News August 1 2016
DING DONG: Ringing the changes at the Ring O'Bells with a Summerset Festival of beer, cider and music this family event at the St Mary's Grove public house was a fabulous success. To see all the photographs go to Gallery 2016 by clicking HERE and go to What's On page to read about wha'ts planned for the late August bank holiday
housing debate: READ WHAT BLOGGERs SAY HERE!
Location, location, location
Could the gloomy forecast for Nailsea with its ageing population amid fears of schools and shops closing be halted by building more houses for families and first time buyers?
Developers Mactaggart & Mickel think so and has confidently put in an outline planning application to build 450 houses off Youngwood Lane.
Originally called a ‘Garden City’ when the implications to the locals that they were going to get a Welwyn Garden City on their doorstep has led to a rethink about that moniker.
Looking at the map it is a huge swathe of countryside and in some ways reminiscent of the controversial Costain’s application from the 1980s although this time coming at the green fields from a different angle.
Then there is the another contentious plan to build 197 homes on 18-acres at Engine Lane, 14 of which is owned by Nailsea Town Council including four acres presently leased to Nailsea & Backwell Rugby Club and a further four acres owned by neighbouring farmers.
This wouldn’t have been so fraught with disagreements if the people living opposite hadn’t been promised a park – and if the councillors now backing their objections had voted the funds for this to have become a reality.
M&M have done its homework and talked to the town council, traders and residents in a series of consultations – 7,000 leaflets distributed with hundreds going to see an exhibition.
Consultants Tristan Fitzgerald Associates carried out a questionnaire and say 73.8 per cent of Nailsea residents who replied want more growth for the town although they are split 50/50 about whether that should be off The Uplands.
Worries about overcrowded doctors’ surgeries, need for more leisure facilities like a swimming pool, lack of parking, gridlock on the roads and distance from town centre were among the reasons cited.
North Somerset Council has been asked to approve approximately 450 dwellings with new access roads on the land north of Youngwood Lane and east of Netherton Wood Lane and people only have until Thursday, August 18, to submit a comment or objection.
To do so online click HERE.
The sloping 60-acre tree lined site is currently used to graze livestock and is bounded on the plan by a proposed ‘strategic gap’ to stop Nailsea spilling into Backwell.
Nailsea Town Council heard a presentation by Barratt Homes this week about Engine Lane and its proposed layout is currently on display at the Tithe Barn.
Clerk Ian Morrell said: “There was feedback from residents and councillors, mainly about highways issues.
“The terms of the sale were discussed at length and various issues were identified as needing further discussion.”
But the wrangling goes on and it appears the only matter agreed was the eight weeks timescale from agreeing ‘Heads of Terms’ to contract should be deleted.
The ‘confidential’ financial aspects of the sale which is believed could net the town council £4 million was held behind closed doors.
Mr Morrell added: “It was resolved to agree the Heads of Terms in principle and to continue negotiations with Barratts and North Somerset Council (regarding the restrictive covenant).
“The plan is for the town council to be able to consider a fully comprehensive contract in due course.”
A Nailsea mother of teenagers who was at the meeting said: “To be honest is was difficult to know what was going on…they talked around and around in circles for two hours before they ended up with a ‘private’ discussion, which the public were not privy to.
“Personally, I think they'll sell the land to Barratt Homes.
“I've got mixed feelings about it and I was surprised at how many unanswered questions there were this far into the game.
“I hope they didn't make a commitment in the closed session because there were far too many unknowns.
“Things like, they hadn't even considered the impact of traffic going across The Causeway or the moors.
“It seems looking at the figures for shared ownership there are plans for only four two-bed houses, three three-bed and one four-bed.
“I want more affordable housing in Nailsea.
“I've got a 23-year-old chomping at the bit to leave home and buy a place.
“There's talk of £200,000 for the smallest home which is not exactly ‘affordable’ to a young person.”
A delegation from Nailsea Action Group also attended the meeting including chairman Matthew Thomas and vice-chairman Antony Evans who raised many concerns including:
Clause 19 of the Heads of Terms which tied the Council to a tight timetable of negotiation, and this clause was later voted out by the council;
The apparent very high cost to the Council of the overages, abnormal costs and additional abnormal costs listed in the Heads of Terms, and whether this represented the best value for money and use of the council’s assets under its legal ‘fiduciary duty’;
The potential for Engine Lane to become extremely dangerous with increased traffic as predicted in its own traffic surveys – a councillor suggested a 20 mile an hour limit;
The lack of any view of the impact of traffic on local roads and notorious bottle-necks;
The lack of clarity and definition Barratt’s was able to give on a number of issues such as the cost of houses, the appropriateness of the housing mix and affordability, the absence of one-bed properties; and
Doubt as to whether this will meet the council’s intention to bring young people and those seeking genuinely affordable homes to Nailsea.
