A public consultation has been launched over plans to build up to 149 homes on Green Belt land at Hanham.
Ashfield Land, which owns the three-field site known locally as The Batch, has partnered with Redrow Homes to unveil plans for a mix of housing, from one-bedroom apartments up to four-bedroom houses, to include shared ownership properties and some for social rent.
The site lies to the south of Hencliffe Way and west of Castle Farm Road, on the edge of Hanham. A public right of way crosses the middle of the site from north to south and a circular one runs around the northern boundary. Hencliff Wood is to the south and west and to the north are homes in Hencliffe Way.
Local residents received letters from consultants Grass Roots Planning yesterday when the plans were also unveiled on a dedicated website.
Earlier this week the fields, where sweetcorn has been grown for many years, were ploughed up and people were seen on the site in hi-vis jackets.
The proposals are outlined on the consultation website which says that the land provides an “excellent opportunity to deliver much-needed market and affordable homes for the area in a sustainable location”.
Up to 149 dwellings are proposed along with a new woodland, picnic / recreation area with a pedestrian/cycle link from the existing public car park, and other areas of public open space.
Consultants Grass Roots Planning say that agreement has been sought with one of the properties in Hencliffe Way and this would be the primary access; a road safety audit shows the access is safe and that the road network is capable of serving an additional 149 homes without causing adverse effects. There would also be a pedestrian, cycle and emergency access from Castle Farm Road.
The consultants acknowledge that change can be “concerning, and particularly where a site is in the Green Belt – but most people know someone that is struggling to get on the housing ladder and desperately in need of a home of their own”.
“Having reviewed land south of Hencliffe Way, we consider that this site, given its urban edge location and its visual self-containment, does not particularly contribute to the purposes of the Green Belt.”
The say the land provides an excellent opportunity to deliver much-needed market and affordable homes for the area in a sustainable location, and hope local people will support the proposals.
The consultation runs until 26th February. Some local residents are already voicing concern about the impact on local services including GPs, dentists and schools, and say that there are up to 200 new homes already lined up for Hanham on the old Kleeneze factory site off the High Street. Those plans are currently being considered by South Gloucestershire Council.
In March 2018 we reported Hanham District Green Belt Conservation Society’s warning of a “very serious and direct threat” to many of the area’s green spaces – including The Batch – where the landowner had suggested to South Gloucestershire Council under the ‘Call for Sites’ process that up to 182 homes could go there.
Explaining the reasoning for the housing plans being brought forward now, even though the site is designated as Green Belt, which helps stop urban sprawl, Grass Roots Planning explain: “South Gloucestershire Council’s last Local Plan that allocated sites for growth was adopted in 2013 – 10 years ago now.
“There have been two failed attempts at strategic planning in the area since this time – firstly the Joint Spatial Plan (a joint working approach between Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset) which was found unsound by the independent Planning Inspectorate in 2018, and then the Spatial Development Strategy which was abandoned in 2022, largely due to a lack of agreement about how Bristol’s unmet housing need would be dealt with by the neighbouring authorities.
“There is therefore a lack of a clear plan for growth in this area and what is becoming clear is that South Gloucestershire Council will not have a new Local Plan in place for many years to come which will allocate sites to meet the desperate need for both market and affordable housing in the wider Bristol area.
“Based on the council’s current timetable, a new plan will not be in place until at earliest, 2025 – and this plan doesn’t intend to allocate smaller sites, but instead will simply propose ‘areas’ of growth.
“As such, we consider that action is required now to address this critical issue, which is why this site is being brought forward.”