Proposals for 1,300 residences on Saltford's green belt: B&NES Council's 'Options Consultation' opens (12 Feb - 8 April) - Saltford Parish Council

Update 4 March 2024:

B&NES Council has shared the following PDFs, as displayed as panels at the Options Consultation ‘drop-in’ event at Saltford Hall on Thursday 29 February:

Welcome, How to Participate, Housing Need and Strategic Development, & Development Management Policies

Keynsham and Saltford

South of Burnett

Transport (inc. Keynsham and Saltford)

Original article:

B&NES Council has launched its ‘Options Consultation’, including proposals for 1,300 residences on Saltford’s green belt at ‘West Saltford’ (500 houses) & ‘South Saltford’ (800 houses). The B&NES Local Plan Options Consultation will run for eight weeks, with an end date of 8 April.

Information about ‘Area 2’ is likely to be of interest to residents, and covers Keynsham, Saltford, Hicks Gate and Whitchurch Village. The page includes links specific to Saltford and drop down options for information.

For both the ‘West Saltford‘ and ‘South Saltford‘ developments (information also linked below), B&NES Council provides information as follows: Site Background, Site Option (map), and Site Analysis (including Opportunities, Constraints, Mitigation Required and Further Investigation or Evidence). Following this there is the option to respond to proposals. Residents are advised to view all information prior to submitting a response.

B&NES Council will be releasing a series of videos to explain more about the consultation and how to respond. B&NES Council has shared that information including Saltford will be on a second set of videos. SPC will look to share once available.

West Saltford

For information specific to ‘West Saltford’ and 500 residences proposed – including a map of the proposed area for development (see image below) – visit https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/local-plan-options/west-saltford

South Saltford

For information specific to ‘South Saltford’ including proposals for 800 residences visit https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/local-plan-options/south-saltford (copy of map below).

How to respond to B&NES Council with your views:

Residents are strongly encouraged to submit a response directly to B&NES Council. This can be done via online form on B&NES Council’s website, or by post (no email option).

ONLINE: Residents can share their thoughts on the proposed options by responding to an interactive version of the Local Plan online at https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/localplanoptions (as linked above).

POST: Representations can also be made by post to: Planning Policy, Bath and North East Somerset Council, Lewis House, Bath, BA1 1JG.

Printed copies of the Options Document are available at Bath Central Library; Keynsham Library; Midsomer Norton Library; Bath Housing, Welfare and Advice Services, the mobile library and all community libraries including Saltford Community Library and Post Office. At the time of publishing this article, it was anticipated that printed copies would be available from c. Friday 16 February.

Easy Read copies can be requested by emailing B&NES Council at planning_policy@bathnes.gov.uk and there is an Easy Read version of the document online.

B&NES Council has stated that they will not be accepting representations sent by email, although SPC had requested this as an option prior to the consultation opening. (SPC has since raised a request to the B&NES Avon Local Council Association to ask B&NES Council to improve accessibility to its consultations for residents and Parishes).

Guidance on how to comment and respond

Videos on the B&NES Council website include a step-by-step guidance on ‘How to Comment on the Local Plan’ and explain ‘What is a Local Plan’ as well as outlining how the various options will help to deliver the B&NES Council’s priorities on housing, the climate emergency and sustainable transport. 

B&NES Council says: “A second set of videos will discuss locations identified in the Options Document that could be developed to create additional housing or jobs, together with the necessary supporting infrastructure: Keynsham and Saltford, Hicks Gate, Whitchurch, Bath and the Somer Valley”. This video can be found on the B&NES YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh8KPJqjWQ4

‘Drop in’ events have also been planned by B&NES Council, please see below.

SPC to respond at March meeting

Saltford Parish Council will resolve its response to the B&NES Council Local Plan Options consultation at its 5 March meeting which takes place at 7:15pm in the Avon Room at Saltford Hall. Residents are welcome to attend and speak during Public Time.

The agenda will be published on the Thursday prior to the meeting. Please view SPC’s noticeboard, and ‘Meetings – Agendas and Minutes‘ page. SPC’s meetings webpage includes SPC’s Public Engagement Guidelines if you are planning on addressing Saltford Parish Council at the meeting.

At the Public Meeting hosted by Saltford’s B&NES Ward Councillors on 26 January and as reiterated at SPC’s February meeting, SPC Chair Cllr Jon Godfrey stated the importance of residents responding to the consultation themselves, and not to rely on other local groups and organisations to do so on their behalf, to ensure resident views were raised to the attention of B&NES Council.

Options Consultation ‘drop in’ event at Saltford Hall, 29 February, 3-7pm

B&NES Council will be holding in-person ‘drop in’ events about the Local Plan Options Consultation. Please see poster below.

A ‘drop in’ event at Saltford Hall (Main Hall) will take place on Thursday 29 February, between 3-7pm.

An event is also taking place at Keynsham Community Space on 22 February, between 3-7pm.

