Saltford Environment Group
STOP PRESS: See our top story: Saltford Green Belt Inquiry: Secretary of State determines against the development!
Recent Headlines - click on link to see story on this page:-
You can find lots more news further down the page or on our theme pages.
Saltford Green Belt Inquiry: Secretary of State determines against the development!
Following his decision, announced on 18th September, that as "the appeal involves proposals for significant development in the Green Belt" he would determine the appeal himself for the Crest Nicholson planning application to build up to 99 dwellings on Saltford's Green Belt south of the Manor Road fields, the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, Eric Pickles, has ruled (on 4.3.2014) in favour of not allowing the proposed development on Saltford's Green Belt to proceed.
The following is a statement by Saltford Environment Group in response to that news:-
SEG welcomes this decision. The Secretary of State, on examining the evidence given at the Inquiry and the Inspector's report, has overruled the Inspector's recommendation to allow the development. The Secretary of State's overall conclusions were:
We wish to thank everyone who joined the campaign to oppose the proposed housing development on Saltford's Green Belt.
We especially wish to recognise and thank the Saltford Green Belt Campaign for helping to demonstrate the residents' opposition to building on Saltford's Green Belt.
We would also like to thank local councillors from all political parties who opposed this planning application, our MP Jacob Rees-Mogg for his advice and support, B&NES Council Planning Department for its work relating to this Inquiry, and also our Parish Council for its support.
As we have reported on our website in recent weeks, we are conscious that there may be further attempts by developers to build on our Green Belt. This important decision by the Secretary of State does show that the community was right to defend Saltford's Green Belt. We hope progress on the Core Strategy can be made rapidly so that we do not face a similar situation again.
[END of Statement.]
Our evidence including the Sustainability Appraisal and further background information including photographs can be found on our Green Belt page.
Celebrate our campaign to save the Green Belt with a special canvas print
Made from a photograph taken in May 2013 and featured in the Sustainability Appraisal of the Planning Application submitted to the Inquiry by SEG, this special print is available to order from Signs of Saltford to help you celebrate the beauty of our countryside and to hang in your home as a memento of the efforts by the residents of Saltford to protect our Green Belt.
Priced at £25 for the "Manor Road Fields" canvas print, a donation from each sale will go to help maintain SEG's funds.
To see what the frameless mounted canvas print looks like and how you can place an order for your own copy click here: canvas print details (pdf).
21st Century Rain Forest Conservation talk in Bath (20 March)
Dr Jennifer Hill, Associate Professor of Geography, University of the West of England, is giving an illustrated talk on "21st Century Rain Forest Conservation” at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (16 Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HN - Tel: 01225 312084) on Thursday 20th March, 7.30pm - 8.30pm. Visitors £4, members/students £2.
Dr Hill will summarise the nature and value of tropical rainforest and identify the major threats to the biome and how the biome has traditionally been protected, offering a case study of 'fortress' conservation from Ghana in West Africa, and examine forms of 'new' conservation, where maintaining bio-diversity in place is promoted as a competitive form of land use. Ecotourism in the tropical forest of Peru and payment for environmental services via reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in the Amazon will also be discussed.
More details on the BRLSI website at: www.brlsi.org/node/58601.
Fairtrade coffee producer from Nicaragua comes to Saltford
Saltford's Fairtrade Group arranged for Fairtrade coffee producer Margarita Espinoza from Nicaragua to come and visit Saltford on 4th March (2014).
The day included a visit and talk to Saltford Primary School and culminated in an informal short talk and discussion at Saltford Hall where Margarita explained how the Fairtrade system had funded children's educational resources and health education for her village as well as improvements to local roads thus benefitting the wider community.
This was a great way to learn about how Fairtrade works in practice for ensuring better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries.
For more information on Fairtrade, visit our Fairtrade page.
Large attendance at Saltford station consultation event - still time to submit comments
Future-proofing transport with a lasting legacy for Saltford
It is estimated that over 500 Saltford residents attended the public consultation drop-in event on February 25th at Saltford Hall.
