Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, has thrown out the appeal by developer Crest Nicholson to build 99 homes off Manor Road in Saltford.
The application was met with considerable opposition locally when first submitted as the land on the south west side of the village lies within the Green Belt. Crest Nicholson argued that this was an exceptional case where there was great need for more housing in Saltford which could only be satisfied by building on green belt land. B&NES Council’s planners did not agree and refused permission and this led the developer to lodge an appeal against the decision.
A public hearing followed last year in Keynsham and shortly before the inspector was due to give his decision, Mr Pickles elected to call the case in for his consideration. It has now emerged that the Inspector was minded to grant the appeal but the Minister has overruled him.
It does appear that both the inspector and the Secretary of State acknowledged the shortage of deliverable housing in the area but Mr Pickles took the view that the harm done to the Green Belt in this case far outweighed those considerations.
Reacting to the news today, the Saltford Environment Group stated: “SEG welcomes this decision. The Secretary of State, on examining the evidence given at the Inquiry and the Inspector’s report, has overruled the Inspector’s recommendation to allow the development
“We wish to thank everyone who joined the campaign to oppose the proposed housing development on Saltford’s Green Belt.
“We would also like to thank local councillors from all political parties who opposed this planning application, our MP Jacob Rees-Mogg for his advice and support, B&NES Council Planning Department for its work relating to this Inquiry, and also our Parish Council for its support.
“As we have reported on our website in recent weeks, we are conscious that there may be further attempts by developers to build on our Green Belt. This important decision by the Secretary of State does show that the community was right to defend Saltford’s Green Belt. We hope progress on the Core Strategy can be made rapidly so that we do not face a similar situation again.”