News & Hot Topics


15th April 2024

Dear Member

We urge all members to come to our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday 23rd April 2024 from 7pm to 9pm in the Sixth Form Lecture Theatre at Backwell School, access via Meadow Close.

Consultations: NSC currently has 3 live consultations. These may be viewed on

Current Consultations – North Somerset Council Consultations (inconsult.uk)

  • Car parking Charges: The proposal would create new parking charges for car parks and on-street locations in Nailsea, Portishead and Clevedon.
  • Black Bin Collections: The proposal would reduce the frequency of collection from once every 2 weeks to once every 3 or 4 weeks.
  • Rural Strategy: This covers all of North Somerset apart from our towns – Weston, Clevedon, Portishead, Nailsea. A wide range of topics is covered including broadband connectivity and rural buses.

Consultation runs until Sunday 7th May for Car parking and Black bins and Friday 31st May for the Rural Strategy

Backwell Parish Council (BPC) – Annual Meeting of Electors: 7.30pm Thursday 25th April at Backwell Parish Hall See the agenda on:

Agenda Annual Parish Meeting 25 April 2024.pdf – Google Drive

BPC is keen to have a dialogue with residents and is including a Q and A session at this meeting. Please give your comments and questions to BPC by Thursday April 18th

Please note that there are currently 5 vacancies on the Parish Council. If you might like to offer your services, please contact BPC on clerk@backwell-pc.gov.uk

BRA Newsletter April 2024: This was distributed to all households in early April. It has details of our AGM, and updates on the topics to be discussed. It can be seen on the BRA website under “Other Information” or “News & Hot Topics”.

Membership for 2024: Many thanks to every household that has paid its subscription.  If you have not paid your £10 for the current year, it would be much appreciated before, or at the AGM, please.


April 2024

Please see below the annual newsletter which is distributed to all Backwell households as a hard copy.

BRA – Newsletter April 2024


Annual General Meeting

This year’s Annual General Meeting will be held at 7.00pm on Tuesday 23 April 2024 in the Sixth Form Lecture Theatre at Backwell School (entrance via Meadow Close off Station Road).


9th February 2024

Dear Member 

The deadline for comments on 515 houses at Grove Farm is Thursday 15th February

Currently we have 670* objections – We can make this 1,000 !!

  • More than 1 person per household can object, even if they share an email address
  • Encourage your friends and neighbours to object
  • It only takes a few minutes to help keep Backwell a village
  • Use your own words to make your case
  • The leaflet (TW GF BRA Leaflet Jan 24) explains 

Just click on this link 23/9/2618/OU2 to make your comments.

From your BRA Committee

* As at 17.50 09.02.24

31st January 2024

The leaflet below has been distributed to the whole of Backwell explaining the reasons for objecting to the application by Taylor Wimpey outlined in the bulletin of the 24th January. 

TW GF BRA Leaflet Jan 24


24th January 2024

Dear Member 

Outline Planning Application by Taylor Wimpey (TW) for up to 515 houses at Grove Farm (Ref 23/P/2618/OU2)

We are most grateful to members who completed a comment on the North Somerset Council consultation for the Local Plan 2039 (LP), which has just closed. We now need to ask you to make a specific comment on the outline planning application submitted by Taylor Wimpey, to North Somerset Council (NSC) on 30th November 2023 which appeared on the NSC planning website just before Christmas.

Please Note: Any comments you made relating to the Grove Farm development as part of the recent Local Plan Consultation will not be taken into account when this planning application is considered by NSC.

 Therefore, the BRA Committee strongly urges you to comment on this unwelcome, premature planning application before the Closing Date of Thursday 15th of February – it is crucial for Backwell that as many comments as possible are submitted.

This is the link to the planning application:

https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/centralDistribution.do?caseType=Application&keyVal=S4XZX2LPG0700

It comprises 143 documents. We suggest the most informative starting point is the ‘Design and Access Statement’, dated 30th November 2023.

Just click on ‘Make a Comment’ and away you go!

Give your name and address etc, and then there is an empty box for typing your comments.

You may find the following points helpful – but PLEASE USE YOUR OWN WORDS. A passionate objection, with examples, on just a few aspects will carry more weight than a long list of headings.

  • This proposed development increases Backwell house numbers by 25%, turning Backwell from a semi-rural village to a small town, and totally changing its character and setting. Note that Backwell already has two other consented applications for 190 dwellings
  • Significant increase in traffic on local roads including the A370, Station Road, Rodney Road, Chelvey Road, Chelvey Lane and Brockley Lane, plus inevitably severe congestion at Backwell crossroads. The separately proposed Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) would NOT offer any meaningful mitigation
  • The Grove Farm site is remote from all major employment areas in North Somerset and Bristol. Given long commuting distances, Grove Farm is not a sustainable development
  • For those who need a car for journeys to Nailsea, the only route is via Station Road, causing further congestion
  • Viability and deliverability of a proposed bus service through Grove Farm, Long-Thorn and Moor Lane onto Station Road is highly questionable. (NSC has little control over bus services)
  • Train services through Nailsea and Backwell station are often close to capacity and one platform has seriously limited access. There are no current plans to improve this situation
  • Existing local services such as schools and the medical centre would be over-stretched
  • Loss of open countryside and good quality (Best and Most Versatile) agricultural land will have an adverse impact on several tranquil footpaths. How can this be ‘sustainable development’?
  • Serious negative impact on wildlife, habitat and biodiversity (including foraging grounds for the internationally important Greater Horseshoe Bats which have a roost in nearby Brockley Hall)
  • This proposed development is NOT in the current NSC ‘Core Strategy’ or the Backwell Neighbourhood Plan. It features in the new draft NSC Local Plan and we have argued strongly for it to be removed. In any event NSC’s new Local Plan will not be ‘Made’ until much later this year at the earliest, so this application is PREMATURE

On the date of this bulletin there are 124 comments on the NSC website, of which 121 are objections.

WE NEED SEVERAL HUNDRED OBJECTIONS TO MAKE A MAJOR IMPACT ON NORTH SOMERSET COUNCIL.

This bulletin goes to the 400 BRA members who have supplied an email address. One excellent way to boost numbers is for BRA members to encourage friends and neighbours to voice their concerns about this application. This bulletin can be seen on the BRA website, under News and Hot Topics.

If this application is approved, it will have a very significant negative impact on Backwell, Chelvey and Brockley – forever.

From your BRA Committee


22nd January 2024

Dear Member

Please find below the links to the submissions made to North Somerset Council on behalf of Backwell Parish Council and BRA in relation to the draft Local Plan 2039.

Lucy White Planning Limited North Somerset Local Plan 2039 Regulation 19 Stage: Representations On Behalf Of Backwell Parish Council (BPC) And Backwell Residents Association (BRA) 19th January 2024. 

Reg 19 Reps FINAL

Part B forms were also submitted and are available from BRA or the Parish Council.

Neil Brant Consulting Ltd – Transport Assessment January 2024.

23-TP0091 NSC Reg19 Reps – Transport v1r3

Please also find the link for the North Somerset Council Nailsea and Backwell Transport Position Statement 11th October 2023.

Nailsea and Backwell transport position statement V1


10th January 2024

Dear Member                                                                                   

We wish everyone a Happy New Year.

There are two very important matters that require action from all Backwell residents in the near future.

Action 1 – North Somerset Local Plan (LP) 2024 – 2039

The public consultation on this draft LP runs until Monday 22nd January. The key element for Backwell is the inclusion of 515 houses on the Grove Farm and Burnt House Farm sites, which residents have opposed in the past. This proposal is being challenged by Backwell Parish Council (BPC), Backwell Residents Association (BRA) and Backwell Resistance (BR). A technical objection to the LP is being prepared by our planning consultant.

The Plan may be viewed on North Somerset Local Plan 2039: Pre-submission Plan (Reg 19) – North Somerset Council Consultations (inconsult.uk)

The LP is important as it will provide the background for planning decisions affecting Backwell for the foreseeable future and be a big influence on Backwell’s next Neighbourhood Plan.

A Leaflet (Village Leaflet December 23) describing the impact of the draft LP on Backwell, and suggesting key points, was distributed to all households during December.

A Help Sheet (Local Plan 2039 Help Sheet December 2023) has also been produced to assist with the consultation process.

We urge all members to make their views known by Monday 22nd January, as numbers count.

THE LOCAL PLAN IS THE CURRENT PRIORITY FOR YOUR ACTION

Action 2 Planning Application by Taylor Wimpey (TW)  with details of the 515 houses

The draft LP discussed above includes 515 houses on Grove Farm. Backwell opposes the principle of this inclusion.

TW has recently submitted its application (Ref 23/P/2618/OU2). It can be viewed on:

https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/centralDistribution.do?caseType=Application&keyVal=S4XZX2LPG0700

The Closing Date is Thursday 1st February but we have it on good authority that comments submitted by Thursday 22nd February will be considered.

There are 128 documents in total, but the most informative for the general public is the Design and Access Statement.

Clearly the LP and this application are closely linked. The TW application procedure is the same as any other planning application – i.e. there is a text box for your comments, which remain on the website, along with all other comments.

Please use your own words to say what you think about the issues, which could include:

  • Impact on the character of Backwell of such a big development
  • Inability of our roads to cope
  • Adverse impact from emissions, for a long commute from Grove Farm into Bristol where most jobs are
  • Overstretching Backwell’s resources with a 35% increase in size (schools, medical facilities, parking spaces etc)
  • Loss of good agricultural land
  • Loss of wildlife habitat

Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)

https://n-somerset.inconsult.uk/BackwellBSIP/consultationHome

The deadline for consultation for bus “Improvements” has now passed. We are most grateful to residents for voicing their concerns to NSC, both via the website and in person at the drop-in session. The intensity of feeling in the village is clearly evident, which can be summarised as:

…. the current proposals are flawed, creating a series of damaging consequences for Backwell, and no decision should be made without further detailed analysis and local consultation.

