Joint Spatial Plan: Issues and Options

3. How much development do we need to plan for?

3.1 Based on evidence of housing needs within the Wider Bristol Housing Market Area (HMA), the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) will identify the number of homes to be built over the lifetime of the Plan, 2016 - 2036. This is known as the housing requirement. Thehousing requirement to meet the needs of the Wider Bristol HMA, will be set out and published for each Unitary Authority (UA). The JSP will explain how these numbers fit together as an overall strategy for our area.

The JSP will also establish the requirement for employment land / floor space for the West of England (WoE) for the period 2016 to 2036.

The need for more homes

3.2 The JSP will establish the number of new homes which will be required in the area known as the Wider Bristol HMA. The HMA is a geographical area defined by household demand and preferences for all types of housing, reflecting the key linkages between places where people live and work. The Wider Bristol HMA covers all of Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and it is acknowledged extends into part of Bath and North East Somerset, and mainly rural parts of Sedgemoor and Stroud districts.

3.3 The geographical extent of the Wider Bristol HMA has been defined in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) produced by specialist consultants ORS in July 2015. The SHMA has taken the HMA as the boundaries of three whole UAs. The data for projecting housing needs is only reliable at the UA level and all housing needs figures for the wider Bristol HMA therefore refer to the three UA areas of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.


 Figure 7: Actual Housing Market Areas


Figure 8: Wider Bristol Housing Market Area

3.4 The SHMA identifies the full Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) for Housing in the Wider Bristol HMA to be 85,000 homes, for the period from 2016 to 2036 of which there is a need for 29,100 homes to be affordable to people on low incomes. About 8,400 of this affordable need relates to the existing affordable housing needs estimated at 2016 and about 20,600 relates to future projected needs over the plan period. The assessment took account of:

  • National population projections and the government's household projections;
  • Migration trends - 10 year trend between 2001 and 2011;
  • Concealed families and homeless households;
  • Employment trends - Local Economic Partnership Strategic Economic Plan target of 95,000 additional jobs between 2010 and 2030 for the WoE;
  • Market signals- house prices, rents, affordability, overcrowding and rate of development; and
  • Forecast backlog of provision before 2016.

Whilst further forecasts may become available during the preparation of the JSP, the SHMA takes account of the best available information at the time of drafting.

3.5 The detailed consideration of these overall needs is set out in the SHMA Volume 1.
The role of the JSP will be to establish the Housing Requirement based on the OAN. This could be greater or less than the need currently identified depending on the evidence and options available. For instance, there may be pressures to boost the housing supply beyond the OAN in light of updated evidence on job growth ambitions, a greater growth in student numbers than in the past or to help increase affordable housing. Conversely, the amount of housing that can be delivered in the plan area might be constrained by the sustainability, infrastructure or environmental considerations. It may be necessary to ask adjoining local authorities to consider accommodating any identified unmet need, if it is not possible to meet these needs due to any adverse impacts which significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

The supply of homes

3.6 In meeting the need for the 85,000 homes, the current local plans together with small windfall site developments are estimated to deliver some 56,000 new homes in the Wider Bristol HMA over the period 2016 to 2036. Therefore, to meet the need for additional new homes up to 2036 it is estimated that the JSP will need to plan for a further 29,000 homes to be delivered.

Table 3.1 How many homes are needed?

OAN 2016-2036

Planned and forecast homes 2016-2036

Additional homes needed to 2036

The overall number needed by 2036

Not built yet but planned for. It includes homes which have been allocated; developments with planning permissions and forecasts of delivery from small sites

This is the number of homes which are needed but have not yet been planned for




Of which:

Of which:

Of which:

29,100 should be Affordable Housing and

11,200 should be Affordable Housing and

17,900 should be Affordable Housing and

55,900 Market housing

44,800 Market housing

11,100 Market housing

Note: These numbers are subject to verification and will continue to be subject to monitoring and review. Additionally, further forecasts may become available during the preparation of the JSP.

