Tufa site – latest developments

Bath & North East Somerset Council has met residents in Englishcombe Lane to discuss ideas for a small scheme on the designated development site.  

The council has agreed to rethink earlier proposals on its land to the rear of 89-123 Englishcombe Lane, which has planning consent for 37 homes.

Options for a significantly smaller scheme which balances the need for community housing with protecting the ecology of the site are currently undergoing initial investigations.  

Over the next few months the council will assess the possible options, before consulting with residents and partners once a proposal, which would help meet the district’s housing needs, whilst avoiding disturbance of the ecologically significant tufa, has been reached.

Council Leader, Councillor Kevin Guy, met with residents recently to update them on the current position.

Councillor Guy said: “It was extremely helpful to meet residents and listen to people’s concerns and ideas and I want to thank everyone who came along to the meeting. I want to stress that ideas for the site are at a very early stage and a consultation would be held once we have firm proposals to consider.

“And I want to reassure residents that we are taking the ecological issues they raised into account. While it is an allocated housing site, which could provide much-needed homes for residents, any final scheme must protect and enhance the ecology of the land as well as providing energy-efficient, low carbon housing to meet local need.”  

The meeting heard the development aims for the site are that it should:

  • Be a small scheme using the ecological sensitivity of the site as an opportunity to create a peaceful housing environment for people with specialist housing needs such as people who have learning difficulties and are inappropriately housed or are housed out of area away from their family.
  • Avoid the ecologically significant tufa by maintaining a buffer zone at boundaries to support wildlife, contain measures to prevent light spill in order to maintain bat corridors, and provide an onsite biodiversity net gain of at least 10%
  • Significantly reduce the use of hard standing, using water permeable paving, a drainage swale and rain garden to address run-off
  • Create homes that are extremely energy efficient and have a low environmental and carbon footprint.