News & Hot Topics

E mail Bulletin 20th February 2020

Backwell Residents Association – a reminder for our AGM

7.00pm on Tuesday 25 February 2020 Sixth Form Lecture Theatre, Backwell School (entrance via Meadow Close off Station Road)

2,000 hardcopies of our newsletter have been delivered throughout the village by our amazing team of volunteers. If you did not receive a copy, or would like an electronic version, we have attached it to this email.

We are grateful to many members who have renewed their subscriptions already, and we welcome a number of new members. We should be grateful to receive membership subscriptions as soon as possible, please. Forms and money can be given in at the AGM; put in the BRA box in the Post Office; or given to any committee member. Payments received now will cover this year until December 2020

We hope to see you at the AGM. The formal aspects will be kept to a minimum so that we can devote most of the two hours to the subjects covered in the attached newsletter and topics raised by members

This was expected to be a brief email reminder!! However, several events have happened since the newsletter was printed which we felt you should be aware of.

Airport Expansion

North Somerset Council’s Planning & Regulatory Committee voted 18 to 7 to REFUSE plans for Bristol Airport to expand up to 12 million passengers pa. The decision to refuse is likely to be ratified in March. The implications for this will be presented at the BRA AGM.

North Somerset Council (NSC) Consultation

NSC is seeking the views of residents on the following 5 areas:

Garden waste – Leisure and sport centres – Libraries – Parks and Open Spaces  and Street cleaning.  Consultation is open until 7th May.

This may be seen on the link:

NSC is also inviting comments on proposals for car parking charges, which include Nailsea. This can be seen on

This consultation closes on 31st March.

Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP4)

Members will remember the delight in Backwell when the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) for our region was rejected by Government Inspectors at the Inquiry in Bath last summer. Alongside the JSP, was the JLTP4 which gave more detail on the transport aspects, many of us had assumed that this plan had been abandoned along with the JSP. However we discovered towards the end of January that NSC were keen to progress many aspects of this plan to avoid a policy vacuum and to enable them to be able to access funding application for 2036. BRA immediately alerted Backwell Parish Council and wrote to Cllr Bridget Petty with our concerns about the inclusion of JSP trunk roads and access from the motorway across Backwell Common. Extensive work was carried out to raise our concerns and many councillors worked hard reading reports, contacting Transport officers, attending transport briefing meetings with NSC officers to ensure that residents’ concerns were heard.  At a meeting on Tuesday Feb 18th, North Somerset Council agreed to accept the proposals in JLTP4 in an amended form. Any proposed new roads associated with the defunct JSP are being withdrawn, this includes the removal of the road across Backwell Common and beside Backwell Lake, plus other roads around Backwell and Nailsea. NSC is now working on a JLTP5 which will be drawn up alongside the development of the new Local Plan which will inform housing and infrastructure development for our area into the 2030s. Given this meeting was only a few days ago, the implications for Backwell will take a while to emerge, but we will have an update at our AGM. Generally, the outcome is seen as positive with the removal of this very unpopular road. There will be additional public consultation with NSC as the new Local Plan and JLTP5 emerge

Backwell Parish Council

BRA has been asked by our Parish Council to publicise the need for interested Backwell residents to become new councillors on their team. Details are available from

January 2020 Newsletter

BRA – January 2020 Newsletter

E mail Bulletin 14th December 2019

Dear Member

Many apologies for disturbing your preparations for Christmas, but we have only just become aware of an application for 10 new dwellings on “Summervale” in Moor Lane, off Station Road, beyond the fields where Taylor Wimpey are currently building 65 properties.

“Summervale” is a house located almost at the end of Moor Lane, just before it emerges into fields. It has much land, and the owners have submitted a planning application for 10 new houses, while retaining the present property.

An application was submitted 2 years ago, to which BRA and the Parish Council objected. North Somerset Council refused it.

A new, but almost identical, application (ref 19/P/1747/OUT) has been submitted with a deadline for commenting of Thursday, 2 January 2020.

Whilst some might argue this development would reduce the shortage of suitable houses in the village, BRA intends to object for the following reasons:

  • This end of Moor Lane is far too narrow to cope with a likely further 10 – 15 cars, and there is no room for a pavement. The lane is not capable of taking significant traffic.
  • Moor Lane will struggle to cope with the additional traffic caused by the 65 new houses currently being built, at the Station Road junction, while also adding to the volume of traffic on Station Road. Traffic from 10 more dwellings will only increase this problem near the railway bridge.
  • The site is outside the settlement boundary, and was not identified for housing   in the Neighbourhood Plan.
  • The design and layout are out of character with this part of the village.

The application can be viewed on:

Once here you can use the “make a comment” tab to record your view.

At the moment the planning website does not have a single comment. If you can make one, in your own words, no matter how short, it will be considered.

