News & Hot Topics


E mail Bulletin 10th April 2022

Dear Member          

Please respond to the

Consultation on the North Somerset Local Plan 2023 – 38 (LP)

which has a deadline for comments on

Friday April 29th 2022

The BRA website has a tab devoted to the LP which can accessed by:

North Somerset Local Plan | Backwell Residents Association 

This provides all the links you require to complete your comments, along with some extra helpful material from BRA. The full consultation process is long and complicated, but only a few of the questions are specific to Backwell. Please note that this consultation is called “Preferred Options March 22” on the North Somerset Council (NSC) website.

There are two ways to give your comments:

On Line Consultation

North Somerset Council (NSC) encourages you to use this method, and answer a series of structured questions. This link is;

North Somerset Local Plan 2038 Preferred Options – North Somerset Council Consultations (inconsult.uk)

Registration: When you open the consultation, it asks you to either log in or register in the top RH corner. This small hurdle asks you to register if you have not used their consultation system before. To register you enter your email address, and then add a password. This is useful, since you can log in to the system at any time in the future and complete, or amend, what you have previously entered.

By email to planning.policy@n-somerset.gov.uk

You can use this method to make a short statement, or to give an attachment.

When you open the consultation document there is a long list of sections down the left-hand side.

The following are specific to Backwell:

Policy LP 3    Nailsea and Backwell

Schedule 1    Backwell

Useful links on the BRA website

  1.  Final short guide to the Preferred Options Local Plan March 2022 – this is a 6-page summary from NSC explaining the process
  1. NSC Draft Local Plan slides from BRA AGM 2022 – this link is for the LP slides used at the well-attended BRA AGM last Tuesday 5th April
  1. NSC Local Plan Response Support HANDOUT – some points to guide you through the process of making a comment.
  1. What can residents do handout – this covers other actions you can take

The BRA comment on the LP is currently being finalised, with the help of Lucy White, our planning consultant, and we hope to put this on our website in the next week.

We urge everyone to respond in whatever level of detail and by whichever route you prefer.

It is evident that the village has serious concerns about this LP, and NSC need to be made aware of these with a large response from Backwell residents.


Need help with your response to NSC Local Plan ?

Please see below the links to three documents to help members tackle the draft local plan consultation process.

What can residents do handout

NSC Local Plan Response Support HANDOUT

Final short guide to the Preferred Options Local Plan March 2022


E mail Bulletin 1st April 2022

Dear Member          

3 IMPORTANT DATES

BRA AGM

We are delighted that after having to miss out on a live meeting in 2021, we are able to have our 2022 AGM in person. All major planning issues will be discussed and there will be a chance for members to comment on any topic. Our planning consultant, Lucy White, will speak about the Local Plan.

Our AGM will be held this Tuesday 5 April 2022 from 7pm to 9pm in the Sixth Form Lecture Theatre at Backwell School (entrance via Meadow Close off Station Road). 

We look forward to welcoming you to this important meeting, and thank Backwell School once again for the use of their splendid tiered lecture theatre. Many thanks to members who have already paid their £10 membership fees. We would welcome other subscriptions at the meeting, please.

55 houses at “Even Keel”, Moor Lane – (Planning ref. 22/P/0252/OUT)

Octavia Homes, is promoting a new development site in Moor Lane. It is on the right-hand side as Moor Lane narrows towards the open fields. The outline application is for up to 55 houses, and would involve the demolition of “Even Keel”, a house with a large garden, and some adjacent land.

The application may be viewed on the North Somerset Council (NSC) website:

22/P/0252/OUT | Outline planning application for the demolition of “Even Keel” and the erection of up to 55no dwellings, public open space, landscaping, sustainable urban drainage system and engineering works, with vehicular access off Moor Lane. All matters reserved except for means of access. | Land Off Moor Lane Backwell BS48 3LL (n-somerset.gov.uk)

There is a tab here marked “Make a comment”, with a deadline of Thursday 7th April.

BRA has submitted its response, with help from our planning consultant, and is given as an attachment to this email. Our view is that a number of affordable new homes would be welcome in the village but the total number proposed for this land is not justified. There are serious concerns about the access to the site, and the huge impact on Moor Lane, Moorfield Road and Station Road. BRA has objected to the proposal in its present form.

North Somerset Local Plan

We hope that many residents will make their views known to NSC by the closing date for consultations on April 29th.  The link to the consultation website is

North Somerset Local Plan Preferred Options: Consultation Draft March 2022 – North Somerset Local Plan 2038 Preferred Options – North Somerset Council Consultations (inconsult.uk)

The BRA response will be available shortly

Tomorrow, Saturday April 2 from10am to 1pm at the Parish Hall there is a second Drop-in Session with Backwell Parish Councillors. This is a chance to find out more about the Local Plan, and discuss and feedback your views to help shape BPC’s response to NSC. Some BRA committee members will be attending this session in support.


E mail Bulletin 26th March 2022

North Somerset Local Plan

On the evening of Tuesday March 22nd a very large number of residents filled the Parish Hall for a Question & Answer session with three North Somerset Councillors and two Planning Officers.

There are 2 further, “Drop-in” sessions with Backwell Parish Councillors next week.

Thursday March 31st from 6pm to 9pm

Saturday April 2nd from 10am to 1pm both at the Parish Hall

These events will give you the opportunity to find out more, discuss and feedback your views to help shape BPC’s response to NSC’s Local Plan. Some BRA committee members will also be attending these sessions.

You can respond to the consultation until the closing date of Friday April 29th by pasting:

Tinyurl.com/yckyrnub  

into your browser, and choosing “Preferred Options Consultation – March 2022”

Farleigh Fields Appeal at Weston

This 8-day Inquiry will have its final session on the morning of Tuesday March 29th.

At least one member of the BRA committee attended each session to date. The question we have frequently been asked is “How did it go? “. The answer is that no one can tell until the Inspector, Dr Andrea Mageean, gives her report! It is exactly 5 years since the previous Inquiry. Much of the current Inquiry involved the Persimmon side saying how different things are now compared with 2017, and NSC suggesting they are still relevant!

The whole inquiry can be viewed on YouTube via

https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/planning-building-control/planning-applications/land-farleigh-farm-backwell-planning-inquiry

14 Backwell residents chose to make personal statements – we are grateful for the efforts they made.

The following gave their statements on Friday 22nd March

Barbara Harland

Lorraine Hopkinson

Jane Kearney (statement read out  by Lorraine Hopkinson)

Mike Mogford

Chris Perry

Mike Rose

Bridget Petty

Martin Powell

These can be viewed by starting the video below at 21 minutes.

YouTube live stream: Friday 18 March – afternoon

The following gave their statements on Tuesday 22nd March

Kathryn Crawford

Peter Hoare

Jayne Kirkbride

Karim Malik (statement read out by Barbara Harland)

Mark Mallet

Geoff Wells

YouTube live stream: Tuesday 22 March – afternoon

They can be viewed via the above link, starting the video at 1hr 39 minutes.

The concluding statements are being given next Tuesday 29th starting at 9.30am.  The session will be VIRTUAL and will NOT be in person at Weston. It is estimated to be 30 mins for NSC and 2 hours for Persimmon. It can be viewed live on:

YouTube live stream: Tuesday 29 March – morning

The verdict of the Inquiry should be known in 6 – 8 weeks’ time


E mail Bulletin 21st March 2022

North Somerset Local Plan (LP) 2023 – 38

Consultation on the Local Plan has started and runs until Friday 29th April. This is a very important document for the future of our village. There are 4 events where there are opportunities to learn more and air your views before making a formal comment to North Somerset Council (NSC).

Question & Answer with NSC Councillors and Officials

Tomorrow – Tuesday March 22nd at 7.30pm at the Parish Hall

NSC is taking this meeting seriously, and their representation will be 3 District Councillors and 2 senior members of their Planning Department. BRA hopes that there will be a good attendance from residents to show our keen interest in Backwell’s future.

(NSC has suggested that we ask attendees to take a lateral flow test prior to this meeting, given the current high incidence of Covid.)

Drop-in Sessions with Backwell Parish Councillors

Thursday March 31st from 6pm to 9pm at the Parish Hall

Saturday April 2nd from 10am to 1pm at the Parish Hall

This is a chance to find out more, discuss and feedback your views to help shape BPC’s response to NSC. Some BRA committee members will be attending these sessions in support.

BRA AGM – Tuesday April 5th in the 6th Form Theatre at Backwell School – more details nearer the date


E mail Bulletin 15th March 2022

Please forgive a communication from BRA so soon after the last, but much is happening on the planning front at the moment.

Farleigh Fields Appeal at Weston Town Hall

First Day Today was an important day, as the 5-year housing supply in North Somerset was discussed. North Somerset Council (NSC) argued that there are sufficient sites with planning permission to satisfy its needs. The Appellant (Persimmon) argued that this is not the case meaning NSC needs the Farleigh Fields land to meet its housing targets. They suggested that NSC has a “catalogue of development failure”. A number of possible housing sites across North Somerset were discussed in some technical detail, so it one of the less interesting days for Backwell residents. One has no idea what view the Inspector is taking, and her judgement is not given until her report some time after the appeal has closed.

Future Timetable This is given in the attachment to this email, where we have annotated the official “legal “timetable with items in red to explain what will be covered. For example, tomorrow, Wednesday, NSC will present its case on the impact of the development on the character of Backwell. These issues will be of local interest. The timetable also gives the sessions where our residents will be making their statements,

Resident statements

The following people will be speaking.

Friday 18 March  Session – from End of Lunch to 3.15pm

Barbara Harland

Lorraine Hopkinson

Jane Kearny (statement to be  given by Lorraine Hopkinson)

Mike Mogford

Chris Perry

Mike Rose

Tuesday 22 March Session – from Mid afternoon to close

Kathryn Crawford

Peter Hoare

Jayne Kirkbride

Karim Malik

Mark Mallet

General Public Attendance

Today, the public gallery was very quiet, which was understandable given the technical content.

We are aware that the Inspector will note the level of interest from the general public, and even though the Inquiry is not being held in Backwell, we should be impressing her by taking the trouble to attend. In particular residents giving statements have worked on these to give passionate reasons for refusing permission and they deserve our support. If at all possible please visit the Inquiry in person.