NB The Backwell Crossroads “improvements” appear in the LP process as a mitigation for extra traffic from the Grove Farm development, and also in TW’s planning application. BRA hopes that NSC will listen to public opinion and NOT proceed with the “improvements” planned for Backwell, given that any mitigation would be negligible.

Membership

 Our membership year coincides with the calendar year. Thankfully, over the years, BRA has built up reserves for use in a “rainy year”. 2024 looks certain to be the year where we require significant help from experts on technical matters, which will deplete our reserves. It would assist our administration if members would renew their subscriptions as soon as possible please, and encourage other households to join BRA. A membership form can be found here Membership Form to December 2024

 From your BRA Committee


19th December 2023

Dear Member                                                                                   

Outline application for 515 houses on Land at Grove Farm

The application from Taylor Wimpey that we have been expecting for some time has just been posted on the North Somerset Council (NSC) website.

It is interesting to see this in relation to the festive season !!

Application validated                       18th December 2023

Consultation Deadline                     1st February 2024

BRA, and others no doubt, will be challenging this absurd deadline for a development that would transform our village. We will tackle it in earnest in the New Year, with professional support to help us all make informed responses during January.

The application can be viewed on https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/centralDistribution.do?caseType=Application&keyVal=S4XZX2LPG0700

The most informative document is the Design and Access Statement.

Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)

 The development at Grove Farm is included in the draft Local Plan, and is a real threat to Backwell. One of the main concerns for residents is the impact of the extra traffic on the A370. Taylor Wimpey states that the A370 through Backwell will be improved by the “Improvement” scheme for Backwell, which hundreds of residents so heavily criticised at the drop-in session, at the WI. Hall in November. NSC has not heeded public opinion on other schemes, so it is important that members make their views known. This can be done quickly with the methods below.

 Please comment before the deadline of Friday 29th of December 2023:

Please be aware that your comments, once made, cannot be seen again, so you may like to save these elsewhere. It is also not possible to see what others have said

  • or by email to Engagement@n-somerset.gov.uk
  • or by post to Rob Thomson, BSIP Consultation, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ

The BRA committee is most grateful to members for keeping us informed of their opinions and observations during 2023, and for responding to the many consultations we have endured !

With all best wishes for Christmas and the New Year

From your BRA Committee


16th December 2023

Dear Member                                                                                    

We are sorry to send a bulletin so near to Christmas, but Backwell is facing four big challenges, so an update is required. There are two proposals and two agreed developments awaiting implementation.

By far the biggest is the proposal for 515 houses on Grove Farm within the draft Local Plan. The Bus Improvement Plan could make Dark Lane one way, create a bus lane and 3 new bus stops. These proposals are open to comments from residents, and we hope you will do so.

Two other applications have been approved and could be implemented in the near future. On Farleigh Fields, 96 houses will be accessed by demolishing 54 and 56 Farleigh Rd to make a new junction on the A370. Also, Taylor Wimpey is taking steps to progress 65 houses with access near the Scout Hut, which will have a significant impact on Rodney Road,

North Somerset Local Plan (LP) 2024 – 2039

The public consultation on this draft plan runs until 22nd of January 2024. The key element for Backwell is the inclusion of 515 houses on the Grove Farm and Burnt House Farm sites, which residents have opposed in the past.

 The Plan may be viewed on North Somerset Local Plan 2039: Pre-submission Plan (Reg 19) – North Somerset Council Consultations (inconsult.uk)

  • The NORTH SOMERSET LOCAL PLAN 2039 has 300 pages.
  • The POLICIES MAP can be “zoomed in” using + in the top left corner, to show the many new houses allocated to Backwell and Nailsea
  • The SHORT GUIDE has 10 pages and is “A plain English summary of the proposed local plan, its contents and what happens next”
  • HOW TO RESPOND TO THE LOCAL PLAN 2039 has 7 pages

Backwell Residents Association, Backwell Parish Council and Backwell Resistance have combined their efforts to oppose the Plan for Backwell. We have been concerned that technical hurdles and planning language will prevent residents from responding.

A HELP guide has been prepared to assist Backwell residents, and you may find it convenient to print a copy to have by your side as you navigate the screen. It is important that you make your views known. The guide can be found here Local Plan 2039 Help Sheet December 2023

Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) (proposed by North Somerset Council)

The drop-in session on Wednesday 29th of November at the WI Hall had some 200 – 300 people pass through the door, with a significant number turning back rather than wait outside in the cold! It was disappointing that NSC staff concentrated on the benefits of the scheme for bus journey times along the A370, with no extra information on the detail of the proposals and with no mention of the negative impacts of the scheme on Backwell, which residents are so concerned about. In particular Dark Lane becoming one way (up only) by not allowing vehicles to access the A370, and creating a very short bus lane between the Leisure Centre and the traffic lights, and also 3 new locations for bus stops.

BRA and Backwell Parish Council (BPC) have combined to commission a transport consultant to look at the Backwell proposals. This is an extract from an official letter from BPC to BSIP, representing our views.

This lack of information makes it difficult for BPC to properly analyse and comment on the proposals. However, everything we have seen and heard to date leads us to strongly object to much of what is proposed in the centre of the village. West of England Combined Authority has imposed a very short deadline for public feedback to the current proposals. Unless and until further detail is available this must be our default position.

The lack of published detail makes it impossible for us to respond analytically. However, it should be made clear that we believe the current proposals are flawed, would create a series of damaging consequences, and that no decision should be made without further detailed analysis and local consultation.

 Please comment before the deadline of Friday 29th of December 2023:

Please be aware that your comments, once made, cannot be seen again, so you may like to save these elsewhere. It is also not possible to see what others have said

  • or by email to Engagement@n-somerset.gov.uk
  • or by post to Rob Thomson, BSIP Consultation, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ

Farleigh Fields Reserved Matters (RM) is the technical term for the detailed documents and NSC conditions required for full planning consent. The RM require the developer to submit, and get formally approved, such crucial issues as road and housing detail, drainage proposals and landscaping obligations.

These are presented in the application on the North Somerset Council (NSC) website – in 33 documents!! These documents can be found here or by going to the NSC planning portal (Simple Search (n-somerset.gov.uk) and typing in the reference 23/P/2508/RM.

Persimmon has reduced the number of houses from 125 to 90, with an additional 6 self-build ones. BRA, with BPC, has been looking at the significant problems of drainage and flooding and appointed a consultant to help with our submission. Any comments are required by Tuesday 2nd of January. A swift response from members would be appreciated, but the deadline is expected to be extended for a short period, as it has been challenged robustly.

Members can see how the development might look in the Design and Access document, which shows plans for housing layouts, internal streets etc. in an easy-to-read format.

Late News – Backwell Motors

A planning application to remove the petrol pumps and shop and put housing on that part of the site was approved by NSC, but will not now go ahead. Fuel sales and the shop will continue under new management from the end of January. Charlie Atherton will continue with the mechanics, MOTs and body repairs in the rear of the building.

From your BRA Committee


10th December 2023

Save Our Village – a leaflet explaining the impact of the North Somerset Council Draft Local Plan 2039 for Backwell as a village was distributed to all households at the beginning of December and can be found here – Village Leaflet December 23


28th November 2023

Dear Member 

This bulletin covers two proposals from North Somerset Council (NSC), both of which have serious implications for Backwell. Judging by comments received, it appears that residents have serious misgivings on both of these. It is extremely important that Backwell residents make their views known.

Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)

Dark Lane – One way – No way!!!! If this is your view, TOMORROW is a chance to say so!

The current proposals create bus “improvements” for a speedy X1 bus service through the village, which is a sensible goal. However, the impact on Backwell of the new bus lane and making Dark Lane one-way and other changes are felt to be very damaging to the community. To register your comments please come to the drop-in session being held on:

Wednesday 29th of November – A community drop-in session on the BSIP will be held TOMORROW at the WI Hall in Backwell from 3.30pm to 7pm.

It is also possible to comment online via:

https://n-somerset.inconsult.uk/BackwellBSIP/consultationHome

Please be aware that your comments, once made, cannot be seen again, so you may like to save these elsewhere. It is also not possible to see what others have said.

There does not appear to be an address for postal comments, but an email address is given BSIP.Engagement@n-somerset.gov.uk

North Somerset Local Plan (LP) 2024 – 2039

The public consultation on this draft was launched yesterday and will run until 22nd of January 2024. The key element for Backwell is the inclusion of 515 houses on the Grove Farm and Burnt House Farm sites.

The Plan may be viewed on North Somerset Local Plan 2039: Pre-submission Plan (Reg 19) – North Somerset Council Consultations (inconsult.uk)

  • The NORTH SOMERSET LOCAL PLAN 2039 has 300 pages
  • The POLICIES MAP can be “zoomed in “using + in the top left corner, to show the many new houses allocated to Backwell and Nailsea
  • The SHORT GUIDE has 10 pages and is “A plain English summary of the proposed local plan, its contents and what happens next”
  • HOW TO RESPOND TO THE LOCAL PLAN 2039 has 7 pages

Backwell Residents Association, Backwell Parish Council and Backwell Resistance have combined their efforts to oppose the Plan, and will summarise key points for residents in mid-December, including the system for making comments.

From your BRA Committee


21st November 2023

Dear Member     

Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)

Since our bulletin of a week ago, we have been aware of the very strong concern in the village on the impact of the BSIP suggested changes for Backwell. North Somerset Council (NSC) has said that this is a genuine consultation at an early stage in their process, and they will take note of comments. The opportunity will be given at the drop-in event.

Wednesday 29th November – A community drop-in session on the BSIP will be held at the WI Hall in Backwell from 3.30pm to 7pm

It is also possible to comment online via:

https://n-somerset.inconsult.uk/BackwellBSIP/consultationHome

Please be aware that your comments, once made, cannot be seen again, so you may like to save these elsewhere. It is also not possible to see what others have said.

