Bath City

The Bath field is still under threat of development and appears to have been turned around by the council Bath City News

Houses can still be built on a Bath field in an apparent U-turn after hopes were raised that the nature reserve would be saved from development.

On May 4, the new head of Bath and North East Somerset council abandoned controversial plans to build 37 houses on Tufa Field.

Kevin Guy said the council is committed to ecology and green space protection and will reassess the use of Tufa Field, a 0.9 hectare site of scientific and conservation interest behind Englishcombe Lane to Odd Down.

Mr Guy said the land would not be sold, allaying previous fears it would end up in the hands of a private developer.

But three weeks later, it emerged that the council was still planning to build up to ten houses on the important ecological site.

Former councilor Bob Goodman denounced the apparent turnaround in a public statement to cabinet members on May 20.

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He refers to a response he says he received from Richard Samuel, a cabinet member responsible for economic development and resources, confirming that a small development is still under consideration.

“I love that others assumed the land was saved forever,” said Goodman. “Then we heard from councilors tell us that Councilor Guy’s predecessor decision to look into a small development was still under consideration, with discussions on up to ten homes.

“This has now been confirmed in response to a question from Councilor Samuel’s office, in which he said: ‘A smaller, more [compact] a development which will provide social benefits is envisaged.

“This is a betrayal of the locals and, more importantly, of this special ecological site.”

Mr. Goodman asked Mr. Guy to publicly promise that no building development would take place on the Tufa land.

The Liberal Democrat leader did not respond.

Instead, planning cabinet member Tim Ball said: “In addition to an ecological emergency, we also have a housing emergency right now and we need to provide housing for people who don’t. no accommodation.

“A smaller development that then protects the land in perpetuity from further development is probably a good idea, not a bad one.”

Mr Goodman, who was a member of the previous cabinet that approved the completion of the initial planning request, said he believed green came before homes “in this particular case.”

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Mr Samuel said it would cost the council around £ 750,000 if the abandoned housing plans on the Tufa land did not materialize ‘in any form’.

He said: “The council cannot make this decision without considering whether there are other possibilities for development on this land, a decision made both by the former head of the council and approved by the current head of the council. . “

Responding to the news on their website, campaign group The Tufa Field said, “It means our focus must be on protecting this special site.

“We had hoped that the board would conduct a full consultation on the use of this site, taking into account as broad a range of views as possible.”

Danny Groves, who lives near the pitch, said: “It remains to be seen whether future plans to try and redevelop would represent a stunning reversal on the part of the council, sadly bolstering public opinion of duplicitous, incompetent and politicians. untrustworthy.

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This notice was published: 2021-05-26 11:08:51