Saltford Environment Group
Don't blight the land
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Stargazing location guide
Do you like the idea of a bit of star gazing but not sure where to go to get away from the glare of streetlights? The Avon and Bristol Branch of CPRE (The Countryside Charity) have a new free leaflet that will give you some ideas for star gazing locations in the Bristol and Bath area.
You can download the free pdf guide produced with the help of local astronomers from this external link: CPRE - Stargazing Locations.
SEG and SPC object to 70 more homes at Keynsham East on former Green Belt land
On the evening of 4th January 2022 Saltford Parish Council agreed its objection response to the outline planning application ref. 21/05471/OUT for 70 homes etc. near Minsmere Road in Keynsham from Taylor Wimpey. On 5th January 2022 SEG submitted its objection response to B&NES Council.
The wording of SEG's response was as follows:-
Saltford Environment Group objected to the previous planning application for this site, 18/02899/OUT, as other new developments in the Core Strategy followed by identification of a genuine need for further housing had not been completed whilst new or enhanced infrastructure (especially transport) was not already in place and found to be coping with the recent newly created demands placed on it. That situation as described in 2018 remains whilst traffic congestion in Keynsham and the surrounding area has continued to worsen considerably.
The Prime Minister publicly stated on 6th October 2021 that new homes should be built on brown field sites where homes make sense, NOT green field sites. He said: "you can also see how much room there is to build the homes that young families need in this country. Not on green fields, not just jammed in the South East, but beautiful homes on brown field sites in places where homes make sense." Furthermore, CPRE's recent report "Recycling our land: the state of brownfield report, 2021" found that previously developed land could accommodate over 1.3 million new homes in England - an increase of almost 10% on 2020.
SEG therefore asks B&NES Council to adhere to Government planning policy as explained by the Prime Minister and refuse this planning application. B&NES Council should negotiate with WECA on a sub-regional approach to ecological recovery, i.e., via ecological recovery and development land trading, an approach recently welcomed by the Minister of State for Housing in his letter to Jacob Rees-Mogg MP of 10th December 2021 (copy available from SEG on request). This will enable the West of England to meet housing need (not demand) in places where homes make sense, as identified by CPRE, whilst protecting biodiversity and the green fields and Green Belt land in the West of England for ecological recovery and protecting food security etc.
The UK is one of the world's most nature-depleted countries being in the bottom 10% globally and last among the G7 group of nations, with an average of just 53% of its native wildlife intact (source: Natural History Museum's Biodiversity Trends Explorer report, October 2021). It is essential therefore to meet new housing need where it makes sense on brown field sites whilst protecting from development existing green field and Green Belt land to optimise that land for ecological recovery to help reverse the catastrophic losses of the UK's native wildlife. That would be a positive response to the ecological emergency from the West of England and B&NES Council; any further destruction of existing and potential wildlife habitats is not sustainable development.
SEG agrees with the comments from Saltford Parish Council in its response to this planning application that new public parks, not just small, grassed areas with a few trees, should accompany and be located in the immediate vicinity of new housing developments. This would help ensure existing green spaces such as those along the River Avon valley are not inundated with high numbers of visitors including day-trippers exceeding the visitor capacity of those locations on hot weather weekends and disrupting or destroying wildlife habitat in the process; this has increasingly been the experience of recent years.
In summary, Keynsham and the surrounding area's woefully inadequate transport infrastructure needs to be improved and Keynsham already lacks sufficient green space for both ecological/wildlife recovery (a local and national priority) and for recreation, as a result of new developments in recent years.
There are no exceptional circumstances to justify this proposed inappropriate development. SEG also agrees with Saltford Parish Council's observation that B&NES Council should not pre-empt the Inspector's findings on the forthcoming public examination of the proposed LPPU for this and other parcels of land in Keynsham by permitting this application. Such a decision would call into question the legitimacy of B&NES Council's local planning process, particularly on a controversial development like this that has gained widespread opposition from the local community during the LPPU consultation and the previous planning application for this site (18/02899/OUT).
