Builders move in on Coalpit Heath farm after planning fight

October 03 2019
Builders move in on Coalpit Heath farm after planning fight

WORK is underway to build a housing development at a Coalpit Heath site after a long planning battle.

Barratt Homes has started building 204 new homes in Coalpit Heath on land which was previously part of Woodlands Farm, owned by the author Dick King-Smith.

The development has been named Blackberry Park by the company.

South Gloucestershire Council originally refused proposals for a larger development of 380 houses, following a major campaign against it. There were nearly 300 letters of objection, opposition from the campaign group VALID (Villagers Against Local Intended Development) and from both Frampton Cotterell and Westerleigh parish councils.

A smaller outline plan for up to 215 homes was then submitted by the developer and this was rejected by planners in the summer of 2017. The company took the case to appeal and it was heard last year, with Mr King-Smith’s children adding their voices to the argument for keeping the land in its original state. A government planning inspector ruled in the developer’s favour.

Barratt was given detailed permission for a 204-home development in June and is now building two, three and four-bedroomed homes to appeal to what a spokesperson described as a ‘whole host of lifestyles’.

Temporary traffic lights have been installed near the access to the site off Park Lane.

The company said it has had a ‘high level’ of interest from people wishing to move to the Coalpit Heath area, and expects demand to rise further.

It will be revealing the asking prices for homes on the development later in the autumn.

Sales Director Andrea Pilgrim said: “This is great news for people wishing to settle in this sought-after area. We know demand for homes here is high, and we’re also pleased to be bringing jobs and new homes to people in the area.”

Barratt says the development will create 600 jobs over its course.

Andrea added: “The designs are very much in keeping with this picturesque area.”

The developers have promised to introduce allotments and community orchards, with hedgerows and ‘green street scenes’.

Dick King-Smith

Mr King-Smith, above, who died in 2011, lived at Woodlands Farm from 1948 to 1962 and was inspired by the landscape around him, which featured in many of his novels. One of the most famous was The Sheep-Pig, which became the Oscar nominated film Babe.

The June council planning meeting heard objections to the plans on the grounds of road safety concerns, a lack of local infrastructure, loss of green land and the impact on wildlife.

But an officer told councillors that the layout and design of the homes was "acceptable" and their location was "reasonable".

A council landscape officer raised concerns about a lack of trees in rear gardens and on the avenue into the site but councillors were told were 185 mature trees on the site.