MAP: See where new housing could be built as North Somerset Council approves its core strategy

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 January 2017

North Somerset Council's housing policy has finally been confirmed.

North Somerset Council's housing policy has finally been confirmed.

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North Somerset Council’s housing policy has finally been confirmed – but the area is ‘not of the woods yet’ when it comes to unscrupulous developers earmarking unsuitable sites for new homes.

The council’s core strategy planning document outlines where 20,985 new homes will be built in the area between 2006 and 2026 – a figure which was increased from 14,000 homes after a lengthy legal challenge from Bristol University in 2013.

The authority contested this higher number with the planning inspectorate, but housing minister Brandon Lewis confirmed in September 2015 the figure still stood.

Since then, the council has been working on policies which set out how and where new homes should be built, and it was these policies which needed the final seal of approval from councillors at a meeting on Tuesday night.

Some 12,800 homes will be built in Weston and at Weston Villages, with 2,100 properties earmarked for large villages such as Banwell, Yatton and Churchill.

It is hoped the confirmation of the core strategy will enable the council to have more of a say against developers over where new houses should be built.

However, the authority’s executive member for housing, Elfan Ap Rees, said North Somerset could still remain weak against planning appeals, as the district could not prove it had a necessary five-year supply of new housing.

Cllr Ap Rees said: “The (planning) inspector recommended a new housing requirement figure of 20,985 homes. We, of course, were not very happy about this but nevertheless, that is where we are.

“In terms of defending appeals in the near term, we are not out of the woods yet – despite this being approved, some sites will remain vulnerable.

“But, in the meantime, this is a good step in the right direction and will help us in terms of defending applications.”

Congresbury councillor Tom Leimdorfer – whose ward has been inundated with planning applications in recent years – welcomed the approval of the core strategy.

Cllr Leimdorfer said: “I welcome this and I will support it.

“We have come a long way and we should now determine planning applications in line with this.”

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