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No to another Bradley Stoke

It was full house at the Scotch Horn on Friday night when residents were given the opportunity to discuss plans to build more than 4,000 new homes and major new road link at Nailsea and Backwell.
It was a more muted response than the scenes of the 1980s when plans for the A370 link and Morgan’s Hill were to be debated at the same venue and police were forced to close the hall amid overcrowding fears.
Most present at the December 2018 meeting were opposed to the scale of the proposed development and the timescale.
There was palatable anger that like the Hinkley pylon debacle the public was being asked to consider and comment during the Christmas holiday period about this and Bristol Airport expansion.
The meeting was called by North Somerset district councillor James Tonkin who represents the West End Ward mostly affected by the plans and joining him on the top table were Backwell Parish Council chairman Bob Taylor and fellow town councillors Mike Bird and Jon Phillips.
Under discussion was the shock contents of the Joint Spatial Plan which if adopted will see the equivalent of five new towns the size of Bradley Stoke being built in North Somerset.
Solutions ranged from realigning the Green Belt to putting the homes at Ashton Vale and North Somerset Council actions of not working more closely with neighbouring local authorities were given as the reasons for the surprise proposals.

Although North Somerset MP Liam Fox had made the right noises at meetings with concerned residents if was thought he was powerless to intervene affectively.

A minority in the audience blamed second home owners and immigration for affordable housing shortage.

And accusations of self-interest were made at those of advancing years like the majority of the audience.

Councillor Peter Burden warned of being lulled into a false security with empty promises made several decades ago of new roads, rail link and expanding schools which didn’t materialize when 12,000 new homes were built at Portishead and the railway is still some four or five years away.   
He said: “These plans require £100 million invested in infrastructure which is pie-in-sky.”
Mr Bird said the four-lane road link from the M5 to A370 would act as a gateway to Bristol cutting across a green valley and giving more nightmares to a gridlocked Cumberland Basin.
Mr Taylor said: “We are all singing from same hymn book and know there is no money for the infrastructure needed.
“We want to grow gradually – this is a different ball game.”
A Trendlewood woman asked: “Where is the evidence we need this many new houses?”
Former housing official Shaun Fitzpatrick blamed the district council who had only looked after the interests of Weston-super-Mare and had ‘sewn us up’ with land already bought by developers.
He said: “You will have these houses.”
District council Anita Heappey cited the same dilemma experience in the 1960s by the then 3,000-strong original population of Nailsea and said: “We must fight tooth and nail to get the infrastructure.”
But a dairy farmer said if the road cuts through his land there will be no more cows and no more green fields at West End.
Concerns about the inadequate health provision in the area, the need for another bridge crossing into Bristol and because of it being in the flood plain a road built on stilts separating Nailsea and Backwell to accommodate 6,000 more cars were also voiced at the meeting.
Everyone was urged to look at the plans in full at and so submit a response by Wednesday, January 10.
Backwell Parish Council aided by Backwell Residents Association and Facebook group Backwell Resistance are leading the fight against the 700 new homes planned for the village while waiting for a decision on Farleigh Fields.
And Nailsea Action Group is coordinating response to this and other planned development at Causeway View.  
It is likely the JSP will go to public inquiry in the summer of 2018.

Future planning blueprint


  • Nailsea and Backwell have been earmarked as 'stategic development areas' in a the final draft of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan which is due to be discussed by North Somerset Counci special executive committee on Tuesday November 14.
  • Apart from hundreds of new houses the key seems to be the railway station to be linked by new road to A370 plus four additional primary schools and a new secondary school! 
  • Nailsea and Backwell are to keep separate identifies with a 'stategic gap' and Station Road is down for improvements.

The final draft of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) has been published ahead of its consideration by the four councils, North Somerset, Bristol City, Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

The JSP will provide the overarching development framework to guide housing, employment and infrastructure requirements to 2036.

The JSP will be discussed by the West of England Joint Committee on Monday 30 October and, subject to the approval of the four councils, public engagement is planned this winter before the document and feedback received is sent to the Secretary of State for examination next year.

The JSP sets out the policies and principles that have been applied in determining the most appropriate and sustainable locations for future development. The document is the product of more than two years joint working and two previous consultations, where individuals, communities and other stakeholders have made contributions to help shape the future growth of the region.

The JSP is the first such joint planning approach in the UK, which takes into account the impact that development in one area has across council boundaries.

Alongside the JSP, the four councils are continuing to develop a Joint Transport Study (JTS), which is designed to help the region meet the growing infrastructure demands that new growth will bring, as well as identifying the projects that are needed to upgrade existing links where there is already pressure on road and public transport networks.

