South Gloucestershire Labour councillors unveiled the latest phase of the Local Plan at Cabinet today, with an emphasis on affordable homes, renewable energy, reducing long commutes, and boosting the economy in the East Fringe.

It contains the Emerging Preferred Strategy, an evidence-based document which sets out policies on what residential, employment and renewable energy sites should be allocated and where, along with specifics around what planning applications will be preferred and why.

Some highlights:

  • It delivers the 9,260 new homes needed in South Gloucestershire by 2040, on top of the 11,230 that already have planning permission.
  • Page 417 of the Reports Pack says the affordability of housing is a key priority to ensure local people are not priced out of their communities.
  • Page 264 talks about reducing long commutes by ensuring developments are close to jobs and vice versa. This is better for people who have to travel every day, but also better for the environment.
  • The biggest feedback we get is that infrastructure lags too far behind development, if it comes at all. Page 250 talks about ensuring provision comes much sooner.
  • In 2022, 263GWh of renewable energy was generated in South Gloucestershire – equivalent to 4% of our average annual energy consumption from heat, electricity and transport. Page 350 says we will “significantly increase onshore renewable energy generation”.
  • We made sure Mangotsfield, Pucklechurch, and Shortwood weren’t forced to merge, and Siston Common wasn’t blocked off from the Green Belt – with a sizeable green corridor going through proposed developments.
  • Page 234 talks about the jobs employment in the East Fringe compared to other parts of South Gloucestershire, with fewer jobs than residents. Page 439 contains policies aiming to fix this.
  • We believe students are this country’s future, and they deserve to live in quality, suitable accommodation. Our Strategy proposes another 1,500 student bedspaces on page 231.

Council Co-Leader Ian Boulton said: “Above all, this Emerging Preferred Strategy is based on evidence. It’s been put together for the good of the whole of South Gloucestershire, with every community doing its bit and playing its part. And it meets the number of houses we need up to 2040.

“The Strategy puts genuinely affordable housing at the forefront, powered as much as possible by renewable forms of energy.

“And we’ll be trying to reduce long commutes for people in the East Fringe, where I live, by bringing in more local jobs. The economic imbalance has been going on too long now and it needs to change.

“I should stress that no final decisions have been made yet. We want your views and we are listening.”

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