Friday, 4 July 2014

Crucial council vote on July 10 - will you be there?

Bath & North East Somerset Council will hold a meeting on July 10 in which councillors will vote on the latest version of the Core Strategy. 

If passed, at least 300 homes will be built on Bath's valuable Green Belt at South Stoke plateau - land which is supposed to enjoy the highest level of protection as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). 

Threatened: South Stoke plateau
The plateau is also the location of Bath's little known Scheduled Ancient Monument, The Wansdyke, and a part of our unique setting - a factor in our UNESCO World Heritage City status.

How will your local councillor vote?

We are campaigning for a 'No' vote and we've been encouraging our supporters to put their local councillors on the spot, asking them how they are going to vote.

We believe there is no need to build on Green Belt. It should only ever be the final option when exceptional circumstances have been proven.

In other words, when all brownfield land has been fully exploited and every empty home and disused building filled.

The Council argues that if the Core Strategy is not agreed, it will leave Bath's Green Belt exposed to speculative planning proposals. This is scare-mongering of the highest order.

Any planning proposal on Green Belt land must still go through the normal planning process, which ultimately ends with Secretary of State.

Will you be there?

If you want to witness our councillors make a momentous decision for Bath on July 10, the Full Council meetings begins at 6.30pm and you can sit in the public gallery. If you want to gather as a group and protest before the vote, meet outside from 6pm.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

We urgently need your help

It's not been a good week for our campaign to save Bath's beautiful South Stoke Plateau from 300+ homes.

The Government's Planning Inspector has published his recommendations and he's agreed to release Green Belt land at South Stoke/Odd Down for the building of new houses - effectively doubling the Sulis Meadows estate.

This is despite the fact that these green fields supposedly enjoy the highest level of protection as an Area of Outstanding Beauty (Cotswold AONB) and Green Belt. They are also the location of Bath's little known Scheduled Ancient Monument, The Wansdyke, and a part of our unique setting - a factor in our UNESCO World Heritage City status.

The only good news last week was that the land at Weston will stay in the Green Belt and developers will not be able to build there.

All is NOT lost and the proposal for South Stoke Plateau has to go through many hurdles yet - not least the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles. Just earlier this month he said the Government's drive to build houses must be focused on land which has already been built on "preserving the best of our countryside".

We need you

Our next opportunity to stop the proposal to build at South Stoke Plateau is on July 10 when the Full Council will vote on whether to adopt the revised Core Strategy.

When the Council last voted on changes to the Core Strategy in 2013, 35 councillors voted for it, 19 voted against and 6 abstained.

We want you to put your councillors on the spot. Urge them to vote against the Core Strategy on July 10. Urge them to stand up for the future of Bath, because once we lose our countryside and unique setting, there's no going back.

We believe there is no need to build on Green Belt. It should only ever be the final option when exceptional circumstances have been proven.

In other words, when all brownfield land has been fully exploited and every empty home and disused building filled.

Also, just forcing the developers to up the percentage of affordable homes on existing brownfield sites - or simply building at a slightly higher density on the three ex-MOD sites, would mean that there would be no need to bulldoze our valuable Green Belt.

The Council argues that if the Core Strategy is not agreed, it will leave Bath's Green Belt exposed to speculative planning proposals. This is scare-mongering of the highest order.

Any planning proposal on Green Belt land must still go through the normal planning process, which ultimately ends with Secretary of State.

Action

If you live in Bath, please contact your local councillor (or councillors) as a matter of urgency. A letter works best, but if you're short of time an email is OK.

You can find your local councillors' addresses using this link

You can email your local councillors via this link

Follow our campaign at http://southofbathalliance.blogspot.co.uk/. Our colleagues at Protect Bath afre also fighting the cause - http://www.protectbath.org/


Thursday, 26 June 2014

Save South Stoke Plateau

An independent planning inspector has approved Bath and North East Somerset Council's Core Strategy.

His decision means that 300 homes could now be built on the land at Odd Down, otherwise known as South Stoke Plateau.