This includes providing the key transport infrastructure needed to reduce reliance on cars with better road and extended cycle links, improved junctions and better access to public transport.

In a joint statement, the leaders of North Somerset Council, Cllr Nigel Ashton, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Cllr Tim Warren, South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Matthew Riddle and the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “Each of the councils in the West of England face a key challenge: To ensure there are sufficient new homes, jobs and infrastructure to accommodate a growing population, while at the same time protecting and enhancing our unique built and natural environment.

“This is not just a local issue, the UK as a whole is struggling to meet growing demand for new homes. We have joined forces to prepare a different type of plan to tackle this challenge.

“The JSP aims to build a common understanding of the need for new housing and the benefits that new development will bring, including transport improvements and more opportunities to link our communities with homes and jobs.

“Of course the impact of growth will vary in different communities, so it is important that people understand why the strategy is being proposed.

"The JSP includes the locations that would be sites for sustainable growth. It also spells out the policies and evidence, which we have already consulted upon, that has guided these decisions.

“People have talked constructively, taking into account that development in one part of our region impacts the others, about meeting the increased demand for services and infrastructure that housing growth brings and, because we are looking ahead for the next 20 years, about protecting our natural environment for the long-term.

“We have the power through long-term and evidence-based planning to address key economic and social imbalances in the region and to support inclusive growth.  We need to ensure the homes that are built meet people’s needs; they need to be the right size, in sustainable communities, available to rent and to buy and in locations that people and businesses need.

“Businesses should be able to locate where they can be most efficient and create jobs, enabling people to live in places which are accessible to where they work. Transport and infrastructure provision needs to be in place up front or keep pace with development to support sustainable growth.

“People feel passionately about where they live and the impact new growth might have on their local communities. We share the value they place on their local environment, landscape and biodiversity because it is part of what makes our region the place we want to live.
“We are committed to this plan-led approach to provide certainty to our communities, in order to secure high quality, sustainable growth for the West of England.”

In the first half of November, the JSP and proposed engagement plan will be considered by each of the four WoE local authorities.

Only once it is approved can it proceed.

Subject to approval by the four councils, the proposed public engagement is due to run from 22 November until 10 January, 2018. Following this process, the draft plan, along with all of the feedback received will be sent to the Secretary of State (SoS) early next year.

The draft plan will then be examined in public by an Independent Planning Inspector, who will then make a report back to the local authorities, which may include proposed amendments. Once satisfied that the plan meets all planning rules and laws, the four councils must adopt the plan, giving it statutory authority. At that point the approved JSP would sit above and guide the review of the councils’ own Local Plans.

To read the full nearly 400 page document click HERE.


STOP PRESS: Nailsea Action Group who are leading the fight to stop inappropriate building in the town has thanked people for responding to calls for financial support in its latest newsletter. More than enough money was raised to pay its legal expenses in connection with our objection to building on Engine Lane. It also published the dates of for North Somerset Council consultations:

All the latest updates can be seen on its website news page on the website. As well as attending the Site Allocation Plan inspections for four days in Weston the committee has continued to represent NAG at Nailsesa Town Council meetings. The Engine Lane planning application is still under consideration and Barratt’s recently published a number of updates. NAG chair and vice-Chair will be meeting with North Somerset MP Liam Fox at his next  Nailsea surgery in early November.

POLICY 7.4 - BACKWELL, North Somerset


Land to the west of Backwell is shown indicatively on the Key Diagram as the broad location to accommodate an extension to the village. The key strategic principles and infrastructure requirements are as follows:

  • Delivery of an extension to Backwell village to create a sympathetic and well-designed development appropriate to its rural setting of around 700 dwellings including affordable housing.

  • Lower densities will be expected on more sensitive parts of the site, including to safeguard heritage and ecological assets.

  • Creation of new footpath and cycleways linking the site to the rail station, proposed MetroBus connections and local services and facilities.

  • Improvements to the rail station to create a multimodal interchange including enhanced parking, facilitating increased frequency and capacity, accessibility and accommodating a MetroBus interchange.

  • Local junction improvements will be required including at Station Road, and theA370 Backwell signalised junction.

  • Provision of a primary school of at least 2.4ha to be located to maximise safe access from surrounding communities by walking and cycling.

  • Protection of the settings of historic Chelvey and West Town Conservation Area and the need for sensitive treatment in respect of the setting of Grove Farm.

  • Strategic approach to the assessment, safeguarding and enhancement of greater and lesser horseshoe bat habitat (particularly the Juvenile Sustenance Zone between the A370 and Chelvey Road), and Tickenham; Nailsea and Kenn Moor SSSI interests.

