Bath”s MP Wera Hobhouse has joined others in voicing concern about further housing development plans for the South Stoke Plateau, citing threats posed by the proposal to traffic, transport, local GP surgeries, schools, and dental practices.
Wera has raised concerns about the damaging impact to Bath and its residents posed by the development. The developer plans to build a further 300 homes at Sulis Down, which, in addition to the 171 already being built, is considerably more than the 300 outlined for the area in the local plan.
Recently, Wera met with members of the South of Bath Alliance (SOBA), the residents’ campaign group fighting to preserve the green area on the city’s southern border, and ward councillors Steve Hedges (Odd Down) and Bharat Pankania (Combe Down) for an update on the current situation.
In May 2018 Wera Hobhouse took part in a meeting with constituents called “Carmaggedon” which flagged concerns about the huge increase in road traffic the Sulis Down development would create. Now, Mrs Hobhouse has spoken out to raise concerns about the development.
Commenting after the meeting, Wera Hobhouse MP said:
“I am alarmed by this development and the impact that it will have on Bath and our residents. Make no mistake, the development is a city of Bath issue. While the development itself lies just outside my constituency, its further expansion will negatively impact my constituents. We will see massive pressure on traffic and transport, on our schools, GP surgeries and dental practices, all of which are already struggling to cope with demand.
“The only school places available in Bath are at St Mark’s in the northwest of the city, while these houses are being built in the south. Young people will have to cross the city to get to school, either driven by their parents or on buses.
“These are the wrong houses in the wrong place. We urgently need new housing in Bath but this must be social and truly affordable housing for young people and families, close to our jobs, many of which are low-paid in the NHS and hospitality. Frankly, we don’t need executive homes for Londoners escaping the capital.
“The developers of Sulis Down, the Hignett Family Trust, got away with pushing through their original proposal without a Comprehensive Master Plan. This means that their new application to build more homes can not be policy compliant.
“The plateau on the south of Bath is a vitally important green space within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, valued by residents and visitors. The further expansion proposed by the developers would destroy 70 trees and precious wildlife habitats and put Sulis Manor, a rare Arts and Crafts-style manor, at risk.
“I commend the South of Bath Alliance for their excellent work exposing the significant threats posed to our world heritage city, our residents, the quality of our daily life and our surrounding green spaces. I urge everyone to visit their website www.soba.org.uk to learn about what is at stake and for guidance on how to submit objections. The deadline for submitting comments and objections on the Bath & Northeast Somerset Council website is 7th August (https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/webforms/planning/comment.html?refval=22%2F02169%2FEOUT). I will be submitting an objection on behalf of my constituents.”