Farmer in council's park and ride 'land-grab' shock

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Bathampton MeadowsImage source, Google
Image caption,
If Site B is chosen, it would use up half the land at New Leaf Farm in Bathampton

A farmer has spoken of his shock after discovering in his local newspaper of his land being earmarked for a park and ride site.

Steve Horler produces organic beef on his 55-acre at New Leaf Farm in Bathampton, near Bath.

Mr Horler said: "I'm angry really, we'd never heard anything from the council beforehand."

Bath and North East Somerset Council has apologised but added the plans were in the public consultation stage.

If the park and ride west of Mill Lane was built, it would use up 25 acres of land at New Leaf Farm.

Mr Horler added: "We had no letters, no warning whatsoever. We didn't even know they were interested in building a 1,400-space car park on our land and we haven't heard anything since.

'Dragging on'

"My father was distraught because he's just retired and he's built up the business for me to take over as his son."

Conservative council leader Tim Warren has apologised saying he believed letters had been sent out to affected landowners.

Mr Warren added: "There are huge transport issues and we have to do something about this, which is why we've gone out to consultation on this park and ride."

Legally the council could enforce the sale of the land by a compulsory purchase order, but Mr Warren said this was "not a line we would like to take".

The Conservative MP for Bath, Ben Howlett, has also given his backing for the farmer's land, Site B, to be used as a park and ride.

Mr Howlett said: "This is an issue that has been dragging on for such a long period of time - there are three sites, whittled down from seven sites.

"I personally like Site B, I hope more people will put their views forward in the consultation."

The consultation runs for another fortnight.

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