Delay may benefit golf course homes scheme

Photo of the entrance to Woodlands Golf & Country Club, from Trench Lane.

The ‘examination in public’ of a crucial strategic planning document which designates acceptable sites for major housing developments in the West of England over the next 18 years has been delayed by several months after independent inspectors appointed by the government requested additional information from the area’s four councils.

The delay could give the promoter of a scheme to build 2,000 homes at Woodlands Golf Course, near Bradley Stoke, a second chance to get the site included in the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) as a so-called strategic development location (SDL), having failed to convince the local councils to designate it as such in the initial version of the document.

The JSP was submitted to government in April this year for an examination process to confirm that the policies and plans drawn up over the past three years meet statutory requirements. On behalf of the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, two independent planning inspectors are following a process to test the work done by the local authorities to ensure that the JSP is fit for purpose and fulfils their legal obligation to produce a ‘sound’ plan.

The inspectors have requested additional information from the councils in relation to the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) and the Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA), as well as requesting clarification and further evidence within other technical work areas, including transport.

The councils will therefore run a six-week consultation process in November and December this year to give people the opportunity to see the information that will be provided and to make comments on it. That feedback will be passed to the inspectors to consider as they prepare for the next phase of their assessment of the JSP. This will mean that the public hearings part of the examination process which had been anticipated to take place this autumn is now expected to take place around mid-May 2019.

A briefing note sent to local councillors in November 2017 by the promoter of the Woodlands site, South West Strategic Developments Ltd (SWSD), describes it as being “in an extremely sustainable location adjacent to key infrastructure and, crucially, within walking and cycling distance of thousands of jobs.”

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This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 5). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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