3.7 The 29,000 additional homes which have not yet been planned for are likely to come forward from a combination of sources which would include:

  • sites from within the existing urban area,
    • these will mostly be on previously developed land or 'brown field sites'; land which has been underused or used for other purposes no longer required, and sites which have been identified for development but which may be able to provide a greater number of housing units than previously estimated;


  • sites for development outside the existing urban areas,
    • These could include development on the edge of Bristol (urban extensions), within or adjoining existing towns or settlements or a 'new town' opportunity, or a number of very small opportunities across a number of villages in other locations.

The supply of affordable homes

3.8 The SHMA has identified a need for 29,100 affordable homes from the overall total of 85,000 across the Wider Bristol HMA. This equates to 34.2% of the total housing need, and would require the delivery of 1,455 affordable homes, on average each year. Over the period 2006 to 2014:

  • 28,550 new homes have been completed in total
  • Of which 6,350 affordable homes have been completed (an annual average of 794 per year).
  • The rate of delivery of affordable homes has been 22.2%.
    (Within the wider Bristol HMA)

To meet the level of need identified by the SHMA will therefore be very challenging. The additional number of affordable homes expected to be needed beyond those already identified is 17,900.

3.9 Local planning policies are likely to continue to seek a percentage contribution from future allocations. Recent delivery of affordable homes has fallen across the WoE, due in part to the high cost of delivery of sites and challenges of viability. It is therefore likely that other mechanisms will be required to achieve the level of affordable housing needed (29,100).

3.10 In addition to the established approach of seeking a percentage of affordable housing from sites, National Planning Policy Guidance asks authorities to consider increasing the total amount of housing to increase the amount of affordable homes delivered. The OAN figure has already included a 7.5% increase in the housing number to address affordable housing need. A modest housing increase could be considered to provide further affordable homes, however, using this method to meet the affordable housing requirement, could lead to a substantial over provision of housing sites beyond which the market can sustain or deliver. Furthermore, this could lead to a failure to build on the more challenging brownfield sites and result in greater pressure on green field land. This approach also cannot guarantee more affordable homes or more affordable homes in the areas of greatest need.

3.11 There are a number of other approaches which could be considered to increase the delivery of affordable homes in the WoE, which include:

1. Introducing public subsidy to improve the viability of developments to deliver affordable housing;

  • working with the Homes and Communities Agency and the registered provider partners to maximise the public subsidy available for affordable housing and associated infrastructure to improve the viability of proposals
  • using any affordable housing shortfall and /or fund additional affordable homes above the policy requirement on suitable sites

2. Increasing the percentage of affordable housing sought across the HMA - maximising the delivery of affordable homes where sites are viable.

3. Providing public land at a discounted value to maximise affordable housing delivery.

3.12 The implications of the requirement for affordable housing will need to be considered at examination as part of the overall viability and deliverability of the JSP.



Are we planning for the right number of homes?

Is there anything else we should take into consideration regarding the number of homes?


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What needs to happen to ensure the homes we need are built by 2036?

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What needs to happen to ensure enough of the homes built are affordable?

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The need for employment land and floor space

3.13 It is important for the future sustainable growth of the WoE, that the right employment opportunities are available to communities and that an appropriate level of employment land is available in the right locations. Whilst the need for land for jobs is important to our future growth, the extent of land needed for employment is significantly less than that for housing. Much of the employment land in the area is of low density, with opportunities for more efficient use.

3.14 An Economic Development Needs Assessment (EDNA) has been commissioned. It will provide an objective assessment of the employment land / floor space needs over the period 2016 to 2036 for the Functional Economic Market Area. The Functional Economic Market Area is the area over which the local economy and its key markets operate. (The description of this area and how it is defined will be set out in the EDNA Report).

3.15 The EDNA will provide an assessment of the needs for office, industrial and warehouse employment floor space and land for the Functional Economic Market Area defined. The study will not identify the employment floor space requirements of retail or other service sectors. These assessments will be carried out separately once the provision for housing growth is established.

3.16 Early indications of the findings of the EDNA suggest that:

  • the WoE can be identified as a Functional Economic Market Area, based on the critical economic mass and key supply linkages within the area; and
  • there is unlikely to be a significant deficit of employment land across the WoE, taking into account projections of future growth.



Have we identified the right employment issues?

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Where should new employment land be located?

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