Revised plans for tufa field

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A 10 m buffer zone around the ecologically sensitive tufa field at Odd Down is suggested in revised plans for the proposed development site in Englishcombe Lane which is to be considered by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s cabinet.

The report to the cabinet on Thursday 8 September recommends progressing a scheme to provide much-needed local accommodation for adults with learning difficulties and or autism and which will reduce the need for out-of-area placements away from family and friends. The proposals would see nine bungalows and seven apartments built on the site and would include measures to protect the ecology of the area.  

Cabinet is asked to approve allocating £320k of capital funding to carry out further development work on the proposals before plans are submitted for approval.

Councillor Kevin Guy, council leader said: “We have listened to residents and asked our officers to revise the original plans for the site and to deliver a smaller scheme providing essential support for vulnerable people, while ensuring the important local ecology is given greater protection. Cabinet will consider the report carefully before deciding whether to progress the proposals.”

The report to cabinet outlines five options for the site. It says four of these were dismissed on the grounds of scale of development, infrastructure requirements, unit cost and suitability of accommodation.

The recommended preferred option would deliver a low-density, small-scale, sensitive development providing a range of housing options to meet the needs of around 16 tenants. The scheme would enable people with a learning disability and or autism to live as independently as possible, but with care and support as needed.

Under the proposals greater protection would be given to flora and fauna with the inclusion of a 10m buffer around the tufa site together with a bat corridor and protective measures for badgers, reptiles and small mammals.  Also the homes delivered would be very energy efficient.

The report says the ecological sensitivity of the site provides an opportunity to create a peaceful, calming environment for people with specialist housing needs.

Thousands had signed an original petition to stop the building of 37 homes last year and there has been vocal opposition to the latest development scheme. It remains to be seen if these revised plans will satisfy those who oppose any building on that land.

You can read the full report to cabinet here.