The row over Filton Airfield is distracting from the fight to save the local Green Belt, according to local Conservative campaigners.
At a council meeting on Wednesday 14th December, planning officers at South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) are asking councillors to submit to a planning inspector a revised future development blueprint – its Core Strategy – that includes the re-development of Filton Airfield, which local aerospace companies have said could strengthen the industry by making more aerospace land available for expanding firms.
The Core Strategy still includes the protection of the Green Belt stretching from Pilning through to Frampton Cotterell and down the east of Kingswood – areas that had been under threat from the previous government’s Regional Spatial Strategy.
And the airfield’s redevelopment would strengthen that protection even more.
But if local authorities do not have an up-to-date future development plan that tells developers which areas they can develop, then they can put forward areas of their choosing, including the Green Belt.
This has been tried by developers in Longwell Green and Oldland Common and another developer is promoting over two thousand homes on Green Belt land in Warmley.
Cllr Steve Reade (Con, Boyd Valley), who was a leading member of the Siston and Warmley Save Our Green Spaces prior to being elected onto the council in May, said:
“The future of the airfield is an important issue for the council’s Core Strategy planning blueprint – but it’s not the only issue.”
“There’s a very real concern that with all the focus being on the airfield, that the clear and present danger to our precious local Green Belt is overlooked.”
Cllr Ian Adams (Con, Siston) said:
“Developers are lining up their unsustainable Green Belt planning applications, including in Warmley, in the hope that the Core Strategy falls because of a political row over the airfield.”
“A council that is unable to agree where developers can go is on every developer’s Christmas wish list because it means that they can try and develop wherever they want to.”
Cllr Erica Williams (Con, Bitton) added:
“We have already come together as a community to resist damaging Green Belt development at Barry Road in Oldland Common and we want to keep these developers at bay.”
“That’s why it’s so important that the Core Strategy is approved at the forthcoming Full Council meeting.”
“A vote against the Core Strategy is a vote against our local Green Belt.”
More info: Agenda for Wednesday’s Council meeting (SGC)
Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council