The event took place following SEG's request in autumn 2012 to B&NES Council to hold a village-wide consultation on the idea of reopening Saltford's railway station, that was closed in 1970, as part of the proposed Bristol Metro rail network. Council transport officers were present to answer questions from residents about the proposals.
Carefully designed and implemented, the station would be a positive asset for our village. Speaking before the event, Chris Warren, the station campaign leader said: "I am delighted that the consultation event is taking place. This is one more step forward towards the re-opening of the station. It would be crazy for half-hourly Metro West services to pass through Saltford without stopping".
B&NES are seeking views on how often residents might use the station, how they would get there (e.g. walk, bus, cycle, or drive) and what approach should be taken to manage vehicles wishing to park at the station.
B&NES have published the exhibition panels on their website at www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/parking-and-travel/transport-plans-and-policies/saltford-railway-station.
B&NES are also seeking as many completed questionnaires from Saltford's residents as possible until the deadline of 26 March - the online questionnaire is available on this web page (click on the blue "Respond online" button, top RH side of the page): www.bathnes.gov.uk/consultations/saltford-railway-station-survey (or for direct link to form click here: www.bathnes.gov.uk/consultations/39973/webform).
Once the results of the questionnaires have been collated and analysed by B&NES, a report will be produced to show the outcome of the consultation and the consultant's report. The conclusions of the report will be considered by the Cabinet in due course in order that a decision can be taken whether to fund further work on the business case for the station.
SEG's information sheet making the case for re-opening Saltford station and answering key questions/concerns can be downloaded here (word doc, opens in new window):
For further information on the case for re-opening the station see our station page.
Sustainable transport charity Sustrans have been appointed by B&NES Council to carry out a Cycling Audit and Review. This consultation will take place through 3 public consultation events across Bath and North East Somerset and through the use of a web-based mapping tool. The community's cyclists will be able to plot their preferred routes (either existing or proposed) via this tool.
Cyclists can participate in the online survey to identify how they travel around the county by bike and what needs to be improved via this Sustrans website: http://maps.sustrans.org.uk/staging/activetravel/banesintro.html. We have not been advised of the time limit for participation in the survey.
Drop-in session - there is also the opportunity to attend a drop-in session to give your views in person at the Royal British Legion, Charlton Road, Keynsham BS31 2JA on Friday 28th February from 13:00 hrs - 20:00 hrs.
Crafting paper flowers
Our 'Make it Magic' upcyling craft group March workshop will be on March 20th (7pm-9pm) at Signs of Saltford (through the workshop entrance) when we will be crafting paper flowers that can used in many different decorative ways. Come and join us for a relaxed, friendly evening to create something unique.
Our meetings are free and everyone is welcome as are any craft ideas that you would like to work on. If you would like more information, please ring Frances Eggbeer on 01225 872833.
Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, Sunday 27 April
If you are able to get yourself up early, why not join the Keynsham and Saltford Branch of the Avon Wildlife Trust for a few hours listening to, and watching the birds get up after a night's roosting? This year's Dawn Chorus will be held on Sunday 27th April 4.45am - 8.00am, starting at Saltford Shallows car park.
You will be in for a treat, especially if the weather is good. It is remarkable how reliable different bird species are at waking up in a particular sequence. Songs of all common species will be pointed out and their identification features clarified.
The walk will follow the railway path cycle track towards Bitton as far as the bridge over the river Avon, and back again.
Wrap up warm as it can be very cold that early. Binoculars and a bird identification guide will be helpful for once it gets light. Above all you need good ears to be able to pick out the 30+ different species the annual walk normally finds! A hot flask of your favourite beverage is recommended.
For further information and to confirm your attendance, contact Dave Sage on mobile 0789--971--6068 the week before the event.
