Campaigners hand over petition

MEMBERS of a group formed to fight proposals in South Gloucestershire Council’s Local Plan to allow building on Green Belt land have handed over a petition of more than 2,000 signatures.

Save Our Green Spaces gathered 2,239 supporters for its petition on the website calling for the council to reconsider the proposals in Phase 3 of its plan, which includes 7,813 homes on greenfield sites outside the existing urban area and towns, much of which is currently designated as Green Belt, giving it protection from development.

The council says it has to find new sites for 9,260 homes to help meet a target of 20,490 new homes in the district over 15 years.

Three sites east of the Avon Ring Road, surrounding the village of Shortwood, appear on what the council calls its ‘emerging preferred strategy’. Between them they could accommodate 1,480 new homes – surrounding a village which currently has only 90 houses.

North of Lyde Green, an area of land between the M4 and Westerleigh Road could be earmarked for 800 homes by 2040.

Another 260 could be allowed on two sites in Mangotsfield and Pomphrey Hill, with 60 at a site east of Pucklechurch.

They are part of a wider swathe of Green Belt land east of the Avon Ring Road, which has been proposed as an area where thousands of homes and new employment premises could be built.

As the campaigners handed over a giant cheque representing the petition on February 15 they issued a statement, which said: “We, the local people of Oldland Common, Siston, Warmley, Shortwood and the Eastern Fringe reject in whole any plans to build on our protected Green Belt.

“Whilst we appreciate the need for additional housing, until all brown field sites, empty office blocks, derelict houses and in-fill is utilised, our Green Belt must remain sacred.

“If the Green Belt status can be removed by a simple consultation, what future lies in store for the protected green spaces across the UK?”

The group also organised a collection of 200 objection letters for people who were unable to respond to the council’s online consultation, which closed on February 16.