Campaigners urge residents to comment on house building blueprint before time runs out

November 28 2017

A LAST chance to try and influence controversial proposals for thousands of new homes in South Gloucestershire - many in the Yate area - is being offered through a consultation exercise.

A LAST chance to try and influence controversial proposals for thousands of new homes in South Gloucestershire - many in the Yate area - is being offered through a consultation exercise.

Those fighting the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) have urged people to have their say about the blueprint rather than leave it to others.

They said it was vital to comment before it was too late as once the plan was adopted, no changes to where development went could then be made.

South Gloucestershire Council and the authorities in Bristol, Bath and North Somerset have each debated the plan, which sets out the overall amount of residential and employment development and where it should be located in the West of England, as well as the infrastructure to support it.

They agreed that consultation should go ahead and the process will now run until January 10.

Yate, which is already getting large scale house building, is earmarked for a further 1,000 homes, along with employment land, on the edge of the town, at Engine Common, Nibley and on to Westerleigh for the period up to 2036.

A further 1,800 are allocated for Coalpit Heath, where residents said they were “outraged” that their concerns about the effect of that scale of building on their village had appeared to have been disregarded by the West of England authorities.

They said they were worried that local roads, schools and health services would not be able to cope as the village would more than double in size. 

Pete Connors, a member of action group VALID - Villagers Against Local Intended Development - said: “Building at Coalpit Heath would be in one of the narrowest sections of the green belt in the West of England. 

“Together with other developments planned for Yate and Nibley it would lead to Coalpit Heath losing its identity and becoming part of a ribbon of development leading more or less continuously from Yate through to Emersons Green.”

In total, South Gloucestershire is set to expand by 32,500 homes up to 2036, with other allocations including 1,200 in Charfield and 500 in Thornbury, both areas having already seen large numbers of new homes.

A 3,000-home garden village in Buckover, near Thornbury, could see half that number built during the JSP period.

Liberal Democrats voted against the plan when it was debated by South Gloucestershire Council.

Pat Hockey (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) said: “This JSP could have been a great opportunity to plan for the future of our area and combat the national housing crisis.

“Instead it has sold South Gloucestershire down the river with an over-concentration of new houses, few of which will be affordable for local people.”