Darren at Kleeneze Brownfield Site

“Use it or lose it” – Darren Hall on brownfield landowners

Green Metro Mayor Candidate Darren Hall visited Hanham on Friday to meet representatives of the Hanham District Green Belt Conservation Society and residents concerned with the proposals to develop on the Cricket ground and the nearby hills.

Darren, whose current work involves building housing job with the Community Land Trust, was visiting the nearby brownfield Kleeneze site and laying out his proposals for housing for the West of England region. Speaking at the site, Darren said “It’s obvious from where I’m standing that this site is far better suited for the housing needs of the local community, with nearby public transport links, pre-built access and a thriving high street on the doorstep. The sad reality at the moment is that developers do not want to take the hit to profit that demolishing the site would incur, and local authorities are afraid to use their clout to force landowners to use it or lose it.”

Members of the Green Belt Society committee showed Darren the sites, including Green Belt and conservation land, scoped out for development by Colliers International. Committee member Jeremy White summarised saying, “This fight isn’t just about us as residents, it’s about our children and generations to come. The thing with green spaces such as these is once they’re gone, they’re gone, and I don’t want to lose that.”

The sites include the location of the current cricket club and 48 acres of the Hanham Hills. Darren also spoke of his housing proposals, encouraging self-finish builds and looking at measures to end ‘land banking’ where developers hold onto land without building on it. He’d also like to see more community neighbourhood plans where residents shape the proposals to meet demand.

Darren believes any plans submitted may be scuppered by the Highways report, noting access issues for construction traffic at the pinch point by the Elm Tree pub as well as the hill on Court Farm road. He’d like to see sites like Kleeneze being used for ambitious housing developments like those at Hanham Hall.

Residents are encouraged to write to their councillors and follow the recently set up group Stop Hanham Development on social media: http://bit.ly/2olUCLn