Core Strategy - Consultation Draft

Document Section Core Strategy - Consultation Draft Chapter 5: SW Bristol Urban Extension Main Master Plan (Full RSS Requirement) [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 3620513/CSCD/4
Respondent LandTrust Developments Ltd [View all comments by this respondent]
Agent Deleted User
Response Date 19 Feb 2010
Current Status Accepted
5 Options for the required development
5.1 The Core Strategy should address the requirement for an urban extension to south west Bristol. The Submitted Core Strategy should address the requirement by making an allocation for this strategic development as provided for by PPS12 and now established as good practice. This approach, with provision for a masterplan to be agreed between the planning authority and the promoters of the development, provides for the most efficient and effective progression to implementation, and gives the greatest clarity and certainty for all parties. It is entirely appropriate when there is a known party in control of the required land and who has carried out a very great deal of engagement, and exploratory and design work. By this approach the Core Strategy can also deal with the necessary changes to the green belt at the same time and avoid a very unsatisfactory situation for the planning authority, potential applicants and the community alike of uncertainty over what is green belt and what is not, with an indefinite
timescale for this to be resolved.
5.2 In the meantime, through the successive stages of plan preparation and
through its commitment to continuous engagement, the Council and its plan
must deal with the reasonable options for the delivery of the strategic
development within its area which will form the greater part of the urban
extension, enabling the best option to emerge in a way which is
understandable and persuasive.
5.3 Whilst it dismisses the requirement for an urban extension to south west Bristol, the consultation document does present options to be considered fo the creation of the urban extension that arise from the brief given to the consultants who have worked for Council between November 2008 and August 2009. These options include a scheme that would provide the full requirement from the RSS, together with a number of schemes that provide for various lesser amounts of development. The consultation document does not explain how these smaller schemes are 'options'. Insofar as they are not different ways of doing the same thing, but are different things for which there is no basis nor justification, they are not reasonable options for the plan to consider. They are at best the illustration of different phases of essentially the same development.
5.4 That said, the consultation document does not include all of the reasonable options for the urban extension that really do have to be considered, and does not include what we believe the available evidence demonstrates to be the best option.
5.5 The Council has illustrated an option showing the form that development to provide 9,000 houses as part of an urban extension to Bristol could take.
This option includes development of both the land north of A370 and south
of Long Ashton and the triangular area south of A370 and north of the
railway line at Ashton Vale.
5.6 The Council also has information from LandTrust's Project Team on how a scheme providing 9-9,500 houses within North Somerset as part of an urban extension could be developed. This information has been available from work and discussions that have taken place over several years as LandTrust has developed its proposals. There is a current outline planning application very fully supported with assessment and design work for the proposed development. The proposal is referred to as Ashton Park.
5.7 This is a scheme that has been conceived very carefully in response to the landscape within North Somerset around Bristol and to the setting of the city and smaller settlements, as well as reflecting all that has been found out about such as archaeology, ecology, cultural heritage, landscape and
ground conditions. The applicant controls the majority of the land required for the development, but this is not an opportunist scheme reflecting available land. Rather land has been assembled according to a planning analysis identifying which land should be developed and how.
5.8 Whilst negotiations continue to develop details of the proposal and establish the basis for its form and management to be taken up through conditions and planning agreements, the evidence with the Council and which is
publicly available demonstrates that this scheme represents the best way to create an urban extension to Bristol within North Somerset of the scale
5.9 Full details of the application are within documents submitted to the Council
and registered on 3 September 2009 as Planning Application No.
09/P/1455/OT2. The information is available on the Council's planning
5.10 An Illustrative Masterplan has been provided in support of the outline planning application, but for the purposes of the present Core Strategy consultation we include a plan of this proposal in the same form as other options (as Appendix 1).