  • Development should avoid the flood plain and demonstrate reduced run-off rates including through the use of attenuation ponds and other features as appropriate. Additional land may be required off-site to facilitate long term water storage as part of the sustainable drainage strategy.

  • Development to be mitigated with the delivery of: APPENDIX A Page 44 i. New multi-modal link from A370 Long Ashton Bypass to station interchange (including rail crossing), Nailsea SDL and Nailsea town centre, with connection to A370 west of Backwell (including rail crossing) and a new or improved connection to M5. ii. New MetroBus route linking Bristol to Nailsea from Long Ashton Bypass to the station interchange (including rail crossing), Nailsea SDL and Nailsea town centre, and potential onward link to Clevedon. iii. Opportunities to phase delivery of the highway improvements in step with parts of the development may be explored.

POLICY 7.7 – NAILSEA SW, North Somerset


Land to the south west of Nailsea is shown indicatively on the Key Diagram as the broad location to accommodate a new extension to the town. The key strategic principles and infrastructure requirements are as follows:

  • Delivery of an extension to the south west of Nailsea with its own character and sense of identity for around 2575 dwellings including affordable housing. An additional 725 dwellings are estimated beyond 2036.

  • Creation of a new local centre to form the heart of the new community with a range of retail, employment, services and facilities, but of a scale and type which is complementary to Nailsea town centre which will remain the main centre.

  • Higher densities at the local centre and at accessible locations, particularly along the proposed MetroBus route and lower densities towards the western edge of the development.

  • Creation of new footpath and cycleways linking the new local centre with residential areas, locations within Nailsea and the rail station and public transport services.

  • Development to be mitigated with the delivery of:

i. New multi-modal link from A370 Long Ashton Bypass to station interchange (including rail crossing), new development area and Nailsea town centre, with connection to A370 west of Backwell (including rail crossing) and a new or improved connection to the M5.

ii. New MetroBus route linking Bristol to Nailsea from Long Ashton Bypass to the station interchange (including rail crossing), new development area and Nailsea town centre, and onward link to Clevedon via M5 J20 link.

iii. Opportunities to phase delivery of the highway improvements in step with parts of the development may be explored.

  • Local junction improvements including Station Road, and A370 Backwell signalised junction.

  • Provision of a secondary school of 8 ha and four primary schools of at least 2.4ha each, located to maximise safe access by walking and cycling.

  • Strategic approach to the assessment, safeguarding and enhancement of greater and lesser horseshoe bat habitat, and Tickenham; Nailsea and Kenn Moor SSSI interests. This includes investigating the potential for a dark corridor through the new development linking habitats at Backwell through to open countryside to the north and at Batch Farm Meadow wildlife site.

  • Protection of heritage assets and their settings particularly listed farm buildings in the area whose settings should be addressed through a sensitive green infrastructure strategy.

  • Long-term water storage and other measures are likely to be required as part of a sustainable drainage strategy, as well as reduced run-off rates to surrounding area. Measures to ensure water quality and levels are not adversely impacted on the nearby Tickenham Moors SSSI must be in place.

  • The separate identity and character of Nailsea and Backwell will be retained through the provision of an appropriate Strategic Gap.

  • Improvements to the rail station to create a multimodal interchange including enhanced parking, facilitating increased frequency and capacity, accessibility and accommodating a MetroBus interchange.

  • Consideration of relocation/undergrounding of existing pylons.

  • Identification of around 10.5 ha of employment land well-connected to the railway station, local centre and Metrobus route. Investigate the potential for a new office park close to the railway with optimum travel links.


GOING, GOING, NEARLY GONE: The demolition squad have moved in to the old police station at Stockway South, Nailsea only months after the police officers moved out in March to shared accommodation at the corner of Clevedon Road and Pound Lane. Once the asbestos specialists have finish on site the 1950-60s building is coming down to make way for 40 one- and two-bedroom apartments and 30 car parking spaces for McCarthy & Stone, the UK’s leading retirement housebuilder. Progress perhaps to put a police station on the outskirts of the town?

END OF SEPTEMBER: Old garages and some trees gone MID OCTOBER: More photos as the process of demolition progresses with many thanks to David Britton out intrepid man-about-town with camera...

Houses for Youngwood Lane

North Somerset Council has a dilemma - the government says it must build more houses but no-one wants them in its backyard.

This week to meet an imposed increase it looks as if Nailsea will get 170 additional homes (the biggest increase in the district) at Youngwood Lane and 28 at the derelict Weston College site in the town centre on top.

