Concern about threat to green spaces in Wells

January 31 2018
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COUNCILLORS are concerned about loss of green space in Wells as a result of proposals in the draft Mendip Local Plan (II).

Public consultation is currently under way about the plan, which designates where building can take place and where there should be open space, and which was discussed at a Wells City Council planning committee meeting on January 18.

Committee members are concerned that areas they had asked to be designated as protected open space – such as the Athletic Ground, the rugby ground and the area around the leisure centre – have not been listed as such.

“We have very little green space. All we have is the Athletic Ground and the rugby ground and it seems to be under threat from Mendip,” said Councillor Norman Kennedy.

“If we lose just one where are the green spaces going to be?” asked Councillor Gordon Wilson.

“If we reduce our green space any more we’re stoking up tension and problems. People have got to go not too far from their front door. Preserving these trumps any development.”

Councillor Maureen Brandon said: “When my friends and I grew up I don’t know what we would have done without our open spaces. I don’t know what our life would have been like. We just would have been on our roller skates making a nuisance of ourselves around town.”

Under the plan’s proposals, up to 120 homes could be built at land off Bubwith Walk; up to 60 homes at the rugby ground; up to 25 homes as part of mixed use scheme to include residential and employment uses at Tincknells, Strawberry Way; and up to 100 homes on land off Elm Close, designated as a Future Growth Area to be developed after 2024/25.

The redevelopment of the rugby ground for housing is linked to the relocation of the club to a new site at Haybridge.

Two members of the public who spoke at the meeting voiced concerns about any new development at Bubwith Walk. Their concerns included access problems because of parked cars in the vicinity, the impact on wildlife and fears about contamination and odour from the sewage treatment plant.

The Local Plan consultation continues until February 12. More information is available on Mendip District Council’s website, www.mendip.gov.uk/localplanpart2, or from Customer Access Points. The access point in Wells is open at the Town Hall on Tuesdays and Fridays (10am-1pm and 2pm-4.30pm).

• Among other planning matters discussed, the committee objected to the fencing proposed as a replacement for a diseased hedge at 14 Chamberlain Street, Wells, and asked for something more in keeping with a conservation area, and requested that a copper beech that needs felling at 22 Milton Lane, Wells, be replaced with another copper beech.

• Picture, top: Councillors Norman Kennedy, left, and Gordon Wilson