There does not appear to be an address for postal comments, but an email address is given BSIP.Engagement@n-somerset.gov.uk

Here is a broad summary of comments made to BRA committee members.

  • Making Dark Lane one way only up from the crossroads, with no access down Dark Lane to the A370

This has created intense surprise, disbelief and concern. Vehicles currently going down Dark Lane to go to Nailsea or Bristol will need to use Church Lane – either the narrow part of the lane towards Bristol, or via the difficult right turn onto the A370 at the end of Church Lane near the Playing Fields entrance. Traffic from the Recycling Centre, Junior School, St Andrew’s Church and the businesses in Cheston Combe will all be affected, along with many residents. The extra mileage for these diversions is a serious addition to cost and pollution, as well as creating increased safety problems on narrow roads, with many young and old pedestrians.

  • Creating a bus lane on the A370 near the crossroads

The exact location of the bus lane is not clear. It starts after the bend on the A370 near the Leisure centre and finishes shortly before the traffic lights at the cross roads. It seems a very short bus lane, which will benefit buses marginally but complicate the short stretch with signs and markings on the road, and almost certainly slow other traffic down.

  • Creating a new bus stop beside the SPAR Green

There is strong opposition to changing an attractive village open green space in the heart of the village. Safety is a major concern at the busy Rodney Road junction, with vehicles waiting to join the A370, along with the nearby car park and layby. NSC Highways was insistent when three flower beds on the Green were created in 2006, that sight lines should not be impaired by bushes or plants taller than 1 metre. This certainly would preclude a bus shelter hub and a double decker bus on the A370. Shoppers, and students during their lunch breaks enjoy the relaxing open space provided, enhanced by these flower beds.

  • Moving the current bus stop from its present position to outside the Dental Practice

This seems a more sensible change as it moves a queue behind the bus away from the lights, reducing the frequency of times when the queue goes back to the lights. It is not clear however, what impact this change would have on the parking places outside the Medical Centre.

  • Creating a bus hub at the Leisure Centre

This is not an obvious site, given it is on a bend on the A370, is near a busy entrance to the leisure centre and is not a flat area. It is also a distance from the current (more convenient) stop at the start of Farleigh Road near the lights. However, it might have the merit of allowing the bus stop to be in a layby, and avoid a traffic queue.

Conclusion: The BSIP proposals as a package are detrimental to our village in many ways. Residents feel that buses will only secure a marginal benefit from the proposals, which will be far exceeded by the adverse impact on Backwell.

Please go to the drop-in and make your views known – Wednesday 29th November at the WI Hall in Backwell from 3.30pm to 7pm

Stop Press: Maintenance works are set to start on the A370 Rhodyate Hill between Congresbury and Cleeve next week. The closure will be in place for six nights, between the hours of 8pm and 6am, starting on Monday 27th of November.

From your BRA Committee


14th November 2023

Dear Member

Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)

This plan has several projects. The Long Ashton bypass scheme has been completed; the Brockley crossroads scheme is under construction; and the plan for Backwell has just been posted on the North Somerset Council (NSC) website.

https://n-somerset.inconsult.uk/BackwellBSIP/consultationHome

Consultation for this has opened on Monday 13th of November, and will close on Friday 29th of December.

The BSIP proposals are explained in 9 pages of charts on the NSC website and show the following key features:

  • making Dark Lane one way only up from the crossroads, with no access down Dark Lane to the A370
  • creating a bus lane on the A370 near the crossroads
  • creating new, enhanced, bus stops beside the SPAR Green and at the Leisure Centre, plus moving the stop from the old telephone box on the other side of the A370 to outside the Dental Practice

Wednesday 29th November – A community drop-in session on the BSIP will be held at the WI Hall in Backwell from 3.30pm to 7pm

BRA will contact members before the drop-in session as the committee has serious misgivings about the impact of the BSIP proposals on our village. We are disappointed at the lack of detail within the 9 pages, given the importance of the proposals. We hope that more will be available at the drop-in session. We encourage residents to look at the link above, but wait for the drop-in session and further information from BRA before making your views known to NSC.

North Somerset Local Plan (LP) 2024 – 2039

We understand that the public consultation on this is likely to take place from 27 of November to 22 of January 2024

The draft plan will be available for comment from the start of the consultation, and will contain many pages of detail. There will be much of relevance to Backwell, with the proposal for 515 houses on the Grove Farm and Burnt House Farm site being the most significant. BRA, Backwell Parish Council and Backwell Resistance have raised awareness of this via the “Save our Village” campaign. Further information on key points will be sent to members soon after the consultation goes live.

Backwell Motors Now given Approval

An application (Ref 22/P/0696/OUT) for this site made two years ago, has just been approved this week. It will involve the demolition of the petrol forecourt, shop and main garage, and the creation of 7 terraced 3 storey houses facing Station Road. Other buildings at the rear will be demolished, but rebuilt to provide a relocated Equicraft shop and a small garage workshop.


7th November 2023

Dear Member                                                                                   

Between now and the New Year, residents will be invited to comment on two very important issues affecting Backwell – the North Somerset Local Plan (LP) 2024 – 2039, and the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP). Neither of these developments are in their final form for consultation, but they will be shortly. However, we have sufficient indication of their content to be very concerned. The simple message from BRA is

Please Be Prepared to Comment when the time comes – Your views are important.

North Somerset Local Plan (LP) 2024 – 2039

A final version of the draft of this extensive document for consultation is expected around the end of November / early December. It will influence future developments in Backwell for at least the next decade and many topics will be covered, including the proposal for 515 houses on the Grove Farm and Burnt House Farm site, which is widely opposed. A campaign has started under the “Save our Village” heading. BRA, Backwell Parish Council (BPC) and Backwell Resistance (BR) are working together to:

  • raise awareness of the importance of this forthcoming consultation
  • assemble the best case to oppose this development, by using outside consultants whose input could be crucial

We will let members know as soon as the consultation document is posted on the NSC website, when there will follow a 6-week consultation period.

Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP)

Wednesday 29th November – A community drop-in session on the BSIP will be held at the WI Hall in Backwell from 3.30pm to 7pm (see below)

North Somerset Council (NSC) is very aware of the need to reduce carbon emissions and sees the provision of better bus services as an important contributor to this goal. £48m has been provided to NSC by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to improve bus services in our region. Details of the rationale can be found in a 136-page document. West of England Bus Service Improvement Plan (n-somerset.gov.uk)

The implementation of this plan for 7 projects in North Somerset is given in 14 pages  bus_service_improvement_plan_package_1_scheme.pdf (n-somerset.gov.uk)

A key objective of these projects is to create faster bus corridors on major routes, including the A370. BRA and local councils have criticised the BSIP on 2 major points:

  • Lack of consultation with local residents (which NSC acknowledges)
  • Concentration on the (minimal) improvement in the speed achieved by buses along the corridors, with little or no account taken of the impact on the communities and their local roads.

The current situations on four projects which have or would have an impact on Backwell are:

Long Ashton bypass – now complete, with longer bus lanes. It is unpopular with motorists owing to long delays.at peak times wasting time and causing extra pollution, especially in the mornings.

Brockley Traffic Lights – currently under construction after negligible consultation. Local residents are very concerned about the impact on diversions on narrow rural lanes needed for local traffic.

Backwell Crossroads and Dark Lane – a key feature of this “improvement” is to make Dark Lane one way only up from the crossroads, with no access down to the A370 from Dark Lane, causing very long detours along Church Lane, and dangerous exits onto the A370 from two uncontrolled points.

Rodney Road and Leisure Centre Bus stops – NSC owns land at SPAR Green and at the Leisure Centre, and is proposing to use these areas to create new bus shelters with better facilities.

NSC has been made aware of the very deep concern within the Backwell community if the last two projects were to go ahead. Currently BRA is not sure what the final proposal from NSC will be. There will an opportunity for residents to examine the proposals and to make their comments known.

Monday 13th November – An online consultation will commence, for several weeks, to explain the BSIP proposals for Backwell and allow residents to make their views known.

Wednesday 29th November A community drop-in session is to be held at the WI Hall in Backwell from 3.30pm to 7pm to allow those who are not online, and any others, to make their views known.

 We will send members a further bulletin for clarification when we know the final proposal after the Monday 13th November consultation has started.

From your BRA Committee


28th October 2023

Dear Member  

North Somerset Local Plan (LP) 2024 – 2039

Members will no doubt be aware of “Save our Village” signs that have been appearing in Backwell during the last week or so. This is the start of a campaign to oppose the inclusion of 515 houses at Grove Farm in the North Somerset Local Plan (LP). Three Backwell organisations have joined together in this campaign:

  • Backwell Parish Council (BPC)
  • Backwell Residents Association (BRA)
  • Backwell Resistance (BR)

The campaign has been publicised through social media, mainly by BR via Facebook. BRA members receive email communications and the recent press release is attached for those not on Facebook

The final LP version for consultation has not yet been released by North Somerset Council (NSC), although the NSC Executive voted to approve the draft LP on Wed 18 October. We will let members know as soon as it is posted on the NSC website, when there will follow a 6-week consultation period.

Once the consultation has opened, we will urge members to make their comments to NSC, and suggest important points you might like to make. Numbers of objections are important, as well as the relevance of the points made.

 From your BRA Committee


22nd October 2023

Dear Member  

LOCAL PLAN (2039)

At the meeting of the Executive Committee of North Somerset Council (NSC) on 18th of October, the draft Local Plan (2039) was confirmed for moving to the consultation stage. Once the consultation document is available, we will let members know, and provide all necessary information. BRA is working closely with Backwell Parish Council (BPC) and Backwell Resistance (BR), as these 3 organisations share the common objection to the inclusion of 515 houses on Grove Farm in the Local Plan.

A 370 MAINTENANCE WORKS IN BACKWELL

In the next fortnight the A370 will have roadworks to improve the surface and drainage which will seriously affect the village, even though next week is the half term week for our schools, so traffic levels should be lower. These works are in addition to the (much criticised) ongoing works at Brockley crossroads which are closing Brockley Way.

