Protesters are up in arms about plans for 700 new homes and a dual carriageway in the North Somerset village of Backwell, and have claimed that the plans would “decimate” the character of the village.
The development in question is planned on the Grove Farm area to the west of Backwell, and would also include a Metrobus route and a new link road.
It’s a part of the Joint Spatial Plan, which is attempting to address the national housing crisis and a notable shortage of accommodation in the city of Bristol.
Speaking about the plans, North Somerset Council have stated that their hands are tied by central Government.
On the 7th January, close to 400 villagers linked hands and formed a circle around Backwell lake in an attempt to highlight what they say and believe is a “huge and imminent threat” to the future of the village.
Lorraine Hopkinson-Parker, who organised the protest, has urged her fellow residents to keep opposing the plans.
“This will increase the size of the village by 50% and see a four-lane link road and bus route running next to our lake and the destruction of the green belt,” Hopkinson-Parker said.
“If this goes ahead Backwell will be decimated. It will no longer be a village and we haven’t got the facilities and services to support this amount of new homes.”
The plans in question have a new road linking the A370 to Nailsea and Backwell station, a Metrobus route which will go from Bristol to Nailsea, and there is a possibility of a new primary school being formed, too.
Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, the deputy leader of North Somerset Council, isn’t impressed with the plans, and is still trying to negotiate a deal.
“We are not happy about it and we are trying to negotiate around the edges and create new villages rather than add to existing ones but we do have to provide these homes,” Ap Rees said.
“We are stuck between an area of outstanding beauty, the green belt and flood-land and we need to provide 11,000 homes in North Somerset.”