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Joint West of England spatial plan out for consultation

The four West of England authorities have produced a draft ‘Joint Spatial Plan’ that will be published for public consultation on 7 November until 19 December 2016.

The Plan seeks to accommodate the housing and economic growth forecasts for the period 2016-2036. This means providing locations for growth to accommodate up to 105,000 homes and 82,500 jobs. Many of these homes are already committed via existing Development Plans so land for 39,000 new homes is required. The Plan is being prepared alongside a Joint Transport Plan which identifies a £7.5bn package of infrastructure measures.

The Plan will make decisions for the direction of growth in the Bristol and Bath sub-region, and whilst some Green Belt sites will be released, Green Belt protection remains enshrined as the core policy objective. This raises the age old debate that retention of the Green Belt does not necessarily lead to the most sustainable outcomes. There are however some interesting new locations to meet the need beyond the Green Belt such as a new settlement north east of Thornbury and over 5,000 homes in the A38 corridor between Weston-super-Mare and Bristol Airport.

This represents a critical stage of policy formulation and we encourage landowners and clients with interests in the area to make representations on the process. Whilst there is much to be encouraged by, there remain key concerns regarding the appropriate level of growth, where the most sustainable locations to accommodate it are, and how these link to the emerging economic and transport strategies.

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