E mail Bulletin 30th November 2019

Dear Member


Background During 2018 there was much activity on the planning application made by Bristol Airport to North Somerset Council (NSC) to expand its operations from the current level of 8m passengers a year to 12m a year, which it expects to achieve in the mid 2020’s. (The present permission allows Bristol Airport to expand to 10m.) The closing date for comments was Jan 26th 2019. We encouraged members to comment, and many did. BRA submitted a letter to NSC, which is attached to this email, on 18th Jan 2019, with the following conclusion:

The airport is seriously constrained by its location, local topography, and very poor road infrastructure. Increased use of air travel cannot be allowed to continue un-checked. The time has come to call a halt to further expansion. BRA therefore feels that it cannot support this application.

Currently the BRA committee is reconsidering this conclusion.

It was expected that NSC would make its planning decision in early 2019. This crucial meeting has not yet taken place, and is now expected in early 2020. There is still the opportunity for comments to be made on the NSC website, by clicking on “Make a Comment”, and we encourage you to do so.

or by post to: Planning Dept, North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ, making sure you quote the reference 18/P/5118/OUT

What has changed during 2019

  • Local elections, in May 2019, produced a major change in the composition of NSC.
  • There has been much publicity at national and international level of an urgency to tackle climate change, and the negative impact of air travel – emissions, noise etc.
  • Weston Town Council has changed its views and is now objecting, along with Bath & North East Somerset Council, whilst Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council have supported the application.
  • Several authorities have declared Climate Emergencies, including NSC and Nailsea Town Council.
  • The Parish Council Airport Association (PCAA) has registered a strong objection on behalf of its membership of 27 councils, and has developed into a very articulate and powerful group. There is also an organisation called “Stop Bristol Airport Expansion” with a website:

Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport continues to be heavily criticised for not meeting a number of conditions set in previous Planning Permissions, including: using more green belt car parking rather than building a second multi-storey car park; failing to meet noise limits and not penalising airlines; and issues with current night flights. There is also the prospect of changes to flight paths to help accommodate more flights, which could be detrimental to Backwell and residents of other villages.

What has BRA been doing?

We recognise that both the advantages and drawbacks from further expansion are complex and important matters. BRA committee members have tried to gain a better understanding of the issues. On the NSC website there are 650 documents relating to the application, and 5849 public comments, with objections outnumbering those in support by 2:1.

We have attended two public meetings: one in Nailsea hosted by Climate Emergency Nailsea and one in Congresbury hosted by Congresbury Parish Council. We have also attended (as an observer) a meeting of the Bristol Airport Consultative Committee (BACC), at which Backwell Parish Council is represented, and will attend (as an observer) the next meeting of the PCAA. We have also taken an active interest in Bristol Airport’s Noise Action Plan.

Should BRA Object?

The BRA Committee discussed the issues at its meeting on 26 Nov and is now reviewing its position. It resolved to seek views from the BRA membership before submitting a further comment to NSC, by early Jan 2020. Please let us know by Dec 31st (email address below) if you would like us now to Object, or retain our previous, slightly ambiguous stance of ‘cannot support’. The committee thinks this is one of the most important topics it has had to deal with. We are not experts, but are trying to consider the best interests of the community and the environment. If we have any experts on airport operations, noise, pollution, please come and help us! We realise that there is a wide cross section of views in Backwell, from whole hearted support to passionate objection.

Following this consultation, we may send a revised letter in Jan 2020.

One key point to bear in mind is that Bristol Airport has permission to expand from the current 8m passengers a year to 10m, a 25% increase. The current application is for Bristol Airport to go up to 12m, with aspirations up to 20m a year. The organisations seeking to halt further expansion are NOT seeking a decrease in passenger numbers from the current level, or to prevent the already agreed expansion.

The letter from BRA to NSC dated 18.1.2019 can be found here Comments on Bristol Airport Planning Application 18th January 2019

E mail Bulletin 23rd October 2019

Dear Member


The land in question can be seen on the link below (coloured red) 

Map – Scout Hut land

You may remember that in our bulletin of 15.9.19 we mentioned that surveyors, using poles and theodolites, had been seen on the field beside the Scout Hut.

It has now been confirmed by Taylor Wimpey (TW) that it is considering a development of up to 60 houses on this land, with access from Rodney Road.

We encourage all interested residents to attend a consultation with TW to be held on Thursday 21st November in Backwell Parish Hall from 3pm and into the evening.

No planning application has yet been made and one will not be submitted before the consultation. TW has said that this proposal is quite separate from its previous proposed development at Grove Farm.

TW is currently building 65 houses off Moor Lane. As well as the field near the Scout Hut it is in control of all the fields around Grove Farm These fields are NOT in the Green Belt, but they are outside the Backwell Settlement Boundary

We urge residents to go to the consultation meeting to find out more from TW. More details will emerge when the outline planning application is made, and this will the time for you to make your views formally known. We will keep members informed of dates etc.