Please note the following:

  • Make sure you sign in, so your presence is recorded.
  • The public seats are behind the participants, and you can arrive and depart whenever you need to. You do not have to attend the whole day, or even a whole session.
  • A simple way to go to the Town Hall is via the X1 bus, which runs regularly from Backwell. Please note the normal bus stop to Weston at Backwell lights is not used at present – there is one by the Leisure Centre and a temporary one opposite Rodney Road.
  • Parking is available at the multi-storey near the Town Hall. It is “pay and display” at £5 for 4 hours, and £12 all day.

The link to the Inspectorate website is given below. It has all the papers, and the links to the YouTube streams.

https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/planning-building-control/planning-applications/land-farleigh-farm-backwell-planning-inquiry

STOP PRESS:

Bristol Airport Expansion to 12 million passengers per annum (mppa)

Last month we heard that Planning Inspectors upheld Bristol Airport’s appeal against NSC’s decision to refuse permission to expand. Consequently, Bristol Airport can increase to 12 mppa. It will also achieve fully coordinated status resulting in more night flights, substantially more aircraft movements with little in the way of conditions or mitigation. Today we heard that NSC do not intend to contest this. However, another interested party Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN) who took an active role in the appeal against airport expansion will aim to challenge this decision in the High Courts. For more details and how you can get involved BAAN – Bristol Airport Is Big Enough (wordpress.com)


E mail Bulletin 11th March 2022 

Just as we have completed our hard copy Newsletter to the village, there are two matters to bring to your attention!  One relates to housing off Moor Lane, and the other is some very welcome details on the Farleigh Fields Appeal starting next Tuesday, 15th March.

55 houses off Moor Lane – (Planning ref. 22/P/0252/OUT)

A local developer, Octavia Homes, is promoting a new development site in Moor Lane. The land is next to Backwell Vale, and the recently completed 65 house development at Coppice Place, on the right-hand side as Moor Lane narrows towards the open fields. It is outside the settlement boundary. The outline application is for up to 55 small houses, and would involve the demolition of “Even Keel”, a house with a large garden, and some adjacent land.

It is a comprehensive application with 27 documents, including a Transport Assessment, that has 75 pages, which concludes:

“there are no transport / highways reasons for refusal of planning permission”

The application may be viewed on the North Somerset Council website:

Simple Search (n-somerset.gov.uk) and key in the above Planning ref.

There is a tab here marked “Make a comment”, with a deadline of Thursday 7th April

Our initial view is that a number of small and affordable new homes would be welcome in the village but the total proposed number on a site of this size, with its access problems, is not justified. BRA has commissioned help from our planning consultant as there are a number of important technical issues involved. Members may like to wait for a bulletin later this month, once we have had time to identify the main pros and cons of the application.

Farleigh Fields Appeal 

Inquiry Timetable We have now received the breakdown of the Inquiry into 4 sessions for each day. “Interested party contributions” is the title given to the personal statements from Backwell residents, which are scheduled for early afternoon on Friday 18th March and mid to late afternoon on Tuesday 22nd March. These timings are given in an attachment to this bulletin. The allocation of statement givers to these times has not been yet been finalised.

Appeals Website

https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/planning-building-control/planning-applications/land-farleigh-farm-backwell-planning-inquiry

The above link takes one to the Inquiry details on the NSC website. It refers to the Land at Farleigh Farm, Backwell Planning Inquiry. (The term “Farm” has been used by Persimmon in recent communications instead of “Fields”)

The first item on the website is the YouTube links, which provide live streaming of the whole proceedings. There is a different link for each half day. The quality of these streamings is usually very good and it is an excellent way to follow the proceedings. It is even better if residents can attend the Inquiry at Weston Town Hall in person, as it shows the Inspector that there is a high level of interest in the village.

After this section, there is a list of all documents relevant to the Inquiry, which makes one understand how the whole proceedings can take 6 or 7 days! Of interest to members will be item B11 which is a BRA submission and D3 which is a joint Parish Council/BRA submission.

The length of sessions at the Inquiry are never exact, and the Inspector may adjust the future timetable to reflect this. Please email BRA at any time if you have any queries as we will have BRA committee members attending most days either in person or by streaming. It would be helpful also if you let us know your timing if you intend to go to Weston.


BRA Newsletter March 2022 

A copy of the BRA Newsletter which is distributed to the whole of the village can be found here BRA – Newsletter 2022 March


E mail Bulletin 27th February 2022 

“Straw Poll” on the North Somerset Local Plan 2023 – 38

On February 14th BRA invited members to respond to a “straw poll” on the Local Plan. The responses are shown below:

If this draft Local Plan is implemented in Backwell for 2023 to 2038, the impact on Backwell would be:

Very Good 0%    Good 0%    Bad 7%    Very Bad 93%

160 members responded. (Several people suggested “very, very bad”, and these are included in the 93%). It is clear that members will support actions by BRA to oppose the current draft, and we are employing our consultant to assist us with our case. Further information about the draft Local Plan will be given in our forthcoming newsletter.

A370 Roadworks Monday February 28  to Friday April 1

Roadworks are starting tomorrow to carry out “jetting and gulley emptying works” on the A370. This will involve 4-way temporary traffic signals at the crossroads, which North Somerset Council realises will cause delays, and encourages people to allow extra time for their journeys.

Backwell Parish Council (BPC) Vacancies

BPC is currently operating below its full complement of councillors at a time when there are many important issues to consider. BPC has asked BRA to publicise the need for new councillors and a BPC poster is attached to this bulletin.


E mail Bulletin 14th February 2022 

Our email bulletin on 26.1.22 was the day after North Somerset Council (NSC) published the Draft North Somerset Plan. We showed the map with the proposed locations for 1120 new houses in Backwell. We have now had time to study the plan more closely, and realise that a larger scale map is required. This is given below:

Key points to note are:

  • The red areas are newly proposed housing developments of 600 for Grove Farm and 500 for East Backwell. (The small development of 20 houses off Moor Lane may not be in the correct location).
  • There is no indication yet of how these developments would be accessed.
  • There is also no indication of new roads, which would be needed to cope with this big increase, and with the extra housing planned for Nailsea nearby.
  • Given the serious concern many feel with our current inadequate road network, there will need to be large changes, which will impact areas outside the development sites.
  • Backwell has coped with the sustainable expansion in housing that was agreed by residents for the period 2014-2026, in our current Neighbourhood Plan. This had provided some 100 houses, a fraction of what is currently being proposed by NSC.

Several features of the Plan are of concern:

  • The present number of houses in Backwell of around 1950, will rise to 3070 over the 15 years of the LP, an increase of nearly 60%.
  • The fields in East Backwell are all in the Green Belt, which should only be used for building in exceptional circumstances. Currently it is predominantly used for agriculture, with well-used footpaths across the open ground. The housing development will be adjacent to a stretch of the A370, and border the Leisure Centre and Backwell School Playing Fields.
  • The Grove Farm development will include the field behind the Scout Hut, and will deprive West Leigh Infant School of its rural surroundings. The track which is the continuation of Moor Lane, that currently leads to open land, will have the new housing on one side.

Next Steps

The above comments are general ones and do not include some points in the LP of a technical nature where it conflicts with planning objectives. We will be working with our planning consultant to produce a document, commenting on a full range of issues, and will pass these on to residents.

We will be producing our usual BRA hard copy Newsletter for every Backwell household in mid-March, prior to our AGM which will be held live on Tuesday 5 April 2022 at 7.00pm in the Sixth Form Lecture Theatre, Backwell School (entrance via Meadow Close off Station Road), unless the Covid situation changes. All residents of Backwell are welcome to attend.

Consultation

NSC does not start its consultation until March 14, running until April 29. This is the opportunity for residents to make their views known, and we will give members details where to see the consultation document and how to do this nearer the date. In the meantime, BRA hopes that we will have a large response to a “straw poll” which we are conducting.

“Straw Poll”

This exercise will have little statistical validity, but should give the BRA committee an indication of the views of our members. 

If this draft Local Plan is implemented in Backwell for 2023 to 2038 the impact on Backwell would be:

Very Good                Good              Bad                Very Bad

Please email one of these 4 options to us as soon as possible backwellresidents@btinternet.com

The opportunity to express your views more fully to NSC will come later, and we hope that you will do so.


E mail Bulletin 26th January 2022 

Dear Member

The first draft of the LP was issued by North Somerset Council (NSC) on its website yesterday It can be viewed with the link.

Agenda item – North Somerset Local Plan | North Somerset Council (moderngov.co.uk)

The implications for Backwell are given in the link below:

09.2 Nailsea and Backwell.pdf (moderngov.co.uk)

The areas in red represent suggested areas for new houses in West and East Backwell. On some computer systems the map does not appear. It is also attached as a file to this email to allow it to be seen,

We are alerting members to the LP with our first reactions, but it is a long technical document, and will take some time to fully consider the implications. The extent of the developments is evident from the above and very disturbing. Our considered views on the LP will be given in a later bulletin

Timescale

The LP has been produced by NSC following consultations in 2020 and 2021 on general concepts such as Challenges and Choices. It has been prepared by NSC Planning Officers and will be considered by the Planning and Regulatory Committee on Tuesday Feb 1st. We will keep members informed of the dates where comments may be made, with a major public consultation on March/April 2022. We shall be working with Backwell Parish Council (BPC) to arrange communications. The final LP will not be published until late 2023.

Main Features of the LP

  • The starting point is the requirement for NSC to build 20,000 houses in the planning period 2023-38 The LP as currently drafted achieves 18,000.
  • It includes 600 homes on Grove Farm This is disappointing, as it was included in the Joint Spatial Plan which was rejected after much criticism.
  • 500 houses are included on agricultural land east of Backwell School.

This land is all in the Green Belt

If these two developments went ahead, Backwell would expand from its current size of around 1,900 houses to 3,000 houses.

  • No detail of new roads is provided, but they are mentioned in 3.38 of the NSC report to the Exec committee.  Referring to the 500 houses it states:

“In order to unlock growth at Nailsea, this will enable a road link crossing the railway linking to the Nailsea side of Station Road, improving access to Nailsea and access for buses and reducing congestion at Backwell crossroads. A potential road link to the west of Backwell is also being investigated”.

Implications for current Applications

Rodney Road – 65 houses.  This land IS shown as available for development  -as part of the Grove farm site (both controlled by Taylor Wimpey). Residents have objected strongly to the long-outstanding application and BRA has submitted further recent evidence as to why it should be refused. It now seems possible no decision will be made pending the wider implications of the LP.

