Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

Might golf course homes scheme now resurface?

Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019 at 7:22 pm by SH (Editor)

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

A development company’s promotion of Woodlands Golf Course as a potential site for up to 2,000 new homes could be given renewed impetus following the news that a strategic housing plan has effectively been thrown out by government inspectors.

South West Strategic Developments Ltd (SWSD) put forward the Trench Lane site as a candidate for large-scale housing development when the first draft of the West of England’s Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) was being formulated in 2015. It failed to make the final version of the document, but SWSD contested the rationale behind that decision and continued to push for the site to be included after the JSP entered its ‘examination in public’ stage.

SWSD also submitted a second proposal, for a smaller development of 500 homes at Woodlands. This alternative plan would see one of the two golf courses retained. However, it was emphasised that this was being put forward “without prejudice” to its efforts to have the larger scheme included.

Local Conservative councillors John Ashe and Roger Avenin have voiced strong opposition to the Woodlands proposals, claiming that the development, if allowed to go ahead, would cause considerable problems for residents and businesses in Bradley Stoke. They also promoted a petition against the proposals in the run up to the local elections in May.

With the JSP inspectors now questioning the rationale used by the four West of England councils in selecting the final list of strategic development locations for inclusion in the plan, it looks likely that previously rejected sites will have to be re-evaluated.

More: Comment from SWSD on JSP inspector’s findings »

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West of England councils told to start again on strategic housing plan

Posted on Monday 14th October 2019 at 9:10 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Cllr Brian Allinson holding JSP consultation documents.

A masterplan that defines the strategy for delivering 105,000 new homes across the West of England by 2036 lies in tatters after government inspectors recommended that it should be rewritten from the ground up.

The Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) was worked on by the councils of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire over a period of more than three years, prior to being submitted to the government in April 2018.

Its purpose is to provide a strategic, overarching vision and framework to help deliver the number of new homes, land for employment purposes and the supporting infrastructure that it is anticipated will be needed over the next 20 years.

One of the main purposes of the JSP is to identify so-called strategic development locations (SDLs) which have the potential to deliver large scale development (500+ dwellings) over the plan period.

A large number of SDLs were identified in an ‘issues and options’ consultation that was put out to the public in November 2015. These were finally whittled down to a list of twelve sites by the time the JSP was submitted for examination by government inspectors last year.

The chosen SDLs in South Gloucestershire are the proposed Buckover Garden Village (Tortworth) along with sites in Charfield, Coalpit Heath, Thornbury and Yate.

A proposed development of 2,000 new homes on the site of Woodlands Golf Course, near Bradley Stoke, didn’t make it into the final list.

But the two government-appointed inspectors who have been examining the JSP for “soundness” over the past 16 months have now dropped a bombshell by stating that they have “significant concerns” over the way the twelve SDLs were selected.

More: Councils urged to return to the drawing board »

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Parties submit cases in McDonald’s appeal

Posted on Friday 4th October 2019 at 8:34 am by SH (Editor)

Willow Brook Centre: Planning appeal in progress.

The parties involved in the Willow Brook Centre’s appeal against a decision to refuse planning permission for additional development at the town centre site have been making their final written submissions to the Planning Inspectorate.

The centre wants to build two new drive-through food and drink units (foreseen to be occupied by McDonald’s and Starbucks) and is also seeking outline permission to add two new units to the existing retail terrace (beyond Poundstretcher), with an associated reconfiguration of the car park.

The proposals have proved controversial because of the proximity of the drive-through units to residential properties in Wheatfield Drive, with the single-storey Starbucks being just 22m away from the nearest dwelling. The adjacent two-storey McDonald’s building would be 50m distant.

The centre has taken the case to appeal after two different planning committees at South Gloucestershire Council refused permission on the grounds that allowing it would result in “a harmful concentration of food and drink uses resulting in a prejudicial impact on residential amenity due to noise, general disturbance, fumes, smells, and late night activity”. It was also ruled that the proposals “fail to promote the economic, social and environmental character of the area”.

Following on from the submission of the appellant’s ‘statement of case’ (reported in a previous article), an ‘appeal statement’ has now been submitted by consultants acting on behalf of the council.

The two parties have also agreed a ‘statement of common ground’, which confirms that the reasons for refusal relate only to the two proposed food and drink units, i.e. the proposed retail terrace expansion is acceptable to the council.

In the statement, the council confirms that the general principle of building two drive-through food and drinks units at some location within the town centre site is acceptable. It is also agreed that proximity to schools does not relate to any aspect of the reasons for refusal.

The parties are also agreed that “the proposals would not be harmful based on the number and distribution of food and drink units at the Willow Brook Centre or wider area of Bradley Stoke”.

More: Proposals "break the consolidated form of the shopping centre" »

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Latest on the Willow Brook planning appeal

Posted on Wednesday 11th September 2019 at 10:10 pm by SH (Editor)

Willow Brook Centre: Planning appeal in progress.

Agents acting on behalf of Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook shopping centre have lodged an appeal against South Gloucestershire Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for two new drive-through food and drink units (foreseen to be occupied by McDonald’s and Starbucks) and two new retail units at the town centre site.

The controversial planning application, submitted in March 2018, was first denied permission by the local authority’s Development Management Committee in February 2019 and then again in March 2019 by the higher-level Spatial Planning Committee.

Officers at South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) had originally recommended that the application be approved, but it was ‘called in’ for a decision to be made by council members.

With one of the proposed food drink units being located only 22m from the nearest residential property in Wheatfield Drive at its closet point, councillors decided there would be “prejudicial impact on residential amenity due to noise, general disturbance, fumes, smells, and late night activity”. They also said the proposals “failed to promote the economic, social and environmental character of the area”.

News of the appeal surfaced in early July when a Planning Inspectorate appeal application form dated 28th June 2019 appeared on the council’s planning portal.

The appellant originally requested that the appeal be determined by way of a hearing, and the case officer at the Planning Inspectorate initially announced that this would indeed be the procedure used. However, in a letter dated 7th August, she explained that, after further consideration, the alternative procedure of ‘written representations’ would now be used as a hearing could not be justified, stating: “… although there are a lot of interested parties, the issues are not particularly complicated and the council have indicated that they will not be submitting anything very technical, therefore a hearing is not justified and this appeal will now proceed by way of written representation…”

More: Anger as further applications (for signage) are submitted »

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