Government moves to stimulate the economy by encouraging new housing development is increasing pressure on local councils, as they attempt to balance the need for thousands of new homes while protecting their Green Belt. Councils in the West must be prepared to re-tune their local plans in line with government directives to ensure future housing requirements can be met.

Government inspectors have already questioned BaNES draft core strategy setting out the number and location of new homes up until 2026, while North Somerset may be forced to reconsider the housing numbers in its adopted core strategy following a high court challenge by Bristol University.

Marcus Plaw, Associate Director of Planning at Colliers International’s Bristol office, said: “The Government continues to stress the importance of the planning system to deliver sustainable development. However, judging by recent rulings it would appear that some councils have not responded positively to these changes and development requirements. In trying to curb green belt development and by not bringing land forward for an appropriate number of new homes, the issue has returned.”

He went on: “Councils must be clear that growth is very much on the government’s agenda and local plans must reflect the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework and plan for and support sustainable development proposals. 

“The site and policies plan must demonstrate that it has been prepared positively. It is critical that this document meets the needs of North Somerset and supports neighbouring areas in encouraging their economies to recover also.”

North Somerset Council may be forced to reconsider the housing numbers in its adopted core strategy after a High Court judge said an inspector's approval of its policy was unlawful.This follows a challenge by the University of Bristol which has lodged an outline application to build 1,000 homes within the so called SW Urban Extension area at Long Ashton.

People in North Somerset have until April 19 to register their views on the council planning blueprint. Exhibitions are being held across North Somerset for people to view the plans and have their say.

People wanting to comment can visit, email or write to Planning Policy, North Somerset Council, Post Area 15,Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ.