News & Hot Topics

E mail Bulletin 4th August 2019


Unusually this bulletin closely follows our previous one of just a couple of days ago. It gives information on a photo event tomorrow to publicise the lack of disabled access at our station, and also two highways matters in Backwell.

Disabled access at Nailsea/Backwell Station

Members will be aware that our railway station has ramps to reach the platform for trains to Bristol, but in the other direction there are only steps making it totally inaccessible for some, e.g. wheelchair users, and very difficult for those with a push chair or a bicycle or older passengers travelling with suitcases. The Parish Council, BRA and a small group of committed residents have been trying for years to persuade Network Rail and/or Great Western Railway (GWR) to address this serious issue.

Despite various investigations, surveys and promises, and confirmation from Network Rail that this station is one of the 10 most inaccessible in the country, nothing has materialized. The final straw has been a recent letter from GWR advising that the cost of installing a lift (the latest proposal) is estimated at £4.9m, with potentially a further £5m needed for further upgrades and safety installations – and that, therefore, the proposal is financially unsustainable.

We feel this level of costs seems extraordinary and requires further analysis. To support the case, a gathering has been arranged at the station, to be attended by a North Somerset Times photographer at 10.30a.m. tomorrow on Monday 5 August. A photo shoot of a large crowd at the station will be used to publicise the level of support.

Please try to spend a few minutes on Monday to be present. The organiser is Alison Morgan alisonmorgan2012@btinternet.com who has spent years trying to improve our station’s accessibility.

Highways

The information for the highways can be seen on the North Somerset Council website, which is our source (by clicking on the link below)

https://northsomerset.roadworks.org/

Station Road Closure Fri 23rd August 9am to 4pm.

Station Rd will be closed from 9am to 4pm on Friday 23rd August for “Remedial works to the carriageway.”

Moor Lane – Temporary Parking Restrictions 15th Aug 2019 to 15th Feb 2021

There will be a restriction on parking in Moor Lane, The Briars, and a small part of Long Thorn to facilitate plant deliveries to the new construction site for 65 dwellings required by Taylor Wimpey. It will be operative from 7.30 to 17.30 Mon to Fri, and on Saturdays from 7.30 to 13.00. The details of the “Notice of Intent” for the parking  can be found here Moor Lane Parking August 2019

Please note that the timing of works is subject to change, so anyone seriously affected should check the website nearer the date.

We thought members would like advance warning, particularly the closure of Station Rd on the Friday before the Bank Holiday.

 

E mail Bulletin 2nd August 2019


JOINT SPATIAL PLAN (JSP)

Good News!!

We heard yesterday that the Inspectors confirm that, following the first round of hearings at Bath in July, the JSP authorities have failed to address the fundamental concerns raised by them over 12 months ago. Members will no doubt recall that BRA, Backwell Parish Council and Backwell Resistance were highly critical of the JSP proposals, and hundreds of households commented to this effect. Thankfully, the inspectors have reached a similar conclusion in terms of the technical aspects of the process. Whilst there could be scope to revisit the spatial strategy through the examination process, they are urging the authorities to withdraw the plan and start again.

The hearing sessions planned for September/October have been cancelled.

The link to the 3-page report from the Inspectors is below. Apparently, it is rare for such a document to be as critical of a planning process.

Post Hearings Letter Final August 19

Next Steps

We will have to wait for the responses from the 4 Councils that created the JSP as to whether they accept the Inspectors’ recommendations, but this is exceptionally good news. The Inspectors concluded that the approach which included the selection of Backwell to take 700 houses (as one of the 10 Strategic Development Locations) is fundamentally flawed.  It should be made clear that this does not mean that Backwell will not be allocated housing in the future, but the immediate threat is removed.

Thank You

We are most grateful for the professional efforts of our consultants, particularly Lucy White in making our case so clearly, and the support provided for her by the Working Party, which included representatives from Backwell Parish Council, BRA, and Backwell Resistance. Also, many thanks to our residents for sending their comments on the JSP, and for being members of BRA, which enables us to give financial support to our Parish Council in funding our consultants and the technical responses.

Enjoy the summer!

 

 

E mail Bulletin 17th July 2019


JOINT SPATIAL PLAN (JSP)

Dear Member

The JSP process has taken a significant step forward, with the first section of hearings now completed at The Guildhall in Bath, having started on July 2nd.

Members may wish to refresh the main features of the JSP by looking at the BRA website under the JSP tab. The schematic below is a reminder of how the proposals would transform our village.

 

Three members of the BRA committee and the chairman of Backwell Parish Council attended the most relevant days for Backwell as observers.

The two Inspectors have reviewed hundreds of documents, and used the Hearings to listen to additional points submitted by participants, and to interrogate the Councils. At the beginning of the Hearings they said they have three options:

  • to approve without modifications (highly unlikely)
  • to approve with (potentially substantial) modifications
  • to reject the Plan entirely

This first section (over two weeks) has mainly covered general principles, including the soundness and sustainability of the Plan, legal compliance, the overall number of new houses required, the spatial strategy and reliance upon Strategic Development Locations (SDL’s), and potential changes to the Green Belt. (Backwell has been chosen as one of the SDL’s).

