Children of author Dick King-Smith speak out against house building plans for Woodlands Farm

February 28 2017

RESIDENTS opposed to house building on land at Woodlands Farm, Coalpit Heath, have won the support of the children of author Dick King-Smith in their fight to keep the space open.

RESIDENTS opposed to house building on land at Woodlands Farm, Coalpit Heath, have won the support of the children of author Dick King-Smith in their fight to keep the space open.

Woodlands Farm was the inspiration for the children’s writer but is under threat from plans to build up to 215 houses on the site.

Members of the residents’ action group VALID had successfully resisted an earlier planning application in 2013.

VALID spokesman Pete Connors said the latest proposal submitted by developers Barratt and David Wilson Homes was smaller in scale but did nothing to address concerns that already overstretched local roads, schools and health services could cope with such an influx of new houses.

He said: “In addition, the area is valued as a vital green space and was the inspiration behind some of the writing of children’s author Dick King-Smith, including The Fox Busters and The Sheep Pig (Babe). 

“In response to this latest application Juliet King-Smith, Giles King-Smith and Liz Rose, children of Mr King-Smith, have written to express their concerns about the proposal.”

They said: “We all feel that it would be a terrible shame if the farm's land was sold off to developers.

“We would so much like it if Woodlands Farm - the house and its land - were allowed to remain as they were, an inspiration to our late father, Dick, for the stories he would subsequently write - animal tales that have helped educate generations of children and have delighted them, their teachers and parents.”

Claire Young, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Thornbury and Yate, said: ”There’s considerable disappointment locally that Barratt Homes are back again, trying to build on this much valued piece of countryside.

“Not only was their last application refused, their attempts to get the land allocated for housing in the core strategy failed too. Many of the concerns raised then still apply to this application."