South Gloucestershire Local Plan: Policies, Sites and Places Plan - Regulation 18 Consultation (2015)

South Gloucestershire Local Plan: Policies, Sites and Places Plan - Regulation 18 Consultation (2015)

4. Demonstrating leadership to address the shortfall

4.1 The government attaches great importance to maintaining a five year Housing Land Supply (HLS), as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The consequence of not being able to demonstrate a five year supply is that national policy directs that the housing supply policies in adopted and emerging policies are to be regarded for development control purposes as if they are out of date. The Government have also made it clear that all planning authorities are to have up to date local plans in place by 2017 or risk the Government stepping in and undertaking this. The council wishes to avoid either planning by appeal2 or Government taking over its responsibility to prepare local plans. Therefore, it very much supports following a plan led approach to make additional allocations in the Policies, Sites and Places Plan. Thus through site identification, assessment and consultation with the community, the council is identifying sites where development could be located through the PSP Plan. This provides the greatest opportunity for communities to be involved with the allocations that will affect them.

4.2 The council wishes to be clear to all parties, it does not support growth at any cost. In other words, we are not seeking to expand to the detriment of for example, good place making, adverse impact on areas of high landscape value or to develop areas that are prone to flooding, or would cause significant environmental impact. The objective will be to make allocations that represent sustainable development, i.e. which balances the economic, social and environmental objectives of the NPPF.

4.3 A sequential approach to making the additional allocations is proposed (see Part 2), this will be undertaken in line with the spatial strategy set out in the adopted Core Strategy. Initially additional growth in the most sustainable locations will be considered, then if insufficient housing cannot be found to address the shortfall, the next most sustainable location will be considered, and so on. However, it is possible given the size of the shortfall that additional supply in the most sustainable locations of the urban areas of the North and East Fringes of Bristol, Yate/Chipping Sodbury and Thornbury will not be able to fully address the shortfall. Therefore additional allocations are likely to be needed to be made in the villages and settlements located in the rural areas. The council monitors its housing supply and other land uses on a regular basis, publishing the results annually. This monitoring process already takes into account a number of future residential sites from the existing urban areas and therefore additional sites from these areas are likely to be limited.

4.4 The circumstances which are driving the need for additional housing locations to be identified through the PSP plan are unfortunate especially as these largely sit with the development sector. However, the council is fortunate that it has immediately available to it the choice of using the PSP plan as a vehicle for helping ensure allocations remain plan-led. This will provide appropriate opportunity for community and stakeholder engagement, support and challenge.

4.5 The circumstances also do allow the council and local communities to revisit in a more comprehensive manner, the opportunity to introduce a broader mix and balance of housing sites, both in terms of size and location within the District. While the impacts of new development do need to be carefully assessed, and where possible mitigated, the benefits from helping to support communities to sustain and perpetuate themselves and strength community fabric through growing the housing stock also need to be recognised. The opportunity for all locations to consider the potential for some local housing growth over the next five or more years, to support and sustain communities and the facilities they need, should be taken into consideration, alongside careful assessment of impact.

4.6 Part 2 of this paper details how the council will seek to address the housing shortfall, assess locations and sites, in relation to their suitability for potential development in the next plan period. The additional allocations need to contribute to housing delivery within 5 years i.e. help to address the council's shorter term housing supply challenges. Through this consultation the council is not reopening the debate about the overall housing requirement for the District. This is established by the council's Core Strategy and will be in place until replaced by the Joint Spatial Plan and the Council's New Local Plan, (see section 5 below).

4.7 Notwithstanding this, the council does see a benefit in seeking to diversify the portfolio of allocated housing sites within the housing trajectory. This is to ensure the housing market has a range of opportunities for boosting supply of housing in line with government policy. For example by bringing forward small and medium sized sites it is hoped that more house builders have the opportunity to operate in South Gloucestershire.

4.8 The council will look to use submitted site information to address the shortfall via the PSP Plan where sites can be delivered over the next 5 years and to feed into the JSP/Local Plan Review where a site cannot be delivered in the next 5 years. At this stage the council wishes to receive and consider sites across all existing urban areas, market towns and settlements.


[2] Planning by appeal is the situation where a planning application is refused by the local authority but the applicant takes the council to a planning appeal and a government appointed Inspector reverses the council’s decision and gives the application permission based on the detailed scrutiny of the reasons for refusal which may include the fact that the local authority cannot demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing land