Land at South Stoke Plateau previously within the Green Belt was released for development following a Public Inquiry on the Core Strategy (the Local Plan for B&NES) in 2013.

Policy B3a in the Core Strategy sets out the placemaking principles for the site, an underpinning principle being the agreement of a comprehensive masterplan for the whole site that looks to establish the quantum and boundaries of development on the site, including infrastructure, play and leisure space, services and importantly highways considerations.

As of 2022, construction on Phase 1 of development is ongoing.


2023 – BPT Responds to Amendments to Application 22/02169/EOUT

BPT responded to amended plans submitted in December 2022 for up to 300 new dwellings on the Sulis Down plateau, just outside of South Stoke. The absence of a comprehensive site-wide masterplan and the piecemeal approach to development within the Cotswolds AONB and the sensitive landscape setting of the World Heritage Site remain a serious concern, given how a masterplan would be of benefit for integrated and well-designed placemaking. Amended plans have highlighted development ‘creep’ onto neighbouring agricultural land within the Green Belt and the setting of the Wansdyke, a Scheduled Monument. We have challenged the over-dominance of hard landscaping and car parking where this has resulted in a lack of public or private green space, contrary to the scheme’s “Garden City” principles.

Read our response to planning application amendments here. 

Additional amendments were submitted April 2023, with the main change to proposals being the removal of the Phase 3 & 4 allotments from Derrymans Field, to be relocated along the western boundary of the Phase 3 site. Despite acknowledging attempts to address our previous concerns, BPT reiterated an ongoing objection on the following grounds:

  • The absence of a fit-for-purpose comprehensive masterplan.
  • Development would fail to uphold Garden City principles, despite being cited as a key design approach across the entire site.
  • The proposed alternative allotment site is not considered to be the most suitable.
  • The proposed re-assessment of energy efficiency measures to be implemented on the site is positive, but requires further detail relating to potential impact on landscape views.
  • Inadequate assessment has been given to the impacts on the Broad Close
    agricultural field, habitats and the Wansdyke, a Scheduled Monument, as a result of the proposed 3m wide north-south through road.

Read our response to planning application amendments here.

Additional amendments were submitted in September 2023 for the reduction of the overall number of houses proposed from 300 to 290. As part of works, the proposed allotments on the Derrymans Field site would be relocated onto the northern portion of the Phase 3 site, including the allotments already permitted as part of Phase 1.

Whilst BPT acknowledged the improvements made to the scheme, we maintained an in-principle objection to the absence of a comprehensive masterplan across the entire site. Failure to provide a masterplan remains contrary to the principles set out as part of the site allocation in local policy B3a. The integration of allotments into the development site was supported, but raised questions about the number of houses proposed on the site and the continued, disproportionate balance between the built development and its provision of private and public green space.

Read our response to planning application amendments here.

A Planning Committee date for the application is expected to be announced shortly.


2022 – Outline Application Submitted for up to 300 Dwellings across Development Phases 3 & 4

Application 22/02169/EOUT sought outline consent for up to 300 dwellings across Phases 3 & 4 as well as a detailed application for the creation of a spine road through the site of Sulis Manor, a Non-Designated Heritage Asset. We maintained concerns regarding the continued development ‘creep’ of this site without a comprehensive, site-wide masterplan, and the impact on the landscape setting of the World Heritage Site and adjoining Green Belt land. BPT highlighted concerns about a lack of detail regarding landscape impact, the proposed appearance and scale of development, and further assessment of impact on heritage assets such as the Non-Designated Heritage Asset Sulis Manor.

Read BPT’s response to this planning application here.


2022 – BPT Responds to Pre-Application Public Consultation for Development Phases 3 & 4

In February 2022, a public consultation was launched for Phases 3 & 4 of development with up to an additional 300 homes across the land parcels to the east of Sulis Manor. We maintained concerns regarding the continued development ‘creep’ of this site without a comprehensive, site-wide masterplan, and the impact on the landscape setting of the World Heritage Site and adjoining Green Belt land.

Read our response to the public consultation here.


2022 – Planning Application for Creation of Allotments in Green Belt

As part of the wider development of the Sulis Down plateau, application 22/01370/FUL was submitted for the creation of allotments, part of the planning obligations secured under application 17/02588/EFUL., on Derrymans Field. The proposed site is located outside of the development allocation boundary and remains within the Green Belt. BPT objected on grounds of the continued development encroachment on Green Belt land; whilst not opposed to the principle of allotments and smallholdings, we maintained that the development should have incorporated space on-site for the allotments, rather than moving them elsewhere to maximise housing numbers.

Read our response to the 2022 planning application here.


2020 – Scoping Application ahead of Outline Planning Application for Sulis Down Housing Development

In January 2020, scoping application 20/00092/SCOPE was submitted on behalf of the Hignett Family Trust, with an Environmental Impact Assessment for the possibility of a further outline planning application for the development of land to the east of up to 350 dwellings, allotments, and a connecting road. This development would broach the edge of the setting of the village of South Stoke. BPT emphasised continued concerns regarding the lack of a comprehensive masterplan across the site, and warned against the potential piecemeal progress of development to the detriment of local character. This was considered particularly urgent in light of the permit of application 17/02588/EFUL.

Read our response to the 2020 scoping application here.


2017/2018 – Planning Application for Phase 1 of Development for 171 Dwellings

In May 2017, planning application 17/02588/EFUL was submitted for 171 dwellings with associated public realm and infrastructure on Phase 1 of the site, being the parcel of land west of Sulis Manor. BPT supported the garden suburb ‘arts and crafts’ architecture and design of the scheme, and the intention to create a high quality new neighbourhood. However, we maintained our historic concern regarding potential ‘boundary creep’ and over-development of the site due to the lack of an overall comprehensive masterplan.

Read our response to the 2017 planning application here.

Read our response to the revised February 2018 proposals here.

In June 2018,  B&NES Council’s Development Management Committee approved the Phase 1 planning application despite being presented with legal advice that the application was at risk of judicial review. The officer advised that the comprehensive masterplan was not proposed to be approved as it was not ‘comprehensive’ as per the provisions of policy B3a but that Phase 1 could be approved as an entity separate from the masterplan. Given that B3a sets the placemaking principles for the entire site, we questioned how Phase 1 could be agreed without an underpinning placemaking masterplan for the site. The absence of a masterplan would allow for piecemeal development with increased potential for harm to the Green Belt, AONB and adjacent heritage assets as well as a local infrastructure vacuum.

In our view, this was, and continues to be, ineffective and substandard ‘placemaking’ in the true sense of the word.


2015/2016 – Pre Application Consultation Proposals for Housing Development on Sulis Down Plateau

BPT responded to plans for the development of the Sulis Down plateau at pre-application stage. We expressed serious concerns about the increase in housing numbers from 300 to 600 and the associated increases in site boundaries and access arrangements that would potentially harm the South Stoke conservation area, AONB, Green Belt and Wansdyke Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Read our November 2015 pre-application response here.

Read our revised 2016 public consultation response here.