Debate over future of Frampton End Farm
THE future of a large farm in Frampton Cotterell is at the centre of a political debate after it was earmarked as a possible site for future development.
Frampton End Farm, which stretches north of the village towards Iron Acton between Frampton End Road and Bristol Road, is partly owned by South Gloucestershire Council and has been included as a potential development site in the council’s new local plan.
The 102-hectare farm is seen as a wildlife haven: writing elsewhere in the this month's Voice, David Hanks of the group Frampton Nature described it as "home to many important and threatened species".
The site's future was brought into the spotlight when a call to create a new nature reserve and green space at the farm was made to a meeting of the council's cabinet on June 13.
The call was made by resident Tom Howell, and announced in a press release by the village's Conservatives, in which Mr Howell was backed by parish councillors Tim Niblett and Andy Pullen.
But Liberal Democrat councillors say they first alerted residents to the issue more than a year ago – and have already "made it clear that local people would not accept houses being built on this land"
Addressing the cabinet meeting, Mr Howell said: "While no specific proposals for its future use have come forward as yet, there has been a lot of speculation in the village that this could lead to more housing.
“Arguably there is a much better use of land for this site. I appreciate that more housing is needed and I think the community overall would support the council’s approach to plan-led sustainable development. But we feel that housing on this site would be inappropriate, particularly given the potential loss of biodiversity and the loss of green space.
"Preserving the site as a nature reserve would turn it into a really positive community asset, help support the council’s climate and nature goals, help to boost biodiversity, and help to preserve local wildlife in the village."
Frampton Cotterell Conservatives Tom Howell, Tim Niblett and Andy Pullen pictured by the farm.
Setting out where major future developments will be built, the local plan is being redrafted and is expected to come into force in 2024.
The council has agreed to create five new nature reserves elsewhere as part of its Green Infrastructure Strategy.
The Conservative-run council's cabinet member for corporate resources, Ben Burton, said: "Frampton Cotterell is an area which I know well, I have family locally so I’m well aware of how well that area is particularly treasured.
"We share a commitment more widely to biodiversity and ecology. Your comments will be taken on board as we look to bring forward proposals for the future use of Frampton End farm.”
Frampton Cotterell Liberal Democrats pictured at the farm site in April last year
Lib Dem ward councillor and group leader Claire Young said she and her fellow South Glos ward councillors had raised the future of the site with residents in April last year, after seeing it included in the local plan's “Call for Sites”.
Cllr Young said: "We want this area to be protected for nature and well-being, and have been pressing officers to share plans for doing that with local people ever since 2020.
"More recently in a meeting with council officers in January we again made it clear that local people would not accept houses being built on this land.
"People value the countryside between Frampton Cotterell and Iron Acton highly for its wildlife and as a place to walk, cycle and ride horses.
"We hope that the recent interest from the Conservatives is a sign that their council cabinet members have had a change of heart and now recognise this land should be protected.
"Having once again discussed this with the council's Chief Executive, we hope to be able to update local people soon.”
Meeting report by Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service