Maintenance work on West Town Road, will take place between Rushmoor Grove and the end of the village beyond Kellways. This involves traffic lights, and road closures (some day and some night).

The A370 West Town Road will be closed from its junction with Brockley Combe Road to its junction with Station Road.

  • From Monday 23rd of October for 5 days: working hours: 08:00 – 17:00
  • From Monday 30th if October for 4 nights: working hours: 20:00 – 05:00

Further details are given in the letter from NSC – A370 Maintenance work Oct 2023

X1 BUS TO BRISTOL AND WESTON

The X1 bus will not come through Backwell during the above closure periods.

There will be an X1 service between Weston and Bristol, but it will divert from Congresbury to Churchill onto the A38 to go into Bristol. The X8 service from Nailsea to Bristol will still come through Backwell, but the frequency is only every 60 minutes. The X9 service from Bristol to Nailsea via Wraxall is every 30 minutes. The Long Ashton Park and Ride will be unaffected.

Further details are available on:

www.firstbus.co.uk/bristol-bath-and-west/news-and-service-updates/updates/a370-west-town-road-backwell-advanced

 CLOSURE OF THE M5

 The M5 is to close in both directions for resurfacing between Portishead (junction 19) and Clevedon (junction 20) from 10pm to 6am between 23rd of October and the 26th of October.

This stretch of the M5 is not normally used by Backwell, but we will be on the diversion route. Under these night closures, southbound HGV traffic will be diverted via the A4 and A370 from junction 18 to re-join the M5 at junction 21, with the northbound diversion route operating in reverse. Cars and other lighter vehicles will be diverted via junctions 19 and 21, using the A369 and A370 during the closures, and local traffic will still be able to make journeys across the junctions

From your BRA Committee


11th October 2023

Dear Member 

North Somerset Local Plan (LP) 2024 – 2039

Following consultation on an earlier draft Local Plan, North Somerset Council (NSC), has prepared a new draft which will be presented to the Executive Committee of NSC on Wednesday 18 of October, followed by a further consultation.

What does this Draft Local Plan propose relevant to Backwell ?

A. The new Plan is now to be Local Plan 2039 (LP 2039).

B. Total new housing allocation in North Somerset is reduced from 20,880 to 14,995.

C. 3 large areas of Green Belt housing development have been deleted. This includes land “East of Backwell”, which had 500 houses proposed.

D. Growth in both Nailsea and Backwell has been reduced, principally because of the cost and technical difficulty of constructing a new road across the railway. The land that Gleeson proposed by the Lake, has not been included for development, nor the field below the recycling centre.

E. However, the Grove Farm site (515 houses) is retained in LP 2039. This makes a total of 700 houses for Backwell, after adding the already agreed Farleigh Fields and Rodney Road developments. This is an increase of 35% on the current number of houses in Backwell.

Grove Farm development was the subject of a drop-in meeting at the WI Hall on 13th of September.

A planning application has NOT been made yet, but TW has stated that one will be made before the end of the year. BRA objects to this proposal. The size of the development in relation to that of the current village, and the highways implications of a single access onto the A370 are two key issues.

F. The allocation for Affordable housing (on any large site) is reduced from 40% to 35%.

The new draft LP can be viewed on:

Agenda for Executive on Wednesday, 18th October, 2023, 2.30 pm | North Somerset Council (moderngov.co.uk)

This link takes you to the agenda for the NSC meeting on 18th of October and supporting documents including the following:

There are 3 reports relevant to LP 2039

This is a 276-page document, with the detail of LP 2039, together with planning policies and strategies etc.

This is a 10-page report, which includes a summary of the Plan.

This is a one-page map showing the green Belt area, with housing developments in red.

What is the Status of the Current Draft?

This new draft of the LP will be presented to the council’s Executive Committee on 18 October 2023. It is known as the pre-submission plan and is not likely to have any alterations at this meeting. It then becomes the Consultation Draft, which will allow for public comment from 18th of October to 22nd of November.

How important is the LP?

Extremely important, as it will be the backcloth for planning decisions over the next decade or more. The probability of a planning application being accepted is far greater if the development is included in the LP.

Timescale

Consultation on this new draft is open until 22nd November, (this seems a short consultation period for such a complex and important report).

BRA is active on three main fronts:

  • We are employing our main planning consultant, and will consider further technical help on key issues
  • We are embarking on a publicity campaign in the village to encourage residents to make a comment
  • We keep in touch with Backwell Parish Council and Backwell Resistance, and also Councils at Brockley and Nailsea.

BRA will be issuing guidelines shortly on points which members may like to consider in their submission.

After consideration of comments, NSC will submit a final version of the plan to the Secretary of State for an independent examination. If the Plan is deemed to be “sound” after this examination, it will become the final North Somerset Local Plan (LP 2039) in late 2024.

Comparison between the latest draft and our existing Neighbourhood Plan

It is worth reflecting on the Backwell Neighbourhood Plan 2014 – 26, which was prepared by a Steering Group of Backwell Parish Council, containing representatives from across Backwell, with close contact with NSC. The plan contained modest housing developments, all of which BRA supported and have happened. 96% of votes cast by residents were in favour.

In contrast, Backwell has been the target of a seemingly endless series of unwelcome developments, including this inappropriate one at Grove Farm, which could well turn our village into a town and destroy its character and overload the infrastructure. BRA will object to this new draft of LP 2039.

 What can residents do?

Details of how to comment will be available after the 18th of October meeting, when we will provide a link in a bulletin.

Please make your feelings known to NSC before 22nd of November.

STOP PRESS – A370 MAINTENANCE WORKS

 NSC has started maintenance work on West Town Road, between Rushmoor Grove and the end of the village beyond Kellways.

This involves traffic lights, and road closures (some night and some day):

  • From Monday 23rd of October for 5 days in duration under road closure. Working hours: 08:00 -17:00
  • From Monday 30th of October for 4 nights in duration under road closure. Working hours: 20:00 – 05:00

 Full details are given in the letter from NSC which can be found here

 From your BRA Committee


28th September 2023

Please see see attached the email letter from Backwell Resident Association in relation to the Brockley Lane Junction Bus lane Improvement work reference Traffic Order BSIP/BC/2023/2.

Email to NSC re Brockley Lane Junction – 28.9.2023


28th September 2023

Dear Member 

This is the 3rd BRA bulletin of the month, but it is necessary as yet another planning application is now on the expected list for Backwell – for 163 houses on the fields below the recycling centre. First of all, we give a reminder of the status of other projects currently in the pipeline for Backwell.

Farleigh Fields 119 houses: This has been approved by North Somerset Council (NSC), but Persimmon is in no rush to start building.

Rodney Road (by Scout Hut) 65 houses: This has been conditionally approved, by NSC, but serious issues remain with the access.

Even Keel, Moor Lane 35 houses (Ref 22/P/0252/OUT): Awaiting NSC decision. BRA has objected.

Gleeson (near Backwell Lake) 400 houses (Ref 23/P/1145/OUT): Application has been submitted to NSC. BRA and nearly 400 residents have objected.

Grove Farm and Burnt House Farm – Proposal For 515 Houses: Taylor Wimpey (TW), held a drop-in event at the WI Hall on September 13th, with details given in our bulletin of September 20th. A planning application has not yet been submitted. BRA will be objecting when TW makes its application to NSC, and is working with Backwell Parish Council to take appropriate advice in preparation for the work needed to make our submission.

DARK LANE 163 HOUSES AND A CARE HOME ON FIELDS BELOW THE RECYCLING CENTRE, WITH ACCESS ONTO DARK LANE, NEAR THE MINI ROUNDABOUT

This proposal was revealed on Wednesday 27th September, with a leaflet drop in the affected area by Stokes Morgan Planning acting on behalf of the landowner. The land stretches from Dark Lane, above Hilldale Road and Oakleigh Close, but does not include the field below Sores Court. It is in the Green Belt. The developer is also proposing land be “gifted” to Backwell Junior School to enable a replacement school, car park and playing fields to be built.

Further details may be found on the website: Public Consultation – Dark Lane, Backwell (wordpress.com)

Feedback may be made on the website “Have your Say” tab, or by email to consultations@stokesmorgan.co.uk. Responses are requested by Friday 27th October. BRA is considering the application, and we will give our conclusions prior to this date.

BUS IMPROVEMENT PLAN

A large sum of money has been provided to NSC by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to improve bus services in our region. Details of the rationale can be found in a 136 – page document West of England Bus Service Improvement Plan (n-somerset.gov.uk)

The implementation of this plan for 7 projects in North Somerset is given in 14 pages bus_service_improvement_plan_package_1_scheme.pdf (n-somerset.gov.uk)

Long Ashton Bypass bus lane: This has been in place for some months and is greatly criticised, owing to the long queues of vehicles at rush hour times on the single lane, next to a bus lane empty for most of the time. We understand that Long Ashton has suffered an increase in its congestion. The changes have caused delays with extra pollution from crawling cars. A journey time increase of 30 minutes is not uncommon!

Brockley Traffic Lights: There is a plan to create bus lanes at the Brockley traffic lights, work on which is due to start next week. (Preparation work with temporary lights has already started). A key feature is that cars will not be allowed to turn right into Brockley Lane when travelling from the Backwell direction. Brockley Parish Council claims it is an expensive and unnecessary scheme that will shave a few minutes off bus times but will cause diversions for cars and much disruption for up to 20 weeks during construction. Comments are required by Friday September 29th to traffic.orders@n-somerset.gov.uk.

BRA has objected to the change, giving support to the strong objection from Brockley PC

Backwell Cross Roads and Dark Lane: A proposal for Backwell was presented, somewhat informally at the drop-in event by a traffic consultant on behalf of TW, which included a map of the A370 crossroads.