Further dates and locations are listed as follows (and on the poster below):

· Trinity Church, Radstock, 26 February

· The Hive, Peasedown St John, 1 March

· Bath Cricket Club, 4 March

· Whitchurch United Reform Church, 6 March

· Farrington Gurney Village Hall, 13 March.

(All the drop-in events run from 3pm to 7pm).

Please note that these drop in sessions are for discussing options with B&NES Officers and information sharing, and that views or responses to the consultation will not be accepted by B&NES Officers at these events. Residents are encouraged to respond via the online consultation or by post. SPC has requested that hard copies of the Options Consultation are available for residents at the ‘drop in’ events.

Next steps for B&NES Council

Following the consultation, B&NES Council has said that the issues raised in all comments and feedback will be carefully considered, and a Draft Local Plan will be produced, which will be subject to further consultation. It will then be submitted to the Secretary of State and examined by an independent planning inspector in 2025. If approved, it will be adopted by B&NES Council.

For more information about the development of the new Local Plan, including a timeline, please visit the B&NES Council website.


Information from B&NES Council about Local Plan Options Consultation was sent as a media release to SPC on 12 February (date the consultation opened), as follows:

Options for how we address our future development needs, such as where to deliver new homes and jobs across Bath and North East Somerset and what policies we need for addressing the climate and ecological emergencies are being consulted on from today (12 Feb).

Residents and businesses can have their say during the eight-week consultation on the Local Plan Options Document, which is the next stage in the development of a new Local Plan for the district.

The Local Plan is an important statutory document used for decision making on development and the use of land, and when adopted will form the basis for determining planning applications until 2042.

The options, which were approved by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s cabinet, support the council’s Corporate Strategy and Economic Strategy for a fairer, more prosperous and sustainable economy.

Another key objective for the Local Plan is to maximise the delivery of housing that is more affordable and the document says an estimated 14,500 new homes are needed up to 2042. Of those, more than 6,000 will be built on sites, mainly brownfield sites in Bath, that are already committed for development via planning permission or allocated in the current Local Plan.

Residents and stakeholders will be able to comment on the options proposed by responding to an interactive version of the Local Plan online, as well as taking part in a series of in-person events.

END OF B&NES PRESS RELEASE

A full version of B&NES Council’s media release can be viewed at https://newsroom.bathnes.gov.uk/news/have-your-say-new-local-plan-options-consultation-starts


Residents may also be interested in SPC’s article ‘B&NES Cabinet to consider options for future development in Saltford and across B&NES‘, published January 2024 (updated February), as follows:

B&NES Local Plan ‘options’ at ‘West Saltford’ (500 houses) & ‘South Saltford’ (800 houses) have been shared by B&NES Council today ahead of a B&NES Cabinet Special Meeting on 1 February.

An ‘Agenda Reports Pack‘ document accompanies Item 10 on B&NES Cabinet’s Special Meeting agenda titled ’10. LOCAL PLAN OPTIONS CONSULTATION AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT SCHEME’, including the maps below which show options for housing marked in yellow and purple marking options for a second primary school in the village. See p.113 / ‘page 166’ for ‘West Saltford’ and p.117 / ‘page 170’ for South Saltford in B&NES’s document.

Map above shows ‘West Saltford’

Map above shows ‘South Saltford’

Item 10 on the Cabinet’s agenda is worded as follows: The report sets out the proposed Local Plan options for public consultation and the arrangements for public consultation scheduled to start in February 2024. It also seeks changes to the Council’s Local Development Scheme (LDS) which is the Council’s programme for the preparation and review of planning policies.

SPC Chair, Cllr Jon Godfrey, will represent Saltford Parish Council at a Public Meeting hosted by Saltford’s B&NES Ward Councillors to be held this Friday (26 January) at 7pm at Saltford Hall. Councillor Matt McCabe, cabinet member for Built Environment and Sustainable Development, will also be in attendance. The meeting will be independently chaired.

(Article updated following the public meeting. Photo shows speakers L-R: B&NES Cabinet Member Cllr Matt McCabe, SPC Chair Cllr Jon Godfrey, B&NES Ward Councillors for Saltford Alison Streatfeild-James and Duncan Hounsell, and Saltford Environment Group Chair Phil Harding MBE. Approximately 150 residents attended the meeting at Saltford Hall).

Residents are encouraged to respond to B&NES Council’s Local Plan Options Consultation once launched (likely to open on 12 February). SPC will share information once available from B&NES Council, as taken from B&NES Council’s Local Plan page on their website (https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/local-plan).

SPC will look to respond to the B&NES Council Local Plan Options Consultation at its 5 March meeting, public are welcome to attend. Meeting details will be added to SPC’s ‘Meetings – Agendas and Minutes‘ page (and the noticeboard) nearer the time.