5.11 The consultation document at page 143 identifies 12 'emerging guidelines for development' in the event of the Council being required to consider an urban extension. The proposal that the Council has from LandTrust delivers on every one of these guidelines, in that (by reference to the numbered
1. There is a clear boundary to the proposed development and the
identity of Long Ashton and other North Somerset settlements would
be maintained
2. The Bus Rapid Transit and South Bristol Link wanted in this area are
designed into the scheme as integral proposals and would be
delivered by the scheme
3. The scheme respects the strategic and local landscape and protects
the higher slopes of Dundry Hill and such as Hanging Hill Wood -
though the latter area is at severe risk from the Council's own different
proposals for transport infrastructure
4. Green infrastructure has been one of the basic elements of the design
from the outset and would be fully integrated into the development
5. The planning application includes a community facility and the
necessary infrastructure to provide power and heat from low carbon
sources 6. The scheme is designed around areas of different and distinctive character and explains how quality will be achieved through
successive stages of the planning process
7. The appropriate community facilities and services are planned into the
development and would be provided early in the scheme phased with
the provision of development
8. A mix of jobs would be available locally, including from a variety of
types of accommodation
9. The scheme provides for a mix of housing types and tenures, and
exceeds the density level set out in the guideline
10. The scheme is designed for high levels of accessibility and high public transport use will be established from the outset
11. Full flood risk assessments have been undertaken and have directly
influenced the design of the scheme and its intended management
12. Progressive ideas on the management of the development are being
actively promoted already.
5.12 Promoting the option represented by the Ashton Park proposal would enable North Somerset Council' Core Strategy to demonstrate its implementability.
This option is demonstrably implementable because of the work that has
been done by LandTrust for the outline planning application. There is
already a committed developer with control of the great majority of the land required, including the land needed to deliver the critical components of
infrastructure. Whereas the delivery of infrastructure is usually the main
implementation problem faced by planning authorities in making strategic
allocations in Core Strategies, in this case the plan can identify a costeffective and efficient way of delivering the transport infrastructure for which
case is accepted and which is fully integrated and aligned with provision of
5.13 The essential visible difference between the 'full' option in the consultation document and the Ashton Park planning application which needs to be
considered as an option is that the option in the consultation document
includes the land north of A370 and south of Long Ashton, open land which
is currently promoted for development by its owners the University of Bristol.
5.14 LandTrust does not believe this land should be developed and the Ashton
Park proposal does not include this land.
5.15 There are apparently two basic differences between the scheme promoted
by LandTrust and the full option in the Council's consultation document that account for the different land requirements. The first difference is density,
with Ashton Park seeking to use land efficiently and to establish the kind of
compact urban area that is best for public transport use by setting 50dph as
the average density, whilst the option in the consultation document is based
on only 40dph. The second difference is the amount of land included for
employment development with the option in the consultation document
providing 37has. This is far in excess of the amount that would provide a level of locally available jobs for the numbers of people in the new urban area likely to be seeking work, though there is no policy basis for this level of
provision in the Draft RSS, Bristol's recent consultation Core Strategy, or North Somerset's consultation document itself.
5.16 The most significant issue in comparing the options that are available for the
creation of the part of the urban extension to south west Bristol in North
Somerset is whether the land north of A370 and south of Long Ashton
should be included as part of the area to be developed.
5.17 This land is green belt and therefore there would have to be exceptional
circumstances to justify a change to the green belt through the development
plan to allow its development. These exceptional circumstances do not exist
because there is demonstrated to be the means of creating the development
required in the most appropriate form without its use.
5.18 In addition to the green belt situation the land should not be developed for the following reasons.
5.19 The development of this land would be a very significant extension of Long
Ashton rather than part of an urban extension to Bristol. This effect is
unavoidable because of the form of the existing settlement, the topography
and the barriers between this land and land further south created by the
existing rail line and the A370 with its earthworks. The current planning
application by the University of Bristol is clear that it is an extension to Long
Ashton that is being proposed rather than a part of the required urban
extension to the south west of Bristol. The applicant describes this
arrangement as 'sustainable', though it is rather debateable whether this
description is applicable to the addition of a 1000 house estate to a village
which has a very high level of dependency on the nearest large urban area.
