William Eichler 20 January 2020

Council abandons joint housing plan after inspectors question its ‘soundness’

Council abandons joint housing plan after inspectors question its ‘soundness’   image

A third west of England council has voted to withdraw from a joint regional plan for housing and growth.

Bath and North East Somerset Council voted unanimously to pull out of the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP), following North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils.

The JSP, which was formulated by the three councils plus Bristol City Council, focused on the long-term housing and infrastructure needs of the west of England to 2036.

It was to sit above and guide each councils' own local plans.

A dozen sites surrounding Bristol had been identified for a total of 105,000 new homes in strategic development locations (SDLs).

However, Government planning inspectors criticised the plan’s ‘soundness’.

‘We conclude that robust evidence has not been provided to demonstrate that the 12 SDLs proposed in the plan have been selected against reasonable alternatives on a robust, consistent and objective basis,’ they wrote last September.

Commenting on the council’s decision to pull out of the JSP, a spokesperson for Bath and North East Somerset Council said: ‘We can confirm that full council voted unanimously to withdraw from the JSP on 16 January.

‘We remain committed to working with our three neighbouring West of England councils and the West of England Combined Authority on the best way forward.’

A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: 'We remain committed to finding positive ways of addressing the city and region’s strategic planning needs by working with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and our neighbouring councils.'

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