Developers did want many more houses at Youngwood Lane but this looks as if it is just phase one.

This is on top of those it has already agreed at Engine Lane and  Causeway View.

To read full report clcik HERE

The long term plan on the north-west boundary of the town is for more than 450 houses.

Barratt Homes hopes to build 183 homes off Engine Lane, Nailsea.

Royal Oak garage
Royal Oak garage
Royal Oak garage
Royal Oak garage
Royal Oak garage
Royal Oak garage
Royal Oak garage
Royal Oak garage

Work resumes at Royal Oak garage site

Wasn't sure whether to caption this 'there is a hole in my roof' or 'it won't be long' but work on the old Royal Oak garage has begun again so presumably all the planning consents are now in place.

It was more than a year ago that multi-million plans to develop the old garage next to the Royal Oak pub were unveiled at a Nailsea Town Council meeting on Wednesday, February 17.

The plan was not to demolish the building but convert it into 10 two-storey three bed homes with studio and office units underneath using the old walls as the shell.

From a new garage with cone-shaped car sales showroom to an indoor market with cafe and museum many residential and commercial schemes, for the site dubbed ‘gateway to Nailsea’, have been put forward over the years.

In the 1860s 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.

North Somerset house builders Rollo Homes who are responsible for developing the old furniture shop Challicoms at Hill Road, Clevedon, decided to take on the ambitious project.

Rollo Homes directors Shaun Thomas, of Chelvey, and Paul O’Brien, of Wraxall, are the brains behind the development which will sit between the newly transformed Teletubbies-style park at the end of the High Street and the Royal Oak public house.

Planning and development consultant Kit Stokes, of Aspect360, 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 and the project would include 20 car parking spaces, he said.

The architect is O’Leary Goss came up with the mixed development idea.

But councillors voiced concern about chemical contamination of the land caused by its industrial past.

One said that substances including cyanide and asbestos had been removed from the parkland next door.

Mr Stokes told councillors: “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.”

Builders aren’t going to dig the dirt and plop homes on top, said Mr Stokes reassuringly at the time.

While the garage is excluded from the scheduling under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 the ground beneath is included and excavations in 2008 revealed remains from the glassworks and the alkali chemical works.

Green fields and green fence

While Nailsea Action Group formally objects to 183 homes being build off Engine Lane comes news that a further 4,000 houses in the planning pipeline may be built sooner rather than later.

NAG wants to stop 183 homes being built on prime agricultural land that was earmarked for recreation use after a town council survey back in 2012.

Then along came Barratt Homes with the promise of a multi-million pound windfall which would not only benefit community schemes planned by Nailsea Town Council but Nailsea & Backwell RFC.

The rugby club stands to gain financially from a small parcel of adjoining land it controls – an all-win situated except for those living along Engine Lane whose rural green fields views have been enjoyed for decades.

To read NAG’s full letter of objection click HERE.

And now the really bad/good news depending on which side of the garden fence you live.

According to Backwell Parish Council social media website a planning application for 6-700 homes at Grove Farm and a further 3,000 off Youngwood Lane are being considered.

It says: “Following the meeting with the 26/36 working parties, North Somerset Council and Nailsea Town Council the district council is going to bring forward the applications to 2018.

“This is for 6-700 homes on Grove Farm in Backwell and 3,000 plus in Nailsea around Youngwood Lane.

“The reason broadly being is that the Government is piling on the pressure to all councils to build, build, build, so we need to find another 2,500 homes and in order to achieve this, the planning rules are being laxed and updated to allow this”

This make the 183 at Engine Lane seem like a drop in the ocean or a small blot on the landscape of our beautiful countryside…

And in another development this weekend green hoardings went up around the old police station site at Stockway South.

McCarthy & Stone who bill themselves at the UK's leading retirement housebuilders has planning permission for 22 one bed apartments and 18 two bed apartments and it is going to start building in spring 2018 and marketing the following year.

But it looks like the old police station building will be demolished long before this date…watch this space

Building at Backwell planning inquiry

A planning inquiry has begun at Weston Town Hall into whether 220 new houses should be built on Farleigh Fields, Backwell.

Charles Church Developments is appealing against a decision by North Somerset Council to refuse permission for the development, which the council say are not in keeping with the character of the village because of its scale and it is also outside the village boundary.

The plan would increase the size of Backwell by 15 per cent with two areas developed with access to one of these accessed by a road across the open fields beneath Backwell Village Church.

The scheme is also against Backwell Neighbourhood Plan, which 96 per cent of the village voted for in 2015, which outlined other areas of the village for housing development and saw Farleigh Fields retained for agriculture.

