Parish Councillors were pleased to hear that the joint circular from the Parish Council, the Residents’ Association and Backwell Resistance had been delivered to all houses in the village. The Chairman, Cllr Bob Taylor, emphasised how important it was that as many villagers as possible should comment on the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP)on the North Somerset Council’s website, using information in the circular as a guide. He also said how pleased he was that the three organisations were working so well together in a common cause. However, as regards the outline proposal for 700 homes at Grove Farm, it would appear that, in theory, Taylor Wimpey (TW) cannot be prevented from submitting an outline application. The Parish Council still intend to meet TW to discuss the feedback received following their presentation, as well as to emphasise the strength of feeling from villagers opposing TW’s plans. All the organisations involved feel that TW are acting prematurely since the JSP has still to be approved, which is by no means certain. Continued dialogue between the parties is most important, even at this early stage, to ensure that villagers’ views are constantly and consistently fed back to TW.
With regard to Moor Lane, the Parish Council is continuing to meet TW architects to press for the right design and mix for the 65 dwellings planned, to ensure that the development is in accordance with our Neighbourhood Plan and our the views of our residents. It is important that TW should build starter homes and retirement bungalows together with social housing, and not just four bedroom executive houses.
Parish Councillors were also very concerned to hear from Cllr Steve Mitchell about the proposals in Bristol Airport’s ‘Master Plan’, which was currently out for consultation as ‘Your Airport: Your Views’. This has the potential for a major impact on the residents at Downside, possibly within the next 5 years, and the Parish Council is taking legal advice about the situation facing them. There will be a public meeting at the Parish Hall on Monday, 15th January to discuss the matters raised in the document. The Parish Council is also working with Wrington and Winford Parish Councils, whose residents would also be affected by any expansion of the airport.
The decision on the Farleigh Fields appeal has been put back yet again, this time to the 18th January. The Parish Council has written a strong letter to the Secretary of State, pointing out the existence of our Neighbourhood Plan, and the weight that it should carry in his deliberations. We should remember that our Neighbourhood Plan is still valid, as it is linked to the NSC Core Strategy, as until such time as the JSP is approved.
Discussions with the Governors and Head Teacher at Backwell School have taken place, with a view to improving the safety of students entering and exiting the school at Meadow Close. Currently there is a dangerous mix of pedestrians, coaches and cars on the approach to the school, and the Parish Council is urgently seeking solutions to this state of affairs.
Councillors were pleased to be able to support the youth of the village by agreeing to fund an ‘Outreach’ Project, staffed by a qualified youth leader and an assistant. Young people can meet in a relaxed atmosphere on a Thursday evening when, weather permitting, they go up into the woods to learn life skills and team work. Funding will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that the Parish Council are getting value for money.
There were 3 planning applications of which one was an application to fell 2 ash trees. This was passed to the North Somerset’s Tree Officer for a decision. One planning application to build a granny annexe was supported, but the Parish Council had concerns about proposals to build on land at 2 Fernside, and requested that NSC’s Planning Officer visit the site before reaching a decision.
The Parish Council has a new Facebook page, which will be updated regularly with Parish Council activities. It can be found at https://www.facebook.com/backwellparishcouncil/
The next full Parish Council Meeting will be on Thursday, 11th January 2018 at 7.30pm in the Village Hall when the budget for 2018/19 will be set. Please note that this meeting is a week later than usual. All are welcome to attend.