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Caravan Expansion Approved

Posted on 22nd October, 2017

 

Touring Caravans

 

The applicant originally put in a high number of units, 90, then subsequently reduced the number to 40, and NSC Granted Consent on 20 Oct 17. See BOB for previous site information.

 

BPC published their 9 Oct 17 minutes to residents on 20 Oct 17, the same day as NSC had granted consent to the application, stating: "It was agreed that the initial decision and comments of no objection to the planning application  ...  still stands" (Min 300.13). This shows the importance of timely public minutes as the majority of non-attending residents will only just be receiving these disappointing BPC and NSC decisions.

 

The application for an expansion of 40no. static and touring caravans to the existing site was still on a green field site, outside the Settlement Boundary, affecting a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) and contrary to residents' views as indicated in the 2009-2029 Parish Plan; so residents would have expected BPC to have 'objected' or at least stated why it was not objecting.

 

NSC's Delegated Report makes reference to "Reasons for Over-riding comments from Bleadon Parish Council" regarding their comment that " the developer should contribute to the general improvement of traffic issues likely to be caused by the development, particularly at the junction of the A370". How does this now affect any traffic improvements in Bleadon in that area, especially as the Wake Park S106 payment for traffic improvements was asked to be delayed

 

The report also makes reference to transport and parking; and 'A5 Bleadon Moor', anyone heard of this before? 

 

Although the NSC Delegated Report makes reference to the 'pond' it doesn't mention the fact that its own designated SNCI seems to have disappeared with no public disussion or consultation, even though this issue was raised during the consultation and asked of BPC and NSC last year, 2016, when pond works were being undertaken (which was initially highlighted by a BPC Councillor, supplemented by photos from BOB as seen on the original wildlife blog?) The Site History section of the report indicated from the applicant that "this area comprised a pond for many years." The collated correspondence on this site from September 2016, but not yet answered, can be seen here.

 

See Google Maps Satellite Imagery of the site before it was a pond (apparently last updated by Google August 2016). It can clearly be seen as an 'inlet' from the River Axe, which was said to be from ancient times when the River Axe was navigable to Glastonbury and then silted and overgrown over the years and used as a haven for wildlife. Hence presume its NSC designation as a SNCI. The 'withies' site certainly looks very different now as a 'balancing pond' for housing development!

 

So it seems that the apparent destruction of this Site of Nature & Conservation Interest is not important enough for NSC or BPC to protect or explain to residents. What was the purpose of this SNCI, was it to provide a marshy habitat to wildlife, if so, why is it not being reinstated? The SNCI is still visible on NSC online mapping, but if it was removed, what was the reason? Whatever the reason it seems that it has been destroyed and has been currently replaced by a commercial balancing pond, plumbed straight into the River Axe.

 

The reason we feel SNCI and PROW issues are important is that if residents are going to try and protect and defend our rural environment, identity and community on environmental issues (one of the three sustainability strands the others being economic and social) NSC/BPC need to support their own policies and not allow economic/commercial/tourism development to take priority on these sites. Other sites that are 'protected' by environmental policies include:

  • South Hill - SNCI with PROWs (PROWs have previously been re-directed and a route lost with little/no complaint from BPC/NSC)
  • Purn Hill - SNCI, SSSI PROWs, Wildlife Trust
  • Hellenge - AONB, SSSI, SNCI and PROWs, Wildlife Trust
  • Shiplate Slate SNCI, SSSI, ANOB
  • Coombe Farm - SNCI
  • Bleadon Hill Fields - SNCI

SNCI Before balancing pond

Aug 16

During Pond Construction & connection to River Axe

Nov 16

Afterwards/Now Oct 17

Googlemap of Purn Caravan SNCI Aug 16

 

Link to Purn caravan construction of pond

 

Balancing Pond Photo submitted to application by Developer

Link to NSC Purn Caravan SNCI

Pond to River Axe Construction Nov 16

Link to NSC Purn Caravan SNCI

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Comments (1)

I don't think this has been done very sympathetically. There has been a lot of clearing of hedges and trees to open the site up to the river, but the hedges and trees were surely part of the charm ? The new hedge planted on the old market site is much less useful to wildlife than the one that was ripped up.