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Build back greener

by Claire Young on 13 February, 2021

On Wednesday South Glos Council met virtually to set the 2021/22 budget. Sadly a Lib Dem amendment to the Conservative budget proposing to use £120, 000 allocated to Chipping Sodbury, Downend and Filton high streets to “build back greener” following the pandemic was voted down. We also proposed supporting the authority working towards becoming a Real Living Wage employer and ensuring future long-term investments take into account their environmental impact. You can read more here.

Ahead of the meeting Claire had submitted a written question to the Executive Member responsible for planning about the council’s willingness to defend its own planning policies, following the recent decision to approve two applications in Engine Common that were inappropriate development under the council’s current plan. The written answer was:

The Council remains committed to a plan-led approach to development as this best ensures that communities are involved in the decisions about where and what type of housing comes forward to meet the housing needs of our area.

For this reason, we are supporting the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) SDS and our own Local Plan to provide a new basis for planning decisions. Until these are in place, we need to continue to support housing delivery to ensure we maintain a positive position on our five -year
housing supply, and this requires careful assessment of each proposal against national planning policy guidance and our Core Strategy.

Sometimes this requires difficult decisions to be taken by members after careful deliberation in the wider interests of the area. As part of the assessment of where housing growth should go through our policy setting and through the determination of planning applications, we will always look to identify the supporting infrastructure requirements and seek to secure these, through the planning application process where scheme viability allows or, if necessary, through the allocation of public funding, against our identified priorities.

At the meeting Claire pointed out in her follow-up that the amount spent defending appeals could not be the only metric used to judge whether our planning system was working but the Executive Member did not explain what other factors were considered.

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