Planning for growth
Key planning documents setting out local housing needs for the next 20 years will be considered by North Somerset Council’s Executive next week.
The Site Allocations Plan identifies the sites needed to meet North Somerset’s housing requirement up to 2026.
The Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Transport Study look at where longer term growth alongside improved infrastructure could be accommodated across the West of England region for the period beyond this up to 2036.
The Site Allocations Plan has been drawn up by the council following the Government’s decision last year that 20,985 houses should be built in North Somerset between 2006-2026. Around 8,000 houses have been built so far and the majority of the remaining requirement already has planning permission or has been identified in previous plans. New allocations to deliver the shortfall of 1,700 have been made in the Site Allocations Plan.
As well as identifying new and existing sites for residential use, and in order to ensure “balanced growth”, the plan also:
- allocates over 86 hectares of employment land and safeguards a number of well established employment areas from alternative uses
- identifies land safeguarded for community uses
- identifies a number of ‘Local Green Space’ sites and ‘strategic gaps’ for protection from any development.
Following a seven-week public consultation on the draft plan earlier this year, the council’s Executive is being asked to approve the revised plan at its meeting next Tuesday (18 October).
If approved, there will be a further period of consultation during November and December before it is submitted to a government inspector for examination. The inspector will then make his recommendations before it is formally adopted by the council. Depending on the outcome of the examination, the council aims to adopt the plan next summer.
The Executive is also being asked to endorse the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) and Joint Transport Study (JTS) for consultation. These look at the longer term strategic housing and transport needs for the West of England region up to 2036.
Following initial consultation on the likely issues and options earlier this year, North Somerset Council has been working with the three other West of England councils – Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire – on the two documents.
The JSP sets out potential strategic locations for development across the West of England and the JTS puts forward an ambitious set of integrated transport packages needed to address current transport issues and support the proposed new growth.
The JSP identifies the need for another 39,000 homes across the wider West of England region over and above what is already planned for by 2036. The locations and indicative housing numbers proposed for North Somerset are:
- Weston urban intensification – 1,000 homes over and above existing commitments
- Nailsea (2,800) and Backwell (800) – proposed development to the west, outside the Green Belt, improved station and possible highway link to M5 J20
- Weston M5 to A38 corridor (5,400) – possible new growth area in the M5/Banwell/Churchill corridor in association with major highway improvements including the possibility of a new motorway junction, bypass at Banwell and improved access to airport
- smaller scale developments (1,000) – to be allocated through local plans at a later stage.
No development in the Green Belt is proposed for North Somerset.
If all four West of England councils endorse the two draft documents there will be a further six-week public consultation period running from 7 November to 19 December.
“This spatial strategy is not fixed and no decisions have been made on its final content,” says the report going to Executive next week. “The next stages of the plan will be shaped and informed by the responses to this next stage of consultation.”
The reports going to Executive are available on the council’s website at http://apps.n-somerset.gov.uk/cairo/committees/comidx10-2016.asp.