Council fights Government call for 900 more new homes
By The Bristol Post | Tuesday, November 20, 2012, 05:00
PLANS for almost 900 extra homes to be built in South Gloucestershire are being fought by its council.
A government inspector has said that the authority's planning blueprint, known as its core strategy, underestimated the demand for new homes needed over the next five years.
Rather than the 8,493 proposed by the council during a public examination of the blueprint during the summer, the inspector says sites for 9,345 homes need to be provided between now and 2017.
The council, which covers areas including Kingswood, Filton, Yate and Thornbury, claims that changes asked for by the inspector are unrealistic and could damage its sustainability goals.
The inspector suggested that the shortfall could be met by identifying new development sites, or by "bringing forward" development on sites identified in later stages of the strategy.
In its response to the proposals the council said that the increase in development between 2012 and 2017 is unjustified and unrealistic given current economic conditions.
It said that the levels of development already identified within the core strategy are more than sufficient to meet identified needs.
It added that the inspector's proposals could jeopardise the "plan led" approach to development favoured by the council and local communities, by encouraging speculative applications from developers.
Director of the council's environment and community services department, Steve Evans, said: "Should the inspector insist on allocating a new site or sites for development, the council is clear that the inspector should reopen the public examination so that local people can have their say in this important decision."
The inspector is expected to inform the council before Christmas how he intends to proceed and whether he feels it will be necessary to re-open the public examination.