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NORTH SOMERSET: New housing strategy with more than 20,000 homes

NORTH SOMERSET: New housing strategy with more than 20,000 homes

Image: LDRS

New documents show where more than 20,000 homes could be built across North Somerset by 2038.

Weston-super-Mare would take the biggest share, with some 3,000, followed by 1,500 in Nailsea, and a total of 1,000 in Yatton and Backwell, along with large sites in the four towns and small “windfall” locations.

North Somerset Council will take a sequential approach, with top priority being to ensure that the 3,600 dwellings it has already granted planning permission are built.

But the estimated total is nearly 6,000 homes shy of the target and the council will have to ask neighbouring authorities to pick up the slack or consider building in the green belt.

The approach to the new Local Plan is set to be agreed by executive members next week.

Papers published ahead of the meeting say: “The most sustainable pattern of growth for North Somerset is likely to result in the principal areas of new growth being generally at Weston-super-Mare (primarily a strategic opportunity north of A371 and east of M5) and Nailsea. 

“There may be some opportunities for an appropriate scale of growth at one or two larger villages with good public transport connectivity such as Yatton and Backwell, but elsewhere in the rural areas development will be limited to avoid unsustainable patterns of development.

“Taken together, these locations are unlikely to be sufficient to meet the housing requirement, resulting in the need to consider green belt opportunities.

“However, even when taking account of sustainable and deliverable broad locations in the green belt which conform with the spatial strategy and strategic priorities, this is unlikely to fully meet the government’s housing requirement and therefore there is likely to remain unmet housing need within North Somerset.”

That unmet need means the council will need to work with neighbouring authorities without the constraints of the green belt and flood zones to deliver the housing and necessary infrastructure.

The strategy comes after residents backed focusing growth on urban areas and protecting the green belt in a recent consultation, which analysis showed were the most sustainable options. Officers said free-standing new communities remote from services, facilities and jobs and difficult to access with effective public transport, are a much less sustainable option.

To hit the target of 20,085 new homes by 2038, 1,339 would have to be built every year. The average current rate is just 808 per year.

This is how housing would be prioritised under a strategy to be approved by executive members:

  1. Build the 3,600 homes with planning permission
  2. Look at opportunities within the four towns – expected to be around 2,000 on identified sites and 1,725 through small-scale windfall
  3. Build around 3,000 dwellings at Weston, where the main opportunity is a potential growth location north of A371 and east of the M5 linked to the delivery of the Banwell Bypass, and around 1,500 dwellings at Nailsea
  4. Consider other sustainable settlements with good accessibility and services, with potential development at Yatton and Backwell amounting to some 1,000 homes in total
  5. Development in most villages will be restricted and limited to local opportunities particularly where they address community needs. Small site windfall in the rural areas is expected to be about 900 dwellings.  A limited number of allocations at the larger villages could comprise some further 500 homes.
  6. Before using green belt land the council will need to consider potential opportunities in neighbouring areas through the duty to cooperate
  7. If more land is needed, the final step will be to consider a limited number of sustainable and deliverable green belt opportunities well related to urban areas. The council would need to demonstrate “exceptional circumstances” to approve development in the green belt. It said it could assess land inside Colliters Way and broad locations on the edge of Bristol, Nailsea and Portishead.

The executive will meet on April 28 to agree the broad locations for housing and submit them for further testing and assessment.

Words: Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter


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