Extra capacity on the A370 would be created by removing lights for entry to the junction from Dark Lane, which would be one-way only near the lights. Vehicles would be allowed to go up Dark Lane from the junction, but not exit Dark Lane into the junction. This would give an increase in green light time for the A370 and Nailsea traffic.

BRA is trying to discover the status of this proposal which has caused much comment from those attending the event, with universal horror as far as could be detected.

STOP PRESS – HAVE YOUR SAY

As mentioned in our last bulletin, there was an opportunity last week for residents to hear a short presentation from NSC Councillors at Nailsea Tithe Barn on the next North Somerset corporate plan and with open floor questions. Around 30 people attended, including two members of the BRA committee.

Further events are planned including the presence of two NSC councillors at the mobile library service on Monday 2nd October between 2.15 & 4.15pm, in the car park opposite SPAR in Rodney Road. We hope that members will take the opportunity to make their views known.

From your BRA Committee


20th September 2023

This bulletin gives an update on the Taylor Wimpey (TW) proposal for housing on Grove Farm land, following its “community drop-in event” in the WI Hall on Wednesday September 13th. It also gives information on suggested “bus improvement” proposals.

GROVE FARM and BURNT HOUSE FARM – PROPOSAL FOR 515 HOUSES

Background

This large site has been an aspiration by TW for housing for several years, including being in the former Joint Spatial Plan and the latest draft of North Somerset Council’s Local Plan. It covers land from Moor Lane to Chelvey Road and the A370, with a boundary near Rushmoor Lane. This proposal is a significantly larger area than earlier ones, as it now includes the sites of Grove Farm and Burnt House Farm, which is now the title TW is using. TW intends to submit a planning application before the end of November. (The latest draft of the North Somerset Local Plan is due in a similar timescale.) Some details of the TW proposal emerged at the consultation event last week, but much more will be provided in the documents associated with the application.

Proposal so far as given at the drop-in event

Access – The only vehicle access to this site would be a T junction onto the A370, just past the present junction with Kellways and Chelvey Batch. There would be pedestrian and cycle routes within the site, with access via Moor Lane. TW is also promoting the possibility of a bus route through the site, which could exit the site via a gate into Long-Thorn which would allow buses only. A short stretch of Chelvey Lane from the trough would be another pedestrian / cycle access route, having been replaced by the new road for vehicles into the development.

School – TW has now met the Lighthouse Partnership (LP), which includes West Leigh Infants, St Andrews Junior and Backwell School. TW says that LP is interested in principle in having TW land for a major extension of West Leigh school, (to be built by NSC) and maybe creating a large primary school, by closing St Andrews Junior.

Community Hub and Nature Park – TW staff did not expand on what these sites might contain (in terms of any building), and sought feedback on these on its form.

Feedback Form – Residents were invited to fill out a short feedback form, for completion at the event, or by post later. There were 4 questions, and a space for any other comments.

  • Which types of homes listed are needed?
  • What community facilities are needed in the hub?
  • What public open spaces should be provided?
  • What measures would minimise the use of private cars?

Many attendees were disappointed that there were no specific questions on whether residents welcomed the proposal in general terms, and on highways implications. There will of course be the opportunity for comments once the planning application is published.

Impact on Backwell Crossroads. One revelation at the event that came as a shock to everyone was a suggestion which presumably is TW’s response to extra traffic that its housing would create on the A370. A confusing map was available on a side table showing Dark Lane being one way only at the crossroads traffic lights. This is covered below, after an introduction to the bus improvement scheme.

BUS IMPROVEMENT PLAN

A large sum of money has been provided to NSC by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to improve bus services in our region. Details of the rationale can be found in a 136-page document.

West of England Bus Service Improvement Plan (n-somerset.gov.uk)

The implementation of this plan for 7 projects in North Somerset is given in 14 pages

bus_service_improvement_plan_package_1_scheme.pdf (n-somerset.gov.uk)

This has already provided the Long Ashton bypass bus lane and A38 bus lanes.

There is a proposal for bus lanes at the Brockley traffic lights, which is due to start next month. A key feature is that cars will not be allowed to turn right into Brockley Lane when travelling from the Backwell direction. Brockley Council is angry at the short time allowed for consultation on the scheme, which it strongly opposes, as it has minimal benefit for buses but creates additional mileage for cars. An expensive scheme will shave a few minutes off bus times and could cause disruption for up to 20 weeks during construction. A letter which allows for comment by Friday September 29th  can be found here.

This change at Brockley will probably not affect many Backwell residents, (apart from an increase in traffic on Chelvey Lane) but is presented for those affected to see, and it also gives the background for any proposal for Backwell crossroads.

PROPOSAL FOR BACKWELL CROSS ROADS and DARK LANE

WECA has suggested that finance may be used in Backwell in a later phase, but we are not aware of any published detail or timescale. Backwell does not appear in the current list of projects, with Wrington and Congresbury yet to come.

However, a proposal for Backwell was presented at the drop-in event by a traffic consultant on behalf of TW, which included a map of the A370 crossroads.

Extra capacity on the A370 would be created by removing lights for entry to the junction from Dark Lane, which would be one-way only near the lights. Vehicles would be allowed to go up Dark Lane from the junction, but not exit Dark Lane into the junction.

This would give an increase in green light time for the A370 and Nailsea traffic.

This proposal caused much comment from those attending the event, with universal horror as far as could be detected. It would push traffic onto both branches of Church Lane either side of Dark Lane, creating longer journeys and congestion. TW does not have the responsibility for highways, but it will be interesting to see if this proposal is mentioned in its application, and what status the proposal has.

STOP PRESS – HAVE YOUR SAY

A series of in-person events are planned over the coming weeks, hosted by the leader of council Cllr Mike Bell and deputy leader Cllr Catherine Gibbons. The first event is :

TODAY – Wednesday 20 September, from 6.30pm at the Tithe Barn, Nailsea

Details are given in the link below:

Have your say on council plans | Elife (northsomersetlife.co.uk)

From your BRA Committee


4th September 2023

Dear Member,                                                                                  

Autumn has started with a significant move by Taylor Wimpey (TW) regarding Grove Farm, which is the main topic of this bulletin. We also have an update on the Gleeson application for 400 houses close to Backwell Lake.

GROVE FARM PROPOSAL FOR 515 HOUSES

This large site has been an aspiration by TW for housing for several years, including being in the Joint Spatial Plan and the latest draft of North Somerset Council’s Local Plan. It covers land from Moor Lane over to Chelvey Road and the A370, with a boundary near Rushmoor Lane. This proposal covers a significantly larger area than earlier ones, as it now includes the sites not only of Grove Farm but also Burnt House Farm. Please note, the Grove Farm land is NOT in the Green Belt.

Our bulletin (July 20th) explained that TW had submitted a request to North Somerset Council (NSC) for a “formal scoping opinion “on the Environmental Impact of the development. The request, and NSC’s response may be viewed on the NSC website (Planning ref 23/P/1437/EA2) These are technical matters which are agreed before a planning application is made.

TW has a duty to consult residents on its proposals, and has prepared a flyer which will go to all Backwell households and can be found here.  

TW will be hosting a “community drop-in event” on Wednesday 13th September in Backwell WI Hall from 2.30pm – 8.30pm.

 Further information is available on:

Redevelopment of Land at Grove Farm and Burnt House Farm, Backwell ‧ Taylor Wimpey

Timing: TW says that its application will be made in October or November 2023.

North Somerset Local Plan: A revised draft of the NS Local Plan is expected before the end of the year. This may or may not include this TW land.

Comments: TW is inviting public comments on its consultation via the flyer and the drop-in event. At the moment there is little information available on very important details of the proposal. This will emerge as part of the formal planning application.

When this stage is reached, members will know far more about the proposal, and comments made will go to NSC, which is the decision making body. Your comments then will be a vital part of the process, and we will urge everyone to be involved. It will be worth saving what you write, as no doubt there will be a subsequent need to reiterate this, with or without any amendments you choose to make.

Points relevant to this application include;

  • 515 homes represent a 25% expansion of Backwell.
  • Any transport “solutions” will need to address the impact on current traffic hotspots, including the Crossroads, Station Road and Rodney Road.

GLEESON 400 HOUSES CLOSE TO BACKWELL LAKE

This development (ref 23/P/1145/OUT) was the subject of an application in the summer, and received 365 objections from the public. No decision has been made by NSC. Documents were posted on the following dates on the NSC website in August and members may be interested to see them

August 2nd Backwell Parish Council, BRA and Nailsea Town Council objection

The 3 organisations have joined forces to commission a report by Lucy White with strong objections supported by good planning reasons.

August 21st Natural England Response (covered in a 6-page report)

 Natural England objects to this proposal. As submitted, we consider it will have an adverse effect on the integrity of the North Somerset and Mendip Bats Special Area of Conservation (SAC) “

 August 29th NSC Highways and Transport

 A 15-page report by NSC “gave no recommendation” as further information from Gleeson was required.

 From your BRA Committee


6th August 2023

Please see below the report produced by Lucy White Planning Limited on behalf of Backwell Parish Council (BPC), Backwell Residents Association (BRA) and Nailsea Town Council (NTC) in relation to the application by Gleeson for 400 houses (ref 23/P/1145/OUT). 

Lucy White Planning Report 2nd August 2023


E mail Bulletin 20th July 2023

Dear Member

Following our bulletin regarding the Gleeson application for 400 houses, there is a need to also update you on two further developments, Even Keel and Grove Farm. Strangely everything seems to have deadlines in the summer holidays!!!

Gleeson Reminder. This development (ref 23/P/1145/OUT) requires members to comment by Friday August 4th – details were given in our bulletin of July 13th, which is now on the BRA website under News and Hot topics.

Even Keel (ref 22/P/0252/OUT) This requires action by Wednesday July 26th.

Original Application

This was an Outline Planning Application for the demolition of “Even Keel” and the erection of up to 55 no dwellings, in land off Moor Lane, shortly after the junction with The Briars. The original application was made in February 2022, and BRA made two lengthy objections.

