‘We will not simply dust off’ and reproduce the ‘failed’ 25,000-home JSP plan, council vows

North Somerset Council could create its own housing plan.

North Somerset Council could create its own housing plan. - Credit: Sub

North Somerset Council must have ‘an honest conversation’ about community needs after a proposal was put forward to ditch the ‘failed’ 25,000-home plan.

In September, the Planning Inspectorate advised the local authority - in partnership with three other councils from neighbouring districts - to head back to the drawing board with the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) after they found 'significant concerns' with the plan.

However, proposals have now been made for North Somerset to withdraw from the JSP in favour of developing its own Local Plan.

Cllr James Tonkin, executive member responsible for planning, said: "It is not the council's intention simply to dust off the proposals of the failed JSP and represent them in a new form.

"The Local Plan is a key document which will become an overarching planning policy which guides development across our area.

"It is vitally important we get it right and we will be inviting residents and other partners in the New Year to get involved in the creation of the document."

The draft JSP was developed in partnership with Bristol City, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset councils and was set to become the planning document to guide sustainable development across the area until 2036 and plug the West Country's housing shortfall.

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It would have seen the development of two garden villages between Banwell and Churchill, the introduction of Junction 21A and thousands of homes earmarked for Nailsea and Backwell.

But, following the inspectorate's concerns, the proposal to withdraw will be considered at the full council meeting on January 7.

The Local Plan will cover a wide spectrum of development, not just that of building homes. It will explore employment space, transport infrastructure, town centres, shops, leisure facilities and open spaces.

Cllr Tonkin added: "We must all recognise that the need to provide more homes, employment and infrastructure hasn't gone away.

"We will need an honest conversation about what our community needs, now and in the future.

"And we will need to ensure all sections of our community are listened to, not just those with the loudest voices."