Residents and councillors in Saltford are celebrating victory after plans to build nearly a hundred new houses on Greenbelt land on the edge of the village were rejected by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
The plans, which would have seen 99 homes built on land off Manor Road in the village, were thrown out by the Conservative Cabinet Minister after local MP Jacob Rees-Mogg requested that the plans be called-in by Mr Pickles for a final decision to be taken.
The news has been welcomed as a ‘great victory for the community’ by Saltford’s two Conservative councillors, Francine Haeberling and Mathew Blankley, who had joined with residents in campaigning against the proposals.
The councillors had argued that the Greenbelt which protects the village’s surrounding countryside from development should remain sacrosanct. They also argued that local roads could not cope with the additional traffic caused by the development, and that the village’s Primary School was already at capacity.
Conservative councillors have also said that the decision by Mr Pickles should set a precedent that Greenbelt land in other parts of the authority should also remain protected from development.
Councillor Francine Haeberling (Cons, Saltford) said:
“This is absolutely fantastic news and will come as a great relief to residents in the village. The Greenbelt which protects the open countryside around Saltford must remain sacrosanct. This Greenbelt acts as a protective barrier against the A4 becoming one large urban conurbation, and so I’m extremely pleased that this has clearly been recognised by the Communities Secretary in reaching his decision.
“Hopefully this outcome will serve as a warning to developers that where land is designated as Greenbelt, it must remain fully protected.”
Councillor Mathew Blankley (Cons, Saltford) added:
“Residents in Saltford place a great value on our local Greenbelt. This is why we are totally opposed to this kind of encroachment onto surrounding fields and fought against these plans. In addition, this development would have put undue pressure onto already congested local roads and the local Primary School, which is already at capacity.
“I’m sure I speak on behalf of all Saltford residents in sending our thanks to Eric Pickles for throwing out these plans, and to Jacob Rees-Mogg for asking for the application to be called in.”