Second planning reversal means 207 homes can now be built at village near Yate
A NEW estate of homes surrounding Yate Town Football Club's ground can now be built, after a council committee overruled a previous decision to refuse planning permission.
The 118-house development by Redrow Homes next to Engine Common has been given the go-ahead less than three weeks after a scheme to build 89 houses on land around 250 metres away was approved, which means a total of 207 new houses are now set to be built in and around the village on the outskirts of Yate.
Approval for both schemes has been given by South Gloucestershire Council's spatial planning committee.
The council's strategic sites delivery committee had rejected the Redrow scheme, saying that Yate's "urban sprawl" would swallow Engine Common if it was built – but as that decision went against a council officer's recommendations, the higher committee was asked to reconsider the plan and approved it by 4 votes to 3 on January 25.
Yate Town FC supported the plans, as the developer promised to pay for new floodlights, fencing and other improvements if they were approved.
Representing the club, Mark Thorne said it was struggling to raise funds for a new community building and multi-use games area which would make a “massive” difference, and the developer’s financial contribution would be “fundamental” to those plans.
He said: “After a really challenging 2020, this year looks set to be another difficult one, and we need all the help we can get.”
The club's ground in Lodge Road will be almost completely surrounded by the new housing estate, on four fields north of Iron Acton Way, next to Dyer's Lane.
One of the fields which will be developed, looking from Dyer's Lane towards Yate Town FC
Redrow's agent Matthew Kendrick said the new homes would be built within a year.
A planning officer said the extra housing, including 42 affordable homes and six self-build properties, was in a “particularly sustainable location” and outweighed the harms of building in the countryside against council policy.
Opponents of the plans, who included 84 residents, all three local councillors, Yate Town Council and Iron Acton Parish Council, said the “speculative” development would “violate” the local plan, be “car-dependent” and would blur the lines between Yate and Engine Common, harming the special character and identity of the village.
Speaking on behalf of local residents, Andrew Beard said: “The short-term benefits are all well and good; I’ve got nothing against Yate Town Football Club.
“But if you approve this today on short-term benefits, what you will do is deliver long-lasting generational change to the loss of countryside and you’ll have done it outside of your local plan process.”
Council officers warned members of the spatial planning committee that rejecting the application could lead to a costly appeal against the council.
The fields to be developed by Redrow Homes (B), next to Yate Town FC's ground (C), are about 250m from a site where 89 new homes have been approved (A)
He said the previous reasons for refusal did not stand up, and that a rejection would be “inconsistent” with the approval by the same committee on January 13 of Newland Homes' plans for 89 houses on a nearby site off North Road.
The Redrow Homes development would be far enough away from Engine Common and screened by mature trees and existing houses, so would not harm the village’s special character and identity, officers said.
The plans also include solar roofing panels, electric vehicle charging points, allotments and a play area, and the developer would pay to improve a nearby bus stop and provide nearly £985,000 for infrastructure to support the development, they added.
The officers said the site was close to public transport links, jobs, schools, and most services and facilities were in walking or cycling distance.
But Liberal Democrat councillor for Frampton Cotterell, Claire Young, told the committee the nearest primary school was already full and that the Post Office and shop were no longer in local pub the Codrington Arms but a one-hour-a-week mobile service.
“The reality is, if you want a pint of milk you’re not going to walk to get it from this site,” she said.
Cllr Judy Adams (Con, Emersons Green) said she thought the development would be a “great asset” but Cllr Katie Cooper (Lab, Staple Hill & Mangotsfield) said she did not think it was “special enough” to “give up our countryside”.
By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service