Please note: This page was last updated in March 2016… but needs updating :)
It has been tricky to pin things down, but this is where we are…
Secretary of State’s decision
- After six months of delays, on 18 September 2015 the Secretary of State approved Policy CS13 and the housing target of 20,985 over the plan period (2006-2026).
- As a result of the Secretary of State’s intervention, Policy CS13 (the ‘housing requirement’) is now part of the development plan.
- Current capacity over the plan period totalled 19,270 dwellings (completions, commitments and windfalls), leaving a shortfall of a minimum of 1,715 dwellings to find over the remainder of the planning period – i.e. through to 2026.
- This was confirmed by Nigel Ashton in an email exchange with NMD.
- Council officers presented this report to the Executive on 20 October 2015 to address the shortfall, and received approval to take forward the other remitted policies on the basis of the 20,985 housing figure.
- The suggestion is that only policy CS14 (which identifies the distribution of housing throughout the district in terms of towns, service villages and infill villages) needs to be amended.
- The table below sets out the broad locations for completions, commitments and windfall – and the anticipated distribution for the remaining shortfall of 1,715 dwellings.
- The detailed figures will vary as sites are identified.
Five-year housing supply
- While the shortfall does not seem like a high figure, NSC will now need to be mindful of the Government’s requirements to maintain a 5-year supply of deliverable sites (ready for development).
- NSC were hoping to make a good case for spreading the housing delivery evenly over the remaining plan period to allow for the planned development at Weston Villages to gain momentum.
- NSC has now been told that it needs to “front load” delivery i.e. bring more sites forward earlier in the process.
- The Council’s position is that – ideally – it would be desirable “to make good past deficiencies as soon as possible”. This would be in line with the planning guidance on dealing with past ‘under-supply’.
- The Core Strategy Policies review needs to agree where this is targeted – and the preferred locations for development.
- Our understanding has always been that the nine Service Villages should only account for 6 per cent of the houses required in North Somerset, but this may come under pressure. (The nine Service Villages are: Backwell, Banwell, Churchill, Congresbury, Easton-in-Gordano/Pill, Long Ashton, Winscombe, Wrington and Yatton)
- NSC has undertaken a “thorough” site search and published the Site Allocation Plan in early 2016. This identified sites to meet the 2026 housing requirement, and was subject to public consultation.
- NSC continues to say that addressing the housing requirement “will not require the use of Green Belt”.
What might this mean for Yatton?
- The Council confirmed to us that Bloor 1 at North End (in construction) and Redrow’s plans for the Oxford Instruments site are both included under the ‘commitments’ column in the table above.
- In our view, this 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.
- The Council still needs to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of immediately available sites to meet the 5-year supply requirements.
- Yatton and Claverham remain vulnerable to further development until NSC can demonstrate sufficient permissions and allocations to meet the 5-year land supply.
- This is likely to be the case for another year or so until the construction rate at Weston Villages picks up pace. At that point ‘normal’ planning rules will apply once more, and NSC will be on more solid ground when it considers pending applications.
- We are assured that if there are sound planning reasons not to approve applications (i.e. sustainability, landscape, flooding, ecology, etc.) then these will still have as much weight as ever. But…
The developers are circling.
- The housing numbers will need to be reviewed by the end of 2018 and this will take account of a new forecasted growth figure to 2036.
- Something else to be factored in is the evolving strategic partnership between the four West of England authorities (which make up the ‘old’ county of Avon). They have a duty to collaborate on issues such as delivering the supply of housing and employment land set out in the authorities’ respective Local Plans.
- Currently in the early stages of development, the eventual Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) will guide future housing, transport and infrastructure development looking forward from 2026 to 2036.
- While the JSP will bring its pressures, the current focus is on delivering to 2026.
Every care is taken to keep the information on this page accurate and up-to-date. Please notify us if you believe any information to be inaccurate or inappropriate.
Photo: Ann Hodgson