A CAMPAIGN is building to fight a serious threat to Hanham’s green belt.

Developers Redrow want to put 149 homes on fields off Hencliffe Way, which protesters fear could lead to further housebuilding in open spaces.

Residents have been quick to voice their concerns, with nearly 1,000 signing a petition entitled ‘Hanham – Say No to Redrow’.

Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore, who has campaigned against building on the green belt since he was elected 13 years ago, has met local people and pledged his support. 

Redrow and Ashfield Land unveiled their proposals for the site, known locally as The Batch, in February in a three-week online consultation. They said residents’ comments on their ‘masterplan’ would shape their outline planning application, which they anticipate putting in to South Gloucestershire Council this spring.

But people who attended Hanham Abbots Parish Council on February 7 were advised not to answer the developers’ specific questions but simply to state their opposition to housing development in the green belt. 

The same advice came from Hanham District Green Belt Conservation Society, who accused the developers of ‘fishing’ for information from locals to finesse their building plans.

The developers, however, say action has to be taken now because local authorities do not have a clear plan for how they will meet the acute need for housing in the region. 

What opponents say

‘This proposal is an attack on an area known for its beauty, wildlife and ecosystems. 

It is a disaster for the local environment, residents and visitors who currently use this space.

This proposal is on top of the 200+ homes currently being built on the old Kleeneze site next to Hanham High Street putting even more pressure on overstretched public services in the area. If it goes ahead it will be yet another major development in the area in the last few years, with no increase or expansion to already oversubscribed services such as doctors, schools, roads, etc.’

Petition: Hanham – Say No to Redrow

‘I’ve lived in the Hanham area for many years and the thought of building on this land is heartbreaking. We need to look after our precious countryside not build all over it.’

Online comment

‘We are strongly opposed to building on green belt land including “The Batch”, green belt land behind Hencliffe Way, Water Lane/Bickley Close and Castle Farm Road in Hanham.

This area of green belt land has been under threat of development for many years. 

We have been in contact with South Glos Council and our local MP for some time and will be taking legal advice if required.’

Hanham District Green Belt Conservation Society

‘The proposed development is on green belt land and that should be good enough reason. In addition there is not the infrastructure and services that the additional inhabitants will require access to – schools, GP practices, NHS dentists, etc.. Access to the site is aiso inadequate. Any housing crisis will not be resolved by this proposed development; the homes will be priced too high or very few will be at a low price/shared ownership.’

 Online comment

‘Prepare for battle’

MP Chris Skidmore has urged residents to start straight away to build a campaign against the latest threat to the  green belt.

Meeting objectors at The Batch, he said he was confident that strong local opposition could defeat the proposed development. 

He said the Hanham green belt was a vital “green lung” between Bristol and Bath and if it fell other agricultural land in the area could also be targeted for housing.

Conservative Mr Skidmore, who is standing down at the election, called for a cross-party campaign and said he would work with the Greens, Labour and the Lib Dems on the issue. 

Hanham Abbots Parish Council has reiterated its opposition to building on green-belt land and will support residents if a planning application is made by Redrow and Ashfield Land.