Farleigh Fields – 125 houses This land is NOT shown as available for development in the LP. However, the Persimmon Appeal is still going ahead in March. BRA and the Parish Council have joined forces to support NSC’s defence.


E mail Bulletin 8th January 2022 

Dear Member 

We hope that 2022 will be a better year for all members.

We think it would be useful to identify the projects that will be decided in early 2022, some of which will have a major impact on Backwell. Residents have made their views known on some of these, and we await the decisions.

Rodney Road – Proposal for 65 houses by Taylor Wimpey (TW)

North Somerset Council (NSC) has delayed a decision on this, which is now expected to be taken by its Planning and Regulatory Committee at a meeting either on Wednesday 19th January or (more likely) Wed 16th February. The entrance to the development site is shown below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Rodney-Road-Proposal-Taylor-Wimpey-e1641720227892-300x212.jpg

Bristol Airport

The result of the appeal by Bristol Airport into NSC’s decision to refuse the expansion to 12 million passengers per year is expected in the near future. There is a separate issue of flight paths being reviewed, which may affect Backwell residents. This is being monitored closely, and we will keep members informed.

North Somerset Local Plan

NSC has been preparing the draft North Somerset Local Plan for consultation. This key document is also expected to be released in the near future.

Farleigh Fields – proposal by Persimmon for 125 houses

This application was refused by NSC in September 2021, but Persimmon has appealed against this decision. It will be considered by a Government Inspector, Ms Andrea Mageean, at an Inquiry which will start on Tuesday 15th March, at Weston Town Hall, and is estimated to take 8 days. These details may change depending on the pandemic situation, including the possibility of holding the Inquiry virtually.

On Dec13th NSC wrote a letter to residents who had commented, which invited anyone wishing to make further comments to do so by January 10th. BRA pointed out an error in the email address quoted in this letter. NSC sent a further letter, dated December 30th with a revised deadline of January 27th.

What can residents do? If you commented on the original application, your comment will be considered by the Inspector at the appeal, so there is no need to repeat it. If residents wish to raise new issues, or amend what they said, it is recommended that these are submitted in writing by Thursday 27th January.

Comments may be made on-line at:

https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk  by quoting the 7- digit ref 3285624, and using the “make representation” and “save and continue” buttons.

or by emailing holly.dutton@planninginspectorate.gov.uk

BRA, Backwell Parish Council (BPC), Backwell Resistance (BR) and NSC are working together to coordinate their activities, and determine how to make the best use of professional inputs. NSC has the significant cost of a barrister. BRA and BPC are sharing the costs of other professionals. BRA, BPC and BR will be suggesting witnesses to speak at the Inquiry, reflecting the mix of reasons for objection. They will “speak from the heart” as a complement to the more technical matters. Anyone who has lodged an objection can ask to speak, though the Inspector will decide how many she wants to hear.

Attendance at Weston.

It is helpful at an Inquiry if the Inspector is aware of the level of interest in the village, with seats allocated to the public being reasonably full. Nearer the date we will advise members of the detailed programme. At the last Inquiry there were usually at least one member from BRA and one from BPC present at any time, along with other residents from time to time.

The Farleigh Fields site is shown below as a reminder.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Farleigh-Fields-Application-Site-300x224.jpg

Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Bristol

Members will no doubt be aware that Bristol City Council has been debating this issue. Proposals have now been firmed up and the implementation date is not far away – in ‘Summer 2022’

Details can be found on: Bristol’s Clean Air Zone – bristol.gov.uk

The charge will be £9 for any day when you enter the zone. It applies, in broad terms to petrol cars older than 2006 and diesels older than 2015. Bristol CC estimates that 71% of vehicles will be unaffected.

The reason for mentioning it is that the CAZ includes the Cumberland Basin and part of the Portway – both of which are common routes for many Backwell drivers.

Members of the BRA committee are meeting our MP, Liam Fox, later this month, mainly on housing targets etc. We will also raise our concerns on the CAZ, since the inclusion of the Basin and Portway could encourage drivers to take long routes on narrow lanes within North Somerset to avoid the charge.

Covid Support

Throughout the pandemic Backwell people have done an amazing job of looking out for each other. If there is a situation where a resident needs more assistance, local groups are working together through Backwell Life – you can contact them on 07851 438530 and email at backwell.life@gmail.com

BRA AGM

We have made a booking for a live AGM on Tuesday April 5th, at our usual venue in Backwell School. This is of course, subject to much uncertainty, and we will review the situation nearer the date.

BRA Membership

We are grateful to our 440 households who were BRA members in 2021. 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 a membership form for 2022 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 2022.


E mail Bulletin 17th December 2021

Dear Member                                                                                

We are ending a busy year with brief updates on two applications. It is not the time to reiterate the background to these, but we will produce bulletins in the New Year.

Rodney Road – Proposal for 65 houses by Taylor Wimpey (TW)

Ref 20/P/1847/OUT

We understand that this application is likely to be considered by the North Somerset Council (NSC) Planning and Regulatory Committee at its meeting on Wednesday 19th January 2022, though this is not certain. As yet, the planning officers have not produced their recommendation to the committee, and, of course, we do not know which way the committee will vote.

Farleigh Fields – proposal by Persimmon for 125 houses

Application Ref 21/P/1766/OUT

Appeal Ref APP/D0121/W/21/3285624

This application was refused by NSC in September. Persimmon has since announced that it will appeal against this decision. It would appear the 400 people who made a comment will be contacted by NSC with some details of the appeal. The letter (NSC Appeal Letter 13.12.21) received by some already now has the correct email address holly.dutton@planninginspectorate.gov.uk   (The email address is incorrect in the original letter from NSC.)

The Inquiry is likely to start on Tuesday 15th March 2022, at Weston Town Hall, and is estimated to take 8 days. These details may change depending on the pandemic situation, including the possibility of holding the Inquiry virtually.

 BRA, Backwell Parish Council and NSC are working together to coordinate their responses, and determine how to make the best use of professional inputs.

What can members do?

All the comments made on the original application will be sent to the Planning Inspectorate, and be considered at the Inquiry. It is possible for residents to add further comments or modify/withdraw those made earlier this year regarding the original application. Further comments should be made by Mon 10th January 2022, which BRA feels is an unreasonable deadline which we are investigating.

Comments may be made on-line at:

https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk , by quoting the 7-digit ref 3285624, and using the “make representation” and “save and continue” buttons.

or by emailing holly.dutton@planninginspectorate.gov.uk

Please quote the appeal reference APP/D0121/W/21/3285624 if you do decide to make a further comment.


E mail Bulletin 1st December 2021

Dear Member

Rodney Road – 65 houses 

We have heard this afternoon that the application by Taylor Wimpey will NOT be considered at the North Somerset Council Planning and Regulatory Committee meeting in mid- December. We will inform members when the new date is known.

Dr Liam Fox MP

Last week we wrote to Dr Liam Fox, reminding him of our serious concerns about the current government’s very high imposed housing targets for North Somerset. We asked him to use all his influence to seek a reduction. A link to our letter can be found below.

This evening we received a reply from Dr Fox which makes it very clear that he is continuing to lobby for a reduction in North Somerset’s housing targets, and is seeking major changes in the Government’s forthcoming Planning Bill.


28th November 2021

Please find the link to a letter sent by BRA to Liam Fox in relation to the North Somerset new housing allocation.

Note to Liam Fox note re housing allocations – November 21

 


E mail Bulletin 20th November 2021

Dear Member

Much has been happening on the planning front in the past month, and this bulletin covers major planning applications which would have a big impact on Backwell. They are in very different stages of the planning process. Further information has emerged recently, and this is an update on the present position for each.

Rodney Road – Proposal for 65 houses by Taylor Wimpey (TW)

Ref 20/P/1847/OUT

This application is at an early stage, despite first appearing on the North Somerset Council (NSC) website in August 2020. Various issues have been raised by NSC, and TW has responded with some subsequent reports. BRA has concerns that some serious matters have not been resolved, including an ecology report which has yet to appear.

We understand that this application could be considered by the NSC Planning and Regulatory Committee at its meeting on Wednesday 15th Dec., though it might be delayed until the New Year. As yet, the planning officers have not produced their recommendation to the committee, and, of course, we do not know which way the committee will vote.

To help members see the issues involved, the following reports are helpful:

  • The latest submission by BRA has been posted as a “Document” on the NSC website dated 12.11.21. BRA has used funds, supplied by its membership, to employ a planning consultant as well as some support from a traffic consultant. This has enabled us to submit another technical report of 6 pages objecting to the application on such matters as housing targets, our current Neighbourhood Plan, the lack of data on ecology, and the adverse impact on the property adjacent to the proposed access road and can be found here Rodney Rd field – BRA objection – 11 Nov
  • At the current time there are 389 “public comments” on the NSC website objecting to the application. These are only available on the website and are anonymous. We have encouraged everyone to make their views known and the number of objections shows the strength of feeling in the village. Some personal objections are exceptionally well argued and thorough but each one is helpful. They are the main route whereby individuals can influence the decision, and give valuable support to the purely technical submission.
  • One important aspect of the application that is causing concern is the large number of young people who use the Scout Hut and the area nearby on a regular basis. BRA has consulted those running these activities and produced a report with a table showing the numbers, ages and times for the activities. There is also a map showing their location, together with photos showing the busy entrance to the site on a Saturday morning. The report can be found here Numbers using RR entrance V6, and has been posted on the NSC website under “Documents”.
  • Some residents have expressed their concerns via local Facebook groups including Backwell Resistance. Subsequently a petition has been prepared by some parents with children at West Leigh Infant School. Petitions do not replace individual comments which are a vital part of the planning consultation process. However, this petition shows the intense feeling in the village associated with this proposal. Parents are particularly concerned about pedestrian safety resulting from the extra traffic and proposed access road to the site. The benefits of the Playing Fields, the attractive fields behind the Scout Hut and the open countryside beyond West Leigh Infant School are mentioned. Some comments relate to the difficulties that would be experienced during the construction of the site, which will no doubt be the case. However, these have little weight in planning decisions as officers focus on the situation after a development has been built. The whole area is viewed with great affection as it lies on the edge of Backwell outside the settlement boundary. The link to see the petition is here where you can sign if you would like to.