The second section, which is due to take place in late September/early October will largely deal with assessing specific locations for development. The Backwell Hearing is provisionally down for 24 September (but this might change).

Those invited to speak at the Hearings include local councils, developers and pressure groups. Backwell (the Parish Council, BRA and Backwell Resistance have joined forces) has been represented by Lucy White (Planner) and Steve Holloway (ecologist). Lucy had a significant role in presenting our case and emphasised what we consider to be the significant flaws in the Plan, especially with regard to the potential Strategic Development Location (SDL) in Backwell.  She made our case very powerfully. Our transport specialist will be called to speak at the September Hearing.

Specific issues that were discussed, and which we think have put serious questions into the minds of the Inspectors, include:

  • The Plan has not considered all reasonable alternative options for growth.
  • The SDL’s were selected first and the Spatial Strategy then built around them (the opposite of what should have happened!).
  • It has not been made clear why the chosen SDL’s (12 sites) were selected out of the original long list of 40 sites. There appear to be inconsistencies in the assessment of sites.
  • Employment growth and linking homes with employment was queried.
  • North Somerset Council (NSC) made a policy decision (unlike the other three local authorities) not to touch Green Belt. This seems to be a political rather than a Planning decision. In addition, the strategic importance of Bristol Airport has not been recognized in the JSP.
  • The JSP Habitat Regulation Assessment was not robust, risking harm to the protected habitat for bats.
  • The public transport strategy was flawed, with unsubstantiated reliance on the proposed Backwell transport hub.

In summary, the Inspectors challenged the Councils on many aspects of the Plan, and will now write to the Councils setting out their initial conclusions and whether the Hearings in September/October can proceed as planned, or if an alternative course of action is required. The many objections from residents to the JSP were supported by the excellent planning arguments at the Hearings. The general feeling of the Backwell attendees is that we presented our case in the best way we could.

The funds input by Backwell Parish Council and BRA so far have been well spent. 

Thank you

Firstly, a big thank you to the hundreds of residents who made their views on the JSP known by commenting last winter. These will be seen by the Inspectors as part of their compulsory reading in their big pile of documents! There is little public participation during the Hearings, but the Inspectors will be impressed by what they read. However, Inspectors will also be influenced by external factors e.g. from the national government. The outcome is still very uncertain.

Secondly, a big thank you to our members for re-joining BRA this year. Your subscriptions and donations enable us to fund appropriate technical support for this crucial time in the future of Backwell.

 

E mail Bulletin 20th June 2019


Dear Member

 

This bulletin gives the outcome of the Coles Quarry application following the meeting yesterday at North Somerset Council, and updates on the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) and Bristol Airport. These 3 developments each has a dedicated tab on the BRA website where further information can be found, including links to key documents.

COLES QUARRY

Planning Application No. 16/P/0674/F for 3800 sq.m of industrial buildings:

Regrettably, despite over 200 local objections, and a strong statement from a local resident at the Planning meeting yesterday, this application was approved by North Somerset Council. The Committee was not sufficiently persuaded by our major concerns about increased traffic and pollution etc, and was swayed by the Planning Officer’s strong recommendation, and the opportunity for the Council to get, free of cost to them, “improvements” to the recycling centre. The request by our District Councillor, Bridget Petty, to refuse the application was lost by 12 votes to 10.

We do have an opportunity to influence the detail of the conditions to be applied to the consent before it is formally issued, and work will be done on this over the next few days

JOINT SPATIAL PLAN (JSP)

The JSP was the subject of a BRA bulletin dated 25.4.19, which can be found on the BRA website. We are now updating this, along with a reminder of what has happened so far.

The JSP has been created by four councils (Bristol City, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset (NSC) together known as “West of England”). It allocates housing across this area up to 2036. Unfortunately, Backwell is one of 4 villages in the NSC area allocated a “new community” on its doorstep, with a proposal for 700 houses. It has been chosen to be a “Strategic Development Location” (SDL) The land is around Grove Farm to the west of Backwell for which we have been expecting an outline planning application from Taylor Wimpey for some time. We encouraged BRA members in our Dec 2018 bulletin to comment. In the whole region 4,800 comments were received and we understand that Backwell was well represented in this number. The fact that there is huge public opposition to the JSP proposals for Backwell is very significant, with the creation of Backwell Resistance being one outcome. In a letter this month, the JSP administrators report “The number of requests to participate in many of the hearing sessions has been possibly unprecedented for a local plan examination”.

The time for public comment has passed, and the focus of attention is now on the Examination of the JSP, which is a lengthy technical process. Public comments will be noted and will play a big part, but much of the discussion will be on such matters as “Is the JSP “sound”, “robust”, “justified” and “effective”? Planning terms such as these have technical definitions.