The plan has to go through many stages before building can start - not least a Full Council meeting on July 10 when councillors will vote on the Core Strategy.

The South of Bath Alliance is bitterly disappointed. As Green Belt and a designated Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty, South Stoke Plateau is supposed to have the highest level of protection.

Yet, despite all the arguments against - not least the damage to the South Stoke Conservation Area - the threat to Bath's UNESCO status and the Wansdyke Scheduled Ancient Monument - this development appears to have been given the go-ahead.

If houses are built at South Stoke Plateau, this land will be lost forever.

We believe there would be no need to breach the Green Belt if Bath's existing brownfield sites were fully exploited. And what happened to the brownfield first assurances?

Lobby your councillor

We urge all our supporters and all those who care about Bath's unique setting to lobby their councillors ahead of the Full Council vote on the Core Strategy on July 10.

This is an opportunity for councillors to vote with their conscience and put a stop to this vandalism.

Click here to find your local councillor.

Bath Chronicle story - http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/South-Stoke-Odd-Keynsham-new-housing/story-21288319-detail/story.html

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Update

We are now expecting to find out the fate of the Southstoke plateau  on 27th June, this is when the inspector send his report to the council.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Mystery of the Wansdyke

There are still tickets available for a fascinating discussion about the Wansdyke ancient monument on March 22 at Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI).

Four expert speakers with differing views - Prof Andrew Reynolds, Prof Emeritus Peter Fowler, Jonathan Erskine and Dr Helen Geake - will unravel the mysteries of this prominent defensive ditch.

The Wansdyke dates from the Dark Ages, stretches from the hill fort Maes Knoll in the west and runs eastwards across the (modern) county of Wiltshire to Savernake Forest.

The Wansdyke also runs along the southern edge of Bath, between the city and South Stoke village.

Those of you supporting our campaign to save South Stoke Plateau from a 300-home development will know that the Wansdyke (a Scheduled Ancient Monument) passes along the northern edge of the Plateau.

The "Mystery of the Wansdyke" is being held at BRLSI on Saturday, March 22 between 2-5pm and tickets are available in advance from Bath Box Office - 01225 463362

Monday, 10 February 2014

SOBA makes the headlines - again!

MP Jacob Rees-Mogg's support of our cause has also been covered in the local press.

The Bath Chronicle ran a story headlined MP Jacob Rees-Mogg backs South Stoke green belt fight. He said he was on board with our campaign and believed the green belt should guarantee the highest protection to open land.

He added: "My view, and this is one which is long standing, is that the green belt is the best protection that we have in preventing Bath and Bristol merging.

"I support them and am opposed to all green belt development, and that includes at Newton St Loe, Saltford and particularly Whitchurch."

http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/Rees-Mogg-backs-green-belt-fight/story-20569696-detail/story.html

Controversy
The Western Daily Press took a slightly different tack with Rees-Mogg under fire over housing scheme 'hypocrisy'.

This story highlights anger amongst the residents of Hinton Blewett who are annoyed that Mr Rees-Mogg is backing our campaign and not theirs to stop his mother, Lady Gillian Rees-Mogg, building houses on a meadow in the centre of the historic Somerset village.

http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Rees-Mogg-housing-scheme-hypocrisy/story-20570086-detail/story.html

http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/MP-deliver-petition-mother-s-plan/story-20587399-detail/story.html

Friday, 31 January 2014

Jacob Rees-Mogg backs our cause

Constituents from South Stoke village and members of the South of Bath Alliance met Jacob Rees-Mogg MP in Bath today.

Mr Rees-Mogg, who represents the land we're trying to save from a housing development at South Stoke Plateau, was given a copy of our petition which he plans to present to Parliament.

The final consultation on the core strategy – Bath and North East Somerset's council's planning blueprint for the next 15 years – was completed in December and more than 900 people responded.

Planning inspector Simon Emerson is due to hold an Examination in Public on the controversial Green Belt aspect of the Strategy at the end of March.