STOP PRESS 1: This debate continues with the bloggers - see below. To read what they have to say click HERE to go to page which has links to the two petitions.
STOP PRESS 2: Engine lane is back on the agenda for Nailsea Town Council together with the purchase of Youth House on Wednesday, September 7, at
The decision on whether to build a new nuclear pwoer station Hinkley near Bridgwater has been delayed again.
What the implications for Nailsea will be and whether the town will still be surrounded by huge new pylons is unclear.
If Hinkley Point is given go-ahead it will be the first new nuclear plant to be built in the UK in 20 years.
The French utility, EDF - the company financing most of the £18bn project - held a board meeting on Friday, July 29, and as fexpected approved the investment.
But in an 11th hour move the government said 'wait' and put on hold any agreement or legally-binding contracts being signed so construction work can't begin.
Critics are warning of environmental damage and potential escalating costs and they are also concerned that the plant is being built by foreign governments.
The Financial Times reported that Chinese investors expressed surprise at Prime Minister Theresa May’s intervention to delay the final go-ahead for the Hinkley Point nuclear plant.
A senior official in the Chinese nuclear industry who was scheduled to attend the signing said: “We are really questioning what’s going on.
"We were all set to go over when it was suddenly pushed back.”
EDF still hopes to have more than 2,500 workers on site by next year.
And if Nailsea doesn't get new pylons will Nailsea & Tickenham FC will be moving to a new ground...watch this space...
Roadworks on airport shortcut
Travellers taking a shortcut through Backwell to Bristol Airport are warned of roadworks on route.
North Somerset Council is warning that resurfacing work will start on Downside Road in Backwell on Monday, September 5 and is expected to last for four weeks.
Works will take place between the junction with the A38 Bristol Road and Coombehead Farm.
The diversion route will be via Brockley Combe Road, A370 (Main Road, Rhodyate Hill, Bristol Road), B3133 (High Street, Brinsea Road, Stock Lane), A38 (Station Road, Redhill, Bristol Road) and vice-versa, and will be clearly signed.
A road closure will be in place each weekday, from 8am to 8pm, so that the works can be carried out safely.
Outside the closure times, the road will be left in a safe condition and road users are asked to follow any advisory signage that is in place.
The road will be repaired using an in-situ recycling technique which means that part of the current surface gets reused and the whole resurfacing process takes place on site.
As a result, the method is quicker and more cost effective than other types of resurfacing, and means that the road is closed for the minimum amount of time.
Deputy leader and executive member with responsibility for highways Elfan Ap Rees said: “We’re aware that this is a popular route for people travelling to Bristol Airport, so we have been working closely with the airport to address any concerns they have, and to make sure that disruption to motorists and airport users is kept to a minimum.
“Access to properties and businesses will be maintained, and we’ll have traffic marshals on site who will be able to advise road users of access arrangements.
"By carrying out repairs now, we’re prolonging the life of the road and maximising value for money for council taxpayers.”
Bristol Airport has advised passengers to allow extra time for their journeys to the airport.
The works are being carried out by Skanska, on behalf of North Somerset Council, at a cost of £600,000.
The council has just completed an £800,000 26-mile road re-surfacing programme this August.
The week long schedule of work included roads at Backwell, Bristol Airport, Failand and Tickenham.
Surface dressing involves spraying the road with bitumen, covering it with basalt chippings and then rolling the road to embed the chippings into the surface.
Excess chippings are then swept up to be re-used in the following year’s programme.
The first sweep takes place within 48 hours of the treatment and is followed by at least two more sweepings which take place within the following 28 days.
Improvements were seen at Summerhouse, Tickenham; Failand Lane, Failand; A370 from Congresbury to Backwell, A38, Bristol Airport and Tickenham Hill.
To check the latest situation on the council’s roadworks website click HERE.
You can also follow @NorthSomersetC on Twitter or search for North Somerset Council on Facebook for daily updates on where work is taking place.
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