Core Strategy - Consultation Draft

Document Section Core Strategy - Consultation Draft Chapter 3: Spatial Policies Delivering Strong and Inclusive Communities CS14: Distribution of New Housing CS14: Distribution of New Housing [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 3321025/CSCD/2
Respondent Deleted User [View all comments by this respondent]
Agent Deleted User
Response Date 19 Feb 2010
Current Status Accepted
1. Whilst the underlying reasoning behind a housing and employment land core strategy which focuses development in just two areas within and adjacent to Weston super Mare and at the South West Bristol Urban Expansion (SWBUE) is understood, it is highly unlikely that this strategy will deliver the required amount of development within the plan period.

2. The strategy relies on 12,000 new homes at Weston (that is 3,000 in the existing town and 9,000 at the Weston Urban Extension) within the plan period. It is appreciated that housing development within the Weston Urban Area is running ahead of RSS figures at the present time. However, any development of the Weston Urban Extension (WUE) is some years ahead and it is unlikely that there will be any houses completed before 2102. This leaves only 14 years until 2026. The completion of 9,000 new homes within 14 years would require a build rate of almost 650 houses per annum, or thirteen houses each week for 50 weeks of each year. It is highly doubtful that such an eye-wateringly high build rate can be sustained on a single site. Of course, if the WUE project is delayed either through the planning process or by the site developer (not that I am suggesting that the developer might do so deliberately), then the build rate would need to be even higher and the entire core strategy will be put in doubt. Again it is simply not reasonable or acceptable to say that the shortfall in housing numbers can be allowed to slide beyond the RSS period.

3. The same issues arise in respect of the SWBUE. The provision of 9,000 new homes and employment land will require a similarly over-ambitious build rate which is simply unachievable. In that case, delays at the early stages are more likely and a good deal of new infrastructure must be provided. It would be very surprising if this site was to come 'on stream' before 2014, leaving just 12 years to build at a rate of 750 homes per annum, 15 houses per week, for 50 weeks each year. Even if the economy were booming, it is surely inconceivable that such a build rate could be sustained.

4. The Core Strategy already accepts that some development can be acceptable at Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead and that such development can enhance self-containment and their service centre role. It is considered vital that the Core Strategy is amended to rely less on the two highly controversial and highly ambitious Urban Extension sites. Modest allocations at each of these three settlements will help to ensure that these settlements achieve the benefits that carefully planned development can bring, help to ensure that the RSS targets are met and help to defuse the controversy surrounding the WUE and SWBUE proposals.

5. The three smaller settlements of Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead are successful settlements, offering a range of services and local employment. Unfortunately, the policy to restrict their growth and to only permit residential development within the existing urban area on brownfield sites will tend to make these settlements less sustainable and self-contained. This is because of the pressure to redevelop land which is currently in employment and service uses for residential uses. This will increase the housing stock at the expense of employment and community facilities, leading to less self-containment and more commuting as employment land is redeveloped for housing.

6. Between them, Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead account for some 30% of the population of North Somerset. Severely restricting the growth of these settlements as proposed is unsound.