Bricks and mortar

We need more homes but where are they going to be built?

Critical planning issues facing Bath and North East Somerset are set to be tackled in a partial update of the Local Plan and residents are invited to have their say in an online consultation.

The Local Plan is the basis for determining planning applications in the district and decides how sites are allocated for development. It is also vital in helping Bath & North East Somerset Council meet its climate and ecological emergency goals.

Ahead of a full review of the Local Plan scheduled for 2023, the council is carrying out a Partial Update to address urgent issues including the climate and ecological emergencies, housing land supply, potential sites for non-residential development and Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

The consultation launched today (January 7) will give people a chance to have their say on potential new approaches the council could adopt and particularly how policy could be aligned with its declaration of the climate and ecological emergencies. It will address planning policies affecting renewable energy generation, sustainable construction and parking standards.

Housing requirements set by the B&NES Core Strategy are that around 13,000 homes need to be built from 2011 to 2029 in B&NES, but the council has identified that the current housing supply shortfall for the area is around 1,200 homes.

The Local Plan Partial Update needs to identify and allocate sites to deliver these much-needed homes in order to meet the 13,000 target on schedule. A list of proposed sites for allocation can be viewed in the consultation documents.

Other potential development sites for non-residential development are also detailed, including creating a more vibrant and diverse part of Bath city centre at Milsom Quarter, transport interchanges and wider uses at the Park & Ride sites, and redeveloping the Bath Community Academy site for education and community use.

For student housing, the council’s preferred approach is that student needs are met in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) where possible, in place of further conversion of family homes to HMOs. The options document sets out various policy approaches to manage HMOs and PBSA as well as opportunities for further development on universities campuses.

The consultation can be viewed by clicking here and comments are welcomed before February 18.

Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Housing, Planning and Economic Development, said: “Planning policy can be a challenging process to make sense of, but it has a huge impact on all our lives. The Local Plan guides the progress of Bath and North East Somerset and decides how sites are allocated for development. It’s also vital in helping us meet our climate and ecological emergency goals.

“Ahead of the full Local Plan update in 2023 we want to address the most critical issues, so don’t miss the chance to help shape policy for where you live and work. Please view our consultation document, share your ideas and let us know what is important to you.”

As well as via the consultation portal, comments can be submitted by email at local_plan2@bathnes.gov.uk or in writing to: Local Plan Consultation, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Manvers Street, Bath, BA1 1JG.

The Development Plan in Bath & North East Somerset primarily comprises the Core Strategy (adopted in 2014) and the Placemaking Plan (adopted in 2017), both of which cover a plan period from 2011 to 2029. A full review of the Local Plan will be undertaken alongside the West of England Combined Authority’s Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) which is scheduled for publication in 2023.