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Redrow Homes South West wants to build a wide access road across Charlton Common in South Gloucestershire, north of Bristol. The developers have applied to the Secretary of State for Environment for consent for works on common land, and we have objected.
The plan is to realign and widen the existing access road, Charlton Lane, to a 6.4-metre-wide road with a three-metre-wide pedestrian/cycle lane, in connection with adjoining development.
Charlton Common is a tiny but important area of open land. It provides an valuable link in a linear walk, the Charlton Walk. This is a three-mile walk between Patchway and Filton, developed by South Gloucestershire Council, the Forest of Avon, Patchway Town Council and Patchway Conservation Group. It goes around the airfield that was built over the lost village of Charlton in 1949, and along the track across the common.
Although people have the right to walk over the whole of Charlton Common, this route is particularly popular, and construction of the road will interfere with people’s quiet enjoyment of the common and the Charlton Walk, and it will obstruct access across the common to reach the path around the airfield. There is also a well-used route alongside the old railway.
Says Chris Bloor, our local correspondent for South Gloucestershire: ‘The proposed road will interfere with people’s rights to wander over this common and it will suburbanise this rural area.
‘Charlton Common may be small but it is an important relic of a much larger area of common land which ran through the heart of the former village; it is a vital reminder of a former way of life, when it was used for grazing animals and by the villagers for football and cricket.
‘The common is especially valuable being surrounded by development; it is a vital green lung for neighbouring residents.
‘We are dismayed to note that the applicants have apparently not consulted local people and local users of the common about their plans. The applicants appear to have defined the neighbourhood as being Patchway whereas the neighbourhood which is affected by the proposal is Brentry,’ says Chris.