New homes proposals unveiled for the future
A new plan to provide more homes for local people over the next 15 years will be discussed by Bath & North East Somerset Council on Monday 4 March 2013.
The Council has looked again at the numbers of homes needed by 2029 in response to concerns expressed by the draft Core Strategy Examination Inspector. New homes within a robust Core Strategy are essential for a number of reasons:
- Supporting economic prosperity; to attract new employers to the area who will provide some 10,200 additional jobs for local people, there must be places for their staff to live. New homes must go hand in hand with the community improvements necessary to sustain these new jobs. This will mean local people can find a wider range of jobs, residents can share higher levels of prosperity, and the children and grandchildren educated in our excellent schools don't have to move away to progress the careers they aspire to;
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- Providing choice to local people; new housing will help offer even greater choice to local people on the Council's Homesearch Register who are actively looking for new homes in our area. It will provide the opportunity for people to live in their local community near their jobs and families;
- Preventing unplanned development; we need a Core Strategy in place to prevent unplanned or speculative development proposals being accepted.
Homes for the future – our new proposals
A range of options have been considered about where the extra homes should go.
Up to this point, the Core Strategy has prioritised development on Brownfield sites and some greenfield sites not in the Green Belt. To find the room for the extra homes needed to respond to the Inspector's concerns, the Council was required to conduct a Green Belt review.
As a result of this review, some of the home location proposals – aimed at supporting economic prosperity, providing choice to local people and preventing unplanned development – are based in the Green Belt. There is simply nowhere else for these homes to go.
Based on the latest information, including the 2011 Census, the Council is proposing 12,700 new homes between 2011 and 2029 – compared to 11,500 in the previous version of the Core Strategy. The Council will still consider all of the land proposed for new homes in the previous draft Core Strategy but is now proposing additional locations for new homes.
Councillor Paul Crossley (Lib-Dem, Southdown), Leader of Council, said: "The Inspector's key concern was the need to ensure that Bath & North East Somerset Council was properly addressing housing needs in the district. The Council has already been able to identify a supply of around 10,800 new homes through maximising the use of brownfield sites and bringing empty properties back into use.
"Additional locations for new housing have been identified on the edge of Bath, at Keynsham and Whitchurch. The housing supply in the Somer Valley and at sustainable villages has also been increased."
Councillor Francine Haeberling (Conservative, Saltford), Leader of the Conservative Group, said: "It's important for the Council to agree upon a Core Strategy which meets our area's housing needs whilst also taking account of our area's sensitive environment and valued heritage, with new development aligned to improved infrastructure. We look forward to debating the proposals as a Council next week."
All councillors will discuss these proposals on Monday 4 March 2013 and decide what is put forward to the public. There will be consultation on these sites and how they are planned, designed, and implemented in March and April 2013. Comments made by the public will be considered directly by the Inspector. In June/ July 2013, the Examination continues.
Councillor John Bull (Labour, Paulton), Leader of the Labour Group said: "We look forward to discussing the Core Strategy proposals next week to ensure the best way forward for delivering a better future for everyone – from school age to retirement age."
Councillor Douglas Deacon (Independent, Timsbury), Leader of the Independent Group, said: "We are pleased to be working together in planning how we address the demand for housing, as well as seeking the views of local people once the final proposal has been agreed and put out to public consultation."
Further details about the consultation timetable will be released after the Council meeting. More information can be found via Google Search 'Bathnes Core Strategy' or www.bathnes.gov.uk/corestrategy
The agenda papers for the meeting can be found here: http://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=272&MId=3911&Ver=4
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