On 7th November, South Gloucestershire Council opened its consultation on the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) and Joint Transport Study (JTS). These documents are jointly being put together by Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire Councils. The Plans aims to identify how the housing needs for the West of England will be met up to the year 2036 and also to identify the transport needs for the same period. This will help make sure that any new transport infrastructure matches where new houses will be built.
After the first round of consultation with the public on their priorities, the clear preference was for housing to be put along key transport corridors, to ensure new residents had good transport links, and to protect the Green Belt as much as possible. When combined with the existing concerns about the impact further growth in the North and East fringes of Bristol (Filton, Bradley Stoke, Stoke Gifford, Almondsbury Emersons Green, Warmley etc.), this allows a clear plan for meeting South Gloucestershire’s housing need to be put together.
As such, strategic housing growth is proposed to be put along the A38 and Badminton Road transport corridors, including potential areas in Chipping Sodbury, Coalpit Heath, Yate, Charfield, as well as the proposed new garden village at Buckover, between Thornbury and Falfield.
The JTS has put together a shopping list, worth £8bn, of transport projects which will help keep the West of England moving.
Speaking of the JSP, Cllr Colin Hunt Lead Member for Planning and Transport commented: “We have two priorities when looking at this plan: to ensure that people will have enough homes and jobs, not just for now, but for the future, and to protect as much of our Green Belt as possible. To achieve both of these, we have to fill the hole in our 5 year land supply by meeting the calculated housing need figure. If we can’t do that, we can’t ensure there will be enough houses to go around, and we can’t defend the Green Belt from speculative applications.
“Additionally we must ensure that our transport infrastructure marries up with our housing plans, which is why for the first time ever we are carrying out a Joint Transport Study to identify what major transport projects are needed to keep us moving and solve some of the traffic problems we have across the West of England.
“As such there needs to be an informed debate and some tough decisions taken. Having consulted once already, we have taken the public’s steer that housing growth should be along key transport corridors, and have put together a plan that takes that into consideration.
“However, we have our red lines, and it is as important to look at where we are not proposing to build, as where we are.”
Speaking of Thornbury, Councillor David Chubb commented: “We have all been alarmed by the speculative development in Thornbury, which we raised with government ministers earlier this year. The housing figure against Thornbury will include the recent speculative applications that have been approved. The plan is for this housing target to act more as a ceiling than a floor, to protect Thornbury from unsustainable development.
“These documents are important for Thornbury because it will help limit this damaging speculative development, lay plans to fill the hole in the five-year land supply, and identify key transport projects that the town needs to keep moving and to keep the A38 flowing.”
On Chipping Sodbury, Councillor Rob Creer commented: “My biggest concern is about any plans coming forward for the beautiful countryside east of St. John’s Way and I will continue to campaign to ensure that development does not happen there.”
On Boyd Valley, Councillors Ben Stokes and Steve Reade jointly commented: “When the previous Core Strategy was being put together, we campaigned hard to make sure that the Green Belt around Pucklechurch, Shortwood, and Wick was protected from development. We are pleased to see that these are being protected from the start this time around.”
On Warmley, Councillor Ian Adams commented: “Developers have long had an interest in building on our great green lungs. Given the traffic jams and air quality problems in our area, I would be horrified to see yet more of the green spaces in Warmley built on with more houses, bringing more cars through as well.”
On Almondsbury, Councillor Keith Burchell commented: “Almondsbury is very much a village, with a village community feel. I am pleased that that has been recognised and protected, as no further development in Almondsbury has been proposed – our Green Belt will remain protected.”
For more information please see the consultations for the JSP and JTS here: https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/consult.ti or contact Simon Schofield on 01454 864204 or Simon.Schofield@southglos.gov.uk