West of England Joint Spatial Plan

West of England Joint Spatial Plan: Publication - November 2017

POLICY 2: THE SPATIAL STRATEGY

The Joint Spatial Plan housing and job requirements will be achieved through:

1. The delivery of existing Local Plan commitments,

2. Maximising the sustainable development of previously developed land and other appropriate opportunities within existing urban areas,

3. Enabling non-strategic sustainable development at locations identified and brought forward through local plans to meet the UA housing and employment requirements.

4. The allocation in Local Plans of the following Strategic Development Locations:

  • Bath & North East Somerset: North Keynsham, Whitchurch.
  • Bristol: Land at Bath Road Brislington
  • North Somerset: Backwell, Banwell, Churchill, Nailsea.
  • South Gloucestershire: Buckover, Charfield, Coalpit Heath, Thornbury, Yate.

The strategic policy requirements for each of the strategic development locations are set out in Policy 7.

The spatial strategy is illustrated on the Key Diagram.

The general extent of the Green Belt is maintained except where it is required to be amended through local plans to enable the delivery of the Strategic Development Locations at Coalpit Heath, North Keynsham, Yate, Bath Road, Brislington and Whitchurch.

Contingency/Review:

The Plan will be reviewed every 5 years following adoption. If monitoring demonstrates that the planned housing provision is not being delivered at the levels being planned for, and there would be no reasonable prospect of the planned delivery being met, the identified contingency will be considered for release through plan review.

 

Reasoned Justification for Policy 2

6. Policy 2 sets out the Plan's spatial strategy. The Plan promotes a pattern of development across both Housing Market Areas which most appropriately delivers the Plan's Vision and Strategic Priorities. In particular, it seeks to meet the need for new homes and economic growth supported by the necessary infrastructure. Chapter 3 and the      Spatial Strategy Topic Paper sets out in more detail how the spatial strategy was developed.

7. Development of the strategy has been informed by the Sustainability Appraisal and a broad evidence base.

8. Provision is made to deliver 105,500 new dwellings and 82,500 jobs by 2036. Of this, a significant proportion, around 61,500 new homes are already identified in existing adopted plans. A principal element of the strategy is to maximise development opportunities in urban areas, whilst securing a high quality environment for existing and future residents. This approach helps to ensure new development is well related to facilities and benefits from existing infrastructure and yields about an additional 16,200 dwellings. In recognising the role of the network of smaller towns and settlements provision is also made for 'non-strategic' growth (3,400 dwellings), and small site windfall development (6,800 dwellings) with locations to be identified in UA Local Plans.

9. The above provision leaves nearly 17,600 dwellings to be accommodated. Whilst all brownfield options have been considered the identification of strategic, greenfield locations (500 or more dwellings for the purposes of the JSP) is warranted. The Strategic Development Location Templates describe in more detail how the potential Strategic Development Locations (SDLs) have been identified.

10. A number of spatial scenarios were tested in order to establish the most appropriate strategy and help select the strategic locations which would effectively deliver the Plan's priorities. The preferred approach is to achieve a balanced portfolio, which in combination focusses development at locations: well related to existing urban areas; which are served by existing sustainable transport routes; or those with the potential to be sustainable, as a result of the type and form of development proposed. This reduces the need for travel to facilities and employment and where travel is needed, to do it more sustainably. In particular it facilitates the priority of economic rebalancing, thereby helping to address the pockets of deprivation within the sub-region. The preferred locations have also taken account of the need for the spatial rebalancing of the Bristol city region in response to the extensive past growth and build out of the existing commitments which remain (of some 13,000 homes) at the north and east fringes of Bristol over the next 10 to 15 years.

11. A substantial part of the sub-region (around 48%) lies with the Bristol- Bath Green Belt. This creates a tension as some of the most sustainable (or potentially sustainable) locations in terms of their proximity to the Bristol urban area are within the Green Belt. The UAs assessed the scope to meet the need for development by avoiding Green Belt locations, including options in adjoining authorities. However, the avoidance of the Green Belt resulted in a strategy which would entail highly unsustainable patterns of development, would have significant delivery issues and would severely compromise the Plan's objectives.

12. Having examined the other reasonable options for meeting the identified development requirements, the UAs have concluded that there are exceptional circumstances to justify the release of certain locations from the Green Belt. In doing so, the UAs have sought to minimise the impact on the Green Belt and its general extent remains unchanged, with 0.65% proposed to be removed.

13. The JSP provides the basis for the UAs to formally allocate the SDLs in their individual Local Plans. Local Plans will set out the detailed site requirements, delivery arrangements and facilitate mitigation and/or enhancements both on site and off site. Local Plan preparation will provide the mechanism to amend local Green Belt boundaries. In the meantime, these locations will remain as part of the Green Belt. Opportunities to extend Green Belt will be explored through local plans such as at Thornbury/ Buckover and Nailsea/Backwell.

14. The strategy provides a robust supply of deliverable land for housing for the Plan period with a choice of locations and flexibility to respond to changing circumstances. The strategy provides a firm basis for the UAs to demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply in each UA Local Plan, based on the identified housing requirement.

15. The Plan will be reviewed at 5 year intervals to ensure that the strategy is being delivered and to take into account new evidence. In the event that housing was not being delivered at the levels being planned for, and if there would be no reasonable prospect of the planned delivery being recovered, the Plan identifies some contingency locations to be considered for release through plan review. This contingency comprises;

    • Land south of Chipping Sodbury, (around 1,500 dwellings with up to 775 deliverable within the plan period) and an additional 225 dwellings at North West Yate, South Gloucestershire.
    • Land at east Clevedon, North Somerset (around 1,500 dwellings).
    • Increased non-strategic growth in South Gloucestershire (around 500 dwellings) and in B&NES (100 dwellings).

16. The spatial strategy, as shown in the Key Diagram below, enables the identified growth needs of the West of England to be met in a sustainable and deliverable way, properly aligned with new infrastructure and with flexibility. It enables the retention and enhancement of the sub-region's high quality environment, provides benefits to existing communities and it facilitates the development of exemplar, sustainable new places. This is the most appropriate strategy for the West of England as evidenced through Sustainability Appraisal (SA) testing and in effectively delivering the Plan's spatial priorities.