Saltford Environment Group
Don't blight the land
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River and green space safety this summer - SPC requests support
Saltford Parish Council (SPC) is aware that the number of visitors coming to Saltford - especially those visiting Saltford's old village, river side areas and nearby green spaces during periods of good weather - has caused issues that are of concern to many.
SPC has approached B&NES Council, Avon Fire & Rescue, and the Keynsham Beat Team for support during the busy summer months.
The Avon Fire and Rescue team at Hicks Gate have informed SPC that they plan to visit Saltford's river side areas to engage with river users about water safety. The Hicks Gate team will also have a stall at the open morning of the Saltford Festival, which is being held at Saltford Hall on Saturday 2nd July, 10am-1pm. Do take this opportunity to discuss your river safety concerns with them then.
You can read more about SPC's requests for support in their Summer 2022 E-Newsletter from this link.
Residents are encouraged to continue to raise issues as appropriate with B&NES Council or other agencies as appropriate, please refer to SPC's very useful Report It page which signposts to areas that B&NES Council and other agencies are responsible for. Topics covered range from Anti-social behaviour, Dog Fouling, and Flytipping to Graffitti, Noise Nuisance and Parking Enforcement.
Saltford Festival 2nd-10th July
The popular biennial Saltford Festival is returning after a 3 year wait and over a year in the planning. A huge variety of events has been organised for the Festival's 9 days from 2nd to 10th July by Saltford Community Association and many volunteers from across the community.
The programme of Festival events has been delivered to households throughout Saltford. It can also be downloaded from the Saltford Festival website.
The Saltford Heritage Centre will be open on the afternoon of Thursday 7th July from 1.30pm to 3.30pm to coincide with the lunchtime talk by SEG's Andrew Stainer at 12.00-13.00 at Saltford Hall on "The Story of Saltford in 20 Objects" where he will take his audience through over 4,000 years of Saltford's history in just under an hour! Saltford Heritage Centre is on the 1st floor of St Mary's Church Hall, Queen Square, High Street, Saltford BS31 3EL.
The opening of the Saltford Heritage Centre will give residents their first opportunity to see the remarkable 3,000-3,500 year old Bronze Age copper alloy socketed spearhead, the oldest metal object found in Saltford, found on the north side of the village before the pandemic. There will also be on display the Saltford Viking Buckle - another rare and fascinating artefact.
It has been decided by the organisers to uncouple the Old Village Day from the Festival. Traditionally it has always been part of the Festival however, it is now felt they can make it a bigger and better spectacle by affording it more dedicated time. It will now be held on alternate years to the Festival, with the first one planned for 2023.
Opposition to controversial planning consent grows
At its monthly meeting on 7th May, Saltford Parish Council agreed to submit new supplementary evidence concerning the Withies Green planning consent as a further representation to the B&NES Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU) Public Examination that commences on 21st June.
The decision made by B&NES Council's Planning Committee on 4th May to give outline planning consent for 213 houses at Withies Green, Keynsham (application 20/02673/OUT) was despite significant opposition from the local community, Keynsham Town Council, and Saltford Parish Council.
SPC also agreed that it should write to Jacob Rees-Mogg MP urgently asking him to intervene by asking the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to call in for his determination this controversial planning decision and provide to the Secretary of State its LPPU Public Examination representation evidence that supports in detail the case for the call-in. That evidence is available from this link to SPC's website.
SPC was of the view that irrespective of the strong opposition from residents, SPC and KTC, the planning decision contravened NPPF (2021) and the existing B&NES Local Plan whilst undermining the forthcoming Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU) Public Examination concerning the development of this otherwise safeguarded land. This was for the planning policy reasons given in its supplementary representation to the LPPU Public Examination.
The Parish Council felt that public confidence in democracy and the planning process in B&NES for protecting Green Belt and green field land had been seriously undermined.
Keynsham Town Council had made a similar request, as had SEG (as we reported in May). On 1st June, Jacob Rees-Mogg replied to KTC that he had made representations to Michael Gove Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in respect of KTC's request that the planning decision be called in.