The first set of hearings have now been moved to the Guildhall in Bath. They will take place from July 2nd until July 12th. Proceedings will start at 9.30, with a break for lunch. Hearings will take place from Tues to Thurs, or possibly Fri if the need arises.

Members of the public may attend any of the proceedings but will not be allowed to speak. BRA suggests that only the following will be of most interest to Backwell residents:

July 11th – The Strategic Development Locations will be discussed in general terms. (Backwell is one of the 12 SDLs in the JSP).

Details for the Sept/Oct hearings, covering 4 weeks, were announced earlier this year, but are now subject to review and the dates will be announced in July, including the venue. (They originally included Sept 24th as a whole day devoted to the Backwell SDL. Also, Oct 1st as a whole day devoted to the Nailsea SDL, which is very relevant to Backwell, as the proposed road in the map below serving the 2,600 new houses for Nailsea will cross Backwell Common.)

The following extract from the JSP official notes shows its narrow focus:

We are examining the JSP as submitted by the Councils. Therefore, we will not, at this stage, be considering the merits for development of locations not included in the plan. Should we determine that there is a need for additional or different locations for development to be identified, we will, in the first instance, ask the Councils to consider how they would wish to proceed with the Examination. 

It is clear that many residents in North Somerset are very unhappy about the way in which the NSC has decided to attempt to satisfy the housing demand from central government. It is interesting that several newly elected members of NSC share this view. The outcome of these hearings is very unclear. The whole JSP process may appear an administrative and academic exercise, but it needs to be taken very seriously as any agreed regional plan will be the basis for the North Somerset Local Plan and planning applications within Backwell. BPC, BRA and Backwell Resistance (BR) are funding specialists to represent us during this technical but important process. Representatives of BPC, BRA and BR, together with our appointed professionals, will be speaking and/or attending on those days relevant to Backwell.

As well as the houses for Backwell and Nailsea, the JSP also contains new “garden villages” for 2,800 homes near Churchill and 1,900 homes near Banwell. The inspectors could approve, amend or remove any of these.

At the very simplified level the hundreds of pages can be summarised into the schematic map, produced for our BRA AGM. This indicates very graphically how the current JSP proposals would transform our village.

BRA has been working closely with Backwell Parish Council, and Backwell Resistance on the JSP Working Party. BRA recently gave another financial instalment to BPC. Peter Soothill, chairman, wrote thanking “the whole of BRA for the contribution to the JSP fighting fund”, and said “it is an excellent example of our organisations working well together”.

There will be further calls on our funds over the summer.  We thank everyone who has renewed their subscription, and we urge any members who have not paid their 2019 subscription to do so as soon as possible please.

 

BRISTOL AIRPORT

https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=PJML85LPMKI00&activeTab=summary

The above application by Bristol Airport, to expand from 10 million passengers a year up to 12 million, has been sitting in the NSC in-tray since Dec 2018.

It contains 2626 comments from members of the public and 426 documents!

NSC officers will clearly be studying these, but as yet no date has been set for a meeting of the Planning committee of councillors to discuss it. BRA has made comments on the application, and also on the Noise Action Plan which covers many of the concerns of residents – night flights, mitigation proposals and monitoring of pollution and noise.

The Bristol Airport tab on the BRA website has the BRA bulletin of 9.1.2019 which was dedicated to the airport.

So far, we have had no indication of when the application will be considered.

Best wishes to all our members, and we hope you enjoy the summer.

 

 

E mail Bulletin 17th June 2019


Coles Quarry Industrial Units

Dear Member

You will no doubt remember that BRA and BPC (Backwell Parish Council) supported the application in 2014 to create industrial units in the disused quarry, and which was in our Neighbourhood Plan.

The owners later produced a revised application (16/P/0674/F) for a much larger development – of 3819 sq metres. Both BPC and BRA objected to this application in view of the unacceptable increase in traffic it would create. Several hundred local residents have objected to the application.

This revised application will be considered by the North Somerset Council Planning and Regulatory Committee meeting at the Town Hall, Weston super Mare, starting at 2.30p.m. this coming Wednesday, 19 June.

Our Backwell District Councillor, Bridget Petty, is part of this committee and will be speaking, as well as a representative of BRA. In addition, local representation at the meeting is always appreciated by the committee.

Although it will not be possible for any other member of the public to speak, a strong show of public support against this application is encouraged. Please come along to Weston if you are able.

 

E mail Bulletin 25th April 2019


Dear Member

This bulletin covers two very different topics!

West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP)

The JSP has been the subject of several BRA bulletins in the past, the latest of which was the January Newsletter which we delivered to 2,000 households in Backwell and adjacent areas. We explained that the JSP had been created by four councils (Bristol City, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset (NSC) known as “West of England”). The JSP allocates housing across this area up to 2036. Unfortunately, Backwell is one of 4 villages in the NSC area allocated a “new community” on its doorstep, with a proposal for 700 houses, and building starting in 2028. The land is around Grove Farm to the west of Backwell. We encouraged BRA members to comment. In the whole region, 4,800 comments were received and we understand that Backwell was well represented in this number. The fact that there is huge public opposition to the JSP proposals for Backwell is very significant.

The time for public comment has passed, and the focus of attention is now on the Examination of the JSP, which is a lengthy technical process. Public comments will be noted and play a big part, but much of the discussion will be on such matters as “Is the JSP “sound”, “robust”, “justified” and “effective”? Planning terms such as these have technical definitions.

The examination details can be found on http://www.hwa.uk.com/projects/west-of-england-joint-spatial-plan/

The main features are:

    1. The examination will be chaired by 2 inspectors, Malcom Rivett and Steven Lee, supported by a programme officer, Helen Wilson.
    2. The Hearings will run from Tues July 2nd to Friday July 12th, followed by a summer break, and resume on Tues Sept 17th until Fri Oct 11th. Much of the discussion will be on general considerations e.g. habitat and transport. However, in Sept the focus will be on specific locations. On Tuesday 24th Sept, both am and pm slots will be devoted to Backwell. Hearings are confined to Tues -Thurs, with Fri reserved for any overrun items in the week. The hearings will take place at the Future Inn Bristol, Bond St South (opposite Cabot Circus, not far from the Bristol Evening Post building).
    3. The Inspectors will consider the technical aspects of the JSP. Backwell has the opportunity to make representations on these. BRA has combined with Backwell Parish Council (BPC), and Backwell Resistance (BR) in appointing Lucy White as our planning consultant. Lucy gave a presentation at the BRA AGM on Feb 12th 2019, is well qualified and a Backwell resident. These organisations are represented on the BPC Working Party thereby showing a united front. Consultancy costs are being shared. The Working party has also commissioned experts in roads and transport, and ecology.
    4. Unlike the Farleigh Fields public inquiry, it is not likely that members of the public will be invited to speak, so our choice of consultants is crucial.

What should members do now?

  1. Please look at the JSP website www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/ to refresh your memory of what the JSP says.
  2. You may like to have a look at the schematic map we sent out in the January Newsletter, reproduced below
  3. Many thanks to the over 350 households who have paid their £10 membership subscription for 2019. If you have not renewed your BRA membership, we will shortly be sending out reminders. It is a huge help if Backwell can afford to pay for the best advice and representations at the hearings, and for our speakers to be able to quote our large membership numbers. This was a significant feature in our success in defending Farleigh Fields
  4. Keep an eye open for future bulletins, which will appear between now and the start of the hearings.

 

Changes to Bus Timetables from Sun 28th April

First Bus timetables will change from Sun 28th April, and we thought you would like to be warned in advance as Backwell users will be affected. Bus routes will be changed, and also some frequencies, with a reduced Sunday service.

X1 is now our express bus along the A370, every 20 minutes, both towards Bristol and Weston

X2 still goes through Backwell between Bristol and Weston, but goes through all the villages – Long Ashton, Claverham, West Wick etc., and is far from an express route. It will not run on Sundays

X8 runs from Bristol to Nailsea via Backwell and is sadly reduced to an hourly service, and will not run on Sundays. It has a different route within Nailsea.

The X1X is a new express service from Bristol to Weston via Avonmouth and the M5! If you arrive at Bristol Bus station and get this bus, which says “Weston”, you will not go via Backwell!!

The new timetables may be viewed on the First Group website

https://www.firstgroup.com/bristol-bath-and-west/news-and-service-updates/planned-changes/28-april-service-change-north

 

Backwell Residents’ Association Report to BPC Annual Meeting of Electors 25th April 2019


BRA currently represents over 400 households.  The Association’s objectives are to work to safeguard and promote the collective interests of residents in matters concerning social, economic and community life and the character of the village.  Furthermore, we will continue to support or oppose development affecting Backwell having regard to residents’ interests and the local environment.

This has been another very busy year for the Association.  The full Committee met monthly throughout the year and the smaller Executive Meeting held many additional meetings.  We have 14 Committee members who live in various parts of the village and we have good links with other groups and organisations.

A representative of the BRA Committee has attended every Parish Council Meeting and most Planning Committee Meetings and BRA has registered comments on a number of important Planning Applications submitted to North Somerset Council.

Among the issues with which BRA has concerned itself in the past year are the following:-

West of England Joint Spatial Plan

The Joint Spatial Plan designates land to the west of Backwell, at Grove Farm, as a Strategic Development Location for 700 homes, creation of a Transport Hub at the Train Station and a new road across Backwell Common. BRA is strongly opposed to these proposals and is pleased to have joined forces with the Parish Council and Backwell Resistance. One of our Committee Members, Mike Rose, is a member of the PC Working Party and BRA is contributing to the cost of employing Planning, Transport and Ecology experts. BRA has contributed £3,500 towards these professional costs and has set aside a further £4,000 if required later this year on a fund-matched basis with the Parish Council.

