The Trust has responded to the recent planning reform consultation issued by the government. The paper looked at relaxing change of use rules for retail units to make some changes of use class permitted development. In addition the reforms look to gauge feedback on the proposal to allow some form of roof addition/extensions (i.e upward ‘space’)…
B&NES is preparing a new Local Plan up until 2036, which will sit alongside the new Joint Spatial Plan for the West of England which provides the overarching strategic planning context for the four West of England local authorities. The Local Plan is essentially an update of the Core Strategy and is primarily concerned with the use and development of land (housing etc.) and will sit with the new Placemaking Plan now adopted into policy. B&NES commenced an Issues and Options consultation in November 2017 to review the vision, priorities and strategy of the Local Plan, including a focus on strategic development locations and university issues (student housing). At the same time the JSP issued a consultation on the Publication Document. The Trust has responded to these consultations which cover housing numbers and the associated spatial strategies and our key messages are:
1) market-led student housing should not go on land suitable for other purposes and there should be control of the type of student hosing built so that it meets actual needs rather than reaching only for the richer overseas student market
2) better ways of ensuring delivery of affordable housing should be found in order to resist calls for over provision of market housing and ever expanding use of greenfield/green belt land
3) The failure of both plans properly to address the ‘duty to cooperate’ in relation to the spillover of Bath’s housing and transport market area into West Wilts and Mendip
Jan 2019 Update: The Trust has responded in detail to the Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation which considers options relating to the establishment of new strategic policies and amend existing policies for the region. In particular, we’ve been pleased to see proposed new policy options relating to housing and the restriction of purpose built student accommodation, but we have also been astonished to see that B&NES’s current proposed Vision for the future of the region does not include a reference to heritage, which is of key economic, social and cultural value to its current and future success. We are also concerned that there is no proposed vision for retail within the city, which is in decline, and we also felt the proposed policy relating to holiday accommodation was too weak and lacked clarity. You can read our full response here.
We have suggested a simple addition to the wording of the ‘Vision’ (added words underlined);
Bath and North East Somerset will be internationally renowned as a beautifully inventive, and entrepreneurial and forward looking place with a world class heritage, a strong social purpose and a spirit of wellbeing, where everyone is invited to think big – a ‘connected’ area ready to create an enduring legacy for future generations.