Farleigh Fields – proposal by Persimmon for 125 houses

The situation here is very different from the 65 houses above, in that applications have been made, and refused at several inquiries during the last 40 years. An appeal by Persimmon relating to its application to build 220 houses was dismissed in March 2018, after a long and thorough inquiry.  We were all disappointed when Persimmon submitted a modified application earlier this year for 125 houses on Farleigh Fields. This application was refused by NSC in September. Persimmon has recently announced its decision to appeal against this decision. No details are available of their grounds for the appeal, and there is nothing we can do at the moment. Sadly, it would seem that 2022 will see the need to resurrect our files and for everyone to make yet another comment.

Bristol Airport

The result of the twelve-week inquiry into the application by Bristol Airport to expand to 12 million passengers per year is expected to be announced in the New Year.

North Somerset Local Plan

NSC has been preparing the draft North Somerset Local Plan for consultation, which was expected to be available at the end of 2021. We understand this could be delayed into 2022.

Further Housing in Moor Lane?

A local developer, Octavia Homes, is promoting a new development site in Moor Lane. The land is next to Coppice Place, on the right-hand side as the lane narrows towards the open fields. It is outside the settlement boundary. The outline application for 50 small houses had been anticipated by now, but has yet to be submitted. We will let you know once more details are available.


E mail Bulletin 25th October 2021

Dear Member

It is only 3 weeks since our last bulletin on the Rodney Road housing, but there has been much work behind the scenes, and a flurry of activity on social media, including incorrect statements. This bulletin gives an update on this besides covering the end of the Airport Inquiry and two road closures which may help members to avoid them!

Rodney Road – 65 houses (Ref 20/P/1847/OUT)

This application by Taylor Wimpey (TW) for housing on the field behind the Scout & Guide HQ was made in August 2020. 348 residents objected, along with Backwell Parish Council, and comprehensive letter of objections from BRA, with the help of our planning and transport consultants. TW’s plans were criticised for lack of information on vehicle and pedestrian access, and on its ecology impact.

The status of the field in planning terms (being outside the settlement boundary, and not in our Neighbourhood Plan) is identical to that of the Farleigh Fields application which North Somerset Council (NSC) rejected last month. It is evident that the field off Rodney Road is also regarded as special to the village, with its well-used footpaths.

In recent weeks, TW has produced further reports and been in discussions with NSC. BRA is preparing a response to these, helped by our planning consultant. We understand that the earliest date for the NSC meeting which will make the decision is Wed 15th December. We have been examining the detail of the width of the access, and also some tricky height considerations that the development would need to tackle. BRA is more convinced than ever that there is a good case for refusing the application, but some statements from NSC have caused concerns. Currently the Scout Hut access allows for many applications of NSC’s Active Travel Strategy, with large numbers of adults and children walking and cycling to the many activities in the area. This would be much harder to achieve with a new road so close to the Scout Hut being the only access to 65 houses.

As well as preparing a new letter of objection, we are also planning to speak at the NSC 15th Dec Planning Committee meeting. We will also let members know if there is anything further you can do in terms of writing or attending the NSC meeting.

Bristol Airport

The Appeal by Bristol Airport against North Somerset Council (NSC)’s decision to refuse planning for expansion from 10 million passengers pa to 12 mppa closed on Friday 8th October. The Government Inspectors visited all the local sites suggested, including Backwell’s lanes serving the airport, which many residents feel are inadequate for airport traffic. Our MP, Liam Fox, wrote a helpful letter to the Inquiry supporting this view, and objects to the expansion.

The expansion was opposed by all 29 councils on the Parish Councils Airport Association (PCAA).

Barbara Harland of BRA, spoke at the Inquiry and keeps in touch with the PCAA. Backwell resident John Sleigh also spoke against the application. The PCAA view is that the airport on our doorstep brings benefits to the locality, but it is big enough already and any further growth will bring significant adverse impacts to residents and to the local and global environment.

The general feeling was that residents had done all they could with their letters of objection, and that the team from NSC, including a barrister, had performed well.

A decision is expected sometime early in the New Year. Whatever the decision there is a chance that it may go to a Judicial Review.


E mail Bulletin 5th October 2021

Dear Member

There is plenty happening at the moment, and we thought you would appreciate an update on where we are on various subjects.

Rodney Road – 65 Houses

In August 2020, Taylor Wimpey made an application to build 65 houses on the field behind the Scout & Guide HQ, adjoining the Playing Fields. This field is well used by walkers, and gives a rural character to the area, and to West Leigh Infant School. 348 objections were made to the application, and only 3 in favour. As well as the value attributed to the field, many people are alarmed at the inadequate access to the development, near the much-used Scout Hut, and the narrow busy roads leading to the site, particularly Rodney Road. BRA made two comprehensive objections with help from our planning and highways consultants, making good use of your subscriptions to reflect our strong feelings.

During 2021, North Somerset Council (NSC) has requested further details from Taylor Wimpey. We understand that a recommendation from the Planning Officer is imminent, with the only outstanding issues still under consideration being related to drainage and some ecology details. Disappointingly, it seems the Planning Officer is satisfied that highway and traffic concerns can be overcome. The application is due to be considered at the November Planning Committee meeting of NSC councillors, who will make the decision. BRA will do its utmost to influence this decision.

North Somerset Local Plan

This Plan started its public consultation process in 2020, and many Backwell residents contributed to the “Challenges” and “Choices” sections. After a long gap, we understand that a draft plan should be available later this Autumn for further comment.

The most favoured option from the NSC consultation was called “Urban Focus”, which concentrated development on North Somerset towns. This has wide support from Backwell residents. Unfortunately, NSC has suggested moving from this in respect of Backwell and Yatton with an allocation of 1,000 houses shared between them.

NSC is still hoping the National Government algorithm – which dictated new housing numbers – will be modified (and potentially lowered for this District), but this is not yet clarified. We understand NSC is keen to protect all Green Belt if possible, and wishes to keep any new development away from land potentially susceptible to flooding. This puts more pressure on settlements like Backwell – where there is agricultural land not in the Green Belt. There is a desire to utilize brownfield sites wherever possible, and also, potentially, to convert underused commercial space (e.g. – redundant shops and offices). However, there is very little of either of these categories in Backwell.

Backwell Parish Council has recently circulated an explanatory leaflet and has promised a public meeting in due course. Your Committee encourages as many residents as possible to attend this meeting – when the date is known – to ensure both the Parish Council and NSC can understand the aspirations and concerns of the residents of Backwell. The process, up until now, has concentrated on a wide planning strategy. We are shortly about to see the proposed detail for the first time.

BRA will analyse the Plan when it comes out, with the help of our planning consultant, and let members know our views on the pros and cons, and how members can make their own comment. It will be a very important document, covering the period 2023 – 2038.

Bristol Airport Inquiry

The Appeal against North Somerset’s decision to refuse planning for expansion from 10 million passengers pa to 12 mppa in February 2020 is ongoing and expected to last until mid-October. The public inquiry in its entirety can be viewed at Bristol Airport – Gateley (gateleyhamer-pi.com). North Somerset residents were allocated an additional day to have their voices heard on 22nd September. Rt. Hon Liam Fox has written to the inquiry inspectors expressing his concern about poor access and the associated traffic issues for villages should the expansion go ahead. Backwell gets a mention. His full statement on this issue can be found on his website https://www.liamfox.co.uk/news/dr-fox-bristol-airport-expansion.

The Compulsory Purchase Order requested by the Airport in September 2020, for the purchase of land on both sides of the A38 at Lulsgate Bottom will be heard in the final days of the hearing.

No information is available for when the result of the Inquiry will be published.

Further Housing in Moor Lane?

A local developer is actively promoting a new development site in Moor Lane. The land is next to Coppice Place, on the right-hand side as the lane narrows towards the open fields. It is outside the Settlement Boundary. We understand an outline application will be made later this autumn for 50 small houses, including a number of affordable ones. Whilst these ideas will be attractive to many, there are some significant disadvantages with the proposals, including over-development of the site, and the potential for traffic congestion onto the already over-loaded Station Road.

Once the formal outline application to NSC is made, much more detail will be available and the BRA Committee will scrutinise it and let members know our thoughts, and how to comment.

Station Access

There has been a strong campaign by a very active small group for many years to provide full access to both platforms at Nailsea & Backwell station. In the BRA newsletter of October 2014, we said;

“First Great Western has set this as a “highest priority” project and will apply for funding from the Department of Transport”. It would be too difficult and expensive to do without government support. There have been two periods in the last 4 – 5 years of the Government providing grants for station improvements. In both cases Nailsea and Backwell station has applied and been turned down as too far down the priority list. Following a letter in June 2021 from Liam Fox to Grant Shapps (Transport Minister), who replied that the next such opportunity to apply will be in the period 2024 – 29, but there is no guarantee that this will be successful. This is hugely disappointing for the elderly, plus wheelchair and pushchair users of a station which is deemed to be a transport hub, and is labelled as being “highly sustainable” by NSC!

Draft Housing Strategy 2022 – 2027

NSC is seeking comments on its Housing Strategy by Monday Nov 1st. It includes issues such as affordability, climate change and quality, and can be seen via the following link:

http://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/hp2021

Membership

Many thanks to everyone who renewed their BRA membership this year, along with new members whom we have welcomed. We are ahead of our 2020 figure, and are now over 430 households, out of a total of 1900 in Backwell. 


E mail Bulletin 15th September 2021

North Somerset Council (NSC) has today posted on its website its decision to:

REFUSE consent for the development of 125 houses on Farleigh Fields by Persimmon Homes.

We are, as you can imagine, delighted with this outcome. As well as the expert advice received to enable a sound argument to be made in objection, the efforts taken by 400 residents to voice their concerns will have no doubt influenced the decision by NSC.

Well done residents of Backwell, in making your views known, with some passionate and articulate reasons.

The NSC report includes the main reasons for refusal:

  • it is outside the settlement boundary
  • it is not in the Neighbourhood Plan
  • it would have a detrimental impact on the character of the area
  • there is insufficient evidence regarding the risk of flooding and increased pollution
  • the proposed access could damage a protected pine tree in the garden of 54 Farleigh Road

The document giving the decision can be found here Decision notice Farleigh Fields 15.9.21.

It can be viewed on the NSC website – application ref 21/P/1766/OUT.

The website also contains the full “delegated report”, which runs to 21 pages, giving more detail for their reasons.