North Somerset Council (NSC) did NOT make a decision on this application, but a “NSC PLACE DIRECORATE, HIGHWAYS & TRANSPORT” report on 1st Sept 2022 was very critical, including statements such as …

The applicant has failed to provide a safe access on Moor Lane for vehicles and pedestrians as both road and pavement widths are below the Council’s approved standards.

The developers became aware of the number of serious objections / concerns from NSC and BRA, and asked for the application to be put on one side. They have now re-submitted a revised application (albeit with the same application number).

Revised Application

The re-submission is largely the same as the first, apart from a reduction in proposed housing numbers from 55 to 35.

BRA continues to consider this application is inappropriate and damaging, and will shortly be submitting their further formal objections. BRA is being advised by planning and transport consultants.

Our principal objections are:

  • The proposed housing layout of a rigid site plan of small units is completely out of character with the surrounding area and existing properties in this part of Moor Lane
  • The site layout is also too restrictive in terms of vehicle parking and manoeuvring -particularly for visitors, delivery vehicles, waste disposal and emergency vehicles etc
  • The only vehicular access to the site is via Moor Lane, which particularly at its eastern end, is too narrow, and for a significant number of projected extra vehicle movements will cause a hazard for both vehicles and pedestrians
  • Moor Lane leads to the junction with Station Road – and even with the reduced number of houses in this latest application, will put further unacceptable strain on this already congested road and junction
  • The application provides for a number of affordable houses to be included – which would be a desirable addition to Backwell’s stock, but the concerns described above far outweigh this point

How to Comment

Public comments are requested by Wednesday 26th July, and it is important that residents do so if possible. However, NSC has said that “any comments received after this deadline will still be considered right up until the final decision is made.”

As ever, one can never be certain in the planning world, but members need to send a revised comment on the revised application, even if only to say that their views have not changed.

Go to 22/P/0252/OUT and make a comment

Grove Farm (Ref 23/P/1437/EA2) 515 dwellings on land around the farm

This is a NOT a planning application, but members should be aware of preparatory activity by Taylor Wimpey (TW).

This site has been an aspiration by TW for housing for several years, including being in NSC’s Joint Structure Plan and the draft Local Plan. It has not yet been the subject of a planning application, but has been one of the possibilities for development, given that this land is not in Green Belt.

The current request from TW is a Request for a formal scoping opinion to determine the scope of an Environmental Impact Assessment for a proposed development of up to 515 dwellings.

On the NSC website, there are only 3 documents, one of which shows the site. The main one is a scoping report – of 98 pages!! (If this seems large – the documents for a major decision usually need a trolley load of boxes!) It can be viewed on 23/P/1437/EA2

This is a common approach made by a developer, to agree with the local authority on the level of detail that would be required in a formal assessment that would appear in a planning application. The purpose is to have a common understanding and agreement on those items that are relevant, and not to waste time of both parties on items that would not influence the application decision.

No action is required by members at this stage. However, a scoping opinion is normally a precursor to an actual application sometime in the future. BRA thinks it could well be a consideration for the Local Plan.

From your BRA Committee


E mail Bulletin 13th July 2023

Planning Application (Ref 23/P/1145/OUT) by Gleeson to build 400 houses South of Nailsea, close to Backwell Lake

Dear Member          

PLEASE make your view known to North Somerset Council (NSC) by August 4th – your response is important

This was featured in our bulletin of 22nd of June following Gleeson’s application for outline planning permission. We have now received initial advice from our planning consultant and are in a position to give guidance to members on making comments.

The development site is shown on the map below. All the housing will be within Nailsea’s boundary but the only proposed access road crosses into Backwell Parish, very close to the houses in Station Close. The junction with Station Road is achieved by demolishing 87, Station Road. We are awaiting further technical reports on Highways / Traffic, Flooding, and Ecology which will be included in BRA’s response. This will be on our website under “News and Hot Topics” when available.

The current national position on housing targets is uncertain, and the new NSC will be producing a new draft Local Plan later this year. In the meantime, developers are well aware that NSC cannot demonstrate a 5-year Land Supply.

The Gleeson Development area is shown in red outline, along with the yellow access road onto Station Road. (BRA schematic based on Design & Access statement).

Planning points which could lead to Approval by NSC include

  • The development area is NOT in the current Green Belt
  • It was included in a draft “Local Plan 2038”
  • NSC has still not achieved its 5-year Land Supply housing numbers
  • NSC has approved developments in the past, stating that the increased traffic would only have a marginal impact (in contrast to local views)

We should not be complacent, and we urge members to make their views known.

 Planning points that could lead to Refusal

  • The development is not in the current Local Plan and is therefore premature
  • The Strategic Gap between Backwell & Nailsea has been considered important by planners in retaining the separate identities. It would be compromised by this development
  • Transport issues could be significant with this large development
  • The area is prone to flooding, including the houses on Station Close

Comments

BRA is working closely with Backwell Parish Council and Nailsea Town Council to have a good common understanding of the planning issues, reports from the Environment Agency on flooding, traffic counts, wildlife etc. Public comments will have little impact if they are clearly seen as copies of material produced by our consultants. Residents are not expected to know planning laws, but their views are respected on how a development would affect them personally e.g., traffic issues, use of footpaths, tranquillity, landscape, flooding etc.

There are 85 documents for this application on the website. Many are very technical. However, a good understanding can be achieved by looking at just two of these – Design & Access Statement and Planning Statement – both with a 5th of June date.

It would be counterproductive for BRA to provide a list of points, for members to cut and paste into the comments box. Instead, we have given a box diagram of possible topics for members to amplify with their own experiences. Examples could be “walking my dog round the lake every day”, experiences with the current Station Road traffic, enjoyment from the wildlife of the area etc. Speaking from the heart is useful from residents, leaving comments on core strategies etc to the professionals! It is best if members only mention issues on which they have strong views.

How to comment

Go to 23/P/1145/OUT and “Make a comment”, by the closing date of Friday 4th of August. The box diagram to help you can be found here Gleeson Houses Box Diagram Final

This online version allows you to use your own words in the box provided (“Your Comment”).

Tithe Barn Meeting – Tuesday July 25th at 7.30pm

Nailsea Town Council is holding a public meeting to hear views on the Gleeson application, which should give attendees more background on their proposals.


E mail Bulletin 22nd June 2023

Dear Member

We were delighted that 126 people attended our AGM on April 18th, which was our highest attendance ever. Since then, it has been a relatively quiet time for planning activities, with local government elections and uncertainty at the national level regarding the planning policies.

This peaceful interlude was suddenly broken this week, with the application to North Somerset Council (NSC) by developers Gleeson for outline planning permission, which is the main topic of this bulletin. We also give an update on the ex-MICA site at Backwell crossroads.

GLEESON SITE

The proposal by Gleeson was mentioned on the front cover of the March 2023 BRA Newsletter.

This has now emerged as an outline planning application on the NSC website 23/P/1145/OUT. It is for up to 400 houses including the demolition of 87 Station Road (the house nearest to the Lake entrance). The access road into the site will be between the Station car park and the Lake entrance.

There are 75 documents on the website, many of which are of a technical nature. A good summary is given in the 111 page “Design an Access Statement“, which is one of the first documents shown in the list of documents as published on 5th June. There is clearly much reading to be done!!

The application can be viewed on NSC website on this link 23/P/1145/OUT

 We will provide members with BRA’s assessment of the application well before the closing date for comments of Friday July 21st. We urge members to make their views known.

BRA will be working with Backwell Parish Council and Nailsea Town Council, as the 3 organisations share similar concerns about the application.

EX-MICA SITE Planning Application Ref 22/P/2428/FUL

The application to convert the ex-MICA buildings on the corner of Dark Lane and the A370 into a site total of 2×2 bed flats, and 2×3 bed 3 storey dwellings has been refused by North Somerset Council (NSC). BRA objected to the proposals, along with Backwell Parish Council. There were 16 public objections and 7 comments in favour. Details can be viewed on the NSC website on this link 22/P/2428/FUL

There was a common theme in many of the public comments relating to the current site being an “eyesore”.

The main reasons given by NSC for refusal, were the cramped form of overdevelopment, plus an adverse impact on neighbours, and the design, siting and scale of development which would be out of character with its surroundings. There was also the loss of retail activity which is in conflict with our Neighbourhood Plan, reducing the vitality and viability of Backwell local centre.

It is hoped that a revised application will address the reasons for objection, and Backwell will lose its eyesore!!

From your BRA Committee


E mail Bulletin 12th April 2023

Dear Member

We urge all members to come to our AGM on Tuesday 18th April 2023 from 7pm to 9pm in the

Sixth Form Lecture Theatre at Backwell School access via Meadow Close

The formal aspects of the AGM will be kept to a minimum so that we can devote most of the time to the matters covered in our annual newsletter, including a presentation from Lucy White, our planning consultant.

Since printing our Annual Newsletter, we draw your attention to two further developments.

Land Value Alliances (LVA). LVA have publicised their intention to make an application for a large development on land at the northern edge of Nailsea. The site is almost all in Green Belt and the flood plain, and is important for wildlife. A point in its favour is that it has access points off the B3130 towards Failand and Clevedon, which do not impinge on the rest of Nailsea, or indeed Station Road, Backwell. This site has not appeared in any plan, so is only a “Developers Intention” at this stage. It is likely that LVA will make an approach to North Somerset Council for consideration, following a public exhibition held at Nailsea Town Council offices in late March.

Bristol Airport Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO). Bristol Airport has been granted a CPO on land next to the A38 at Lulsgate Bottom.

