Plans for 204 homes at Coalpit Heath farm approved

July 02 2019
Plans for 204 homes at Coalpit Heath farm approved

Planners have approved more than 200 homes at a Coalpit Heath farm once owned by children’s author Dick King-Smith.

It follows a successful appeal to the Planning Inspectorate last year by Barratt Homes against South Gloucestershire Council’s refusal of the outline proposals.

Strategic sites delivery committee members have now granted full permission for the development on land east of Park Lane next to Woodlands Farm, where the writer, below, lived from 1948 to 1962, despite neighbours’ concerns about a potential rise in antisocial behaviour.

The farm became the inspiration for many of Mr King-Smith’s books, including The Sheep-Pig, known to millions via the Oscar-nominated film Babe after the story was adapted for the big screen in 1995.

Dick King-Smith

Dick King-Smith

Councillors approved the 204 houses, 35 per cent of them affordable, with the details of a further 11 self-build homes set to be the subject of subsequent applications.

Frampton Cotterell Parish Council and 16 residents objected to the scheme.

Ward councillor Claire Young told the committee on June 27 that neighbours feared an unofficial path between the development, to be named Blackberry Park, and recently built housing estate The Meads could become a “hotspot” for unruly youths.

She said: “There is an informal entrance on the northern boundary that was not intended to be a thoroughfare.

“Residents have already seen some antisocial behaviour with kids hanging around and they are worried this could become a hotspot.

“It was not intended as a thoroughfare but it will become one between the two developments.”

She said neighbours were also worried that the design of the housing for Blackberry Park, below, would not “mirror” existing homes.

Artist's impressions

Planning officer Helen Winsall said objections to the plans also included road safety concerns, a lack of local infrastructure, loss of green land and the impact on wildlife.

But she said: “The layout and design of the homes is acceptable and their location is reasonable.

“It provides smaller houses, and while it’s different from the housing already there on The Meads, it does not have a significant enough relationship with those dwellings to merit having the same design.

“The landscape officer has raised concerns about a lack of trees in rear gardens and on the avenue into the site, but there are a significant number of mature trees on site, 185 trees in total, which is considered satisfactory."

Farm site

A view of the development site

A report to members said: “The paths into The Meads are considered desirable to increase connectivity between the site for walkers and cyclists, particularly those that wish to use the public open spaces.

“It is noted that there are two gaps in the hedgerow on the northern boundary that appear to be currently being used as informal access to the site.

“The police designing-out-crime officer has not raised any concerns regarding antisocial behaviour in respect of these accesses.”

Last year, planning inspector Nick Fagan overturned the council’s decision to reject Barratt Homes’ outline application.

Dick King-Smith

Dick King-Smith working at Woodlands Farm

He said Mr Dick-King’s associations with the site and the area were culturally important and that the scheme would result in the loss of agricultural land, but ruled the authority’s housing shortfall tipped the balance in favour of granting permission.

By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service