News 2 February 2016
TOWN IN MOURNING
Nailsea mourns teenager Alex Gould who lost his life on St Valentine's Day and prays for his best mate ‘critical’ but ‘stable’ at Southmead Hospital. Click HERE to read more on the Breaking News page
No extra time for school floodlights
Nailsea School has been unsuccessful again in its bid to extend the use of its floodlit all-weather pitches.
The Planning Inspectorate ruled against its second appeal this week and refused to award the school costs.
When Nailsea School was rebuilt in 2008 money from the £32 million project was found to build a new all-weather 4G pitch.
Inspector Joanne Jones visited the Mizzymead Road site at the end of January and decided that its request to use the pitches before 8.30am and after 8pm on weekdays, before 8.30am and after 6pm on Saturdays and before 9am and after 1.30pm on Sundays was a non-starter.
Mrs Jones made her decision to ‘protect the living conditions of the occupiers of nearby properties’.
The all-weather pitch is surrounded by homes and to extend its floodlit hours would result in an unacceptable level of noise disturbance to the detriment of its neighbours, she said.
The school asked for an extra one and a half hour extension on weekdays and Sundays in the winter.
Mrs Jones agreed an acoustic fence would be capable of mitigating the noise nuisances for residents of nearby properties.
She said: “The residential gardens backing on to the school boundary adjacent to the AWP, are modest in size, and vary in length from approximately 2m-10m.
“A landscaping bund with trees and vegetation, together with a post and wire fence separates them from the school site.
“While I have no details of the proposed fence or its location the appellant states that the ‘addition of an acoustic fence along these boundaries would have little or no effect above that already associated with the existing screening features’.
“I would have to disagree.
“The existing landscaping is essentially low level scrub and the taller trees are sporadic and do not provide continuous screening.
“Furthermore, in some locations the landscaping bund is at a higher ground level than the adjacent gardens.
“Therefore, a 3m high acoustic fence, situated close to the rear boundaries of neighbouring properties would be visually prominent; resulting in a significant loss of outlook and an undue sense of enclosure.
“Furthermore, due to the height of the fence I am concerned that it would cause harmful overshadowing of a number of rear gardens, particularly along Ash Hayes Drive, which are due south of the AWP.
“I am not confident that I am able, from the information submitted, to reach a firm conclusion as to whether the provision of an acoustic fence would reduce the noise from the AWP to a satisfactory level without significant harm to the living conditions of neighbouring occupiers.
“In the absence of such confidence, I cannot find in favour of the scheme before me.
“As part of my site inspection, I visited Mizzymead Road and Ash Hayes Drive after 5pm.
“The AWP was in use and I was able to observe for myself the effect of the floodlights on light levels in these roads during the hours of darkness.
“The floodlights could be easily seen from the rear windows and gardens of these properties, however, the back gardens and windows were not lit up.
“Nevertheless, I can understand the concerns expressed by local residents in terms of the effect of the floodlights on the living conditions within their homes.
“No changes are proposed to the heights of the lighting columns, or to the intensity of illumination, or the angle of the lighting, to that previously dismissed on appeal in 2012.
“Given the lack of substantive evidence to the contrary and in the absence of actual light spill beyond the school boundaries I would have to agree with my colleague.
“Nonetheless, the application to vary the lighting times is linked to the need to extend the hours of use of the AWP that, for the reasons given above, has been found unacceptable.
A planning inspector refused to change conditions imposed upon the school from when the pitches were opened seven years ago.
Handy for High Street pub
The latest multi-million plan to develop the old garage next to the Royal Oak pub was unveiled at a Nailsea Town Council meeting on Wednesday night, February 17.
And the plan is not to demolish the building but convert it into 10 two-storey three bed homes with studio and office units underneath.
But this isn’t the first time someone has put forward proposals for the disused commercial building which has stood empty for decades.
From a new garage with cone-shaped car sales showroom to an indoor market with cafe and museum there have been many residential and commercial schemes for the site dubbed ‘gateway to Nailsea’.
