Following a Public Inquiry, the Planning Inspector finally ruled on the Core Strategy in 2014, releasing land within the Green Belt for development at South Stoke Plateau. 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.
In May 2017, planning application 17/02588/EFUL was submitted for 173 dwellings with associated public realm and infrastucture on Phase 1 of the site, being the parcel of land west of Sulis Manor. The Trust supports the garden suburb ‘arts and crafts’ architecture and design of the scheme, and it is clear that the applicant wants to create a high quality new neighbourhood, however our continual and historic concern regarding potential ‘boundary creep’ and over-development of the site due to the lack of an overall comprehensive masterplan still stand.
See our July 2017 response here.
See our February 2018 revised response here.
In June 2018 the Council’s Development Management Committee approved the Phase 1 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 fail to understand how Phase 1 can be agreed without an underpinning placemaking masterplan for the site being agreed. The absence of a masterplan means that piecemeal development will occur with the potential for harm to the GB/AONB and adjacent heritage assets increased and the potential for a local infrastructure vacuum as it is not properly planned for. In our view this is ineffective and substandard ‘placemaking’ in the true sense of the word.
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. The Trust 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 is considered particularly urgent in light of the permit of application 17/02588/EFUL.
See our 2020 response here.
Construction has not yet begun on site, and the application permit is due to expire by June 2021. As of 2020, the land was put on the market by Savills with planning permission attached.