Councillors to consider revised planning blueprint

South Gloucestershire Council

Councillors are set to consider the latest revision of South Gloucestershire’s Core Strategy at a series of meetings next week, following the publication of updates demanded by the independent inspector responsible for examining the document.

The strategy sets out the overarching development vision and strategy for South Gloucestershire until 2026 and aims to deliver the new homes, jobs and services that are needed to sustain the district’s communities, without compromising their separate identifies, character or the local high-quality environment.

The document is the culmination of an extensive consultation process and has been shaped by all three political parties on the council as well as community leaders and local residents.

The strategy was originally submitted to the Secretary of State in March 2011 but the inspector charged with examining it said in August 2011 that it needed more work in a number of key areas and he agreed to allow the council six months to update it.

The updates, affecting key topics such as housing provision, green belt policy, the proposed closure of Filton Airfield and sustainability have now been prepared by council officers and will be considered by councillors at the following meetings next week:

  • Joint Meeting of Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment Select Committee, Development Control (East) and Development Control (West) Committees (Monday 12th December)
  • Cabinet (Tuesday 13th December)
  • Full Council (Wednesday 14th December)

Links to the revised Core Strategy document and documents outlining the changes that have been made can be found here.

Councillor Brian Allinson, South Gloucestershire Council executive member for planning, transportation and strategic environment, said:

“The Core Strategy is a vital planning document which will determine how we provide homes, jobs and infrastructure across the district up to 2026.”

“It will allow us to guide and manage development across South Gloucestershire in response to the needs and ambitions of local communities, businesses and residents.”

“Without it, we run a genuine risk of unplanned development so it is essential that we make progress with the strategy in the coming weeks and months.”

The strategy now includes Filton Airfield as a strategic development location (for housing and employment), following BAE Systems’ decision to close airfield operations from December 2012.

First landing of the Airbus A380 at Filton Airfield, Bristol

Commenting on the potential redevelopment of the airfield, Cllr Allinson added:

“Not one of our major local aerospace companies has objected to the airfield’s closure and the extensive engagement exercise that we carried out with the community confirmed that the future prosperity of our valued local aerospace industry is a key priority for them.”

“This is why in taking on board these comments the proposal is to redevelop the airfield, including reserving a significant part of the site to secure the area as a centre of excellence for aerospace and advanced engineering in order to encourage existing companies to expand and new ones to locate here.”

“A carefully planned approach to re-developing Filton Airfield can help to ensure that the local aerospace industry has a future truly as great as its past and with the spirit of Brabazon and Concorde living on in the engineers of tomorrow – the children and young people of South Gloucestershire.”

Overall the strategy makes provision for up to 26,400 homes. Of this total 4,060 homes have been completed, requiring an additional 22,340 dwellings over the next 15 years from 2012.

The plan makes clear that the council will continue to give protection to the green belt and open countryside which South Gloucestershire has continuously considered are not appropriate locations for development. Therefore should BAE Systems decide against releasing the Airfield for development, the council would “strongly resist pressure to release alternative locations for development”, according to a press release issued today.

Subject to decisions to be made at full Council on Wednesday 14th December, changes to the strategy will be publicised over a seven-week period beginning later this month.

Representations received during this publicity period will be made available to the inspector and the ‘examination in public’ is now anticapted to commence in April 2012.

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