In the next few months we expect the JSP Hearings to take place, Taylor Wimpey to submit a planning application on the Grove Farm site and NSC to issue its new draft Local Plan. All these could have massive implications for the future of Backwell. We will aim to monitor their progress and react accordingly, working alongside the Parish Council whenever appropriate.

Coles Quarry

We are concerned by the revised Planning Application for an increased number of business units on this site.  Residents living in Dark Lane and Church Lane are already inconvenienced by increased traffic associated with the school, the airport and in particular, when it is open, the Recycling Centre. Residents have yet to experience the effect of the business units which have already been approved. So far, the NSC Highways Department has down-played the current traffic situation and has not done a survey in recent times.

 

We know that on an average day 350 vehicles per day use the Recycling Centre, adding considerably  to congestion on our inadequate roads including Station Road. Rather than improving the current site as proposed, BRA considers that the Recycling Centre should be moved to a more sustainable location, nearer the majority of users, which would not be in Backwell.

 

BRA has objected to the latest Coles Quarry Planning Application and has requested that, if NSC does approve it, restrictions on the opening hours of the site should be imposed and speed restrictions in Dark Lane and Church Lane should be introduced.

Bristol Airport

BRA awaits with interest the decision by North Somerset Council on the Planning Application by the Airport owners to increase the capacity of the Airport to 12 million passengers per annum.  There is clearly a great deal of concern in the communities which are more directly affected, particularly with regard to noise, air pollution, traffic issues and the proposals for increased night flights. BRA considers the proposed expansion would lead to increasing issues for Backwell, especially traffic on inadequate local roads. Therefore BRA decided not to support the application.

 

BRA also wrote to Liam Fox expressing concerns and has recently received copies of two letters which he wrote on the 18th and 25th March to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government as a result of contact by BRA and others. In his letters he draws attention to the concerns to which BRA referred and states that if NSC do not deal satisfactorily with these issues he may ask the Secretary of State to consider calling in the Application at a later stage.

20 mph Speed Limits

BRA is aware that the Parish Council is examining the cost and desirability of imposing a 20 mph speed limit throughout Backwell, excluding the A370.  At the BRA AGM in February we sought the views of members present by a show of hands; 70%  were in favour of this reduced speed limit.

Stancombe Quarry Liaison and Community Fund

BRA has continued to be represented at Liaison Meetings with the Quarry owners and we thank the Parish Council for sharing with us Backwell’s voting powers on the distribution of monies from the Community Fund.  We feel that the administration of this Fund is working well and it is pleasing that, to date, several deserving projects in Backwell have received over 50% of the allocated Funds.

In Conclusion

The BRA Committee continues to do its best for the village, mostly working with the Parish Council. BRA has a comprehensive website and facebook page which we encourage residents to visit.  The annual subscription to BRA is only £10 per household and the more members we have the more we can do for the village. Busy times ahead!

Finally, BRA thanks the Chairman and Councillors of Backwell Parish Council and our District Councillor Karen Barclay for all their hard work on behalf of the village.

Keith Riches

Chairman

Backwell Residents’ Association

 

E mail Bulletin 5th April 2019


Dear Member

You may well have seen a yellow sign on Station Road about roadworks, but even when travelling at 20mph they are not easy for a driver to read, when negotiating the bumps !

https://northsomerset.roadworks.org/

North Somerset has a map with their anticipated roadworks, and this is the sole source of information for this bulletin. It is available on the link above to the North Somerset Council website. BRA prides itself on being as accurate as possible for planning matters. With the uncertainties of roadworks (e.g. weather and what they discover on digging), this bulletin should be regarded as indicative only !

Monday April 8th to Wed 10th Remedial roadworks on Station Road are planned to progress from the railway bridge up to the traffic lights on the A370 cross roads.The road will remain open, but traffic lights will operate at the places where they are working, as this will be one way only. This is happening in the school holidays.

Tues April 16th to Wed April 17th The railway bridge will be inspected in an overnight closure from 9pm until 6am. There will however be access for any emergency vehicles.

Best wishes

From your BRA Committee                                                                 5th April 2019

 

E mail Bulletin 1st April 2019


Dear Member

SUMMARY Our bulletin of 1.3.19 (see BRA website) gave details of the applications for business units in part of the old quarry, on higher ground above the Recycling Centre (RC). In brief these were:

Application 14/P/0304/F BRA and Backwell Parish Council (BPC) DID NOT object because this commercial development was included in our Neighbourhood Plan, giving potential for employment in the village.

Since then, the developers had protracted discussions with North Somerset Council (NSC) and produced a more ambitious application in 2016.