For the past year, SPC has been discussing landscape protection in Saltford (see minutes, as linked above – usually noted under ‘Planning Matters’). Most recently, at its January meeting, SPC resolved to reaffirm to B&NES Council its request for special designated landscape protection at ‘Saltford South’ which can be viewed here. SPC awaits a response from B&NES Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning Matters.

Saltford Parish Council first sought landscape designation protection for ‘Saltford South’ in January 2023. Please find a news article here. A photo tour of ‘Saltford South’ is available here.

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B&NES Council shared the following press release ahead of B&NES Cabinet’s 1 February meeting:

Options for future development including new housing and supporting infrastructure, office, industrial and research and development spaces, in Bath & North East Somerset are set to go before councillors.

The Local Plan options report will be discussed by Cabinet on February 1 and is the next stage in the creation of a new Local Plan for the district, which if adopted will form the basis for determining planning applications until 2042.

The Local Plan is used for decision making on development and the use of land across the district and supports the council’s Shared Vision for Bath with North East Somerset of a fair, green, creative and connected place.

The Local Plan options report before councillors covers potential development locations and policy options. Together these set out proposals for new development to meet local needs in areas that are or can be well connected through sustainable transport; ensure a mix of housing types, includes affordable housing; reduce carbon emissions associated with development; and ensure any required infrastructure is provided as early as possible in the development process.

The options also support the council’s Corporate Strategy and Economic Strategy for a fairer, more prosperous and sustainable economy.

The report says an estimated 14,500 new homes are needed up to 2042. Of these, more than 6,000 will be built mainly on brownfield sites in Bath that are already committed for development via planning permission or allocated in the current Local Plan.

However, the report also says a significant element of the projected population growth within B&NES will be students aged 18-23 and as their accommodation requirements are different to other households, this should be considered separately from general needs housing.

The options report highlights a range of locations in B&NES that could be developed to create additional housing or jobs:

  • Given the substantial development needs of Bath, the historic sensitivity of the cityand the limited supply of land not all needs can be met within the city. Therefore, it is proposed that meeting housing needs and those for employment space should take priority over other uses, including developing Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).Options are therefore proposed that restrict the development of PBSA to on-campus only or also on other allocated sites, which may lie outside Bath, Most of the major brownfield site opportunities have already been identified or delivered, however, there may be some additional development capacity.
  • Whilst Keynsham and Saltford suffer from traffic congestion at peak times both settlements (compared to other parts of the District) are relatively well connected by sustainable modes of transport, as they lie in a public transport corridor served by bus and rail and one which is proposed to be the focus of further investment and improvements. Keynsham, in particular offers a good range of services and facilities.
  • In the Hicks Gate area on the south east edge of Bristol options are proposed for residential led mixed-use development.
  • Due to the relatively good sustainable transport connectivity options are put forward for potential development (of varying scales) in Whitchurch, with the opportunity to provide different benefits to the village.
  • In the Somer Valley, options are proposed at Radstock (north Radstock and East Radstock/Writhlington), Peasedown St John and Farrington Gurney for new areas of development to provide new housing, but also employment opportunities, renewable energy and delivering improved infrastructure.
  • At Midsomer Norton opportunities for strategic levels of housing are very limited. However, a number of potential smaller site opportunities are identified adjoining the town.
  • In the rural area, the Options document proposes that some proportionate growth (of nominally 5% over twenty years) should be planned for at the villages best connected by sustainable transport and with a better range of services and facilities.

If approved by Cabinet, the Options Document will go out for a six-week public consultation starting on 12 February. There will be a series of engagement activities, staffed exhibitions and residents and stakeholders will be able to give their views on the options.

Councillor Matt McCabe, cabinet member for Built Environment and Sustainable Development, said: “The next 20 years will be a time of huge change and the Local Plan is an important opportunity for residents, businesses and communities to help shape the places in which we live, work and socialise.

“One of the objectives for the Local Plan is to help deliver much-needed additional housing that is more affordable and sustainable and supported by the necessary infrastructure. To do this we have to consider development options and policies across the district as a whole.

“All the options will be set out in the report and if Cabinet approves the document, we will hold a public consultation that will give everyone a chance to get involved and have their say.”

The council’s Economic Strategy is also being considered on 1 February. This sets the priorities for the council to create a fairer, greener and more prosperous economy.

You can watch the Cabinet meeting on the council’s YouTube channel and the Cabinet papers can be viewed on the council website.

More information about the development of the new local plan can also be found on the council’s website.

All local authorities are required to have an up-to-date Local Plan and the new Bath & North East Somerset Council plan needs to be submitted by June 2025 for examination by an independent Planning Inspector.

Following the WECA Mayor halting work on the Mayoral Spatial Development Strategy (SDS), the three WECA Unitary Authorities are working closely together on their respective plans and engaging constructively on cross boundary matters and B&NES is also engaging with our other neighbouring authorities: North Somerset, Somerset and Wiltshire Councils.

END OF B&NES PRESS RELEASE

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