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Proposals for up to 20 new homes in Westerleigh village

South Gloucestershire Council is currently consulting on proposals for land to be allocated for up to 20 homes at Westerleigh in its Policies, Sites and Places planning document. This page gives some more background to the proposals.

How we got here

The Core Strategy, the planning blue print for South Gloucestershire, did not set out housing numbers for the rural areas. Instead it said South Glos would work with Parish Councils and local communities to review their housing needs. So in 2013, South Gloucestershire Council wrote to all Parish Councils asking if they believed they needed any more development in their Parish. Westerleigh Parish Council said that no more was needed in Coalpit Heath, but a small amount in Westerleigh would help the vitality of the village, support local services and provide homes for young people.

South Gloucestershire Council ran a well-attended consultation event in July 2014. The responses were mixed – as were the responses I got when I asked residents what they thought over the summer. The Parish Council reviewed what people had said and agreed for South Glos to move to the next stage. This was for planning officers to look at possible sites around the existing settlement boundary for Westerleigh and do an initial assessment as to whether they would be suitable, then consult on their findings.

Effect on the Green Belt

Westerleigh village is currently washed over by the Green Belt. The sites considered for development are outside the existing settlement boundary. Allocating a site would mean changing the settlement boundary to include it, taking the site out of the Green Belt, along with some of the land inside the existing settlement boundary.

The latest consultation

Planning officers presented the results of their initial assessment at another consultation meeting on 1st December and have since made the documents available online. The documents include:

  • A summary of the process so far and analysis of various sites around the village for their impact on the Green Belt.
  • Detailed map showing the sites considered in the summary above.
  • Map showing the two proposed sites that SGC have not ruled out in their initial assessment and the area of the village to be taken out of the Green Belt.
  • Map showing ‘constraints’ around the village, including the village settlement boundary and the location of listed buildings.
  • List of the submissions made after the Summer consultation and the basis of the current consultation.
  • Response form to be used to make comments on the current consultation.

The next steps

  • Tuesday 13th January 2015 – Deadline for responses to the SGC consultation.
  • Late January 2015 – Once the consultation has finished planning officers will summarise all the responses and make them available to Westerleigh Parish Council.
  • Monday 2nd February 2015 – At their meeting starting at 7.15pm in Westerleigh Village Hall the Parish Council will decide whether to ask South Glos to allocate one, both or neither of the sites in the Policies, Sites and Places planning document.
  • Wednesday 18th March 2015 – South Gloucestershire Council will decide whether to submit that planning document to the Planning Inspector at their meeting starting at 7pm in Kingswood Civic Centre.
  • April/May 2015 – There will then be a further consultation, with responses being passed to the Planning Inspector.
  • Later in 2015 – There will be a public inquiry where the Planning Inspector will decide whether the plan is sound.