We remain hopeful that common sense will prevail, democracy in local planning will be restored, and this inappropriate planning decision will be over-turned.
Don't blight the land that feeds you!
Keynsham Recycling Hub - construction underway
B&NES Council has confirmed that contractors have been on site carrying out clearance and preparing for the main construction works which have now started and are due to run until the expected completion date in late 2023.
When complete, the four-hectare site will include a modern recycling centre, a reuse shop for people to donate items for reuse and resale, an MOT centre and an education centre. It will also include an operational hub, providing a central depot for refuse and recycling collection vehicles. The Keynsham Recycling Hub project will also include on-site renewable energy generation.
The existing Reuse and Recycling Centre will remain open as usual during construction.
For future reference, you can find up-to-date information on the project from this link:- Keynsham Recycling Hub.
Looking after our insects
Insects are crucial for all life on Earth. Without insects, food chains collapse and ecosystems fail, threatening the existence of all other species, including us humans. So getting involved in protecting them and helping to boost their numbers could not be more important.
We just have to learn to live as part of nature, not apart from it. And the first step is to start looking after the insects, the little creatures that make our shared world go round... Insects are essential for life as we know it. As they become more scarce, our world will slowly grind to a halt, for it cannot function without them. - Professor David Goulson, Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse (2022).
Comprising two-thirds of all life on Earth, with a great many species yet to be identified by science, insects do so much for us humans, other wildlife and the environment.
We can all take action for insects at the local level. See our previous news article on World Bee Day for some suggestions; here are some more:-
B&NES Council's "Let's Get Buzzing" action including reduced grass mowing schedules on Council owned land to 1 or 2 cuts per year to protect wildlife habitats and biodiversity is a good example of activity we should welcome. Likewise Saltford Parish Council's wildflower project "All you seed is love" is another example of local community action helping our bees and other pollinating insects.
Partial source of text/information for this article: Insect Populations Matter (external web page, 2022).
World Bee Day (20th May)
20th May is "World Bee Day", an initiative proposed by Slovenia and adopted unanimously by the United Nations Member States in 2017.
In the UK we are losing bees at an alarming rate. Worldwide, many beekeepers take the view that, at the current rate of bee loss, there may now only be very limited time to find a cause and solution to this problem. Insects pollinate, but by far the most effective pollinator is the honey bee.
Fewer bees mean less pollination, less honey and fewer plants. The consequences are damaging our food industry that depends on the health and survival of our bees and threatens to make the food we eat more expensive. Bees underpin food security, sustainable agriculture, and biodiversity, and they significantly contribute to the preservation of a healthy natural environment.
We can make Saltford a haven for pollinators including bees if we all do our bit and adopt some or most of the five actions from the UK's National Pollinator Strategy in the way we manage our gardens and public areas. These are:-
More information about bees and what you can do to help them can be found on our wildlife page from this link >>
Request for B&NES Council's premature planning decision to be called-in
Following B&NES Council's Planning Committee approval for the outline planning application for the construction of 213 dwellings etc. at Withies Green, Keynsham - see previous news story - on 9th May SEG submitted new evidence to the B&NES Local Plan Partial Update Public Examination.
The evidence explains how B&NES Council has contravened three National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) policies and its own existing Local Plan. SEG's evidence makes the case that B&NES should not pre-empt the Public Examination and contravene the NPPF or remove a parcel of non-safeguarded parcel of Green Belt land as part of an expanded development at Withies Green (known as KE3C in the Local Plan proposals) without the Local Plan review and before the Public Examination of that review has even commenced.
SEG has concluded that B&NES Council has undermined confidence and trust in its own Local Plan and set a dangerous precedent that will be exploited by developers and others that want to develop parcels of land including Green Belt land that are otherwise afforded protection by Local Plan and NPPF policies. B&NES Council's actions in pre-empting and undermining the Public Examination could easily create an unwelcome precedent that other Local Planning Authorities might follow.
