Government demands for even more houses in masterplan expected by council
PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 June 2018
North Somerset Council may face even more homes being demanded by the Government in its housing masterplan.
The council, along with other West of England authorities, submitted a Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) to the Government to lay out where 105,500 homes could go up to 2036.
In total, 25,000 of those homes are earmarked for North Somerset, including 1,900 for a garden village outside Banwell, and 2,675 outside Churchill.
The councils are waiting to hear back about when hearings to scrutinise the JSP will take place.
Michael Reep, the authority’s planning and policy manager, said: “We are waiting for the inspector to set out a timetable for the hearings, and we will be making representations at those hearings.
“The big issue will be housing numbers, and we expect the inspector will start with the housing numbers.
“My personal view is the numbers will go up.”
Campaigners opposed to the garden village proposals for Banwell and Churchill argue the homes should instead be built at The Vale – greenbelt land between Barrow Gurney and Long Ashton.
Developer Taylor Wimpey has already proposed 4,500 houses for The Vale, but the council has no plans to earmark it for housing because it is greenbelt land.
However, Mr Reep believes The Vale could end up as an addition to the JSP, not a swap for Banwell and Churchill.
He said: “I expect it will not be a choice about Banwell, Churchill and the edge of Bristol, but pressure to do Banwell, Churchill and other locations. But there is still a long way to go with that debate.”
Housing action groups around Churchill are also pinning hopes on the garden villages being dismissed entirely by the housing inspector.
They have been given fresh hope following a decision about Essex’s housing plan, where a planning inspector found proposals for three garden ‘communities’ were ‘unsound’.
Mr Reep said: “We are aware of the Essex position, and will be studying it. Smaller issues have been raised, and we will have to have a look at the detail to what the inspector says.
“I don’t think it undermines our position, but does show the kind of issues we need to address when going to the hills for the JSP.”