North Somerset Council to finally confirm plans for 20,000 new homes by 2026
PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 January 2017
Plans to build more than 20,000 new homes across North Somerset look set to be finally adopted by North Somerset Council next week, after years of delays and deliberations between the council and the Government.
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.
This higher figure was challenged by Weston MP John Penrose and North Somerset MP Liam Fox, but Housing Minister Brandon Lewis decided in September 2015 – after six months of deliberation – that the upper target still stood.
Changes to policies concerning where in North Somerset the houses should be built were then put out to public consultation last year, and it is these amended policies which the council is expected to confirm at its meeting on Tuesday.
Some 6,500 homes will now be built at Weston Villages, with an additional 6,300 houses earmarked for elsewhere in the town. Service villages such as Yatton, Banwell and Churchill can expect to receive up to 2,100 additional properties.
A council report into the decision said ‘greater flexibility’ would now mean developments of up to 75 homes could be built in the area adjoining Weston’s settlement boundary, while developments of up to 25 homes could be allowed in areas surrounding larger villages.
The report said: “More flexibility is introduced to enable residential proposals of up to about 25 homes to be considered through the development management process.
“New development within or adjoining the settlement boundaries (of service villages) will be supported where it results in a form, design and scale of development which is high-quality, respects the local character (and) can be readily assimilated into the village.
“Residential proposals outside the settlement boundaries in excess of 25 homes must be brought forward as allocations through local plans or neighbourhood development plans.”
Another change which has been introduced following this most recent round of consultation concerns house-building in smaller infill villages such as Bleadon and Sandford, where an application to build 118 homes by developer Strongvox Homes was approved last year after an appeal to the planning inspectorate.
The core strategy previously said developments of only ‘one or two’ homes could be built within these small communities, but it now states development of an ‘appropriate scale’ will be permitted so long as it respects the existing area, the size and range of housing reflects nearby needs and the development does not affect the area’s infrastructure.