With best wishes on what has been a good day for Backwell!!

We do recognise however that further applications can never be ruled out!!


E mail Bulletin 6th September 2021

The North Somerset Local Plan, 2023 to 2038, (NSLP) is reaching an important stage, following consultations in 2020, where North Somerset Council (NSC) invited comments from residents on “Challenges” and “Choices”. The outcome of these was considered by NSC at an Executive Committee meeting in April 2021, which set the background for the draft of the NS Local Plan, which is expected before the end of 2021. This included a suggestion that a total of 1,000 new dwellings should be built in Yatton and Backwell, without any indication of what the split should be.

Backwell Parish Council (BPC) has produced a newsletter (Backwell Village Information Leaflet copy) which we understand will be delivered as hard copy to every household in the village. The BRA Committee shares the Parish Council’s concerns about the level of development that could be proposed for Backwell in the NSLP. BRA believes that every opportunity must be taken to influence NSC’s thinking now and at every remaining stage of the process. BRA endorses the Parish Council’s intention to hold an open day for residents in Backwell to see implications of the draft NSLP once it has been published, and for residents to consider their response.

BRA will inform members as soon as the draft NSLP has been published, which will show in greater detail the implications for Backwell. This will be the opportunity for members to make their views known to BPC and NSC.

 


E mail Bulletin 11th August 2021

Farleigh Fields

The deadline for comments on the planning application by Persimmon for the building of 125 dwellings on Farleigh Fields (including the demolition of 54 and 56 Farleigh Road) has now passed. It is evident that the village opposes this latest unwelcome application, which has received 399 comments, of which all except 3 are objections.

We noticed that the Developer’s ‘Ecological Impact Assessment’ (EIA) was not available with other documents on the North Somerset Council (NSC) Planning Website. It has 61 pages covering fauna and flora in the fields. Following our enquiries, it has now been added, and NSC has given the opportunity to comment on this document until 20 August. The link below has a tab for “Documents”. The comprehensive BRA submission is near the top of the list, and the EIA is the 8th document on June 16th.

21/P/1766/OUT | Outline planning application for demolition of 54 and 56 Farleigh Road; residential development of up to 125 dwellings (Class C3); strategic landscaping and earthworks, surface water drainage and all other ancillary infrastructure and enabling works with means of site access (excluding internal roads) from the new junction off Farleigh Road for approval; all other matters (internal access, layout, appearance, scale and landscaping) reserved for subsequent approval. | Land At Farleigh Farm And 54 And 56 Farleigh Road Backwell (n-somerset.gov.uk)

This application, along with that for 65 houses off Rodney Road, are currently in the North Somerset Council (NSC) “in-tray”.

 

North Somerset Local Plan (up to 2038)

NSC is now preparing the draft plan which is a complex process. Public consultation at the end of 2020 showed a preference for an “urban focus”, concentrating major development in urban areas, although a subsequent statement has suggested that 1,000 new dwellings should be shared between Yatton and Backwell.

The main driving force for the Local Plan is the number of houses that central government has allocated to North Somerset. Several residents, driving around North Somerset since restrictions have been lifted, have been amazed at the large number of major housing sites under construction in many villages. It is hard to reconcile this with NSC not having built enough houses! This is a non-scientific, unsubstantiated view, but seems to be widely held!

Backwell Parish Council (BPC) has had a meeting with NSC’s Planning Department and further information is available on the BPC website. We expect NSC to issue a new draft version of the Local Plan for consultation during the autumn.

 

North Somerset Council – Recycling and Waste Strategy

This can be viewed on the link below, with comments required by 12 noon on Wednesday August 18th

Recycling and Waste Strategy – North Somerset Council Consultations (inconsult.uk)

There is an Executive Summary which covers 10 pages with a short questionnaire taking about 10 minutes.

The Full Draft report has 54 pages and a questionnaire which NSC says takes about 30 minutes.

The exec summary has general points e.g., encouraging composting, with one specific question on options for NSC to save money by changing the frequency of black bin collections.

The full version raises many issues including a section on the recycling centres, fly tipping, extending recycling e.g., to save mattresses going to landfill. The report gives detailed information e.g., the amount of different recyclable material going into the black bins at present. Anyone with an interest in the increasing focus on reducing waste should find the full report worth reading.

 

Bristol Airport

The hearing by Government Inspectors at Weston-super-Mare started on July 27th, into the decision by NSC to refuse planning permission for the increase from 10 million passengers per annum up to 12 mppa.

We are very grateful to our committee member, Barbara Harland, who has led the BRA involvement. She presented a statement in person on behalf of BRA, which can be seen on http://www.backwellresidents.org.uk/bristol-airport-public-consultation/ 

The hearing is scheduled to last until October.

 


3rd August 2021

Please see below the link to BRA’s representation in relation to the Farleigh Field planning application.

BRA response to planning application 20th July 2021


E mail Bulletin 30th July 2021

IMPORTANT REMINDER TO ALL MEMBERS –  YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED BY THURSDAY, AUGUST 5th

We sent you our bulletin of 16th July, telling you about the application by Persimmon to build 125 houses on Farleigh Fields. Up to today, there are 79 comments on the North Somerset Council website – 77 are objections with 2 in support. These responses are much lower than those received to earlier applications – which reflect the short time for comment and it being the peak holiday period, plus Covid uncertainty. Given the importance of Farleigh Fields to Backwell, we are sure that many still hold strong views – which need to be repeated in the next week.

The number of comments is very important – no matter how brief

Please make your views known to NSC, using your own words.

To make your comment go to this link:

21/P/1766/OUT | Outline planning application for demolition of 54 and 56 Farleigh Road; residential development of up to 125 dwellings (Class C3); strategic landscaping and earthworks, surface water drainage and all other ancillary infrastructure and enabling works with means of site access (excluding internal roads) from the new junction off Farleigh Road for approval; all other matters (internal access, layout, appearance, scale and landscaping) reserved for subsequent approval. | Land At Farleigh Farm And 54 And 56 Farleigh Road Backwell (n-somerset.gov.uk)

The closing date is Thursday 5th August

BRA will be sending its comments to NSC just before the closing date. This will concentrate on technical planning matters, as advised by our planning consultant. We have also employed a hydrologist in view of concerns about surface water runoff from the site.

 

The number of comments is very important – no matter how brief

 

Please make your views known to NSC, using your own words.

 

To make your comment go to this link:

 

 


E mail Bulletin 16th July 2021

The outline planning application for the building of up to 125 dwellings on Farleigh Fields is now available on the NSC website (ref 21/P/1766/OUT). It includes the demolition of 54 and 56 Farleigh Road. The closing date for comments is Thursday, 5th August. (This is a very short deadline which we are challenging, but we must currently assume this is the relevant date).

It can be viewed on https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=QUSFTNLPN2D00&activeTab=summary

There is a long history of applications for development on Farleigh Fields from the 1980’s, with a large majority of residents opposing the building of houses, which have been refused at several inquiries. This application for 125 houses is smaller than previous applications, but would still have a considerable effect on the character of the village. The site is outlined in red on the map above.

The ink has hardly dried on the last attempt by Persimmon which was rebuffed by Savid Javid in a letter dated in March 2018 (only 3 years ago!!). It was only 4 years ago in March 2017 that members of Backwell Parish Council (BPC), BRA, and our advisers, endured the long and expensive, but finally successful, latest inquiry at Weston. Backwell expressed its views with 350 residents opposing the housing, and 3 in favour.

BRA’s View

BRA has engaged our planning consultant to assist the committee. We have decided to object, and our submission will be produced in the next two weeks. The BRA committee welcomes any feedback from members on their views, as soon as possible please, which could inform the BRA response.

Your View

Whilst you may have commented on earlier applications, these are now placed in the archives The conclusions of previous Inspectors will however carry some weight. One needs to start with a clean sheet, particularly as 125 houses is a smaller development than the most recent application for 220 houses. Even if you still agree with your previous arguments, they will, unfortunately, need to be stated again!

Points you might wish to use as part of any comment

  • The application would be outside the Settlement Boundary and is contrary to the still valid North Somerset Core Strategy and the Backwell Neighbourhood Plan. For this reason, the application is premature, until the North Somerset Local Plan 2038 is completed. 
  • An objection to this application would be consistent with objections to other recent large applications such as the Rodney Road Field application (for 65 dwellings). 
  • Ongoing significant flooding and drainage issues at the bottom of Farleigh Fields and the adjacent A 370 road will be exacerbated, and the application does not adequately explain how this might be controlled, particularly with run-off water. 
  • The proposed development will have a detrimental effect on the surrounding landscape character, including footpaths across the adjoining Local Green Space. 
  • The proposed road access out onto A 370 will be impeded at regular intervals by queuing traffic, and the incremental increase in traffic from the development will further impact on the already overloaded A 370 traffic lights crossroads. 
  • The development would remove some agricultural land from the centre of the village, and have an impact on wildlife.

We consider the disadvantages of this proposed scheme significantly outweigh the benefits e.g., affordable housing, developer payments to the community etc.

The formal BRA letter of objection will suggest that, in the event of NSC being minded to grant consent, a number of important conditions should be imposed.

We urge everyone to make their views known to NSC, using their own words, via the link below.

Go to:

21/P/1766/OUT | Outline planning application for demolition of 54 and 56 Farleigh Road; residential development of up to 125 dwellings (Class C3); strategic landscaping and earthworks, surface water drainage and all other ancillary infrastructure and enabling works with means of site access (excluding internal roads) from the new junction off Farleigh Road for approval; all other matters (internal access, layout, appearance, scale and landscaping) reserved for subsequent approval. | Land At Farleigh Farm And 54 And 56 Farleigh Road Backwell (n-somerset.gov.uk)

 The closing date is Thursday 5th August

STOP PRESS: Backwell Parish Council

AN ADDITIONAL FULL COUNCIL MEETING WILL BE HELD ON THURSDAY 22ND JULY 2021 AT 1930 HOURS IN BACKWELL PARISH HALL, BACKWELL

BRA will be making a statement during public participation. The agenda is below, with Farleigh Fields as the single topic.

