The streetscape of Stockway South at Nailsea has some big changes around the corner with plans for new homes and maybe a supermarket.
Nearly 100 people went to a public exhibition at the Scotch Horn leisure this week to view proposals for a four-storey multi-million apartment block for the elderly on the site of the old police station.
While many liked the design of the 40 one- and two-bed apartments with balconies others feared the height of the building wasn’t in keeping with its environs.
Developer McCarthy & Stone has secured an option to buy the land- subject to the necessary planning permissions - from Avon and Somerset Constabulary which put it up for sale with a price tag of more than £1 million.
But neighbourhood police officers who are expected to move into an expanded Scotch Horn have voiced privately they think it will be another two years before this happens.
The proposals for the ‘retirement living housing’ include a community living room, office for an on-site day manager, communal bins, single access onto Stockway South and provision for 30 car parking spaces.
Wrington accountant Peter and his wife Shelagh Spellissy, a retired dinner lady at St Francis RC Primary School, pictured top right, have lived directly behind the police station at Hillcrest Road for 38 years.
Peter said: “Our objection is the height of the building – we have no objection to having retirement homes built on the site.
“The trees are only in leaf for three to four months a year the rest of the time they are bare and for some neighbours the proposed balconies with have views looking straight into their gardens.”
And there is the small bother of back garden gates which for many years have been used as a shortcut to the shopping precint and therefore possibly establishing a public right of way.
Shelagh said: “We were originally under the impression it was going to be two storey and now we are finding out it is going to be four storeys – however, there is a possibility we might like to move into one of the apartments at a later stage.”
Nailsea town councillor Ann Tonkin said: “I like the design which I think is good but I would have liked the land to have been used to build starter homes for young people.”
But fellow Nailsea town councillor Rod Lees asked if the house manager on site would have first aid training and worried that the response at night in an emergency could be limited.
The facade of the building will be in red and buff brick with timber-look fibreboard and construction time if planning permission is granted the build is estimated to take 12-13 months.
Nailsea town councillor Neil Middleton said: “Overall the design and layout of the site looks quite good given the constraints of the corner with roads all around and they have preserved the green against the roadside so it won’t impact too much on the visual aspects.
“The design as far as I can tell, not having seen the actual materials to be used, looks quite pleasant.
“Whether there is a need for yet more homes for the elderly in Nailsea as compared to younger people I am not entirely sure.”
“The height is below that of the Sion building opposite, it is very similar to the height of the existing building so I don’t think it will be too much of a problem.”
McCarthy and Stone regional managing director Shane Paull said: “The public exhibition was an excellent opportunity for us to understand the views of the local community.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank people for their constructive comments.
“We will be reviewing all the feedback received and will look to incorporate these into our proposals where possible.
“We have worked hard to ensure our proposals represent a sensitive redevelopment of the soon-to-be-vacant site, and one which complements the character of the local area.
“We believe this site is an ideal location to provide-much needed retirement accommodation in Nailsea close to existing shops and services.”
McCarthy & Stone’s research indicates that the existing population of over 65s in North Somerset is currently more than 42,600 – that is 21.03 per cent.
This is expected to grow to more than 78,000 by 2035.
In addition, there is insufficient specialist housing for people in later life, with only 1,318 units available to buy.
Mr Paull added:“There is clearly a local demand for Retirement Living apartments in Nailsea and this was made clear with a number of local residents already making initial sales enquiries at the exhibition, despite no marketing activities having taken place.”
Since 1977 McCarthy & Stone has 50,000 apartments across more than 1,000 locations.
BACKWELL SCHOOL FIRE
Backwell School was evacuated on Friday afternoon when a fire broke out in one of the teaching blocks.
All 1,300 students in Year 7-11 and 380 in the sixth form assembled with teacher and ancillary staff on the school playing field when the alarm was sounded at just after 2.30pm.
Two engines from Nailsea and one engine from Bedminster rushed to the comprehensive school and located a fire in a cavity wall.
The school is currently undergoing repair work on a flat roof.
Fire fighters had to wear breathing apparatus because of the smoke.
It took more than an hour before the all clear was given when and then bussed in pupils were allowed to catch their coaches home.
Fire fighters stayed on a premises until gone 4pm to ensure the building was safe, said a spokesman for Avon Fire & Rescue.
Head teacher Julian Baldwin said: "There was a small fire in an outside wall of Cotswold House block on Friday afternoon.
“Everyone evacuated safely in a very sensible and orderly fashion, and students behaved superbly troughout the incident.
“The fire service extinguished the fire quickly, and minimised the damage.
“We are very grateful for their fast and effective action.
“There was no damage to any of the classrooms.
“Over the weekend our site team have cleaned and ventilated the building.
“We undertook safety checks, including an air test, on Saturday, and the results confirmed that the building was safe, and ready for use.
“Therefore lessons have continued as normal today, Monday.
“Students who left belongings in any of the classrooms when they evacuated have collected them today as planned.
“The cause of the fire has been investigated and will be validated by our external Health and Safety consultants.
“The damaged external wall will also be repaired in due course.
