B&NES Council finally looks set to adopt its Core Strategy – the economic blueprint for the district until 2029 – at the full council meeting next month (10th July). Following public hearings this Spring, the Government Inspector has now declared the council’s strategy fit for purpose after a number of modifications put forward last year, are taken into account. These include the re-drawing of the Green Belt boundary around Keynsham and Whitchurch and the removal of three areas of land to be given over to future housing and employment opportunities. On the east side of Keynsham, land to the south oof the A4 close to Harding Place and bordering Wellsway School is earmarked for 250 homes while on the north side, the area adjacent to World’s End Lane is designated for employment development.
To the south west of the town, land between Charlton Road and Parkhouse Lane will also be developed with 200 houses. This will effectively form an extension to the recently approved K2 West scheme on Charlton Road.
The Inspector’s report also confirms that two more areas of green belt land on the east of Keynsham are to be set aside or safeguarded for future housing post 2029. One of these lies between Minsmere Road and Manor Road Community Woodland while the other fronts the A4 on the east side of Harding Place.
In Whitchurch, land between Sleep Lane and Staunton Lane is designated for 200 new homes. Ironically, this area includes the site of the former HorseWorld Visitor Centre. Last November, B&NES Development Control committee refused a planning application by the equine charity to build 125 houses, even though the land had already been identified for removal from the Green Belt. That scheme was intended to fund a brand new visitor attraction elsewhere on HorseWorld’s estate but after it failed, the Staunton Lane centre closed its doors prior to Christmas. What will now become of the land is still unclear but speaking after the planning refusal last year, HorseWorld Managing Director Mark Owen said: “The visitor centre has been allocated for housing. If the trustees decide to sell the land it will still become housing whereas our scheme (the visitor attraction) would have enabled so much more.”