Developer calls for council to relax greenbelt to make away for ‘sustainable’ development

PUBLISHED: 14:52 15 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:22 21 August 2018

An artist's impression of The Vale.

An artist's impression of The Vale.

Archant

Releasing less than two per cent of the greenbelt would enable a fifth of North Somerset’s new homes to be built, according to a developer.

Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset councils are releasing greenbelt land for new homes, but North Somerset is refusing to follow suit.

Taylor Wimpey says by releasing 300 hectares of the 15,530 hectares of greenbelt, it would enable 4,500 houses to be built close to Bristol.

The developer has a vested interest as it wants to build three villages with schools and a healthcare centre on land between Long Ashton and Barrow Gurney.

More: Developer unveils plans for three new villages in North Somerset.

The development, called The Vale, would also include 1,800 much-needed affordable homes and Taylor Wimpey believes it is the ‘most sustainable’ of all the sites being considered.

Project director Gareth Hawke said: “House prices in North Somerset have increased an average of £20,000 in the past 12 months.

“There are 3,300 people on the council’s housing waiting list. Demand is clearly outstripping supply, making the chance of buying or renting a home increasingly difficult for people.

“Other local councils in the area – and across the UK – are releasing land from the greenbelt to provide homes for our population.

“We are not talking about land from a National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty like the Mendip Hills – we are talking about land which is home to an under-used golf course and a landfill site.

“We are simply proposing to deliver much-needed high quality homes for a wide range of people, in the most sustainable location adjacent to Bristol where there is already the infrastructure to allow people an alternative to driving to work.”

The site has not been included in the Joint Spatial Plan strategy, which was submitted to the Government earlier this year. It sets out where 105,500 new homes could go across the West of England up to 2036, with 25,000 earmarked for North Somerset.

More: Plans for 25,000 homes may not be enough to satisfy Government.

But, North Somerset Council could soon come under pressure to find more land as the housing numbers are expected to rise.

Michael Reep, its planning and policy manager, said: “My personal view is the numbers will go up.”

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