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At a full Council meeting on 16th January, Bath and North East Somerset Council unanimously agreed to withdraw from the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). This means that the 2500 houses proposed for Whitchurch Village will not go ahead.

Bath & North East Somerset invited Publow with Pensford Parish Councillor Sue Grimes and five representatives from the South Bristol Wrong Road, Whitchurch Village Neighbourhood Plan and Whitchurch Village Parish Council to make statements at the meeting.

Sue Grimes, made a statement about the potential detrimental effect of further housing and transport infrastructure with specific reference to the village of Pensford and on the already busy A37 to the south of Whitchurch.

Sue Grimes emphasised the following:

• Pensford is a “conservation village”. Our residents care about the environment and do not want to be absorbed into a “Greater Bristol” metropolis.

• High volumes of commercial and private vehicles already pass through Pensford village on the A37.

• The village already suffers from noise, pollution and bottlenecks on Pensford Hill and a large volume of commuter traffic uses the rural back lanes as rat runs.

• Pensford Hill is not wide enough for HGVs to pass side by side.

• It is also a potential health and safety hazard for pedestrians.

• The village centre and school also suffer from existing traffic hazards.

• Pensford could not cope with a huge increase in traffic especially more HGVs.

• The new ring road will act as a magnet to attract ever more through traffic to pass through Pensford village. The A37 would become the shortest satnav route from the South coast ports of Poole and Weymouth to the northbound motorways and the shortest satnav route to Bristol airport (which already has expansion plans) from the South. Extra vehicles especially HGVs would clearly increase the existing noise, congestion and air pollution levels on and around the A37 at Pensford.

• The proposed Park and Ride at Whitchurch will not only destroy existing green belt land but will attract further large volumes of commuter traffic to pass through Pensford to get to it.

• The ring road plus an increase of 2500 more houses would create an unsustainable transport situation on the A37, which could only be alleviated by building a by-pass for Pensford.

Sue requested Bath & North East Somerset Council to carry out a transportation study to evaluate the likely impact of the proposed ring road on all the villages on A37 corridor to the south of Whitchurch; namely Pensford, Clutton, Temple Cloud and Farrington Gurney. Farrington Gurney and Temple Cloud villages are already Air Quality Management Areas as their air pollution (NO2) levels already exceed the government’s legal maximum.

Bath & North East Somerset Councillor Tim Ball explained that further work would be done on these issues over the coming months and asked all the people who made statements if they would be prepared to meet the relevant Cabinet members to discuss this.

Below is the link to all the statements:

Read more in Bath Echo here