Labour councillors have failed to support plans for a new aerospace hub and protection of the Green Belt, whilst the LibDems are split – according to Conservative councillors in South Gloucestershire.
At a meeting on Wednesday 14th December, councillors agreed to submit to a planning inspector a revised future development blueprint – its Core Strategy – that now includes the re-development of Filton Airfield and safeguarding of 50 ha of aerospace land to allow local firms to expand and new ones to locate here.
The Core Strategy still includes the protection of the Green Belt stretching from Pilning all the way through to Frampton Cotterell and down the east of Kingswood – areas that had been under severe threat from the previous government’s Regional Spatial Strategy.
And the airfield’s redevelopment would strengthen that protection even more.
But in the main vote only Conservative councillors unanimously backed these plans. Labour abstained and the LibDem group was split down the middle with some voting for and against.
Cllr Robert Griffin (Con, Pilning & Severn Beach) said:
“I am pleased that the Core Strategy has been approved including the defence of the Pilning Green Belt and promotion of a new M49 junction, but I am disappointed that the other parties did not join the Conservatives in unanimously supporting these aims.”
“You just need to look at GKN’s decision to build their factory near Severn Beach to see that a runway is not a pre-requisite for a successful aerospace company.”
“But Labour’s overnight aerospace experts cannot seem to grasp that.”
“GKN ship all their manufactured components out by lorry.”
Cllr Steve Reade (Con, Boyd Valley), who was a leading member of the Siston and Warmley Save Our Green Spaces Group prior to being elected onto the council in May, said:
“It’s a shame to say the least that the Labour Group and some LibDem councillors were unable see the bigger picture – namely that failing to back the Core Strategy was giving the nod to developers to rip up whatever countryside they wanted to, including the Shortwood and Wick Green Belt.”
Cllr Ian Adams (Con, Siston) said:
“Labour almost succeeded in giving developers the Christmas present of a lifetime – a free reign to build houses where ever they like.”
“I’m glad, however, that Siston and Warmley’s precious Green Belt is now better protected than it was before the council meeting.”
“But until the independent inspector has signed off the council’s blueprint, we need to keep our guard up against developers lining up their unsustainable Green Belt planning applications, including in Warmley.”
Cllr Erica Williams (Con, Bitton) added:
“What we saw at this council meeting was a surprising Labour U-turn when compared to last year’s Core Strategy vote – this time around they refused to put their hands up in support of Conservative efforts to protect the local Green Belt, particularly east of the ring road.”
“What a difference a year seems to make when it comes to Labour’s commitment to the Kingswood Green Belt.”
“And sadly yet again we saw some LibDem councillors vote against protecting Green Belt areas like Bitton.”
Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council