More than 700 sign green belt petition

May 08 2017

A PETITION signed by hundreds of residents calling for two Hanham beauty spots to be protected from the threat of homes has been submitted to South Gloucestershire Council.

A PETITION signed by hundreds of residents calling for two Hanham beauty spots to be protected from the threat of homes has been submitted to South Gloucestershire Council.

Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood until May 3,  handed the 761 signature petition to council leader Matthew Riddle following "hypothetical" proposals to build 96 homes on Hanham Cricket Club and another 105 houses on green belt land further along Abbots Road.

The petition had only been launched in recent months, showing the strength of feeling in the area against homes which encroach upon open space in and around Hanham. 

The petition states: "We the undersigned are opposed to any development on Hanham Hills Green Belt, Hanham Sports Ground and Hanham Nature Reserve".

As part of any potential "deal" the developer would pay to relocate the cricket club and pitch, which belongs to Hanham Community Centre, to the bigger site.

Hanham District Green Belt Conservation Society, which has fought tirelessly to protect the area's open spaces in the past, took the case to the Kingswood MP who pledged to fight any application if it was ever made. 

Mr Skidmore said: “I have always been determined to defend our local green belt, which I believe acts as a precious green lung between Bristol and Bath. 

"This petition demonstrates the strength of local feeling towards our green belt. I am also determined that Hanham Sports Ground, a crucial community asset, should remain intact as a green space that must be preserved for future generations to use and enjoy. 

"Locally, the West of England area is drawing up its plans for housing for the future - I was delighted that current plans protect the green belt in the Kingswood constituency, but we must make our voice loud and clear that new housing should be brownfield first and above all the green belt should be protected as it has clearly been designated by the government as having special status.”

The developer - named on a document as a Mr F Francis - has hired commercial property specialists Colliers International to put forward a case to remove the land's green belt protection, which would pave the way for him to find a developer to build housing to meet the shortfall of homes in the region.

Colliers made representations to the West of England Joint Spatial Plan in January stating reasons why both sites should be earmarked for development.

The West of England Joint Spatial Plan sets out a blueprint for future development which will help meet housing demands for the next 20 years.