BACKWELL PARISH COUNCIL

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND ALL PARISH COUNCIL MEETINGS

BUT CAN ONLY SPEAK DURING PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ON AGENDA ITEMS ONLY

AN ADDITIONAL FULL COUNCIL MEETING WILL BE HELD ON THURSDAY 22ND JULY 2021 AT 1930 HOURS IN BACKWELL PARISH HALL, BACKWELL

 All COVID-19 guidelines must be adhered to:

  1. Wear masks on entry and until seated. Masks must be worn if not seated. If more than 15 members of public present, masks to be worn at all times by members of public 
  2. Use hand sanitizer 
  3. Councillors to be admitted through small entrance. Members of the public to be admitted at main entrance 
  4. Fire exit as well as main doors to be open to allow air to circulate 
  5. Sign in and scan QR code where possible 
  6. Maximum room capacity of the Parish Hall is 30 members of the public, plus Council 
  7. Members of public not to enter the hall until 5 minutes before the meeting commences 
  8. Please read BPC’s COVID-19 Risk Assessment at https://www.backwell-pc.gov.uk/

 

AGENDA

  1. Apologies
  2. To receive Councillors’ declarations of interests and to consider any written applications for dispensations
  3. Public Participation (time limit 10 minutes)
  4. To receive such communications as the person presiding may wish to lay before the Council
  5. To consider the following planning application:      

Planning application no. 21/P/1766/OUT – Land at Farleigh Farm and 54 and 56 Farleigh Road, Backwell – Outline planning application for demolition of 54 and 56 Farleigh Road; residential development of up to 125 dwellings (Class C3); strategic landscaping and earthworks, surface water drainage and all other ancillary infrastructure and enabling works with means of site access (excluding internal roads) from the new junction off Farleigh Road for approval; all other matters (internal access, layout, appearance, scale and landscaping) reserved for subsequent approval

 

Dated this 15th day of July 2021    

J D Stone, Clerk to the Council,

1st Floor, 43 Rodney Road, Backwell, North Somerset, BS48 3HW

Tel: 01275 464653.  Email: clerk@backwell-pc.gov.uk


E mail Bulletin 9th July 2021

It is 2 months since our last email bulletin to members on May 7th, which covered the single topic of the North Somerset Local Plan 2023-2038. Much has been happening behind the scenes since then on this and other matters, but nothing has required action from members. However, residents will be invited to make their views known on 4 key matters:

Local Plan – residents need to be ready to consider the future of Backwell.

Airport Inquiry – will be starting later this month.

Farleigh Fields – an outline planning application has been submitted

Major improvements to the A38 – consultation is now open.

These items are the subject of this bulletin.

The proposal for 65 houses on the fields off Rodney Road is still being considered by North Somerset Council (NSC), but there is nothing to report at the moment.

 

North Somerset Local Plan 2023-2038

Draft plan 2021 | North Somerset Council (n-somerset.gov.uk)

NSC is now preparing the draft North Somerset Local Plan for consultation “at the end of 2021”. The opportunities for residents to comment on the “Challenges” and “Choices”, which will contribute to the Plan, have passed. Members of Backwell Parish Council (BPC) are meeting our MP, Liam Fox, and also the Planners at NSC to gain clarification on some issues.

These matters are included on the BPC website Local Plan Working Party – Backwell Parish Council (backwell-pc.gov.uk)

BPC has promised to consult widely- details are awaited. The BRA Committee has collated a variety of views from members, and with input from our consultant, Lucy White, is seeking to provide support for BPC in getting the views of local residents across to NSC as they progress work on their draft proposals. We have also been in contact with Liam Fox, asking for his support in challenging the unjust Government strategy of using a strange algorithm to assess required new housing numbers in each District.

Residents will be able to make individual comments on the draft Local Plan to NSC directly. Exact dates for the next stages are not yet determined.

Airport Inquiry

Bristol Airport has submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against NSC’s decision to refuse planning permission for the expansion of the airport from 10 million passengers per annum up to 12 mppa.

Government Inspectors will hear the appeal at Weston, starting on Tuesday 20th July, and have assigned 40 days for this huge exercise. As well as NSC opposing the expansion, the Parish Councils Airport Association (PCAA) will be a key player. This organisation represents some 30 local councils, and is very aware of the many complex matters associated with Bristol Airport. BRA and BPC have made contributions to the substantial costs. PCAA members will be speaking at the Inquiry, and BRA has requested a slot.

Members of the public may ask to speak by contacting: joanna.vincent@gateleyhamer.com

Our local NSC Councillor, Bridget Petty is intending to speak. Comments that residents made on the original application by the Airport will form part of the huge pack of information given to the inspectors

Details are on the Inquiry website Bristol Airport – Gateley (gateleyhamer-pi.com)

Farleigh Fields

The outline planning application for the building of up to 125 dwellings on Farleigh Fields is now available on the NSC website (ref 21/P/1766/OUT). It includes the demolition of 54 and 56 Farleigh Road.  

It can be viewed on

https://planning.n-somerset.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=QUSFTNLPN2D00&activeTab=summary

The first document is the 62-page Design and Access statement, where page 5 gives the map of the proposed site.

As yet there is no closing date for comments.

Whilst there is a long history of applications to build on Farleigh Fields, and hundreds of objections, it is best to assume that one is starting with a clean sheet, particularly as the 125 houses is a smaller development than the most recent application for 220 houses. Even if you still agree with your previous arguments, they will, unfortunately, need to be stated again!

BRA will be studying the proposal and will suggest points that residents may wish to make. We will send a later bulletin on this, including the closing date, in due course.

The timing of this application coincides with the later stages of the Local Plan, which is a complicating factor.

A38 Improvements

Proposals to improve the A38 – North Somerset Council Consultations (inconsult.uk)

This gives a link to a scheme to improve the A38 at various points between the S Bristol ring road and Junction 22 of the M5, at the Edithmead roundabout. These include the junctions of the A38 with Downside Road and at Barrow Gurney. It is a joint venture between North Somerset Council and Somerset County Council with the majority of funding coming from the Department for Transport.

The consultation (on-line only and not very user-friendly) runs until Sun 1 August.


7th May 2021

Please find below the link to the letter of the 7th May written to Councillor Davies in relation to Backwell Recycling Centre

Letter to Councillor Davies NSC – Backwell Recycling Centre 7th May 2021


E mail Bulletin 7th May 2021

North Somerset Local Plan 2023 – 2038   

Dear Member

You should have recently received a hard copy of our Newsletter which we hope you found of interest. It includes a map with current and possible developments in our area. This bulletin covers the emerging North Somerset Local Plan, which will be key to which developments go ahead during the planning period 2023 – 2038, and will greatly influence our lives in Backwell in the future.

Residents were invited by North Somerset Council (NSC) to comment on two documents last year:

“Challenges” – General matters e.g. climate emergency, Green Belt etc

“Choices” – Alternative approaches were suggested for development e.g. near towns, along transport corridors etc.? The result showed a slight preference for development to have an “Urban Focus”, i.e. to be close to current facilities.

NSC has taken the results of these consultations and converted them into a draft plan which shows the number of dwellings to be built over the period 2023 – 2038 for different parts of North Somerset. These numbers will be tested by NSC over the next few months. The driving force for all such plans is the 20,085 new houses which Central Government has demanded to be built in North Somerset.

This early draft proposes a total of 1,000 dwellings to be split between Backwell and Yatton.

Meeting of the North Somerset Council Executive Committee 28th April 2021

This meeting considered and endorsed a report prepared by the NSC Planning Policy Manager. The 18-page report can be viewed on:

Local Plan Executive 28 April 2021 (n-somerset.gov.uk)

An important recommendation is:

Priority will be given to locating new residential and mixed-use development in or close to urban areas where there is an existing or proposed wide range of facilities, services and jobs, and there are opportunities to encourage active travel, particularly at locations which are currently, or have the potential to be, well served by public transport.

It also proposes a sequential approach to identifying broad locations for development in the Local Plan as follows:

  1. Existing planning permissions expected to be implemented during the plan period then
  2. Maximise urban capacity within the towns of Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead, then
  3. Consider opportunities for town expansion outside the Green Belt, then
  4. Consider opportunities at other sustainable settlements outside the Green Belt for an appropriate scale of growth, then
  5. Consider small scale opportunities at villages, then
  6. Other opportunities outside the Green Belt, and finally
  7. Opportunities within the Green Belt well related to urban areas and where harm to the Green Belt is minimised (subject to exceptional circumstances being demonstrated to justify changes to Green Belt boundaries).

This leads to the following broad locations and indicative capacities for further testing and assessment:

  • Weston-super-Mare (about 3,000 dwellings).
  • Nailsea (about 1,500 dwellings).
  • Yatton / Backwell (total of about 1,000 dwellings).
  • Other villages (total of about 500 dwellings – locations to be identified).
  • Green Belt (exceptional circumstances, potential locations and capacity to be identified).

Comments on the draft from the BRA Committee

Public Transport The report states that Backwell has “good public transport connectivity” with the railway station in particular making Backwell into a “relatively sustainable settlement”. Whilst our railway station is a benefit to the village at present, we understand that we are close to the limit of the capacity of the existing lines, and they may not be able to cope with a significant expansion in passenger numbers without a very large capital expenditure. It is also hard to describe our station as sustainable when the West bound platform is not accessible to so many users of wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Road Network The A370 through the village, and Station Road are major routes out of the village and are both close to capacity. Additionally, our “Rural Lanes”, are used well beyond their design capabilities.

Our present infrastructure is therefore not suited to a major development, and this should be addressed alongside the housing plans.

Green Belt The Joint Spatial Plan, involving North Somerset and other authorities in the region was rejected in 2019. Comments from many villagers in North Somerset were highly critical of the proposals for building on agricultural sites away from centres of employment. Residents highlighted the more sustainable location for housing at Ashton Vale, very close to our main centre of employment in Bristol. The loss of Green Belt land close to the South Bristol ring road is deemed to be a small sacrifice to achieve a better solution for the environment.

We feel that a review of the Green Belt should NOT be at the tail end of the approach to look for housing locations in North Somerset. An examination of Ashton Vale should be in the early stages of the process.

What is BRA doing?

We are in active dialogue with Bridget Petty, our local member of the NSC Executive Committee. We are writing to Liam Fox, our MP, to express our serious concerns about the unrealistic housing targets being inflicted on NSC by central government. We are in regular dialogue with our planning consultant to advise BRA on actions we should take. BRA will also keep in contact with Backwell Parish Council and Backwell Resistance, to seek to maximise the voice of Backwell in what will no doubt be a challenging time for the village.