SEG members and others wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is 21 January 2022) can follow this link and key 21/05471/OUT into the B&NES Development Control web page search box: LINK >>. If you encounter difficulties with the B&NES website you can email your objection/comments to: [email link] but make sure you include the reference number for this planning application (21/05471/OUT).
Make sure you include in your objection your own personal planning reasons for why you do not want this development to be permitted, for example:
Big Garden Birdwatch 28 - 30 Jan
Big Garden Birdwatch is for everyone, whether you're a complete beginner or a birding expert. Simply count the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park for one hour between 28 and 30 January 2022.
Taking part is easy and this is a great chance to sit back, relax and watch birds and other wildlife for an hour - and to encourage younger members of your family to develop an interest in the local wildlife. By taking part, you'll find out all about the fascinating wildlife that flutters, crawls and hops in your garden, balcony or local area. And with a simple hour of mindful watching, you could have an hour to yourself, too.
Full details including resources and ideas including tips on making your garden an attractive place for birds to stop for a snack can be found on the RSPB website from this link:- RSPB Birdwatch.
You can also find more information on social media using the hashtag #BigGardenBirdWatch.
WECA bid to government re. Saltford Station unsuccessful
The bid for £50k by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to the DfT "restoring your railway" fund to help pay for up-to-date feasibility work on a Saltford Station was unsuccessful.
Supportive letters were sent from the leader of B&NES Council and also from the WECA Mayor. There were concerns raised with potential congestion on the line and how a Saltford Station would fit in with wider regional developments.
This is very disappointing but SEG's station campaign is waiting news of the next steps from WECA, for example whether WECA is prepared to fully fund the feasibility study itself so as to help ensure the Metro West project can include Saltford in the provision of better rail service availability.
Walking though Saltford's Geological Past - NEW Guide
A circular geology trail walking guide has been produced in 2021 for Saltford so that residents and visitors can explore the local geology for themselves.
Produced by SEG member, field naturalist and geologist Simon Carpenter and supported by the Geologists' Association Curry Fund, the descriptive walking guide is available as a downloadable pdf or a handy full colour printed guide from Saltford Heritage Centre - see SEG's Walks of Saltford page or SEG's Geology page to obtain your copy.
B&NES Council refuses commercial development between Saltford and Keynsham
On 15th December 2021 B&NES Council's Planning Committee REFUSED planning permission for outline application 20/02479/OUT for up to 5,950sqm of flexible use commercial development with primary access onto the A4 Bath Road submitted by Places for People Strategic Land. This was despite the planning officer's recommendation to permit the application.
In addition to strong objections to the proposed development from Keynsham Town Council, Saltford Parish Council and SEG, there were 147 objections submitted by third parties. The text of SEG's objection comment can be found in our 2020 News Archive for August 2020:- "SEG against more congestion on A4".
The reasons for the refusal were given in the Decision Notice (dated 16.12.2021) as follows:-
1. Comprehensive masterplan and direct access
The application is not accompanied by a comprehensive masterplan that has been subject to public consultation, does not meet the requirements of policy KE3a(3) and does not include direct highway access from Pixash Lane (via Worlds End Lane). The proposals therefore do not demonstrate a comprehensive approach to the development of the allocated employment land and do not ensure that that development is well integrated with neighbouring areas. The proposals are therefore contrary to the development plan, in particular policy KE3a of the Bath and North East Somerset Placemaking Plan.
2. Highways safety
The proposed access onto the A4 Bath Road would result in vehicles egressing the site experiencing excessive delays. Given the average length of delay, drivers would be likely to make unsafe manoeuvers onto a busy Class A road to the detriment of highways safety. The proposals are therefore contrary to the development plan, in particular policy ST7 of the Bath and North East Somerset Placemaking Plan.
