Controversial Kingswood housing plan involving former council land is refused

The latest attempt to build houses next to Kingswood Rugby Club has been refused.

Horizon Construction Bristol Ltd sought permission in principle for the plot behind 58-68 Grimsbury Road for a maximum of five houses.

A South Gloucestershire Council planning officer had recommended approval, but the development management committee last Thursday refused the application, saying it would lead to conflict between vehicles and pedestrians using the access lane and would be a cramped development.

There were 20 objections and local councillor Alison Evans said multiple previous planning applications for the site had been refused. She said that although planning for three detached houses was approved in 2017, it was when the council was unable to demonstrate a five-year land supply of housing. “This situation has changed and is not currently the case.” That permission has now lapsed.

Cllr Evans said that in 2018, a bid for six homes was refused. One of the reasons was that the increase from three to six could lead to additional conflict between vehicles and pedestrians using the access lane. She said: “I believe the increase from three to five dwellings would still increase conflict.”

Last year the developer applied to build a block of nine apartments but the council said it was “overly ambitious” but did concur that it might be possible to accommodate a reduced number of flats, suggesting a maximum of six.

At last week’s development management committee meeting, a representative for the developer said they had purchased extra land from the council to enable the access to be widened so two cars can pass.

But local resident Helen Davis, representing her neighbours, said the applicant had no right to use the lane, which would be a fourth access onto a mini-roundabout, and that Grimsbury Road is already very busy. She said the lane, which had never been used as a road, has been dug up and resurfaced by the developer.

She added: “I have been advised directly by the applicant that they have purchased two more plots of land adjacent to the site – significantly one of these is the bottom field of the rugby club, sold to them by the council and not advised to the residents.

“The site you are considering today involves a single access way, subject to a civil dispute with the residents of Grimsbury Road and Baden Road which the developer intends to use as the sole access to this site and further much more significant development of the adjacent plots.”

A report from the council’s planning officer said the lane is unregistered land and although there could be covenants that neither the planning authority nor the applicant is aware of, this would be a civil matter. Meanwhile concerns that work had started appeared to be clearance rather than development, the officer added.

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