Way back In the 1860s history records more than 500 people attended village concerts in the building that once housed French kilns and gas-fired furnaces for the Glassworks and in the 1980s The Wurzels packed out the place for a 1st Nailsea Scouts fundraising gig.
Last year Hobbs Properties put the freehold of the huge disused stone built ‘shed’ and surrounding land up for sale with a price tag of £250,000.
Although it would like to buy Youth House at 65 High Street the Nailsea Town Council passed on the opportunity to own the property next to its own green space.
And now established North Somerset house builders Rollo Homes who are currently developing the old furniture shop Challicoms at Hill Road, Clevedon, into residential apartments want to do something similar at the Nailsea site.
Royal Oak garage
Rollo Homes directors Shaun Thomas, of Chelvey, and Paul O’Brien, of Wraxall, are the brains behind the project which will sit next to the newly transformed Teletubbies-style park at the end of the High Street.
Planning and development consultant Kit Stokes, of Aspect360, said his company would be submitting a planning application to North Somerset Council at the beginning of March and if approved hope to start building on the brown field site by midsummer.
Mr Stokes told the council that the Royal Oak garage was ‘an important but not beautiful’ building which would be retained and act as a ‘sleeve’ for the new development.
The asbestos sheet roof would be replaced by a new slate roof , the homes would have patio gardens and there would be 20 car parking spaces, he said.
Mr Stokes said: “There is a noisy venue next door but my clients have purchased the site with the intention of retaining the building and converting it into 10 family homes with some commercial space abutting the High Street.”
They would be using the same architects O’Leary Goss who had designed the market scheme but spurred on by the successful off-plan sale of the Four Oak school homes have come up with the more mixed development.
But councillor Mary Ponsonby voiced concerns about chemical contamination of the land caused by its industrial past.
She said that substances including cyanide and asbestos had been removed from the parkland next door.
Mr Stokes said: “The intention is to retain the floor slab and to have minimal excavation to protect the archaeological resources that are in the ground.
“There will need to be a remediation strategy to address any contamination which may mean capping the car park area.”
A preference for starter homes was voiced at the meeting together with fears about other dangerous substances lurk beneath.
Builders aren’t going to dig the dirt and plop homes on top, said Mr Stokes.
Councillor Rod Lees said: “Ascetically it looks quite impressive, I quite like it but as a development I think it is terribly wrong for the area.
“These are not downsizing houses – what we want in the centre of town is some starter homes, some bistros, one and two-bed units.”
Neil Middleton said: “The idea for it being three storey with lots of stairs isn’t for people downsizing.”
Mr Stokes said: “I’ll take back that the town council would rather have 25 starter homes.”
While the garage is excluded from the scheduling under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 the ground is included and excavations in 2008 revealed remains from the glassworks and the alkali chemical works.
STOP PRESS: Nailsea Town Council clerk Ian Morrell said: "The only decision the town council has made about Youth House is that it wants to pursue the option of buying it. We have agreed in principle with North Somerset Council that a valuation by the district valuer will be made and hopefully following that we will be able to agree a price. We are also looking to get a structural survey done so we understand what issues may need to be addressed to ensure the building is in a good condition."
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Tel: 01275 857491 Twitter: #schooltogsnailsea
No-go weather forecast
With bad weather forecast the monthly market at Nailsea is cancelled for February.
Nailsea farmers' and craft market manager Gina Provis said: "As you can appreciate cancelling a market is not an easy decision and much consideration is taken into account.
"However, after closely monitoring the weather, gusts are predicted at 30mph rising to 40-50mph on the morning of Saturday for Nailsea, along with rain.
"The risk of a canopy or stall being blown over is high at these levels of gusts.
"Based on this and to give you notice we’ve made the decision to cancel the market on safety grounds based on the information we have today.
"I’m sorry for any inconvenience caused, however, I hope the notice will help reduce your production levels, rather than turning up with a full load on the morning only to find we have to cancel anyway.
"Look forward to seeing you all in March with better weather conditions."
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