Therefore, SEG has asked the Inspector to either recommend that B&NES submits its planning consent decision to the Secretary of State for determination, or that he asks the Secretary of State to call in the decision as a matter of urgency, again for the Secretary of State to determine.
SEG sees this action as essential to protect the Green Belt and the integrity of the B&NES Local Plan.
Even if the additional parcel of Green Belt land included in the overall development is used for recreational purposes, normally an acceptable use of Green Belt land, to change its use and add a parcel of Green Belt to a development this way so as to allow a development to proceed before and without a public consultation in a Local Plan's Public Examination of its review (i.e. update), is unsafe.
It has not been tested if all or some of that "change of use" would be acceptable to the Town Council and B&NES Council in a stand-alone planning application (i.e. without the new housing development).
Outline plans change during construction of the development and to allow a developer to take control of Green Belt land as it develops adjoining land already removed from the Green Belt ahead of the existing Local Plan's timescale, is a further worrying aspect of this case.
In response to receiving on 9th May a copy of SEG's evidence to the B&NES Local Plan Partial Update Public Examination in respect of the outline planning consent granted for 213 houses at Withies Green, Keynsham, NE Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has confirmed back to SEG's Chairman that he has made representations on SEG's behalf to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in respect of SEG's request that the planning decision be called-in.
Disappointment as B&NES permits 213 more homes between Keynsham and Saltford
Despite nearly 600 objections including robust objections from Saltford Parish Council and Keynsham Town Council, representing the two most directly affected Town/Parish council areas, and from SEG, on 4th May B&NES Council's Planning Committee approved the outline planning application 20/02673/OUT from Mactaggart and Mickel Homes Ltd for the construction of 213 dwellings etc. at Withies Green, Keynsham to the east of Hygge Park (opposite Pixash Lane).
That was by majority decision of 6 Councillors on the Committee voting for and 4 voting against. That decision pre-empts the Local Plan Partial Update Public Examination in June (see previous news story) for which the Inspector in the pre-examination papers has queried the justification for the proposed allocation of this land for development in the Local Plan now. The democratic process allowing local Parish and Town Councils or others to make the case to the Public Examination for preventing such early development before any genuine need to develop it has been proven, has been undermined.
This will be frustrating and very disappointing for the residents of Keynsham, Saltford and the surrounding area as they face the prospect of even more traffic congestion and the loss of more of the area's highly valued local green space that was supposed to be safeguarded against development until at least 2029 in the existing Local Plan.
This highly regrettable outcome is a consequence of a short-sighted and disconnected approach to land use planning resulting from central Government housing targets and planning policies that do not give local planning authorities sufficient headroom to protect the Green Belt and similar green field areas from development.
Few will deny that new homes are required and especially affordable homes for a growing population, but they must be built in appropriate locations and represent genuine sustainable development. The report from CPRE "Recycling our land: the state of brownfield report, 2021" on the state of brown field land in England found that this previously developed land could accommodate over 1.3 million new homes - with a West of England total of 19,994 (not including B&NES).
The construction of many new homes in the West of England including at Keynsham East in recent years has occurred without an increase in green recreational space through the provision of new large public parks to cater for the newly accommodated inhabitants. This already means existing green spaces are inundated with visitors on sunny weekends and Bank Holidays. Local communities are losing access to their local green spaces to increasing visitor influxes whilst riverside wildlife and wildlife habitat takes a heavy toll.
Green fields including the Green Belt and our existing and potential wildlife habitats should not be seen as luxuries but as essential if we are to protect the ecosystems that underpin and protect our food security and everyone's quality of life and mental health in the UK.
As the urgent need to improve food security in the UK is highlighted by a combination of climate change and the recent and ongoing international events significantly reducing the world's food supply, now is not the time to be reducing our options. New housing or mixed-use developments in the Green Belt permanently destroys the potential future use of that land for wildlife recovery in response to the ecological emergency and for food production or food production ecosystem support.
Note: See also the next related news story Request for B&NES Council's premature planning decision to be called-in.
Don't blight the land that feeds you!