Parish Council urges Saltford to respond to bus fare consultation
First Bus is running a fare consultation in the West of England area from 1 February - 16 March. The consultation follows a similar review of bus fares in and around Bristol last year, which led to changes being implemented in the city last November. This latest review is looking at all First West of England services outside of Bristol's inner zone. Keynsham is in the First Bus Inner zone, however Saltford, a large village of over 4000 residents, is in the First Bus Outer zone.
Saltford Parish Council wishes to ensure that Saltford's residents make their views regarding bus fares known to First Bus in this latest fare consultation, whether they currently use the bus services or not. The Parish Council expects to receive paper copies of the questionnaire which will be made available in Saltford Library and other village locations where possible. To find out more about the consultation and to complete the online version of the survey visit www.fairerfaresforall.co.uk.
Frack Free February
Frack Free February is a 'Month of Action' in Somerset with public meetings, film showings (including Frack Free Somerset's new film 'The Truth Behind the Dash for Gas'), talks, stalls, workshops, actions and more all raising awareness about the potential impacts and threats to our communities and the bigger picture of fracking and onshore gas. It provides an opportunity for you to learn more about this controversial subject.
For details of events around the area visit Frack Free Somerset's special 'Frack Free February' web page: www.frackfreesomerset.org/frack-free-february-2014/.
We have more information about fracking on our fracking page.
Saltford's Placemaking Plan published (December 2013)
Saltford's Placemaking Plan was produced by a Working Group appointed by the Parish Council and published on the Parish Council website in December (2013). The community was consulted on its contents between 23 November and 6 December 2013.
The purpose of this plan is to complement the strategic planning framework provided in Bath & North East Somerset Council's Core Strategy. It provides an updated and refreshed planning policy framework for managing development in the Parish of Saltford. The plan breaks Saltford down into 7 distinct character zones: Green Belt, Conservation Area, housing settlements (north and south of the A4), river Avon frontage, A4 corridor and the two large satellite sites within the Green Belt.
The following is a short extract from the Green Belt character assessment (Chapter 6):
The Cotswold AONB ridge and the distinctive local landmark of Kelston Round Hill (also known as Kelston Tump) together with Saltford's Green Belt and the river Avon provides a rural setting for the village. Despite Saltford's proximity to the cities of Bath and Bristol and the neighbouring town of Keynsham, this landscape gives Saltford its own distinctive character complementing and preserving both the setting of Saltford's Conservation Area with its historical buildings and the newer housing developments within the village.
The openness of Saltford's Green Belt also provides a sense of permanence to the countryside surrounding the village, provides separation whilst keeping in check urban sprawl from Keynsham, Bristol and Bath, and helps to safeguard the adjacent countryside including the Cotswold AONB from encroachment.
It is also a very important green infrastructure asset for Saltford and the wider community of Bath & North East Somerset. It provides ecosystems that support agriculture and wildlife together with an element of flood protection for the village from the river Avon and from surface water flooding arising from extreme rainfall events.
You can view the Placemaking Plan on the Saltford Parish Council website from this link: Saltford Placemaking Plan on SPC website.
Free local horse manure for SEG members
Vegetables etc. grow well with horse manure!
SEG members Neil and Sam who keep horses in the end field south of Manor Road by Longwood lane, are offering SEG members free horse manure.
If you would like some horse manure for your vegetables or roses etc. and you can collect it yourself, contact Neil on 0771 -- 270 -- 8631. This is for SEG members only for their own gardens (i.e. not for re-sale).
For future reference, this service is highlighted on our Gardening page.
New threat to Saltford's Green Belt! Merging Keynsham with Saltford?
SEG became aware on 5th December that the developers for the east of Keynsham Green Belt development, Mactaggart & Mickel Ltd, also wish to build on the Green Belt between Saltford and Keynsham, i.e. land directly adjacent to Grange Road and also surrounding Copse Road. The proposed development was not in the public consultation documentation launched on 23rd November 2013 for the east of Keynsham Green Belt development but an outline plan appears on the B&NES Core Strategy website with other core documents (link to outline plan - pdf opens in new window). It is part of Mactaggart & Mickel Ltd's master plan for development in this area.
