Where shall we build?

Where in B&NES  is there land fit for building? It’s a question the Council is asking its ratepayers to consider in an online consultation being launched next Monday.

Planning policies which guide decision making across Bath and North East Somerset are set to be reviewed and, due to the Coronavirus restrictions,  they will be asking people to comment on a list of planning issues in an online consultation which will run until June 1st. The  link to post comments can be found here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LocalPlanpartialupdateandDraftSCI or by emailing local_plan2@bathnes.gov.uk

The council needs to make changes to its planning policy framework primarily in response to its Climate Emergency declaration, but also to increase the availability of land for new housing and to enable a re-examination of its approach to student housing and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

In order to identify potential available sites for new development, the council is also undertaking a ‘call for sites’ for housing, employment as well as renewable energy development. This is an important early step in the review of planning policies and all sites submitted will be assessed for their suitability for inclusion in the Local Plan Review.

Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Housing, Planning, and Economic Development, said: “We fully understand the critical nature of the unprecedented situation caused by Covid-19. However, the government has made it clear that the planning system should continue to function as well as possible and progress made.

“Therefore, after careful consideration, this consultation is taking place and will be held online only. There will be opportunities for communities and other stakeholders to contribute ideas and comment on the emerging content of the Local Plan Partial Update when we consult on options and policy approaches later in the year.   No-one will be prejudiced in participating in the Local Plan Partial Update because of the current restrictions on travel.”

Councillor Tim Ball added: “Following the withdrawal of the Joint Spatial Plan, the council will need to carry out a full review of its Local Development Scheme (LDS) and Local Plan, but this will take time. In the interim, we need to respond to pressing local issues.”

The review of planning policies will enable the council to respond to the Climate Emergency and other local issues including:

  • replenishing the supply of land for housing
  • maximising the sustainability of new development construction
  • providing more affordable housing
  • incorporating the council’s new Green Infrastructure Strategy proposals, including reviewing the approach to providing open space and delivering biodiversity net gain
  • revising the approach to new Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA)
  • updating policy on Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
  • facilitating new renewable energy generation
  • increasing walking and cycling routes
  • reviewing car parking including the provision of electric vehicle charging points
  • amending the Old Mills employment land allocation

The council is consulting on a ‘commencement document’ outlining the scope of changes to be made to the policy framework and programme for preparing them. There will be further opportunities to engage in the policy changes themselves later this year.

More information: https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/policy-and-documents-library/local-plan-2016-2036