SPC's new evidence for Local Plan Partial Update's Public Examination
The B&NES Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU), as submitted to the Secretary of State on 17th December 2021, will be examined for its compliance with statutory requirements and on its soundness by an independent Inspector appointed by the Planning Inspectorate at a Public Examination starting on 21 June. The Inspector will only consider written representations to the Public Examination that contain new evidence to representations already submitted to B&NES Council when B&NES Council consulted on the draft LPPU in 2021 (and will be available to the Inspector).
The B&NES Local Plan, comprising the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, provides the strategic planning framework to guide development in B&NES area until 2029.
Saltford Parish Council agreed at its 3rd May meeting new evidence to submit to the Inspector concerning the proposed additional housing developments of 280 dwellings at Keynsham East. The new evidence agreed for submission after the meeting was, in summary, as follows:-
B&NES Council publicised in January 2022 data revealing that B&NES is far exceeding the housing delivery targets set in its Local Plan to deliver new homes for residents.
In the three years 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-1 new homes totalling 3,100 including 700 affordable homes were built across the district representing a delivery rate of almost double at 184% of the target of 1,688 set in the Local Plan.
Despite this success rate in building new homes, B&NES Council is nevertheless proposing to bring forward the building of 280 new homes on safeguarded Green Belt land between Saltford and Keynsham through policy changes in the Local Plan (deleting policy KE3B to bring forward policies KE3C and KE3D) despite the existing harm arising from recent new Local Plan housing developments in Keynsham as described in SPC's original representation of 5.10.2021 (which SEG reported on in October 2021 and endorsed in its own submission to B&NES Council).
If those unsound policies (KE3C and KE3D) are permitted to proceed, despite B&NES Council's high success rate in building new homes, that will contribute further to severe road congestion in the Keynsham area due to insufficient transport infrastructure whilst losing valuable green space and its potential use for ecological recovery.
The high proportion of Green Belt and AONB in Bath and NE Somerset puts a responsibility on B&NES Council to protect that land from development and set lower housing delivery targets than the standard method allowed by Government in such situations unless there are fully justified very special circumstances; Saltford Parish Council has seen no evidence that lower targets have been set.
B&NES has provided no justification or sound evidence of the very special circumstances required (NPPF 2021 para. 140 and 147) to permit the new development proposed for safeguarded Green Belt land (KE3C and KE3D) within the plan period to 2029, i.e. for bringing those developments forward by deleting policy KE3B.
Those housing developments are unnecessary, do not contribute to sustainable development (i.e., are contrary to the Government's National Planning Policy Framework 2021 paragraphs 8b, 8c, and 143a) and will exacerbate the harm to the local community in and around Keynsham arising from the existing delivered Local Plan developments at Keynsham as described in SPC's original representation.
For ease of reference, SPC's original representation of 5.10.2021 (that SEG endorsed for its consultation response and can be found in our 2021 newsletter archive) was attached as an annex to SPC's submission of the above new evidence. It covered:-
LPPU's public examination information can be found on the B&NES website from this link >>. The deadline for submission of new evidence is 6th June.
Saltford plants community orchard and wildlife area to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
SEG is delighted to announce the beginnings of a small community orchard and wildlife area in Saltford to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee that hopefully can be enjoyed by the community for many decades into the future.
In October 2021 8-year-old local schoolgirl Aimee Phillips made a suggestion to SEG, the Parish Council and others for a small community orchard in Saltford to be established on the sports field. SEG looked into this and approached Saltford Sports Club to see if the location Aimee had identified would work in practice. There were practical reasons to avoid the area suggested by Aimee but her suggestion was excellent in principle and merited further consideration.
Saltford Sports Club was already wanting to take part in the Parish Council's wildflower project "All you seed is love". After discussions with SEG, the south-facing northeast corner of the sports field was identified as a suitable location to create a community orchard along the lines of a traditional orchard (*see footnote for description) with a wildflower area at its south-facing border, seeded by Beebombs provided by Saltford Parish Council. The retention of mature trees and some scrub will provide complimentary natural habitat and food sources for invertebrates and other wildlife.
