Plans to build up to 200 new homes on Greenbelt land in Whitchurch village have been thrown out by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
Developer Robert Hitchens Ltd had been hoping to build the properties on land off Staunton Lane in the village, and had already reduced the proposed number of homes from an original figure of 295 new houses to 200. However, the application has been rejected after the area’s local MP Jacob Rees-Mogg requested that the decision be called-in for determination by the Conservative Cabinet Minister Mr Pickles.
The announcement that the Whitchurch plans have been rejected marks the second victory in the space of a week in the campaign to protect local Greenbelt from development, coming just a day after it was confirmed that plans for 99 homes on Saltford’s Greenbelt have also been rejected by the Secretary of State.
The news has been hailed by the area’s local Conservative councillor Peter Edwards, who joined with local residents in opposing the plans.
Councillor Edwards (Cons, Publow & Whitchurch) said:
“This is brilliant news, I am over the moon with this outcome and I know that residents in the area are too. This marks a great victory in the fight to protect local Greenbelt from inappropriate development. Two hundred houses in this location would have destroyed one of the few remaining greenfield boundaries between Whitchurch village and the Bristol boundary. It would also have caused significant traffic problems on the narrow Staunton Lane, as well as on other already congested local roads.
“Our local MP Jacob Rees-Mogg is to be given our wholehearted thanks for his efforts to protect our local Greenbelt, and for the fact he took the matter all the way to the top of Government by referring it to the Secretary of State. This is the right decision for our community, and sets a precedent that Greenbelt must remain fully protected.”