“Although obviously I would prefer this incident not to have occurred, I am very pleased with the calm and sensible way the school reacted to the situation, not just at the time, but at the end of the school day."
SYCAMORE HOUSE BUILD
Churchill Homes has 30 one and two-bedroom retirement apartments currently under construction on the site of the Sycamore House, at Christchurch Close although no prices have been released yet.
Permission is currently being sought from North Somerset Council to fell six fungus ridden Monterey cypress trees as well as,a laburnum, apple and wild cherry tree from the site.
Barrell Tree Consultancy arboretum expert Chris Allder said: “The proposed tree management works are necessary and are also in response to concerns from neighbours about the safety of the cypress trees on the northern boundary.
"While the work will be noticeable to the public in the short term, the impact on visual amenity can be mitigated by planting new trees in sustainable locations for future benefit.”
FOUR OAKS QUICK SALE
Converted and new build homes at Four Oaks, the old Silver Street infant school which went on the market earlier this year priced from £285,000 sold within days of being marketed by estate agents Hunters Leahy.
The last three new build bungalows were released this week.
LIDL STORE UPDATE
Lidl submitted a planning application for a new discount neighbourhood food store at Stock Way South car park in December 2014.
But following an outcry about loss of car parking spaces by councillors, residents, health centre and shoppers the plans were put on ‘hold’ while more research was carried out and amended plans resubmitted.
A North Somerset Council spokesman said the budget supermarket is about to consult with new plans.
It said while it was evident what people were enthusiastic about Lidl coming to Nailsea a major concern was the loss of 101 car parking spaces from Crown Glass car park.
But we hear there is a strong possibility Lidl may walk if new plans aren't approved.
Tto view progress of the formal planning application click HERE.
Top level talks about the controversial new bus timetables for Nailsea have been held between councillors and bus company First Group.
From the end of August two main services were introduced to operate between Nailsea and Bristol running every 15 minutes weekdays.
The speedy X8 which is using its old loop around the town would go via Backwell and the Long Ashton bypass while the X9 would go via B3130 through the villages of Wraxall and Long Ashton.
But the X9 has been diverted from the old loop and now turns right at Stockway South into the narrow residential Hazelbury Road bypassing the comprehensive school.
And for Nailsea people travelling to Bristol Airport, Clevedon, Portishead and onto Weston-super-Mare on the new A2 service where shocked to learn this would only operate every two hours weekdays, less on Saturdays and with no Sunday service.
The worse affected has been Tickenham children travelling to school at Nailsea, people trying to reach Clevedon at the weekend and residents living on narrow roads which previously had no bus service.
Before the meeting Nailsea School head teacher Chris Wade said: “I am very angry about the changes First bus has made with no consultation as far as I am aware with parents or schools.
“I have contacted the chief executive of First Group and am awaiting a phone call.
“I will do whatever I can to ensure our voices are heard and that the impact of what appears to be an arbitrary decision is make clear.
“The changes they have made had the potential to damage the education of dozens of children let alone having a potentially devastating effect on our budget.
“I would urge any parents affected by the changes to petition our local MP and First bus directly.”
Nailsea Town Council clerk Ian Morrell said: “The town council was not aware, prior to the changes being made, of the extent of what was going to happen.
“We have been in touch with North Somerset Council about a number of specific cases where there are issues about practicalities about where bus stops have been put, routes have changed and the direction buses travel in has been altered.”
North Somerset district councillor Jan Barber said: “It is unfortunate that the improvement in buses going into Bristol has resulted in deterioration in the service to and from Clevedon.
“There was a meeting on Friday, September 11, between representatives of First bus and officers from North Somerset Council to discuss the new routes and timetable and the feedback received.
“One gentleman, Darran Moody, from Hazelbury Road, is particularly concerned about the direction the bus travels down the road as there was an accident outside his house some time ago involving a bus, as a result of which the buses were re-routed in the opposite direction.
“Consequently he was amazed to see the route which the X9 now takes is on the more dangerous side of the road.
“The official from North Somerset, councillor Mary Blatchford who lives on Hazelbury Road and myself met with residents last week to discuss the location of the bus stops, particularly the one opposite the junction with Ashton Crescent.
“The officer was very helpful and we are hoping the bus stop can be moved, but this will be at the discretion of First bus.
“It must be emphasised that if the route has been approved by the Department of Transport, the local authority is unable to prevent buses from being routed down any particular road and that bus stops can be installed outside any house on the route, without any consultation with the residents of neighbouring properties.
“The officers have promised to let me know about any changes as a result of the meeting on 11th, but these would take a minimum of 56 days to be implemented.
“I have had a few emails from Hazelbury praising the revised service.
“However, the vociferous ones are adamant about the drawbacks and I suspect that it will be changed.
“At the end of the day First is running a business and if it is in their interests to go down Hazelbury Road as there are a number of passengers using it then it will continue.
“North Somerset Council is merely the conduit for passing on the complaints of the residents and also the positive feedback.
“I have flagged up the problems over the school pupils and put Chris Wade in touch with the North Somerset officers so hopefully that one will be successfully sorted and I am hopefully by half term something will be resolved.”
To read how the story broke on www.nailseapeople.com click HERE.