Third new housing estate will see village near Yate 'double in size'

July 20 2021
Third new housing estate will see village near Yate 'double in size'

A VILLAGE near Yate will “effectively double” in size after a third housing development was approved in the space of just seven months.

A VILLAGE near Yate will “effectively double” in size after a third housing development was approved in the space of just seven months.

Opponents said Engine Common could not take any more housing, due to a lack of shops, school places and health facilities.

But a planning committee voted to approve plans for 31 more homes to be built at Engine Common yesterday, as recommended by council officers.

The new houses from Cotswold Homes, 11 of which will be affordable, will sit on fields to the west of the village in the open countryside, just outside the official settlement boundary.

Development in the open countryside runs contrary to the local authority’s planning policies.

But Cotswold Homes said its application represented “infill development” in the context of two other housing estates approved near the two fields, north of Lodge Road, earlier this year.

South Gloucestershire Council gave permission to Redrow Homes to build 118 homes on fields immediately to the west, and granted Newland Homes consent for another 89 houses on North Road, to the north east, in January.

All three applications were approved despite strong public opposition.

Liberal Democrat councillor Claire Young, who represents Frampton Cotterell on the district council, said: “This council – if you give permission today – will have given permission to effectively double the size of Engine Common in just seven months.

That’s quite a dramatic change to the size of the community and with the consequent impacts on the identity of that community.”

Written objections to the latest application were submitted by 30 residents, local Lib Dem councillor Tristan Clarke, Iron Acton Parish Council and Yate Town Council. Only three members of the public expressed support for the proposal.

Opponents objected for a raft of reasons, including the conflict with the council’s planning policy, a lack of local facilities, a consequent reliance on cars, and the effect of the development on the immediate neighbours, traffic, parking and road safety, especially on match days at Yate Town Football Club.

Parish council chair Catherine Speeding said the two earlier applications were granted “without any plans to increase facilities” and granting the third “would result in 238 homes all vying for a share in local resources for which no extra provision seems to have been made”.

Lynn Noble, who sits on the parish council but spoke as a resident, said Lodge Road was “not suitable” for development and the extra cars would make it dangerous for children who walk along the road to school.

The school is oversubscribed for a minimum of three years,” she added. “We have no shops, no amenities. You could possibly walk to the shop but you’d never walk back with shopping.

How much more development can North Road and Engine Common take?”

The three closest schools to the development site are full, the nearest shop is two miles away, and the closest healthcare facility is a pharmacy 1.8 miles away, the meeting heard.

But a planning officer said the distances were compliant with council policy and the proximity of Yate Railway Station makes Engine Common one of the most “sustainable” development sites in South Gloucestershire.

He said officers were satisfied the development would not cause significant problems on the roads or for existing residents, and had good access to services and facilities. 

He acknowledged the conflict with the council’s adopted spatial strategy, but said officers concluded the harms were outweighed by the benefits, which included adding to the council’s five-year supply of housing, which a planning inspector has described as “marginal”.

All three developers, including Cotswold Homes, will pay a community infrastructure levy to “offset the impacts of these developments”, the officer said.

Cotswold Homes agent Liam Rinn said the company had modified its proposal after “extensive discussions” with statutory consultees and council officers, reducing the number of homes by three and widening the green corridor separating it from the Redrow Homes estate. The new homes will be two storeys high at most but will lie close to the back gardens of existing homes on North Road.

Committee members expressed reservations about the development but voted four to one in favour of approval. Two councillors abstained from the vote.

Conservative councillor Roger Avenin said there did not appear to be enough local facilities when the “cumulative impact” of the three developments was considered.

Labour councillor Michael Bell said he was concerned by the distances people would have to travel to get basic services such as shops, schools, doctors and dentists.

Conservative councillor June Bamford said future occupiers would have to get in their cars to go shopping, and the schools were full, but there were “some positives” to the development, such as good design and landscaping.

By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service