What can BRA Members do?

There is no current consultation for members of the public until NSC produces a draft of the Local Plan, and opens a consultation process. As soon as this happens, we will let members know. Busy times will no doubt be ahead!


Please find below the link to the letter of the 13th April written to North Somerset Council in relation to the Rural Lanes Consultation

Letter to NSC – Rural Lanes Consultation 13th April 2021


April 2021 Newsletter

BRA – April 2021 Newsletter


E mail Bulletin 7th April  2021

Dear Member

The following notice was posted at 4pm this afternoon on the NSC website:

The first line reads:

North Somerset Council is withdrawing plans to introduce a new Traffic Regulation Order on parts of the local rural lanes network to provide residents and road users with more opportunities to help shape the ‘quiet rural lanes’ proposals.

https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/news/council-allows-more-time-develop-quiet-rural-lanes-proposals?fbclid=IwAR1uWxCWG4l3I1xoAJR1YaSYi7C3x5avjxO

Many thanks to everyone who made their views known.


E mail Bulletin 31st March 2021

Dear Member                                                                      

North Somerset Council (NSC) has today announced its intention to prohibit motor vehicles from driving along many lanes in our area, unless there are specific reasons for them to be used. If implemented it would have a big impact on Backwell, and we are letting members know asap. At the moment, BRA has not taken a view on the proposal, and we would appreciate being copied in to any comment that you make to NSC.

The following is an extract from their announcement;

“North Somerset Council has an ambitious plan to encourage Active Travel. Our draft Active Travel Strategy, in line with national policy, aims to increase the number of journeys undertaken by walking and cycling by at least 300% by 2030 with a vision statement of ‘Making walking and cycling the natural choice for a cleaner, healthier and more active North Somerset.’ This is supported by four key objectives: 

 Deliver safe and frequent active travel

  • Tackle the Climate Emergency
  • Drive local economic development
  • Shape active travel neighbourhoods through planning

To support this Strategy, the intention is to address ‘rat running’ and inappropriate (especially HGV) use of our Rural Lanes network whilst continuing to allow essential motor vehicle access (e.g. to frontages and businesses). For example, residents, landowners, businesses, pubs and hospitality venues will continue to have motor vehicle access for all their needs and those of visitors, clients, employees, suppliers and customers. The resulting reduction in ‘through traffic’ will create a more pleasant, inviting and safer environment for Active Travel users whilst preserving the rural nature of the area and providing protection from increasing traffic growth resulting from future development pressures.”

These measures include such popular roads as Backwell Common, Chapel Hill, Chelvey Road, Brockley Way and the lanes across the Moor to Clevedon.

A final date has not been set for the implementation of these measures, and NSC is inviting comments on the proposal, as per the extract below.

Should you wish to make any observations on this proposal (whether you support or object the proposal) you should make them in writing to the Director of Development and Environment at the address below, or the email address below quoting the reference ATF2/RL/310321 by 5pm on 30th April 2021

Any objections must specify the grounds on which they are made. Please note that all representations received may be considered in public by the District Council and that the substance of any representation together with the name and address of the person making it could become available for public inspection.

Town Hall                                                             NICHOLAS BRAIN

Weston-super-Mare                                           Assistant Director Governance 

BS23 1UJ                                                               Monitoring Officer  

Tel No (01934) 888888

Email: traffic.orders@n-somerset.gov.uk

The paper from NSC gives more details of the proposals, including valid reasons which allow use of the lanes and can be found here Closures of Rural lanes – Consultation 31.03.21

The final page of the document, gives a map of the area, with the affected lanes shown in red.

It is also possible to see the same document on the NSC website:

Notice of intent – combined doc with map.pdf (n-somerset.gov.uk)

 


E mail Bulletin 15th March 2021

Dear Member     

Farleigh Fields

Unfortunately, the owners of Farleigh Fields, Persimmon plc, have chosen to reactivate their development aspirations for this land, and have started a public consultation with a leaflet drop to present their latest proposal. This is to seek planning permission for houses in one of the Farleigh Fields. The field in question is the one at the east end of the site next to Fairfield School – with access off the A370 through a property they own on Farleigh Road.

Their proposal, for around 125 dwellings, can be viewed on:

Public Consultation – Our Proposals (google.com)

Little detail is given, as this is the first stage in a long process.

The following points are relevant.

  • Comments are required by Friday March 26th. These comments go to Persimmon, who will interpret them. Your comments to them should be brief, and have little detail at this stage. It will be far more important for members to express their views to North Somerset Council when the time comes. We do however think there is value in having as many responses as possible at this stage.
  • Farleigh Fields has been the subject of planning applications at the rate of around one a decade since the 1980’s. These have been hugely costly and time consuming, but we have protected the fields for 40 years.
  • The ink has hardly dried on the last attempt by Persimmon which was rebuffed by Savid Javid in a letter dated in March 2018 (only 3 years ago !!). It was only 4 years ago in March 2017 that members of Backwell Parish Council and BRA, and our advisers, endured the long and expensive, but finally successful, time at Weston during the latest Inquiry. Backwell expressed its views with 350 residents opposing the housing, and 3 in favour.
  • The promotional leaflet only shows 56 blobs to represent the 125 houses.

Thankfully, BRA has the history of the applications since 1980, as no doubt we will need to reiterate the reasons.

We will keep members informed, as the process progresses.

 


BRA AGM

The minutes from the virtual AGM held on the 23rd February can be found here  


E mail Bulletin 24th February 2021

Dear Member                                        

This is a long bulletin, but there has been much happening! By coincidence there are three topics where members have the chance to respond to a North Somerset Council (NSC) consultation, with closing dates in March and April!

65 HOUSES OFF RODNEY ROAD (APPLICATION 20/P/1847/OUT)

The application to build 65 houses was submitted in August last year and the official time for comments is long past. Over 350 public comments were submitted, almost all objecting to the scheme, and many of these came from BRA members, for which we are very grateful. The application can be found here.

The BRA Committee has submitted two separate objections and used members’ funds to commission strong objections from two professional advisors who have identified serious weaknesses in the application. The Parish Council has also objected and our District Councillor, Bridget Petty has also agreed to object to the proposals through the NSC Planning Committee, with our support.

The application remains undecided and a number of additional comments and reports have recently been submitted from both the developer’s team and North Somerset Planning Authority.

The most recent objections principally relate to the inadequate access into the site which will cause serious safety issues, and damage to the ecology. These concerns have brought about a delay in any NSC Officers’ decision and our advisors consider it may now be some months before a decision is reached.

The NSC Transport Officer’s comments are disappointingly neutral, but their Ecology Officer has serious concerns which will help our cause.

Your committee continues to closely monitor progress.

FEEDBACK FROM NORTH SOMERSET LOCAL PLAN CONSULTATION

At the end of 2020, residents were invited by NSC to respond to the “Choices” survey. The “Consultation Statement”, which gives the results is 61 pages long, with a helpful summary on page 56 and can be found here.

The level of support from the public for each option was as follows:

  1. Retain Green Belt:

57% support or strongly support

 Urban Focus: Bristol, Weston, Clevedon, Portishead and Nailsea

64% support or strongly support

  1. Transport corridors concentration:

43% support or strongly support.

  1. Greater dispersal (housing spread around all towns and villages):

26% support or strongly support.

The most popular of the four options was the “Urban Focus”. There was also overwhelming support for this option from the Town and Parish Councils.

The BRA committee feels this is the best option for Backwell and for climate change considerations. To this extent, the feedback to NSC is encouraging, and gives some comfort in advance of the draft Local Plan.

SPECIFIC SITES 

In parallel with the consultation exercise with residents, developers / landowners were invited to propose sites which they offer as “suitable for development”. These range from the serious to the highly speculative, but are an important part of the planning process.

 70 sites have been identified across North Somerset. These include seven in and around Nailsea, and the following four in Backwell:

  1. Land east of Backwell (53 ha., in the Green Belt)
  2. Grove Farm (The Taylor Wimpey site)
  3. Land at Backwell / Flax Bourton and Failand
  4. Land at Rushmoor Lane (i.e. land behind Manor Farm)

BRA is attempting to find out more details of these, which will be shown in our April Newsletter.

NSC will produce a draft Local Plan which will be consulted on in the autumn.

BRISTOL AIRPORT

At the time of writing there are no international flights operating from Bristol Airport, but the work on the impending Appeal for expansion to 12mppa continues.

In March 2020, NSC refused the application (Ref 18/P/5118/OUT), as the airport already has capacity to expand up to 10mppa, and further expansion was refused on environmental grounds in the light of the Climate Emergency. The Airport subsequently appealed against this decision. The application can be found here.

BRA and Backwell Parish Council supported NSC’s decision to REFUSE planning consent and have submitted additional comments as part of the consultation process for the Appeal. Thank you to those members who provided comments on this application.

The Planning Inspectors will hear the Appeal in an on-line Inquiry during 16 days in July 2021 with a decision sometime in the autumn. The Airport’s compulsory purchase order (CPO) of land at the A38 Lulsgate Bottom and Downside will be heard at the same time. Bristol Airport’s application for Fully Coordinated Status which could lead to 24/7 operation and increased night flights is also likely be decided within the Appeal.

BRA will keep members informed of relevant dates and how you can ‘tune-in’ to the Appeal when we know the details.

ACTIVE TRAVEL

NSC wishes to encourage walking and cycling and has started a consultation.

NSC is inviting the public to have their say as part of a consultation on proposed cycle and pedestrian routes in Clevedon, Weston-super-Mare, Nailsea and Yatton.

The first area to be consulted on is Clevedon, and it is well worth seeing at what these changes look like in practice. For example, as you see from the photograph, pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles are separated from each other, giving a very different seafront, with one way vehicle traffic.

 

 

 

The new proposals include one-way roads on key streets, and 20mph speed limits. NSC claims that overall parking places will increase, with the removal of some double yellow lines in the area.

You can view details of the proposals here along with a questionnaire.

The Clevedon consultation closes on 7th March 2021. We will tell members when other proposals are available to view and for comment, as these will obviously be of great interest to Backwell residents.

SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS AND PLACES

 The Climate Emergency Strategic Action Plan sets out an aim for all new homes to be zero carbon or net carbon plus. In order to achieve this, it states that it is crucial for all new development to achieve the highest possible carbon reduction standards as soon as possible. The draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) can be found here.

