Written by George Beard
South Gloucestershire Council became the first authority to approve the JSP, following the West of England Joint Committee’s decision to push forward the plan for 105,000 new homes. Bristol City, Bath & North East Somerset and North Somerset Councils are all still yet to confirm their support for the plan before it goes out to public consultation.
The plan has received cross-party backing from the four authorities at a strategic level, with all recognising the need to build many more houses over the next twenty years and beyond to help sustain the region’s economic growth. However, whilst support exists for the plan at a strategic level, vociferous opposition has grown in localised areas which will see much of the development taking place. Careful engagement is required by anyone wishing to develop in these areas in order to communicate the benefits of the plans and the sites allocated in particular, while also demonstrating how mitigation will ensure those communities will not be adversely affected.
The current plans include schools, shops, parks and other amenities to support the new housing development areas. The West of England Combined Authority is investing £6.5m into improving transport for the areas by widening/building new roads, improving cycle paths and adding new bus routes. This ties into the 82,500 jobs that the West of England Combined Authority estimates will be needed by 2036, with much of the work coming through construction.
The Mayor of the West of England, Tim Bowles stated at a recent meeting that “construction is a vital contributor to our economy.” It is clear that this will certainly be one of many benefits which will be highlighted by supporters of the JSP.
The proposed increase in construction work could be facilitated by the new Somer Construction Centre at Bath College, funded by the West of England Joint Committee, which provides training for many levels and fields of construction. The principal of Bath College, Laurel Penrose, has claimed to “work closely with local employers to help [students] find their future work force,” which suggest the hope that the need for new homes will create these much-needed job opportunities.
A final round of public consultation is expected to begin on 22nd November until early in the New Year, before the plan is sent to the Secretary of State for approval in March 2018.
Get in touch with Remarkable’s Bristol team to find out more.