Thousands of new homes needed for North Somerset

PUBLISHED: 11:00 12 May 2014

Archant

COUNCIL leaders have been told their plan to build a minimum of 17,000 new homes in North Somerset is insufficient and almost 9,000 houses have been added to the target.

The scheme to build at least 17,130 new properties in the next 12 years, which will cost around £106.7million, was proposed under North Somerset Council’s revised core strategy plan last year after a legal challenge was issued by the University of Bristol.

The university wanted to create 1,000 homes in the area, but the idea received no backing through the council’s core strategy.

After the challenge the High Court ruled the authority’s original housing target of 14,000 was ‘unlawful’ and several features of the strategy for housing development and future proposals had to be examined.

North Somerset then released a low-to-high housing need table, with the minimum amount of homes the council would need to build being 17,130, a medium requirement of 19,395 new houses and the maximum standing at 20,220.

But the Planning Inspectorate has now ruled this is still not enough and would only be acceptable if ‘out-commuting reduces over the plan period’.

Inspector Roland Punshon said: “If there is no reduction in out-commuting, a housing requirement of 1,400 homes per year or 25,950 homes over the plan period would be required.”

Mr Punshon said he did not find the strategy ‘sound or compliant with national guidance’ and suggested the council withdraw its policy to review it or reconsider its ‘short term aspirations’ and propose a main modification which produces a higher housing target.

A council spokesman said: “We are hugely disappointed by his (the inspector’s) conclusions as we believe we had put forward a robust case aimed at achieving a better balance between homes and jobs in the district.

“We will look very carefully at the inspector’s letter and formulate an appropriate response that reflects our ambition to have balanced and sustainable communities in North Somerset.”

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