“It’s going to be a hard fight”

At Monday evening’s Parish Council Planning Committee, Cllr Jill Iles reported back from a 10 June briefing. Jill is Vice-Chair of the Planning & Regulatory Committee (P & R).

[My comments in parentheses…]

  • “We’re still in a state of flux”: Secretary of State, Greg Clark’s decision on North Somerset’s ‘housing requirement’ is not now expected until sometime in July – although there is still no guarantee of an actual date. Cllr Iles “slightly concerned about that”.
  • Cllr Iles and Cllr Judith Hadley are pushing North Somerset Council (NSC) to consider “the overall effect of all the developments, rather than piecemeal – at each application as they come in.” [While we welcome this, it is unclear how NSC would apply this consistently across North Somerset.]
  • “This is what [Committee] Members want.” The (P & R) Committee want to look at “the cumulative effect” of multiple applications.
  • NSC officers have taken this on board. Roger Willmot at NSC is trying to get the different developers together to “have that conversation.” Cllr Iles is “not holding her breath.” [I’m not sure what this would achieve.]
  • Currently in the pipeline in North Somerset “there are 10 large planning applications in,” [plus] “7 at the pre-application stage”, “and 4 EIAs” – screening requests.
  • “Add them up and it is way over what we need… [but it is difficult] until we get the [housing] number.” NSC “need to show a 5 year supply [of new housing] and a 5% ‘buffer’ on top of this. NSC has to find 1,295 dwellings annually.” [I think I have recorded all these figures correctly]
  • “Developers are looking at ‘more attractive’ locations” – e.g. Yatton, with its transport links, etc.
  • Councillors “do not want to encroach onto the Green Belt… but it’s going to be a hard fight.” [Yatton lies outside of the Green Belt. We have ‘green fields’].
  • Some members of YPC will attend a ‘Parish Forum’ on Weds 17 June – at which NSC officers may shed more light on ‘the thinking’.
  • An assessment of the wider regional housing numbers is in progress, “but this will take two years to emerge.”
  • “When [NSC] get a housing figure, [the Council] will need to look at the Strategies again.” i.e. Green Belts, ‘strategic gaps’, settlement boundaries, infill villages… they will all need to be re-visited.
  • All the parishes will get together with Council planners once we have a housing requirement number.
  • The next P & R Committee meeting is scheduled for 8 July. Cllr Iles doesn’t yet know what the agenda will be, but “Bloor are very close with its Phase 2“, and/or Hallam. On prompting, she thought Gladman “ought to be ready to come to P & R on 8 July.”
  • Cllr Iles had hoped the 10 June briefing “would’ve given more clarity to the situation.” She had expected NSC officers to bring “options” to meeting, so that “Members could have proper input.” The briefing was more for the benefit of newly-elected members.
  • YPC will not organise a general public meeting on housing development in the parish while the situation is ‘speculative’. Cllr Iles: “When NSC can say how many houses are going to be allocated to Yatton… well, then that’s when [the community] can have a strong voice.”

Reading between the lines of what Cllr Iles was saying, my sense now is that although a full planning application is still to come in for Bloor 1 – I think it will happen. That’s 150 houses. Redrow will happen for sure, although possibly not anytime soon; that’s 50+ houses on the site currently occupied by Oxford Instruments. That is more than enough for Yatton, which is less than half the size of Nailsea, and only accounts for 4% of North Somerset’s population.

In short. C’mon Greg. I will be writing to Dr Liam Fox MP again today.

Update: YPC minutes of the meeting

2 thoughts on ““It’s going to be a hard fight”

  • Disappointing feedback from a disillusioned Jill Iles last night about the North Somerset Council Planners’ meeting last Wednesday.

    Apparently, they are not sure when the Secretary of State is going to make his decision on the housing numbers for North Somerset. They therefore feel unable to make any plans until his announcement. The Parish Council then decided, in their turn, that there was no point calling a Public Meeting until then.

    I disagree, surely we need a strategy to deal with all these developers in the meantime?

    • Whether we are perfectly aligned in other parts of your comment, it does not distract from my full endorsement of your conclusion.

      Canvassing the community’s vision and setting out an acceptable, positive development/evolutionary trajectory for Yatton (and possibly our immediate neighbours) is something we can do irrespective of the status of and preference for inaction of parish, local and central council/government.

      While I might have a particular view for the development of Yatton, it may not align with yours or others. Until there is a consensus of the diverse village interests any ad-hoc commentary will run the risk of being filibustered (Steve, I looked it up in the end!).

      How prepared are we for robust (fair or foul) challenge of our (non existent?) Plan for Yatton?

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