MAY 2022: News from our local MP Chris Skidmore

May 06 2022

We must resist demands for thousands of extra homes

AS the local MP, I have long championed the protection of our Green Belt countryside alongside a “brownfield first” policy of building the affordable homes we need locally.

It’s why I am therefore incredibly concerned about proposals to impose 37,000 more houses onto South Gloucestershire – nearly 10,000 more than is needed to meet local demand.

I am supportive of South Gloucestershire Council’s position of resisting the WECA Mayor’s unreasonable demand, given that it will lead to unsustainable urban sprawl locally and the loss of precious Green Belt countryside, stretching from Shortwood to Siston and Warmley and onwards to Oldland Common and the Hanham Hills.

It appears to resurrect the previous hated Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) that sought to build 10,000 homes on Kingswood’s Green Belt. Even before becoming the area’s MP I campaigned alongside others locally against these plans, which were promptly scrapped with a change of Government in 2010.

Let us be clear – we do need to build more homes locally.

We all want our next generation to be able to afford a home of their own in the area they grew up in, if they so choose.

And South Gloucestershire already has a proud record of delivering the new homes needed to help people realise their dreams.

In 2020/21 we built 1,650 new homes and over the last 5 years we have built 2,332 affordable homes.

This has generated over £80 million in new investment in infrastructure to support these new communities, whether that’s new schools, transport or green spaces.

Agreeing to this target would mean South Gloucestershire having to agree to take housing overspill from neighbouring areas such as Bristol – and with little commitment to the extra infrastructure needed to support this.

It would mean abandoning the Commons Connections project that aims to link a network of over 60 green spaces across Kingswood to help nature recover. 

I would urge residents to join our efforts to ensure that South Gloucestershire can plan for a sensible number of new homes, whilst protecting our local green spaces that have proven to be lifelines during the pandemic for our physical and mental health.