B&NES Council approves Wessex Water's new access bridge and wetland habitat in Saltford
We are pleased to report that following Saltford Parish Council's and SEG's support responses for Wessex Water's planning application (reference 21/02322/FUL) to build a new access bridge and wetland habitat to facilitate a new permanent and more sustainable access route from the A431 into their sewage treatment and water recycling works in Mead Lane, B&NES Council approved the application on 15th December 2021.
The work is required is to facilitate construction work to enable the site to meet tighter regulations, which will improve river water quality, and to accommodate projected growth within Bath and the surrounding area. Site access via Saltford's Norman Road, High Street and Mead Lane for large lorries and tankers to the site has been problematic for many years as these are narrow residential roads, and single track without footpaths along several lengths.
The three main reasons why SEG supported the planning application were:-
*The Transport Statement by Atkins accompanying the planning application forecasts a post-construction increase in traffic on the A431 of just 1% eastbound and 2% westbound whereas the redistributed traffic impact on Norman Road routing through the High Street and Mead Lane (all residential side-roads) will be a 20% decrease of existing traffic.
Having a new wetland habitat in Saltford as part of the project, a habitat no longer present in this part of the Avon floodplain, will be an excellent additional outcome for the natural environment from this project. A net gain for biodiversity!
SEG understands that construction will commence in 2022 after compliance with several detailed environmental and other conditions of the planning permission has been met.
For more news stories from SEG visit our
Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG
Whilst our partner organisations such as Saltford Wombles (for tackling litter) and the Fairtrade Group always welcome volunteer assistance, SEG sometimes has specific roles or posts that need filling. Here are the current vacancies:-
Website skills wanted!
Updated January 2021
Our website is a popular resource for our members and others which means that in addition to keeping it relevant we want to make sure it continues to function as it should.
If you live in or near Saltford, care about your local environment and have current knowledge of website design and might be interested in using your IT skills for a bit of IT volunteering to help us behind the scenes please get in touch with our Chairman by email to email@example.com for a no-obligation chat on possible volunteer help.
Executive Committee: Want to help steer SEG?
Updated January 2021
SEG is seeking new Executive Committee members to help steer and develop SEG's future as we address the environmental concerns of our members at the local level. If you think you might like to get involved and join our Executive Committee (enthusiasm is more important than expertise!), please contact our Chairman, Phil Harding, for an informal non-committal chat.
The Executive Committee only meets 4 times a year (except during Covid-19 restrictions) and its working method is more about sharing ideas and getting things done in a friendly and productive atmosphere than being bogged down with time-consuming administration.
Saltford Heritage Centre's next scheduled public opening will be announced here.
"Don't blight the land
"Think global, act local"
All general, membership & urgent (e.g. Press) enquiries by email to our Chairman please from whom SEG's postal address, if required, can be obtained on authenticated* request *(to avoid junk mailing etc.).
HOW TO JOIN SEG: If you live, work or have a particular interest in Saltford & wish to join our email membership list please send an email to our Chairman. Please include your name, address & contact telephone number in your email application. NOTE: We provide information about membership including our simple code of conduct for members and personal data protection by SEG on our "About Us page".
Secretary: Karen O'Brien
Treasurer: Andrew Stainer
SEG Green Belt Campaign: - contact our Chairman (contact details above)
Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren
Saltford Fairtrade Group:
Saltford Heritage Centre
Saltford Wombles is independent of SEG but contact details can be found on our Less Waste page.
*EDITORIAL POLICY including SEO, web design and marketing for www.saltfordenvironmentgroup.org.uk
As a general rule our editorial content is sourced locally in Saltford and NE Somerset or from reputable non-commercial organisations based in the UK.
Will Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), website design, "content providers" and other similar companies please note that this website has all the SEO ranking, social media links, and smartphone compatibility that it requires to meet its specific objectives and enquiry emails on this topic including link requests will not receive a reply to save your time and ours.
SEG is not a commercial enterprise therefore companies that produce bespoke marketing materials or sponsored editorial content should also note that marketing emails or requests for placing links to other websites will not receive a reply as it is our policy not to reply to marketing emails of this nature unless they are from a Saltford-based organisation seeking to assist SEG.
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