Sulis Down: Victory for campaigners after housing development near Bath refused

Dozens of people turned up to Bath Guildhall to protest against the application. Credit: Jamie Bellinger

Campaigners say they are "delighted" after councillors rejected controversial plans to build hundreds of homes on fields on the edge of Bath.

The Hignett Family Trust wanted to build 290 homes on fields west of South Stoke, but Bath and North East Somerset Council's planning committee has refused the application.

More than 1,200 objections to the plan were submitted on the council’s planning portal and locals showed up in force to protest outside Bath Guildhall.

Councillors on the committee said the plan had some benefits such as the high amount of affordable homes, but raised concerns on several issues including a lack of community facilities and the impact on traffic.

The fields were removed from the green belt and allocated for housing in 2014.

Councillors warned that — together with the 171 homes that had already been built on one field in the first phase of the development — the number of houses built would exceed the 300 it was allocated for, but the council’s planning experts said the figure was not a cap.

After three and a half hours of discussing the development, the council's planning committee voted 7-1 to refuse the plan.

Ned Garnett of the South of Bath Alliance who campaigned against the development said he was “delighted” with the decision.

He said: “The planning committee has listened to the arguments and the very strong feelings of the community.”

“It’s likely to go to appeal so the fight goes on,” he added.

In a statement, the trust said: “The Hignett Family Trust is awaiting the receipt of the formal decision of the Planning Committee. The Trust will thereafter consider the options available.

"It is sad that the thousands of people on the Housing Register and overall housing availability and affordability issues locally did not weigh more heavily in the minds of Objectors and Councillors.”