South Gloucestershire Council has begun a 12 week consultation as it develops a new Local Plan. This is a key planning document in shaping how and where development can take place. It provides a guide and framework for residents and developers alike, against which the suitability of planning applications are judged.
All Local Authorities need to have an up to date Local Plan in place. For South Gloucestershire, with our increasing need for housing and employment opportunities, for the next generations over the next 20 years, it is time to update ours.
While we grow, we also want to protect and improve our environment. To achieve this we will need to balance economic, social and environmental issues to ensure new development is sustainable. To make sure this happens, we must plan positively.
The South Gloucestershire Local Plan will help identify where and how we should accommodate sustainable growth. It will include where homes, businesses, transport, schools and other services and facilities will go. We will use the completed Plan to decide whether planning applications that come forward are appropriate and meet our needs.
Our Plan will sit under the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP), which has been developed by the four West of England Authorities and that will guide strategic growth across the wider region.
Our Plan will focus on more local projects, but will also allow the council to determine how proposals identified in the JSP will be delivered in South Gloucestershire.
Local people have already told us that they want the focus of new development to be on brownfield sites and within existing towns first, so long as they also bring the new infrastructure needed to support them. That includes better cycling and walking routes, better public transport, more schools and to protect green spaces at the heart of our communities.
Building within the current boundaries of urban areas won’t be enough to meet all our needs, however. The JSP identifies large scale developments in five greenfield Strategic Development Locations (SDLs), which have not been previously built on. These SDLs will have an impact across the region, not just in their immediate area.
In addition to helping us guide the way these major projects are delivered, the Local Plan will also establish where smaller scale development is appropriate in other parts of South Gloucestershire.
Cabinet Member for Planning, Transportation and the Strategic Environment, Councillor Colin Hunt, said: “This is your opportunity to help us produce a Local Plan that works for everyone. Individuals and communities are rightly passionate about the places they live and work.
“I want to encourage everyone to think about this consultation and take part. This is a plan for the whole of South Gloucestershire.
“Growth will happen and through a new Local Plan we want to be able to control it and guide it so that it meets not just your needs, but also the needs of the next generations. We can continue to enjoy South Gloucestershire as a great place to live and work, if we plan positively for new homes and businesses.
“Importantly, by having a robust Local Plan, which residents understand and that they have taken part in shaping, will strengthen the council’s hand against unwanted and speculative development bids.”
The consultation is now underway and will run until 30 April 2018. Residents and other local stakeholders, including Town and Parish Councils and other groups, can contribute to the process in a number of ways. Full details and supporting documents are available online at www.southglos.gov.uk/newlocalplanfeb2018
Comments can also be submitted via email to PlanningPolicy@southglos.gov.uk, or by post to: Strategic Planning Policy & Specialist Advice Team, Department for Environment and Community Services, PO Box 1954, Bristol BS37 0DD.
A hard copy of the Local Plan consultation document is available at council One-Stop Shops and libraries for reference.
We will also hold drop-in sessions, where you will be able to talk to the council, learn more and comment. The following sessions have been arranged across South Gloucestershire:
- Thursday 8 March – Hanham, Community Centre (BS15 3EJ), 5.30pm to 7.30pm
- Friday 9 March – Patchway, Community Centre (BS34 5LP), 6pm to 8pm
- Thursday 15 March – Stoke Giﬀord, St Michael’s Centre (BS34 8PD), 4.30pm to 6.45pm
- Monday 19 March – Kingswood, Park Centre (BS15 4AR), 5.30pm to 7.30pm
- Tuesday 20 March – Yate, Ridgewood Centre (BS37 4AF), 6pm to 8pm.
Further engagement will be undertaken later in the year as the Local Plan progresses.
To find out more, get involved and help shape the Local Plan visit: www.southglos.gov.uk/newlocalplanfeb2018