North Somerset to pursue own Local Plan

Following the feedback of the Planning Inspectorate, North Somerset Council is recommending withdrawal from the Joint Spatial Plan process in favour of developing its own Local Plan to set out the strategic planning framework for the area over the next 15 years and beyond.

The draft Joint Spatial Plan was developed by the four West of England councils as the overarching planning document to guide sustainable development across the area until 2036, but following a process of examination in public over the summer, the Planning Inspectorate has recommended that the plan is not progressed. The proposal to withdraw will be considered by North Somerset Council’s members at the Full Council meeting on Tuesday 7 January, and the report setting out the recommendations has been published today on the council’s website.

The proposed Local Plan will cover a wide spectrum of development, not just that of building homes. It will also explore employment space, transport infrastructure, town centres, shops, leisure facilities and open spaces.

Cllr James Tonkin, executive member with responsibility for planning said: “Let it be clear, it’s not the council’s intention simply to dust off the proposals of the failed Joint Spatial Plan and represent them in a new form.

“The Local Plan is a key document which will eventually become an overarching planning policy that guides development across our area. It’s vitally important that we get it right and we’ll be inviting residents and other partners in the New Year to get involved in the creation of the document.

“We must all recognise that the need to provide more homes, employment and infrastructure hasn’t gone away. We’ll need an honest conversation about what our community needs, now and in the future and we’ll need to ensure that all sections of our community are listened to, not just those with the loudest voices.

“Our priority is to deliver sustainable growth in a way that best meets the needs of our community. We’ll need to listen to the arguments, look at the evidence and try to make the best decisions we can.”