Application 16/P/0674/F BRA and BPC DID object on grounds of extra traffic for the larger footprint of the business units which was over 40% larger than the 2014 consented figure. There were some 200 objections from residents, mainly concerning the impact on the adjacent roads.

The developers have now modified these plans, but are still proposing the same larger area for the business units.

The BRA committee has considered the latest plans and has decided to continue to object, mainly on the traffic implications. Our objection letter can be found here Coles Quarry Objection Letter – 1st April 2019

Please make your views on the amended application known to NSC by the closing date of Sunday April 14th, even if you have previously commented on the original version. Comments may be made on the website

https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=ZZZXGRLPJV009

 

BRA CLARIFICATION MEETINGS IN MARCH

  1. Developer The BRA Committee met the developer’s agent, who explained the latest proposals for the units, which now do not include any warehousing (category B8). He explained the outcome of discussions with NSC regarding the RC, which he suggested would improve both the RC and the business units.

 

  1. Recycling Centre A BRA committee member had an on-site meeting with the NSC person responsible for the site. Small points of detail are still outstanding, but it is evident that the revised road layout, (funded by the developer) will improve traffic flow in the immediate vicinity. The Backwell RC (one of only 3 in North Somerset) has a large catchment area, including Nailsea, whose population is over 3 times that of Backwell. BRA considers that improving this RC could delay the preferred course of action which is to move it to a more suitable location. It should be noted that any RC changes are not part of this application for business units in Coles Quarry.

 

  1. NSC Planning Officer In conjunction with BPC, we produced a series of questions, some of which were answered at the meeting and others required consideration by NSC.

 

  1. Local Residents We have continued our dialogue with residents who live close to the quarry, and who are most affected by traffic in Dark Lane and Church Town. They find the current situation difficult, let alone any traffic increase.

 

TRAFFIC This is the aspect of the application that causes most concern. A school and the RC are situated in an area ill-suited to heavy traffic.

The traffic in Dark Lane / Church Town is mainly generated by:

  • General residential
  • Junior School
  • Airport traffic
  • Recycling Centre (average 350 vehicles in and 350 out per day)

 

In addition to the above, the developer’s transport consultant assesses that the business units proposed in 2014 would add a further 186 movements per day into the new site, and 186 movements out. The larger application in 2016 would create 265 extra movements each way on top of what we have now.

It should also be noted that additional housing planned for N Somerset, will create more RC traffic – much of which will come from the Nailsea direction, up Station Rd into Dark Lane. The airport has plans to continue its steady growth.

The current stance of NSC is:

NSC Highways are satisfied that the traffic generation associated with the proposed development will not result in significant increases in traffic volumes on the local highway network in the vicinity of the site when compared with the permitted lawful use of the site and will not result in detriment to the local highway operating conditions in this location.

They also state that:

Additional trip generation will be offset by the proposals to create a new access road within the neighbouring RC.

BRA does not agree and has asked NSC to provide evidence for these statements, which local residents in particular question.

 

BRA considers that the higher level of traffic associated with the 2016 application will be unacceptable, in terms of increased risks, particularly pedestrians and cyclists, as well as inconvenience to residents. This is our reason for objecting.

 

CONDITIONS Even if an application is being opposed, it is helpful to request that conditions for acceptance are given. A 20mph limit in Dark Lane and Church Lane is important for local residents, along with restrictions on hours of working, noise, external lighting etc.

 

NEXT STEPS

Please make your views on the amended application known to NSC by the new closing date of Sunday April 14th, even if you have previously commented on the original version. Comments may be made on the website

https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=ZZZXGRLPJV009

using the “make a comment” button.

Or by post (quoting Application 16/P/0674/F) to Development Manager, North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Weston-Super-Mare, BS23 1UJ

This is probably the last opportunity we have to make our views known on this development.

ps You may have received a hard copy of an anonymous “flyer” encouraging residents to make a comment / objection on the application. It is not a BRA publication, and contains some inaccuracies. We do however share the message of the desirability of making a comment / objection.

From your BRA Committee                                                            1st April 2019

 

E mail Bulletin 1st March 2019


Dear Member

A revised application has been submitted for Coles Quarry – this bulletin is devoted to this topic.

We were led to believe that the closing date for comments was April 14th, but have since discovered that it is March 12th, so this is urgent. We have stated that this is unreasonable, given that some documents have only just been posted on the website. The purpose of this email is to explain the current application and inform you of the need to make your views known.

HISTORY Coles Quarry produced stone from the 1800’s until the 1970’s, with lorry movements up and down Dark Lane. As well as being a busy working quarry, there was an associated dry pack facility. When the quarry activity ceased, the dry pack work continued for a while. Later the recycling centre moved from the bottom of Cheston Combe to its current site below the quarry. North Somerset Council (NSC) decided that the owners of the quarry be allowed to redevelop the site, using the former dry pack footprint. The refurbishment of the old weighbridge office is almost complete, and will be used for offices. Much of the area is in the Green Belt, but as a derelict industrial site it was deemed to be suitable for development on the old footprint.

