Bristol mayor vows to protect city's last working farm from housing developers

  • ITV News West Country's Ellie Barker reports on the row over Yew Tree Farm.

Bristol's last working farm will remain open despite plans to develop much of the land, according to the Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees.

Rees revealed to ITV News West Country that the council aims to protect Yew Tree Farm in Bedminster Down, Bristol, from housing development plans to build 200 homes on the site.

He said: "it is our commitment to take it out of the local plan. For all the voices which come out now it was included in the local plan - but our aim is to take it out to protect it.

"We will do our best. Bristol city council is the planning authority as well," he finished.

Yew Tree Farm sits around four miles from Bristol city centre in Bedminster Down.

It is a working farm, which means animals graze there, like pigs chickens and cattle. Vegetables are also grown on the land.

The natural benefit of having a farm in an urban space is the creation of a haven for wildlife like wild deer.

However, since 2018 the plot has been earmarked for the development of 200 new homes, which includes building over the 13 acres used for grazing livestock.

While a local family owns some of the land, they rent the rest from the council and a private landlord. The private landlord is the party wanting to build houses across much of the farm land.

Catherine said a housing development would leave the farm "small and unviable". Credit: ITV

ITV News West Country spoke to one of the family members, Catherine Withers, who has lived on Yew Tree Farm all her life.

Yew Tree Farm was bought by her grandfather in the 1960s.  One hundred years ago it was one of 28 working farms in South Bristol alone.

Now it's the only one left in the city.

Catherine she says if the housing development is permitted to happen, she can't keep running the farm. 

She loves her lifestyle on the city farm, living amongst nature and animals - and is eager to protect it.

"What I really love is when I let the pigs out and they go out either in the yard in the winter or the paddock in the summer."