The consultation document has 74 pages, with a deadline for responses by 26th March 2021 which can be made via the following link.

CUMBERLAND BASIN

Members may remember that Bristol City Council produced major plans to develop this complex area, called the “Western Harbour”, which would make it harder for traffic from the A370 to access the City Centre. Thankfully, the scheme has returned to the drawing board!

SUMMERVALE, MOOR LANE

This property is the last but one down Moor Lane, just before the entrance to the open fields. The owners sought planning consent a year ago for 9 dwellings on the site. The application was refused by NSC in August 2020, following 39 objections including those by Backwell Parish Council and BRA.

The owners have appealed against this refusal, and the Planning Inspectorate (a government body) will make its decision in the Spring. The public may submit comments to the Inspector, with a deadline of 11th March 2021.

The original application can be viewed on the NSC website Ref 19/P/1747/OUT and can be found here.

The detailed reasons that BRA have given are shown in the third comment on the website.

BRA intends to make a further representation on the proposed development to the Inspector, reiterating our earlier views with similar words. The Inspector is given the full text of the original 39 comments, but having these repeated, or enhanced for the appeal does show the strength of local interest.

Key points to emphasise are that the site was not allocated for development in the Backwell Neighbourhood Plan, and the proposed site layout is out of character with the area. Increased vehicular traffic would be a significant hazard in such a narrow lane. At the other end of Moor Lane, the junction with Station Road is already overloaded.

We encourage members who are very opposed to the application to comment online to the Planning Inspectorate via the following link Planning Inspectorate.

One needs to “register”, but this is a simple matter of choosing a username and password. Thereafter one quotes the case reference number 3266596 and then proceeds to comment on the case, by clicking the Make Representation button.

GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

NSC has produced a document for consultation. It states:

“Our parks, beaches, green spaces, wildlife, countryside, public rights of way and waterways are precious, and we have prepared this new strategy to help to protect and enhance them”

The document and link to a questionnaire to be completed by April 9th 2021 can be found here.

By scrolling down there is a choice of the full report (154 pages), or the Executive Summary (45 pages). The many photographs show what an attractive area we live in, and the importance of actions to improve and maintain it.

BRA MEMBERSHIP

Many thanks to those members who have already paid their 2021 subscriptions. It is a great help to receive these early in the year, particularly when we are certainly going to need to fund specialist help very soon. If you have not paid yet, please do so by any of the methods shown on the Membership Form to December 2021.


E mail Bulletin 29th January 2021

AGM and NEWS BULLETIN

We send our best wishes for 2021 to all our members in these difficult days. We hope for better times as the year progresses.

BRA will not be able to hold its usual AGM in February in the excellent 6th form theatre of Backwell School. Detailed arrangements for a virtual AGM are given overleaf. It will be confined to the minimum formalities required to validate the process in accordance with our Constitution, and is anticipated to take less than 15 minutes. Our Annual Newsletter to the whole village, with photos, maps etc will be distributed as a hard copy in the spring. We hope also to hold an event approaching the normal interactive element of the AGM with members at a later date, depending of course on the Covid situation.

Planning did not take a break in 2020, despite the shutdown of so many activities.

The application by Taylor Wimpey to build 65 houses off Rodney Road was made in August. We took professional advice on the planning and highways issues, and also consulted the Scout Group, given that its HQ is so close to the proposed entrance to the site. BRA is aware of the unpopularity of the proposal, as evidenced by 347 objections on the North Somerset Council (NSC) website. A key role that BRA plays is to communicate details of planning issues in everyday language and remind our members of key dates etc. We understand that a decision by NSC is likely in February.

Bristol Airport has appealed against the refusal by NSC of its plans to expand to 12 million passengers per year.  A public inquiry to hear the appeal is likely to be held in summer 2021.The issues are complex, and we are most grateful to our committee member, Barbara Harland, for reading the many documents and attending meetings to keep up to date with Airport matters. Many people, including those in BRA, appreciate having a local airport, along with its economic benefits, but a majority oppose the expansion due to its impact on the environment and its inadequate transport links.

North Somerset Local Plan NSC has taken this process forward with two key stages, which invited input by residents. BRA took professional advice to help us make the case for the “Choices” most favourable to Backwell. NSC provided much reading matter for these topics, and will seek views on the Draft Local Plan this year. Backwell Parish Council (BPC) carried out a survey of Backwell residents to inform its response. NSC also embarked on a separate “Active Travel Consultation”, which included a questionnaire.

Membership Over 400 Backwell households with nearly 800 adult members paid subscriptions for the period to 31 December 2020.  Renewal subscriptions of £10 per household are now due to cover the year to 31 December 2021. A membership application / renewal form can be found here Membership Form to December 2021. We hope that you will join or re-join to strengthen our representation and increase our funds upon which there are likely to be heavy demands this year in protecting our village from over-development. Many thanks to members who have already paid, and we invite others to do so – by the end of February if you can, please.

We encourage members to provide an email address to us if possible, as this is our main means of communication.

BACKWELL RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION – Notice of AGM

This year’s ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING will be held on a “virtual” basis at 7.00pm on Tuesday 23 February 2021 using Microsoft Teams.

All BRA members are invited to view the Meeting on line which will be confined to the formal aspects. Please vote in advance of the meeting by e-mail or post.

AGENDA

  1. Approval of 2020 AGM Minutes (available on BRA website or on request to Hon Secretary, Mike Veal – e-mail smveal@talktalk.net Tel: 461187)
  2. Approval of audited Accounts for the year to 31 December 2020 (we do not wish to publish these on our website for reasons of confidentiality). Our Income and Expenditure for 2020 were approximately £6,400 and £5,400 respectively.  Any paid-up member is entitled to see the full audited Accounts and may do so by application to the Hon Secretary.
  3. Election of Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer and Auditor. The following Nominations have been made at the date of this Notice:-

Hon Secretary            Mike Veal          Proposed by: J Thomas       Seconded by: G Wells

Hon Treasurer             Kevin Crawford Proposed by: M Rose           Seconded by: C Elliott

Auditor                         Richard Gaunt  Proposed by: K Riches         Seconded by: B Harland

There are currently two vacancies on the elected Committee.  Nominations for the Committee vacancies should be made to the Honorary Secretary, 36 Longthorn, Backwell, BS48 3GY at least 14 days in advance of the Meeting.  Nominations must be proposed and seconded by members in full membership for not less than three months prior to the Annual General Meeting and signify the nominee’s willingness to serve.  Members are reminded that the Committee has authority to co-opt additional members as necessary to undertake specific roles.   

How to vote – Please email geoffwells8@yahoo.com by Tuesday 16th February, and indicate whether you approve of the items 1., 2. and 3.above. ( or to the Hon Sec by post)

How to join the meeting – Please email geoffwells8@yahoo.com by Tuesday 16th February to say you would like to “attend”. Instructions on the procedure for joining will be sent by email at least one day before the AGM.

Current Elected Committee Members:

COLLINSON, Gill – (Recruitment)

CRAWFORD, Kevin – (Treasurer)

ELLIOTT, Chris (Projects and Meetings Coordinator)

HARLAND, Barbara (Airport Matters)

KEMP, Margaret – (Membership & Web Manager)

MERRETT- SMITH, Terry – (Asst. Treasurer)

RIBBON-MILES, Angela – (Social Media)

RICHES, Keith – (Chairman) – 462908

ROSE, Mike – (Planning Specialist) 

VEAL, Mike – (Secretary) – 461187

WELLS, Geoff – (Publicity and Communications) – 462627

WELLS, Valerie – (Recruitment) – 462627

Current Co-opted Committee Members:

STEWART, Bruce – (former Chair and Secretary)

VEAL, Sue – (Minutes Secretary)


E mail Bulletin 3rd January 2021

Wishing everyone a “Happy New Year” has a much deeper meaning for us all in 2021. We hope that this year sees an improvement, particularly for those who have been most affected. 

There is one topic that BRA would like to remind you about. For those who have not commented on the expansion plan of Bristol Airport, there is still chance to do so by the closing date of Wednesday 6th January.

Backwell Parish Council (BPC) has written a strong letter of objection thereby supporting NSC’s decision to REFUSE the expansion. The letter may be viewed on the BPC website:

 B.A. response 18.12.20.pdf – Google Drive

BRA’s response may be viewed on our website, along with other related documents under the “Bristol Airport” tab:

http://www.backwellresidents.org.uk/bristol-airport-public-consultation/

As well as BRA and BPC, Bristol City Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council, MP Liam FOX and 26 other local parish councils also object to this expansion.

We gave details on how to comment as part of our bulletin of December 4th. This is repeated below.

BRISTOL AIRPORT

A poll of BRA members in December 2019 showed that a large majority of members objected to the Airport’s plan to expand from 10 million passengers per annum to 12 mppa.

In March 2020, North Somerset Council (NSC) formally refused the application (Ref 18/P/5118/OUT), as the airport already has capacity to expand up to 10mppa, and further expansion was refused on environmental grounds in the light of the Climate Emergency. The Airport subsequently appealed against this decision. The appeal is likely to be heard at a Public Inquiry in July / August 2021, lasting about 4 weeks. The original application can be found here.

Bristol Airport has chosen the Christmas period to submit additional evidence to support its case for expansion to 12mppa. The consultation period is frustratingly short and clashes with the local plan consultation and Christmas. Residents have until 6th January 2021 to respond on this new application (Ref 20/P/2896/APPCON).

There are 300 pages of additional evidence much of which is highly technical. Bristol Airport has also updated its passenger number forecasts, following the recent drop of 85%. They expect numbers will return to near normal by the end of 2021, although aviation experts say this is more likely to be 2023/24. Their mid-range assumption for passenger numbers reaches their 10m capacity around 2024 and grows to 12 mppa by 2030 (if they are allowed to expand).

The main issues remain the environmental impact of permanent loss of habitat and green belt, plus increased traffic, pollution levels and noise, far outweighing the economic benefits. The expansion would not be in the best interests of Backwell residents, especially those at Downside. Sitting alongside this Appeal is the Fully Coordinated Slot status application which, if achieved, would undoubtedly increase night flights and allow 24/7 operation.

What can residents do next?

Please respond to this latest information by Wednesday 6th January 2021. You can confirm that your comment is unchanged from your earlier objection, if you made one.

To make your comment, no matter how short, please go to 20/P/2896/APPCON.