Timothy Lender, representing North Somerset Council, said the inquiry would hear how the council can cope with expected levels of housing need in the district without allowing development on Farleigh Fields.

Polly Reynolds, representing Backwell Parish Council, said the development is not wanted or needed by local people and would change the character of the village.

Paul Cairnes QC, for the appellant, in his introductory remarks, said there had been extensive consultation with the local community.

While admitting the site is outside the settlement boundary of Backwell he said the development could be justified as it was 'immediately adjacent' to the boundary and it is not a 'valued landscape'.

He said he plans to call a number of planning experts during the inquiry, which is being heard by planning inspector Gareth Jones.

Local resident Martin Powell of Farleigh Road was first to give evidence.

He said: “There has been no consultation with local people and this is simply an opportunistic application by a developer seeking to cash in while there is confusion over housing land supply.

“Backwell people have voted for where they believe housing development should take place and this should be respected. Increasing the size of the village on this scale by developing agricultural land is wrong.

“There is no point in having a Neighbourhood Plan if it is simply ignored by the planning process.”

The inquiry is expected to last for eight days.

On Thursday March 16 at 2pm the inquiry moves to Backwell Village Hall to enable local people to have their say.

How to get on property ladder 

North Somerset Council is running a home ownership event at the end of March to help local people buy their own home.
The free event on Thursday, March 30, is a one-stop shop for people who want to find out about the various options available for home ownership, including shared ownership.
Exhibitors at the event will include representatives from the Government’s Help To Buy mortgage guarantee scheme and housing associations who have shared ownership homes available in North Somerset.
Specialist solicitors and independent financial advisors will be on hand to discuss the range of ownership options available for purchasing a home.
There will also be more information about North Somerset Council’s First Time Buyers Loan Scheme, which helps first time buyers afford the moving costs associated with buying their first home.
North Somerset Council deputy leader and executive member whose portfolio includes housing Elfan Ap Rees said: “Last year’s home ownership event was a great success and we hope to help even more people get on the property ladder this year.
“There are now several more affordable ways to buy a home and this event brings together a large number of experts to discuss the wide range of options available.”
The event is at Weston College’s Hans Price building in Lower Church Road, Weston-super-Mare, from 3-7.30pm. 
Entry is free with no  appointments but to register for a ticket click HERE.go to

Our green and pleasant land 2017
Our green and pleasant land 2017
Our green and pleasant land 2017
Our green and pleasant land 2017
Our green and pleasant land 2017

Massive attack by builders on all points of compass at Nailsea


Nailsea People has written lots about the campaign to protect the beautiful green fields surrounding our town from builders.

But it is a fact that North Somerset Council is tasked by government to build 20,895 homes in the next decade and by 2036 another 39,000.

People need somewhere to live and our town with good schools and transport links plus low crime rate, close to city and coast is a very nice place to call home.

The district council wants 1,000 new homes built at Nailsea by 2026 and a further 2,800 in the next decade to the west of the town towards Clevedon – land across the moors which is not in the green belt.

Backwell is allocated a further 800 and there is the sweetener of a possible new road link to the M5.

But in a shock move Land Value Alliances (LVA UK) is poised to submit a planning application to build up to 600 homes on a 25 hectare green belt site to the north of Nailsea on the Wraxall border.

This most recent speculative revelation ignores the green belt and is not in the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) blueprint and comes despite North Somerset Council saying it will robustly protect its green belt and that it has sufficient land to meet Government housing number targets.

This stretch of land runs from Bristol Road near the GE Oil and Gas building around the back of the Southfield Road Trading Estate and Greenfield Crescent to Clevedon Road.

The district council has already identified land at Engine Lane, The Uplands and Causeway View for hundreds of new homes.

Then builders want to squash 30-40 houses on Shepstone field off Trendlewood.

There are also plans - not included in the blueprint - by developer Mactaggart and Mickel to build 450 homes on land off Youngwood Lane.

Nailsea Action Group (NAG) formed 'for the protection of rural Nailsea' has held a series of public meetings since it was formed in January 2016.

Its annual meeting is on Thursday, February 23 at Hannah More infants and Grove junior schools at 7.30pm. Everyone welcome.

And at Backwell the latest fight to save prime agricultural land called Farleigh Fields goes to public inquiry on Tuesday, March 14, at Weston Town Hall.

In the past campaigns saved Morgans Hill at Nailsea from development but it is known investors still hold options on many of its surrounding fields.

We will start a slideshow in Gallery 2017 of all our green feilds under threat but for now here are the first few.

Email photographs with captions to - thanks.