The owners of the quarry submitted 2 applications to NSC, in 2014, and 2016.

Application 14/P/0304/F BRA and Backwell Parish Council (BPC) DID NOT object because this industrial development was included in our Neighbourhood Plan, giving potential for employment in the village.

It included the erection of 15 industrial units, following demolition of existing works buildings with associated access road improvements, car-parking, contouring and hard and soft landscaping.

This was approved by NSC, with conditions, in Feb 2015. The area taken up by the industrial units was 2679 sq m.

Since then, the developers have been in protracted discussions with NSC and produced a more ambitious application in 2016.

Application 16/P/0674/F BRA and BPC DID object on grounds of extra traffic for the larger footprint of the industrial units which is over 40% above the 2014 consented figure. This application was received by NSC in Feb 2016 and is still to be determined. There were some 200 objections from residents, mainly concerning the impact on the adjacent roads.

 

WHERE WE ARE NOW

Latest Application https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=ZZZXGRLPJV009

The developers have submitted a revision to the 2016 application 16/P/0674/F, after consultations with NSC. The main points to note are:

  • The total size of the industrial units is unchanged from the figure that the BPC and BRA considered too large.
  • Removal of the warehousing application. The revised application covers only “light industrial or office” use. This has been welcomed as it potentially reduces the number of heavy lorries.

 

The industrial units are shown below:

  • The developers have had discussions with NSC and BPC concerning possible reorganisation (at the developer’s expense) of the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC). Whilst Coles Quarry and the HWRC are close neighbours, and share a common entrance, it should be noted that the HWRC operation is a NSC activity on NSC owned land. The proposal is to change the route for vehicles within the centre. Users will drive to the far end of the site, do a U turn, and drive back with the skips on their left (rather than on their right as currently). One benefit is that cars will still be able to unload whilst servicing of the skips is carried out. Also, in busy times, there will be space for cars to queue within the site, but it is unclear whether this facility will be available prior to the tip opening to alleviate the problem of the public arriving early and queuing in Church Town. BRA is attempting to seek clarification on this point.

 

The proposed changes to the HWRC are given below:

Dark Lane, Church Lane and Church Town have never been suitable for heavy traffic, even though they provided the access to a large working quarry and cement plant up until the 1980’s. In the 1951 census the population of Backwell was 2,003, and it grew to 4,589 by 2011, with further growth since. Despite the population more than doubling over this period, these roads are virtually unchanged and are narrow, with inadequate or non-existent pavements. Local residents would prefer no extra traffic from any industrial units to add to existing traffic including a busy Junior School and the Recycling Centre.

 

POINTS IN FAVOUR OF THE APPLICATION

  1. It will create local employment within Backwell, as proposed in the Neighbourhood Plan.
  2. It will bring derelict land into productive use.
  3. It will potentially improve the HWRC and access to it, and we understand NSC is attracted to the proposal.

 

POINTS AGAINST THE APPLICATION

  1. The new units will create more traffic in Dark Lane and more traffic congestion in the vicinity of the Junior school, in an already busy area. The developers have estimated, using standard factors, that the daily number of two-way vehicle movements caused by the development will increase from 362 under the approved 2014 application to 530 under the latest revision. We have yet to see the effect of even the lower figure of 362 vehicles per day as no units are yet operational.

 

BRA is disappointed to note that a report from NSC Highways and Transport dated, 26th Feb 2019, posted on the website states:

Highways are satisfied that the traffic generation associated with the proposed development will not result in significant increases in traffic volumes on the local highway network in the vicinity of the site when compared with the permitted lawful use of the site and will not result in detriment to the local highway operating conditions in this location.

We believe this not the view of local residents.

  1. The revised scheme will project further into the Green Belt, beyond the original Quarry plant footprint.
  2. BRA is of the view that the HWRC should not remain on this site in the long term and any perceived improvements under this scheme may make it less likely that NSC would consider re-locating it to a more suitable site in the future.

At the BRA AGM on Feb 12th, a straw poll of those members attending showed a rough balance between supporters and opponents of the application. We are aware however that some of those objecting to the application are passionately opposed to any increase in traffic.

CONDITIONS Even if the present application is approved, there is scope for NSC to apply conditions to the development. One key aspect is that of restrictions to the traffic e.g. a 20mph zone in Dark Lane, or Church Lane and Church Town. We are aware of strong feelings about 20mph zones, and their enforcement and of the pros and cons of speed bumps etc. BRA believes that the vast majority of people living near the Coles Quarry site would favour a 20mph speed limit.

NEXT STEPS

Please make your views on the amended application known to NSC by the closing date of Tuesday March 12th, even if you have previously commented on the original version.  Comments may be made on the website

https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=ZZZXGRLPJV009

using the “make a comment” button.