5.20 There is no provision in any existing development plan or any emerging development plan for significant development at Long Ashton. North
Somerset in its consultation document for the Core Strategy lists Long
Ashton as a 'service village'. There are 12 of these identified. The
consultation document does not propose that the Core Strategy should
direct any additional development to the service villages individually or
collectively, though its 'anticipated housing trajectory' (at page 64) does
envisage a total of 907 dwellings coming forward in the 12 service villages
by 2021, with 681 of these already committed and 442 already built (the
table of 'residual dwelling requirements on page 63). Clearly there is no
scope from the development plan for 1000 dwellings at Long Ashton.
5.21 A defining characteristic of the settlement of Long Ashton is its location on
the south facing slopes of a prominent ridge and hence its fit into the
landscape. Viewed from the south the open land to the south of the village
and north of the A370 is very important to the setting of Long Ashton and the
development of this land would have a dramatic adverse effect on setting
and character of Long Ashton. Left open this land will continue to provide
for the physical and visual separation of Long Ashton from the urban area of Bristol when extended to the south west.
5.22 The land cannot be integrated into the movement network that would be
created as part of the urban extension to Bristol. On the basis of the
arrangements indicated in the planning application submitted by the University of Bristol the scheme would rely on access through existing
residential areas on estate roads from Long Ashton Road through the centre
of village and from Wild Country Lane, which is quite unsuitable and is
already to be used to access the redevelopment of Barrow Hospital for
which permission has been granted.
5.23 Diverting part of the development intended for the urban extension to an
extension of Long Ashton would serve to undermine the viability of
segregated bus route favoured by the four unitary authorities for south west
and south Bristol and which can be delivered in part as part of the urban
extension. Similarly it would undermine the achievement of public transport
objectives for funding to be diverted to the creation and use of a new rail
halt. Even in the unlikely event of strategic train operators countenancing
stopping trains or accepting the disruption of their services by other stopping
trains, the inflexibility of heavy rail would make it the far less desirable
choice for new investment.
5.24 The Ashton Park proposal which we believe should be clearly represented
as an option for the Core Strategy consultation includes the development of the triangular area south of A370 and north of the railway line at Ashton
Vale, which is included for development in the 'full' option in the consultation
5.25 This land is green belt as is all of the land around Bristol into which an urban
extension would have to be accommodated. The inclusion of this within the
urban extension is appropriate because this land lies alongside Bristol and
so its development reinforces the connectivity with Bristol, its use would
enable a more coherent urban extension to be achieved with more efficient
use of land and of the existing and planned infrastructure, and there are no
significant constraints to its use.
5.26 The development of the Ashton Vale area as part of the urban extension
should not be precluded because of the relationship of Long Ashton with
5.27 Long Ashton quite clearly has a strong functional relationship with Bristol
with a very high level of dependence. According to Travel to Work statistics
from the 2001 Census, of 2,307 people travelling out of the Long Ashton and
Wraxell Parish to work, 1,410 travelled into Bristol City. The figure for travel
into other parts of North Somerset is 423. Trips for shopping, cultural and
leisure activities are correspondingly high.
5.28 Whilst it has a strong functional relationship with Bristol, Long Ashton has a
strong identity of its own as a separate place. This sense of identity comes
from having a distinctive character with a historic village at its core and from
its place on the south facing slopes with a band of open land at its foot, but above all from the very evident strong sense of community felt by its
inhabitants. This distinct character and sense of independence will not be
removed by development on the edge of Bristol which will 'read' as part of
Bristol. There will in any case remain a clear gap between Long Ashton and
other development formed by the open land between the village and A370
Long Ashton by pass, and the barrier of the A370 itself. Anyone using the
A370 will still be very aware of leaving Bristol before entering the separate settlement of Long Ashton.