Two countryside sites on Bristol’s outskirts at risk of development in new Local Plan

Up to 750 homes could be built on land in Brislington and another 350 homes could also be built in Bishopsworth

<p>This site on Bath Road, Brislington is one of two countryside sites at risk due to a Local Plan.</p>

This site on Bath Road, Brislington is one of two countryside sites at risk due to a Local Plan.

Hundreds of homes could be built on two countryside sites on the outskirts of Bristol according to a consultation on the new Local Plan. Three other countryside sites could however be saved from development, which are no longer earmarked for housing.

Up to 750 homes could be built on land off the Bath Road in Brislington, on the greenbelt near the park and ride which could be relocated to make more room for housing. 350 homes could also be built off Elsbert Drive in Bishopsworth on a site partially in North Somerset.

The two sites have been allocated for housing under the draft new Local Plan, which sets out where development should take place in Bristol over the next 20 years, as well as setting rules and policies which developers must follow, like on supporting the climate and nature, and affordable housing.

Councillor Nicola Beech, cabinet member for strategic resilience, planning and floods, said: “Our Local Plan is informed by residents’ priorities and illustrates for developers and partners what we want to achieve in development terms and the journey we will take to get there.

“The latest policies introduced to our Local Plan over recent months will help us to deliver the homes our city will need in the right places, but crucially also in a more sustainable way than ever before. I can’t think of any document that will be so crucial to the delivery of buildings that will support future generations of Bristolians.

“The types of homes we build, and where we build them, will be the biggest determinants of the carbon price the planet pays for our population growth — so it is essential we prioritise brownfield sites and build densely wherever appropriate to reduce pressure on greenbelt sites.”

Elsewhere, three sites which were at risk of development are now no longer allocated housing in the new Local Plan. Hundreds of homes are planned for Yew Tree Farm in Bishopsworth, Brislington Meadows and the Western Slopes. Removing these sites would make it much harder for developers to get planning permission to build there.

The new Local Plan is being drawn up by a cross-party working group of councillors at Bristol City Council. A draft was published as part of a recently launched public consultation, seeking views of people in the city about future housing developments.

The site on Elsbert Drive Picture

Writing on Twitter, Danica Priest, a local environmental campaigner, said: “I have to say overall I’m impressed. There are some really good things in here and it feels residents have been heard on many points. Developers and landowners will be splashing out on fancy lawyers to fight the council, so that’s why it’s so important we get as many comments from residents as possible.

“Western Slopes, Yew Tree Farm and Brislington Meadows are all being removed from the plan. Please pat yourselves on the back for this because this is definitely people-powered. Developers will be challenging this in a hearing, so we need as many comments as possible supporting the protection of Yew Tree Farm, Western Slopes and Brislington Meadows.

“Another thing I love is developers will now have to contribute to keep public toilets in Bristol open. It’s not a huge cost to them but it’s a massive benefit to us. All development over 60 dwellings will also have to provide allotment space. I love this idea.”

People wishing to respond to the consultation have until January 20 to do so. More details about how to take part can be found on the council’s website: ask.bristol.gov.uk. Then next summer a draft plan will be published for representations, before being examined by the planning inspector early 2024. The finished Local Plan will then be signed off autumn 2024.

Initially council chiefs had planned to write a regional version of a Local Plan, guiding how development should take place across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset. But the West of England combined authority’s work on the Spatial Development Strategy collapsed after a row on how many homes should be built in South Gloucestershire.

A key aspect of the Local Plan is how many new homes Bristol should aim to build each year. Under controversial national targets, which the government is facing heavy pressure to scrap, Bristol should be building 3,500 new homes each year. The council has said this target is unrealistic, and the new Local Plan sets a smaller housing target of 1,925 a year.

Last year, more homes were built in Bristol than in the past 14 years — 2,563. Over the previous eight years, the city saw about 1,600 new homes built annually, including student flats. About 18,000 households are currently on the waiting list for social housing in Bristol.