When added to land the Airport currently owns, significant areas of land become available for road improvements to the junction of the A38 with both Downside Road and the road towards Felton. The land available is shown on the map below. Details of the proposals, are given on:

https://www.bristolairport.co.uk/media/1l1fi4cm/doc1631940091final-bristol-airport-statement-of-reasons-15-september-2020.pdf

Backwell Parish Council – Annual Meeting of Electors 7.30pm Thursday 27th of April at Backwell Parish Hall. The agenda is on the Parish Council website – the link to which can be found here. This is an open meeting for parishioners to hear presentations (including ones from The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity and Backwell organisations) and to make their views known. Please note that there are currently 4 vacancies on the Parish Council. If you feel you might like to offer your services, please contact the Parish Clerk on clerk@backwell-pc.gov.uk.

BRA Newsletter March 2023. This was distributed to all households in early April. It has details of our AGM, and updates on the topics to be discussed. It can be seen on the BRA website under “Other Information”.

From your BRA Committee


E mail Bulletin 15th March 2023

Dear Member 

RODNEY ROAD – 65 HOUSES

Taylor Wimpey (TW) has been granted OUTLINE permission for this development in the field beyond the Scout Hut. There are important other items (known as Reserved Matters (RM)) that need to be agreed between TW and North Somerset Council (NSC) before FULL permission can be applied for. RM include the scale and layout, and S 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments from TW.

TW held a public exhibition of its proposals in the WI Hall on Wednesday, March 8th and is seeking feedback, prior to it submitting the RM to NSC for agreement.

The original outline application by TW can be viewed on:

20/P/1847/OUT | Outline application for residential development of up to 65 dwellings with matters of access for approval and all other matters of appearance, scale, layout and landscaping reserved for subsequent approval | Land West Of Rodney Road Backwell (n-somerset.gov.uk)

If you feel inclined to record your personal views, please follow the link below and use the ‘Have Your Say’ button.

Redevelopment of Rodney Road, Backwell ‧ Taylor Wimpey

You can add free text at Question 8 and 11.

It is also possible to comment via email to Land.TWB@taylorwimpey.com

Your response could also be copied to our local District Councillor, Bridget Petty on

bridget.petty@n-somerset.gov.uk and to Backwell Parish Council on clerk@backwell-pc.gov.uk.

BRA has submitted comments to Taylor Wimpey, which are given in the attached file.

They also shown below:

From your BRA Committee

Letter from BRA to Taylor Wimpey 14th March 2023

Rodney Road Backwell – Planning Application ref: 20/P/1847/OUT

Dear Sirs

Backwell Residents Association (BRA) has monitored the long saga of this application – submitted in 2020 – up to the public exhibition held in Backwell on 8 March. You will be aware that, along with the majority of local residents, we strongly opposed this application. We accept that consent has now been granted and that the process of the LPA approving conditions and Reserved Matters is underway.

Attached is a list of our continuing concerns – we consider TW has not fully addressed a number of detailed obligations and safety procedures, particularly immediately outside the site boundary, but which remain TW’s responsibility. We ask that further analysis of these potential concerns and difficulties is undertaken. BRA will be seeking to ensure the LPA monitors all such issues closely.

If it is felt local input would be helpful – we will do what we can to assist this process.

Yours faithfully

Michael Rose – on behalf of BRA

COMMENTS FROM BACKWELL RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION (BRA)

BRA is a member organisation with over 430 paid-up member households in Backwell, which seeks to monitor the well-being of activities and life in the village. We appreciated the recent Taylor Wimpey exhibition, explaining their proposals for development on the Rodney Road field. This provided some helpful answers and reassurances – but also left a number of serious concerns and queries, which we wish to further highlight before development proceeds.

  1. TW reps. are aware of the major concerns about safety, particularly close to the site entrance. We have been left with the impression TW is not concerned with road details outside their red-line site boundary. This is unacceptable. There needs to be more detailed analysis and agreement with the Planning Authority (and local residents?) on such issues as:
  • The precise road alignment around the proposed “roundabout”
  • Possible parking restrictions at busy times
  • Street lighting
  • Vehicular and pedestrian access into the Playing fields and Scout hut frontage
  • Safety features for the hundreds of youngsters crossing the new road in the Scout hut area each week
  • Details of the necessary footpath upgrade at the bottom end of the development site into the Playing Fields
  1. The available details do not demonstrate clearly how to most safely engineer the new estate road into the site and the gradient up and around the right-angle bend
  2. Detailed agreement must be reached with the owners of the bungalow – 18 Rodney Road, – whose “quiet enjoyment” of their property will be seriously diminished, to provide a sound-proof and attractively landscaped barrier on their boundary
  3. Construction Period:
  • TW must agree suitably agreed restrictions on construction traffic to avoid disruption and safety hazards at crucial times (e.g., school start / finish times)
  • The well-used footpath from the Scout hut area to West Leigh School – a vital pedestrian link – should remain open at all times
  • Because of the proximity of the school – pile-drivers and other noisy / dusty equipment should be prohibited if at all possible
  1. More detail on Section 106 provisions and CIL contributions should be discussed and agreed with local residents (as well as the Planning Authorities) whenever possible

Above all – we would like to see further discussion and agreement on many of the outstanding issues referred to above – before construction starts – before it is too late to discuss potential changes (potentially together with Backwell Parish Council and / or NSC Planning Officers?).

M. Rose 14/03/23


E mail Bulletin 28th February 2023

Dear Member

RODNEY ROAD – 65 HOUSES

Taylor Wimpey has been granted OUTLINE permission for this development in the field beyond the Scout Hut. There are important other matters (known as Reserved Matters) that need to be agreed between TW and North Somerset Council (NSC) before FULL permission can be applied for. Reserved matters will include the access to the site (which has been the cause of much concern), drainage, and Section 106 payments from TW.

TW is holding a public exhibition of its more detailed proposals in the WI Hall on Wednesday 8th  March from 3pm to 7pm.

TW is seeking feedback, prior to it submitting the reserved matters to NSC for agreement.

Some details are available on the TW website;

Redevelopment of Rodney Road, Backwell ‧ Taylor Wimpey

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

NSC has written a draft strategy for increasing the uptake of electric vehicles until 2030. They are hoping to hear your views on the strategy.

North Somerset Electric Vehicle Strategy

 The above website gives a link to a 3-page summary, and a 13-page report and also to the on-line questionnaire which is open until Thursday 6th April 2023.

CHANGES TO LONG ASHTON BYPASS

New bus lanes are to be created on roads in North Somerset, for the A370, A38 and A369, with work starting in mid-March.

Full details of the changes are available on the NSC website.

Bus service improvement plan | North Somerset Council (n-somerset.gov.uk)

We have just become aware of the “Notice of Intent” for the creation of the bus lanes on the Long Ashton bypass. This can be accessed by the following link:

15 Feb – notice of intent – bus lane on Long Ashton by-pass (n-somerset.gov.uk)

This gives details of how to make comments by 5pm on Friday 10th March.

KEEP WARM WORKSHOPS

The Centre for Sustainable Energy volunteers are holding a Draught Proofing Workshop and providing energy saving advice at Nailsea Library, at 10 o’clock, for about one hour, on Saturday 18th March.

The workshop is free to attend and there will be some free draught proofing samples available to take away. It is an excellent opportunity to raise any issues you may have. To ensure that enough space is allocated for those who wish to attend please book your ticket at:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/home-energy-taskforce-57904069913

If you would like a workshop to be organised specifically for your community group, please get in touch with Helen at:

https://forms.gle/VnqqyVkgG6PyoN9p6


E mail Bulletin 7th February 2023

Dear Member

You may recall a BRA bulletin dated 8th January 2023, which explained the concept of Reserved Matters (RM) associated with Persimmon’s application to build 125 houses on Farleigh Fields. They were given outline permission for the development, but North Somerset Council (NSC) would need to approve some 35 documents of RM.

The BRA bulletin encouraged members to comment on these to NSC.

 The documents may be viewed here 22/P/2818/RM

The following statement from NSC was issued yesterday;

“NSC has just been informed that Persimmon have withdrawn their reserved matters application for Farleigh Fields in the light of comments on the website, where they note concerns about flooding, the outfall, design parameters and landscaping. They have concluded that they should withdraw the application, review these matters and they say that the company is committed to delivering this scheme in Backwell with quality design, placemaking and customer service at its heart, and given its significance for Persimmon and North Somerset Council, want to work with us in a spirit of partnership and collaboration”

Many aspects of the RM were unsatisfactory, and among the “Public Comments there were some exceptionally well researched and persuasive points made by members of the public. BRA has commissioned technical advice and remains an active member of the Backwell Parish Council Working Party on Farleigh Fields.

 Persimmon will need to consider the objections carefully, and produce a set of RM that NSC will approve.

This is a pause, NOT a withdrawal – the original consent still remains in force. However – it is a demonstration that strong, valid, local objection can be valuable, giving a better outcome for Backwell.


E mail Bulletin 27th January 2023

Dear Member

BRISTOL AIRPORT

We understand that the outcome of the Bristol Airport judicial review will be announced on Tuesday 31st January. The High Court will have determined whether the Bristol Airports consent to expand to 12 million passengers pa is lawful. 

EX-MICA SITE Planning Application Ref 22/P/2428/FUL

The BRA bulletin of 18th of January made reference to this application which can be viewed on the North Somerset Council (NSC) website:

2/P/2428/FUL | Demolition of existing single storey buildings and erection of 1 No. three bedroom dwelling. Two storey side extension to remaining existing building and conversion of ground floor to residential. | 2 Farleigh Road Backwell BS48 3PA (n-somerset.gov.uk)

Following the last bulletin there are now 7 public comments on the NSC website, of which 6 are objections, including one from BRA, which is given at the foot of this email.

Whilst the current Backwell Neighbourhood Plan 2014 – 26 (BNP) is now some 8 years old, the BRA committee considers it still has much relevance for today. The Plan can be found here.