The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) Findings report (November 2013) from B&NES states that Mactaggart & Mickel "are promoting the whole of the Keynsham - Saltford gap to the South of the railway line. It is important to note that they are promoting not only the land to the west of the gas main, but also the land to the east i.e. a westward expansion of Saltford. To the north of the railway line (area b) a single land owner is promoting a mixed use housing, employment and marina development on an area described as the Broadmead peninsula."
This is just a proposal; no planning application has been submitted yet.
SEG is naturally strongly opposed to this proposal. The Green Belt land at this location serves several purposes described in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as reasons for protecting the Green Belt from development, namely:
SEG has advised our Parish Council about this development and had discussions with its Planning Committee. We also contacted the Planning Department at B&NES. As this is not in the Core Strategy proposals from B&NES, B&NES is not supportive of this development and is NOT currently proposing the release of any land from the Green Belt on the Saltford side of the gap between Saltford and Keynsham. Furthermore, the Green Belt review report (April 2013) by Arup for the draft Core Strategy stated the following: "Also of importance is preventing the merger of Keynsham and Saltford on the basis that these settlements are located between Bristol and Bath and the existing Green Belt gap between the two settlements is relatively narrow."
There is a risk that the Inspector examining the Core Strategy, Simon Emerson, might instruct B&NES to look again at proposals like this despite it being on the Green Belt and a development that would be contrary to Saltford's Placemaking Plan. However, as this would represent a change to the Core Strategy, B&NES would need to consult on such a modification before it could be adopted in the Core Strategy.
Reducing your home energy costs
Easier access to grants, loans and home energy assessments
B&NES Council and the Centre for Sustainable Energy's Home Energy Team are working together to give residents across B&NES easier access to grants and loans for insulation and boiler upgrades as well as energy assessments. Whilst some of the funding schemes are subject to eligibility, there is free and impartial advice available to all householders. You can ring the CSE Home Energy Team on freephone 0800 082 2234 or visit www.cse.org.uk/energy-at-home for further details.
Drop-in energy advice, Bath
Worried about rising energy prices, keeping your home warm this winter, and your carbon footprint? The Centre for Sustainable Energy is running a monthly (first Friday of every month, 10am-12noon) drop-in energy advice surgery from the Manvers Street One-Stop-Shop in Bath. The last session will be on 1 August 2014. Anyone with any questions or worries is welcome to drop in and get free advice.
The Government has produced an online guide Helping consumers with energy to help householders towards lower bills and warmer homes. It covers subjects from managing bills and getting the best tariff, to sources of advice and help as well as information on financial help, switching suppliers and winter and cold weather payments.
You can download it from the DECC website from this link Helping consumers with energy (external site, opens in new window).
There are further tips and ideas etc. on our Energy page.
Graffiti has no place in Saltford
In an effort to remove graffiti from the village, Saltford Parish Council is asking everyone to report instances of graffiti to the Parish Clerk (email@example.com) giving clear details of the location and if possible a photo and details of the likely ownership of the property. These will then be recorded, reported as appropriate and followed up.
SEG is supportive of this initiative from our Parish Council.
Guides supporting Saltford's insect life
The 2nd Saltford Guides have been working with SEG to improve habitats for local insects and bees as part of their Community Action badge. After learning about bees and bugs, their diets and the threats to them in modern society from SEG's bee and insect welfare adviser, Bronwen Campbell, the girls made their own bug hotels. Using a range of materials they got their hands dirty with saws and screwdrivers to construct their hotels.
Each bug hotel was unique and handmade. The hotels were available for sale on the Guiding stall at the Christmas Market on 30th November 2013 in Saltford Hall - they all sold out very quickly!