The BRA committee will discuss the application on Tuesday evening March 5th and we will email our conclusions in a second bulletin. If you comment to NSC before then, we would appreciate being copied in, to help inform our discussions. Our present feeling is that we will object, as we did to the original 2016 application.

Members may like to know that BPC is holding its next Council Meeting on Thurs March 7th at 7.30. The Coles Quarry application will be considered, also the possibility of extending 20mph limits. Members of the public may make a brief statement at the beginning of the meeting, and listen to the subsequent agenda items.

 

From your BRA Committee                                                            1st March 2019

 

E mail Bulletin 5th February 2019


Backwell Residents Association – a reminder for our AGM

to be held at 7.00pm on Tuesday 12 February 2019 in the Sixth Form Lecture Theatre at Backwell School (entrance via Meadow Close off Station Road).

Nearly 2,000 hardcopies of our newsletter have been kindly delivered throughout our village by our team of volunteers. In the event that you did not receive a copy, or would like an electronic version, please see link below.

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, or put in the BRA box in the Post Office, or given to any committee member. Payments received now will cover the calendar year 2019.

We look forward to seeing you at the AGM if you are able to come.

The formal aspects will be kept to a minimum so that we can devote most of the time to the matters covered in the attached newsletter and other matters raised by members

Best wishes
From your BRA Committee

 

BRA Newsletter January 2019


Please see BRA’s newsletter of the 24th January 2019

BRA – January 2019 Newsletter

 

BRA Comments on Bristol Airport Planning Application


Please see BRA’s comments on Bristol Airport planning application

Comments on Bristol Airport Planning Application 18th January 2019

 

E mail Bulletin 9th January 2019


BRA Bulletin – Bristol Airport Planning Application

Dear Member
You may have received a leaflet explaining that Bristol Airport has submitted an outline planning application 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. (Their present permission allows them to expand to 10m.)

The closing date for comments is Saturday Jan 26th.

Background Bristol Airport has grown steadily over recent decades, and the owners (Ontario Teachers Pension Fund) are anticipating a continuation of this steady growth.

They produced a report in November 2017 on their aspirations for growth to 12m, and held a number of public drop in events in the local community during November 2017 to January 2018. This suggested different ways in which the airport might achieve the required increase in capacity.

In May 2018 a follow up report was produced, including a projection towards 2050. This report was also explained in a series of drop-in events. Events were held in Backwell for both consultations.

The May 2018 report may be seen on   http://www.backwellresidents.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Master-plan-consultation-Stage-II.pdf

BRA responded to this consultation http://www.backwellresidents.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Letter-16th-June-2018-Bristol-Airport-Consultation.pdf
Subsequently Bristol Airport produced a Noise Action Plan, showing the steps they would take to reduce noise. BRA’s response may be found on  http://www.backwellresidents.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Letter-to-Bristol-Airport-Noise-Action-Plan-27-September-2018.pdf

Current Application (18/P/5118/OUT) This application has been posted on the North Somerset Council (NSC) website. We encourage members to send their views on the airport expansion to NSC.

Now is the time to do this – by Sat Jan 26th.

NB. Comments so far as part of the consultation process have been sent to Bristol Airport. Comments now on their application to NSC go directly to NSC which has decision making powers. Even if you took part in the consultation process it is worth commenting now to NSC.

The website gives a summary of the expansion proposals and the 131 documents relating to it!
https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=PJML85LPMKI00&activeTab=summary

Currently there are 140 comments from members of the public on the NSC website. BRA will send its response in the next 7-10 days and post it on the BRA website.

Factors for consideration

For expansion

Local residents benefit from having easy access to a regional airport – for leisure and business travel.

The airport is a major employer and makes a significant contribution to the local economy.

Against expansion

Noise. Residents living close to the flight path suffer noise during take-off and landing, especially in the busy summer period when people are most likely to be outside.

Air Pollution. The intended increase in passenger numbers will inevitably increase air pollution.

The above are national issues. There are also factors related to the siting of Bristol Airport, which is generally considered to be far from ideal.

Local Transport Infrastructure. Roads serving the airport are currently congested and inadequate, barely coping with the current traffic levels from almost any direction. Given the hilly terrain, it would be expensive to upgrade the infrastructure. There is also no easy link to rail services.

Environment. The local area is of a rural nature with many scenic views, and includes Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and Sites of Nature Conservation Interest. The application also includes further encroachment into the Green Belt.

Summary. It is a personal view of the balance between all the benefits and convenience of a local airport and saving on travel to more distant airports, versus ever increasing impact locally through noise, pollution, clogged up inadequate roads, and damage to the environment.

How to Comment Go to the NSC website on:
https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=makeComment&keyVal=PJML85LPMKI00

Please do so by Sat Jan 26th

It would be greatly appreciated if you also copied us into your response. This would enable BRA to note the factors that members feel are most important.

Best wishes
From your BRA Committee

Please come to our AGM on Tuesday 12th February at 7pm
in the Sixth Form Lecture Theatre at Backwell School