Fresh calls have been made for Bath’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to be extended to include the western side of the city.Conservative councillors are supporting a campaign by Newton St Loe and Englishcombe Parish Councils for land stretching from Odd Down to Newbridge to be designated as AONB. If successful, the bid would result in the last remaining part of countryside surrounding Bath becoming part of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
However, Conservative councillors have said that for the bid to prove a success, Bath and North East Somerset Council would need to throw its support and planning expertise behind the campaign.
The renewed calls also come in the wake of a decision by Bath and North East Somerset Council to suspend its Core Strategy planning blueprint, which aims to protect the area’s countryside and focus development on Brownfield regeneration.
Councillor David Veale (Cons, Bathavon West), who represents the area, said:
“With the B&NES Core Strategy planning blueprint suspended pending further work, it is more important than ever for the Council to do whatever it can to protect the unique countryside surrounding Bath.
“There is no doubt that the picturesque farmland and rolling hills surrounding Newton St Loe, Englishcombe and the west of Bath deserve to be designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This would complete the belt of AONB which surrounds our World Heritage City and protect this countryside for future generations. It’s something which I, alongside local residents and Parish Councils, have campaigned on for nearly two years now, and it is time for B&NES to step forward and offer its support.”
Conservative Shadow Cabinet Member for Homes and Planning, Cllr Geoff Ward, added:
“Conservative councillors fully support these calls for Bath’s AONB to be extended, and we will be calling on the Council to throw its weight behind the plans. We will be asking for the Council to use its planning expertise to support an official bid to Natural England for this area to be designated AONB.”