Railway Path Habitat Restoration Project off to a good start
Work clearing the scrub and young trees on the west side of the railway path for a stretch between Saltford and Bath started on 11th November (see photographs above). The following describes this local habitat improvement project organised by SEG:-
The Bristol-Bath Railway Path is a very important corridor for wildlife. Part of its importance comes from the variety of natural habitats it contains. However, some habitats require management to prevent their change to others. One of the most fragile is flower-rich rough grassland: 40 years ago this was a predominant habitat in the Kelston - Saltford stretch of the track, but in the interim most has turned into scrub and young woodland. As well as wild flowers, many insects and other invertebrates of grassland do not survive in scrub.
SEG would like to thank Chris, Paul and Paula of Short Cut Services (mobile 07970 799 453) for their key role in cutting and clearing the timber etc.
For further information including a description of works from an ecological viewpoint, see our wildlife page.
Protecting your home and business from flooding
Businesses are more likely to be flooded than destroyed by fire. And flooding costs money. According to the Environment Agency, in 2012, businesses saw losses of around £155 million due to floods, including £55 million in property damage and £15 million in loss of production of goods and services.
There are easy things you can do to protect your business from flooding:
As householders, this issue affects all of us too. It's impossible to completely flood-proof a property but there are lots of things you can do to reduce flood damage. The Environment Agency publishes guidance on how to prepare your property for flooding here: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31644.aspx.
For the Environment Agency's web page advice on how to prepare a flood plan for your business click here: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/flooding/32362.aspx.
Alternatively, for the Environment Agency/Climate UK's Business Resilience Healthcheck website, click here: www.businessresiliencehealthcheck.co.uk.
Saltford Fairtrade Village signs in place
On the wet Monday morning of 21 October 2013, Saltford based 'Signs of Saltford' erected the road signs showing that Saltford has "Fairtrade Village status" on the entrance at each end of the village on the A4.
Also pictured here standing proudly by the newly erected sign at the West end of the village is Saltford Parish Council Chairman Duncan Hounsell and members of SEG's Fairtrade Group who have worked tirelessly to achieve Fairtrade status for Saltford. The Fairtrade Foundation awarded Saltford Fairtrade status on 4th April 2013 and our certificate was formally handed over in July 2013.
For more information about Saltford's Fairtrade Village status see our Fairtrade page.
Future-proof your home for electric transport (for free!)
Whether you plan to buy an electric car soon or at some point in the future, one thing you will almost certainly need for your home is a specially installed charging point. During August (2013) our Chairman Phil Harding has taken advantage of a Government funded scheme to provide 100% funding for the installation of charging points at domestic premises.
The image shown is the POD Point as installed in Phil's garage. The plug for the car (not in the picture) fits into a wall socket for tidy storage whilst not in use. Phil chose a location for the POD Point within his garage that would permit charging to the front or rear of the vehicle as different cars do have their charging sockets located in different positions.
In just two hours contractors from Robson Electrics installed in Phil's garage a "POD Point Home Charge Unit" together with a replacement consumer unit that incorporates a RCD (residual-current device) that will cut off the power instantly to the POD Point and the other power circuits in the garage. So, if Phil is cutting the hedge and accidentally cuts through the power lead to his hedge-trimmer, he should be safe! The POD Point can be installed in a garage or externally on the wall of a house.
As electric vehicles become more cost effective, when the time comes for you to purchase one, having the charging point installed and ready could save you a considerable sum whilst making your home a more attractive purchase when you wish to move home.
If you wish to apply for a POD Point for your home, visit www.pod-point.com. PLEASE NOTE: It is SEG's policy as a general rule not to endorse individual products; if you decide to order a POD Point this is entirely at your own risk. However, when placing an order you may wish to mention that you heard about this scheme via Saltford Environment Group.
At present the POD Point (3.6 kW - a higher powered version is available at cost) can charge all electric vehicles that take a Type 1 connector. This is most electric vehicles currently on the market with the exception of just two vehicles, the BMW i3 and the Renault Zoe. A different plug can be supplied on request for those vehicles at cost.
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Saltford Environment Group
"Think global, act local"
Saltford Lock, a local beauty spot popular with visitors in the summertime. Photograph © Phil Harding
Link: current level of the River Avon in Saltford (recorded on the Environment Agency website).