Friday, 6 November 2015

Statement from SOBA

IF YOU CARE about the controversial Sulis Down development on former Green Belt land on the southern outskirts of Bath then you can make your views known at the next consultation organised by the developers. It is possibly the last chance for residents and all those concerned about the development to influence the proposals before a masterplan for the site is submitted to Bath and North East Somerset Council. The site on the South Stoke Plateau is currently defined for around 300 new homes in the core strategy adopted by the council last year after a public inquiry. However, the developers—Bloor Homes and the landowner, the Hignett Family Trust—have caused further controversy by announcing in September that they intend to test the capacity of the site in their masterplan by “bringing forward scenarios that include a scale of development significantly higher than that envisaged in the core strategy.” This, it is feared, could mean up to 600 new homes being built— i.e. double the number anticipated. The South of Bath Alliance (SOBA), a network of the communities affected by the development, fought against any housing being built on the Green Belt. Following the council’s inclusion of the site in its core strategy, SOBA is now pressing for the developers to work within the principles approved by the planning inspector which are enshrined in the strategy itself. A further concern is the matter of access to the Sulis Down site. BANES adopted core strategy envisages accessing the whole of the development from Combe Hay Lane to the west but it is divided by Sulis Manor, whose owners have not expressed publicly a view on the plans. There is continued debate about an eastern access from South Stoke Lane (which also could involve access from the Cross Keys (roundabout) across the Green Belt with street lighting etc). This is an option that the Inspector ruled out as being detrimental to the setting of the Wansdyke, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, to the Bath World Heritage Site, to the Green Belt and to the Conservation Village of South Stoke. In addition it would place considerable extra stress on the existing traffic flow via Midford Road and Southstoke Road into the city.

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