Brownfield development-first policy, as stipulated by Government, and ensure that infrastructure is delivered alongside new housing.”
The Core Strategy forms the basis for all planning decisions by a local authority, earmarking sites that the council believes are most appropriate for development. If the council has no Core Strategy in place, there is a greater risk that unwanted planning applications are granted permission, for example the proposed 99-home development to the South of Manor Road.