More than a dozen new homes could be built on a vacant plot of land bordering Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook Centre after South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) received a £200,000 grant from the government’s Land Release Fund (LRF).
The 0.357 hectares (0.88 acres) plot, opposite the Tesco petrol filling station and bordering properties in Hornbeam Close, was previously allocated in SGC’s Local Plan to accommodate a health centre, but the authorities later decided that there was no longer a requirement for this purpose, in view of the planned expansion of existing doctors’ surgeries in the area.
In November 2006, the council made a decision to dispose of the site and it was subsequently placed on the market, albeit still as a “health care opportunity”.
Later, in July 2013, local ward councillor Brian Hopkinson put forward the idea of using the land for a self-build scheme, saying that if it wasn’t needed for health purposes, “It should be used to benefit our town in other ways.”
The adoption of the SGC’s Policies, Sites and Places Plan in November 2017 finally saw the ‘healthcare’ allocation removed, paving the way for alternative uses to be seriously considered.
Speaking about the successful bid for central government money, Cllr Colin Hunt, SGC Cabinet member for planning, transportation and the strategic environment, commented:
“LRF funding is designed to help bring housing projects forward to make new use of council-owned land. The funding could, for example, be used to help bring infrastructure and services to the site, but we are looking at a range of options. We are particularly keen to provide space for self-build housing projects, and this may involve us working with a registered provider of affordable housing.”
Asked how many homes might potentially be built on the site, Cllr Hunt replied:
“That would depend on a number of factors, but we estimate that at a reasonable density for the surrounding area, around 13 homes could be built on this land.”
In response to a query from the Journal, a spokesperson said the council is not currently in negotiations with any potential purchasers or developers of the Savages Wood Road plot.
Nationally, 79 projects shared a total of £45m of LRF funding, which the government hopes will unlock enough council-owned land to provide at least 7,280 new homes by 2020.
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 19). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,200 homes in Bradley Stoke and Little Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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