Plans were developed jointly by SEG and the sports club to create a Saltford Community Orchard and Wildlife area, and to be planted this year to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Permission to proceed was obtained from the landowner, B&NES Council, that is also willing to provide further wildflower seeds and considers this as a worthy contribution to its objective for supporting pollinating insects and its "Let's Get Bees Buzzing" campaign.
During April Sports Club volunteers cleared back scrub and removed turf using a digger provided by Podium Renovations Ltd. This has created the best environment for wildflowers to flourish. On 30th April 6 apple trees were planted and more trees will be planted in the autumn. The first batch of Beebombs were spread by local children on 7th May; other local children will be involved by the Sports Club in spreading more. SEG has been pleased to provide sponsorship support for the project.
As the project develops and matures, Saltford Sports Club and SEG with the help of volunteers from the village, will maintain the community orchard and wildlife area for the benefit of Saltford's local community and wildlife. A small footpath through the orchard will be maintained to link with the existing footpath on the eastern flank of the sports field and an oak bench will be installed by the Sports Club.
*WHAT IS A TRADITONAL ORCHARD?
For more news stories from SEG visit our
Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG
Whilst our partner organisations such as Saltford Wombles (for tackling litter) and the Fairtrade Group always welcome volunteer assistance, SEG sometimes has specific roles or posts that need filling. Here are the current vacancies:-
Website skills wanted!
Updated January 2021
Our website is a popular resource for our members and others which means that in addition to keeping it relevant we want to make sure it continues to function as it should.
If you live in or near Saltford, care about your local environment and have current knowledge of website design and might be interested in using your IT skills for a bit of IT volunteering to help us behind the scenes please get in touch with our Chairman by email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation chat on possible volunteer help.
Executive Committee: Want to help steer SEG?
Updated January 2021
SEG is seeking new Executive Committee members to help steer and develop SEG's future as we address the environmental concerns of our members at the local level. If you think you might like to get involved and join our Executive Committee (enthusiasm is more important than expertise!), please contact our Chairman, Phil Harding, for an informal non-committal chat.
The Executive Committee only meets 4 times a year (except during Covid-19 restrictions) and its working method is more about sharing ideas and getting things done in a friendly and productive atmosphere than being bogged down with time-consuming administration.
Saltford Heritage Centre's next scheduled public opening is 1.30pm-3.30pm Thursday 7th July (as part of the Saltford Festival)
"Don't blight the land
"Think global, act local"
All general, membership & urgent (e.g. Press) enquiries by email to our Chairman please from whom SEG's postal address, if required, can be obtained on authenticated* request *(to avoid junk mailing etc.).
HOW TO JOIN SEG: If you live, work or have a particular interest in Saltford & wish to join our email membership list please send an email to our Chairman. Please include your name, address & contact telephone number in your email application. NOTE: We provide information about membership including our simple code of conduct for members and personal data protection by SEG on our "About Us page".
Chairman: Phil Harding
Website Editor is Phil Harding but see website editorial/contact info. below BEFORE contacting SEG about this website
Secretary: Karen O'Brien
Treasurer: Andrew Stainer
SEG Green Belt Campaign: - contact our Chairman (contact details above)
Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren
Saltford Fairtrade Group:
Saltford Heritage Centre
Saltford Wombles is independent of SEG but contact details can be found on our Less Waste page.
*EDITORIAL POLICY including SEO, web design and marketing for www.saltfordenvironmentgroup.org.uk
As a general rule our editorial content is sourced locally in Saltford and NE Somerset or from reputable non-commercial organisations based in the UK.
Will Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), website design, "content providers" and other similar companies please note that this website has all the SEO ranking, social media links, and smartphone compatibility that it requires to meet its specific objectives and enquiry emails on this topic including link requests will not receive a reply to save your time and ours.
SEG is not a commercial enterprise therefore companies that produce bespoke marketing materials or sponsored editorial content should also note that marketing emails or requests for placing links to other websites will not receive a reply as it is our policy not to reply to marketing emails of this nature unless they are from a Saltford-based organisation seeking to assist SEG.
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