Section 10 (page 15) covers “Village shops, services and the local centre”, and is worth reading. Planning policy 2 states:

Development proposals …. will be supported provided that they are appropriate to the size and character of the village, support the creation of a safe, attractive and accessible shopping and business environment. An additional consideration will be whether nearby parking is adequate or more is provided. Appropriate proposals for mixed use, with apartments or flats, will be accepted where this is necessary to improve the viability of commercial premises.

The BRA objection on the NSC website draws attention to the failure of this application to comply with many aspects of the BNP, e.g. in its design for an important location in our village, and pedestrian safety, especially for children.

If members wish to comment, please do so on the NSC website before the closing date of Monday 13th February, by clicking “Make a Comment”

BRA AGM 

Tuesday April 18th, 7pm to 9pm, at our usual venue in Backwell School.

BRA MEMBERSHIP 

We are grateful to over 430 households who were BRA members in 2022. A high membership level means that our comments are taken seriously, and the £10 subscriptions enable us to employ professional help when required, as it is at the moment! You can download the 2023 Membership Form here which gives details of payment method by cash, cheque or bank transfer. We should be most grateful if you would send your subscription promptly so we have a good start to 2023.

BRA Response to EX-MICA SITE Planning Application Ref 22/P/2428/FUL

Backwell Residents Association (BRA) is a local membership organisation representing over 430 paid up households. It objects to this application.

Whilst it is accepted that the current site and buildings have become an eyesore in recent times and reflect badly on the use and appearance of this important site, the new proposals are a disappointment, and fail to adequately provide the necessary design qualities which this location requires.

The proposal – all residential use – fails to comply with Backwell’s Neighbourhood Plan (Planning Policy CENTRES 1 -3) – i.e., any development in the identified village centre should not damage the vitality and viability of the Local Centre). This proposal removes an important commercial use location in the centre of the village. BRA would ideally prefer to see a continued mix of ground floor commercial use together with some residential.

One of the proposed structures comprises two semi-detached dwellings, and is three storey. Whilst it is noted its overall height is no greater than the adjoining existing (two-storey) property, three storeys is out of character with the surrounding area – notably the rest of the Dark Lane dwellings – and unacceptable aesthetically. We are also concerned about over-shadowing of the adjoining bungalows in Farleigh Road.

The proposed two storey structure is in a crucial location on the corner of the junction as one approaches the village centre from the east. It should be much more prominent and complement the prominent buildings on the other three corners of this junction. The application fails to take the opportunity to provide this and is unacceptable in both external design and town planning terms.

The proposal designates 7 car spaces. The one closest to the junction would create a safety hazard with access/egress far too close to the busy (light controlled) junction. If this is deleted, the site provides inadequate car parking to meet current standards and fails to include provision for visitor spaces. Secondly, the proposed layout provides for cars crossing the narrow pavement which is used daily by many often unsupervised small schoolchildren and would cause a further potential traffic hazard.

The site is over-developed, with inadequate provision, close to this busy junction, for temporary parking/stopping of delivery vehicles, refuse collection vehicles etc, which will inevitably cause traffic difficulties.


E mail Bulletin 18th January 2023

Dear Member

There are several matters of interest which have emerged this week, making a fuller bulletin than usual.

BACKWELL RECYCLING CENTRE

Backwell Recycling Centre to remain open | North Somerset Council (n-somerset.gov.uk)

At noon today, North Somerset Council (NSC) announced that it will NOT be closing the recycling centre.

The councillors have “listened to residents and the strong feeling against proposals to close Backwell Recycling Centre and acted on this by removing this from next year’s budget.”

The full statement can be viewed via the above link to the NSC website.

EX-MICA SITE Ref 22/P/2428/FUL

Many members will be familiar with the old Chorley hardware store, renamed as MICA. It was a popular shop, with useful parking outside. The site has been largely unused for several years, and become an eyesore.

A planning application has been made for 4 dwellings on the site. There will be a two-storey building on the site of the existing shop – a two bed flat on each of two floors. The footprint and height look very similar to the existing building. Towards the rear of the site, and set back – a new building comprising two 3 storey, 3 bed semi-detached houses. 7 car spaces will be provided on Dark Lane for the 4 dwellings.

The BRA committee is considering its response and will report to members well before the closing date of Monday 13th of February. The application can be viewed on:

22/P/2428/FUL | Demolition of existing single storey buildings and erection of 1 No. three bedroom dwelling. Two storey side extension to remaining existing building and conversion of ground floor to residential. | 2 Farleigh Road Backwell BS48 3PA (n-somerset.gov.uk)

DEBBIE FORTUNE SITE

There is an unconfirmed report that this will open as a café “within a few weeks”

KEEP WARM WORKSHOPS

The Centre for Sustainable Energy volunteers are holding Draught Proofing Workshops and providing energy saving advice on the following dates at Nailsea Library at 10 o’clock for about one hour:

  • Friday 17th of February
  • Saturday 18th of March

These workshops are free to attend and there will be some free draught proofing samples available to take away. So that they are able to ensure they have enough space for those who wish to attend please book your ticket at:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/home-energy-taskforce-57904069913

If you would like a workshop to be organised specifically for your community group, please get in touch with Helen at:

https://forms.gle/VnqqyVkgG6PyoN9p6

NORTH SOMERSET COUNCIL (NSC) ACTIVE TRAVEL CONSULTATIONS

NSC is encouraging Active Travel – i.e. non-motorised and mainly walking or cycling. Members may comment on two consultations.

Place and Movement Framework”

This new framework sets out the guiding principles for how NSC will classify every road, street and lane in North Somerset. This may be viewed via a 5-page summary of the Place and Movement Framework which can be found here

There is no questionnaire but comments on this may be given by email to transport.policy@n-somerset.gov.uk

Active Travel” Questionnaire

This is described on

Active Travel Action Plans – North Somerset Council Consultations (inconsult.uk)

There is a helpful 4-page summary provided, along with 7 Active Action Travel Plans.

NSC says: Please use this accessible online questionnaire to let us know what you think.

If you do need the questionnaire in another format, contact us by email at transport.policy@n-somerset.gov.uk

The closing time for comments on responses for both the Place and Movement Framework and the Active Travel Questionnaire is 10am on Monday Feb 20th.

BRA AGM

We have booked our BRA AGM on Tuesday 18th of April, 7pm to 9pm, at our usual venue in Backwell School. We hope as many of our members as possible will come to this important meeting, so please put the date in your diary. More details nearer the time.

BRA MEMBERSHIP

We are grateful to over 430 households who were BRA members in 2022. A high membership level means that our comments are taken seriously, and the £10 subscriptions enable us to employ professional help when required, as it is at the moment! You can download the 2023 Membership Form here which gives details of payment method by cash, cheque or bank transfer. We should be most grateful if you would send your subscription promptly so we have a good start to 2023.

ELECTIONS

NSC and Backwell Parish Council elections will take place in Backwell Parish Hall on Thursday 4th of May 2023.Please note that for the first time, a photo ID will be required. Full details are available on the link Voter ID | Electoral Commission

There is no need for a photo ID with a postal vote, and how to do this is given in “Apply to vote by Post”, on the same link.


E mail Bulletin 8th January 2023

Dear Member

At the start of this New Year, we send our very best wishes to our member households and hope that we can continue to keep Backwell a great community and place in which to live.

Farleigh Fields (FF)

One of the unfortunate decisions last year was from the Government Inspector in June ruling in favour of granting outline permission to Persimmon to build up to 125 houses on Farleigh Fields. The permission was subject to some important items to be submitted by Persimmon at later dates for approval by North Somerset Council (NSC). These are known as Reserved Matters (RM), and some 35 documents have been provided by Persimmon so far. They cover such matters as house numbers by size and type, technical details for drainage, tree planting, plan for a play area, and refuse collection! Assuming these, and others still to come, can be agreed between Persimmon and NSC, the final stage will be the complete documentation for the full detailed application.

 The documents may be viewed here 22/P/2818/RM

 We have summarised the points of interest from the reserved matters, which we think will be of most interest to members – whether or not they wish to comment on them.

The “Housing Mix” Document provided the following information:

Number of Houses

Private

79

Social

26

Shared Ownership

8

Total built by Persimmon

113

Self-Build

6

Total Houses built

119

Split by House size

1 bed

6

2 bed

68

(60 houses and 8 apartments)

3 bed

36

4 bed

3

Total

113

“Street Scenes”,  “Site Layout” , “Boundary Treatment” and “Local Play Area” documents provide other points of interest.

  • Three house designs will be used for the 60 two bedded houses, being 35, 17 and 8 houses, respectively, for the Alnmouth, Danbury and Wareham designs.
  • It is intended that the playground and other open space will be contained within in the site, with limited access to outsiders.
  • A pond will be created as part of drainage measures, which can be seen in the Site Layout document.
  • Some documents are of a detailed technical nature, many of which are non-controversial.

Next Steps

 If members wish to make comments to NSC, this can be done by clicking on the “Make a Comment” on the website via the above link. The deadline for comments is Thursday February 2nd 2023.

 BRA is working through the Backwell Parish Council (BPC) FF Working Party, with NSC and with technical advisers – particularly on drainage issues. BRA will monitor any further documents produced, and take a view on whether there is merit in employing an expert to help make a BRA comment.

On a related matter, the BPC FF Working Party, on which BRA is represented, continues to explore the option for BPC to purchase the Local Green Space part of Farleigh Fields from Persimmon for £1.

Footpaths to Jubilee Stone

Residents were shocked last summer when a popular footpath to the Jubilee Stone was closed by the landowner. We encouraged members to provide a witness statement if they had made use of the paths. BPC is coordinating this activity and has submitted an application to NSC (with over 80 witness statements) to have three paths in the field recorded as Public Rights of Way. This might take a year before a decision is made.

A recent development, which members may not have seen as the ground has been so wet for walking, is the use of “Anti Climb Paint” on a new barricade between the Jubilee Stone and the large field. This is shown in the photo.  BPC is checking to see if this can be challenged. The paint has a sticky texture and is unpleasant to the touch.