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South Gloucestershire new Local Plan Consultation (February 2018)

Overview by Rick Dunning, Chair of the Pucklechurch Neighbourhood Plan Group

LOCAL PLAN. Please read to the end...

I am sending this out as Chair of Pucklechurch Neighbourhood Plan Group.

People are asking about the SGC local plan. I've looked at it and went to a SGC presentation last evening. They are looking at strategies for the building of some 1800 'non-strategic growth' dwellings across SGlos - 1300 planned homes and SGCs share of "housing contingency" of 500. These are houses contained in the overall figures for growth (to 2036) but outside of developments such as Buckover and the growth contained in the strategic plan.

Their question is fundamentally should the 1800 homes be: 1) extra-urban (where there is already huge planned growth); 2) in the greenbelt (and if so how and in what densities); 3) a mixture of the two. Bear in mind that small developments of less than 10 houses do NOT count against this target - I asked SGC Chief Planning Officer about this as it seems to me that any appropriate greenbelt developments will be small scale and will therefore not help with SGC targets. They will 'look at this' but it amazes me that so far down the planning line SGC are still unable to quantify what is appropriate development.

I also asked were some areas of greenbelt more 'strategic' or ‘sacrosanct' than others and it seems this is the case. The other things they are looking at in allowing greenbelt building are:

• Homes for rural families

• Affordable housing in rural areas

• Supporting rural services (schools, transport etc)

• Core strategy lessons (spreading the housing to where people want it)

• To make development plan led rather than speculative.

There may also be replacement greenbelt – a piece lost here will be tacked on elsewhere.

Whilst looking at greenbelt development (and there are 35 rural locations* to investigate) they want to ensure:

• Infrastructure (transport, schools, accessability etc)

• Proportional growth (so if a village has say 100 homes 50 more would be ‘disproportional) – I wanted to know if less than 10 houses doesn’t count against the Local Plan if a village had 100 homes and 4 developments of 9 homes were suggested separately over a long period what’s to stop this disproportional development unless very small developments are included in the plan

• Sustainability (no suitable answers from SGC here – when it comes to the environment they seem clueless)

• Flood and other risk

• Availability and suitability

• There is also an achievability test – heritage, financial viability (eg will you need to build a road to access a site and at what cost (don’t laugh)

There will be (for developments of currently 10 or more homes) a cumulative test to ensure multiple developments are not permitted in one area.

The good news is that Pucklechurch’s development (Oak Tree Ave) will count against any allocation for Pucklechurch as permissions being granted at present will be eligible. But I feel we must press SGC to include smaller (9 or less) sites in the plan as without this we could be severely affected by these smaller development – as an area Siston seem very worried by this).

Check out the interactive websites on SGC/localplan but don’t be alarmed at the number of ‘call for sites’ speculative suggestions – these carry no weight and are purely speculative – indeed to put one in you don’t even have to have anything to do with the land, I could put one in to turn Parkfield into a ‘miners theme park’ – now there’s an idea…

An extant Neighbourhood Plan will greatly help an area – as it forms an addendum to the Local Plan. So if you want appropriate (and fitting) development in Pucklechurch/Shortwood/Parkfield – or anywhere in between, contact me about joining the Neighbourhood Plan group or just helping the group out – we are desperate for volunteers!

* Note – locations not parishes, so Shortwood, Pucklechurch village and Parkfield are separate areas.

Below is the link to the SGC consultation page.


Rich Dunning, Chair of the Pucklechurch Neighbourhood Plan Group