Councils agree to aim for 105,000 more homes
THE planning blueprint which will set out the future of house building and transport in the region has been submitted to the Government for approval.
South Gloucestershire Council has worked together with Bristol, B&NES and North Somerset to produce the plan, which includes the places where new housing and business developments will be built between now and 2036.
Known as the West of England Joint Spatial Plan, the blueprint has been produced alongside a transport plan, laying out how the region can meet the increasing infrastructure demands that growth will bring, as well as the projects needed to tackle existing pressure on roads and public transport.
The plan includes provision for the building of 105,500 new homes, 32,500 of which will be in South Gloucestershire.
In the Downend area, most new homes will be built near Emersons Green. There is also provision to maximise the use of so-called “brownfield sites”, which have previously been developed but are now vacant, for residential and employment developments in urban areas.
Elsewhere in South Gloucestershire, thousands of new homes will be built on sites already under development, such as the former Filton Airfield between Patchway and Cribbs Causeway, and Harry Stoke.
More controversially, five “Strategic Development Sites” have been earmarked in Coalpit Heath, Charfield, Thornbury, Yate and Buckover - an area between Thornbury and the M5 where a new “garden village” is planned, despite fierce opposition from neighbours.
Now that the plan has been sent to the Government, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is expected to appoint an independent planning inspector to carry out a public examination, which is likely to take place in the autumn. The inspector will then report back to the councils and may propose amendments. After that the councils must again ensure the plan meets the relevant laws and decide whether or not to adopt it.
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said: “The West of England JSP is the first such joint planning approach in the UK, which sees councils working together to agree the number of new homes and jobs that are needed; the most appropriate locations where that growth should be located; and the infrastructure needed to support that growth.”
South Gloucestershire Council is also preparing its own local plan, which will provide a guide to planning in the area for residents and developers, within the confines of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan.
A consultation on the local plan was launched earlier this year and was set to run until April 30. More details can be found at www.southglos.gov.uk/newlocalplanfeb2018 and comments can be made by e-mail to PlanningPolicy@southglos.gov.uk or by post to: Strategic Planning Policy & Specialist Advice Team, Department for Environment and Community Services, PO Box 1954, Bristol BS37 0DD.
• Extra money to speed up the building of homes in Bristol, South Glos, B&NES and North Somerset was agreed by the Government last month. The four councils believe that the commitment in the Joint Spatial Plan to the housing targets is the reason for the funding.