Gloucestershire

Hundreds of homes approved for bestselling author's farm

King-Smith with a pig on his farm Image copyright King-Smith family / SWNS
Image caption Dick King-Smith pictured working at Woodlands Farm

Hundreds of homes are set to be built on a farm once owned by author Dick King-Smith who wrote the book that inspired the Hollywood film Babe.

South Gloucestershire councillors approved the 204 houses - 35% of them affordable - with 11 self-build homes subject to future applications.

Some residents are concerned the site may become a "hot spot" for youths.

However, a report to members said: "The police designing-out-crime officer has not raised any concerns."

Councillor Claire Young, said of a path between the new site and a housing estate, that: "It was not intended as a thoroughfare... [but] residents have already seen antisocial behaviour with kids hanging around and they are worried this could become a hot spot."

Planning officer Helen Winsall said objections to the development, to be named Blackberry Park, also included road safety concerns, a lack of local infrastructure, loss of green land and an impact on wildlife.

Image copyright SWNS
Image caption Dick King-Smith died at the age of 88 in 2011

Writer Dick King-Smith fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a farmer when he bought Woodlands Farm in Coalpit Heath.

The farm, where he lived from 1948 - 1962, inspired all his books - particularly The Sheep-Pig - which became an international bestseller before it was turned into a film in 1995.

Last year, a successful appeal was made to the planning inspector by Barratt Homes against South Gloucestershire Council's refusal of the outline proposals.

Planning inspector Nick Fagan acknowledged Mr King-Smith's associations with the site and the area as culturally important, but ruled the authority's housing shortfall tipped the balance in favour of granting permission, overturning the council's rejection of Barratt Homes outline application.

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