Following the news that another West council has seen its housing plans challenged Colliers International Planning advisor, Marcus Plaw said the signs were that more West councils could be forced to go back to the drawing board if their projected housing allocations do not satisfy Government requirements.

He said: “The Government’s determination to stimulate the economy, using the planning system as a mechanism, must be acknowledged by local authorities. This includes preparing for and assisting in the delivery of new housing and other developments. 

“This policy drive is increasing the pressure on local councils as they attempt to balance the need for thousands of new homes, while containing developments with planned extensions into rural areas and the Green Belt.”

He said it was clear that councils in the West and elsewhere must respond positively and ensure that the supporting evidence is up-to-date and accurate to ensure future housing needs can be provided for.

Mendip District Council is the latest local authority to see its evidence base for housing need questioned following an appeal by the Silverwood Partnership, in seeking permission for up to 90 new homes at Evercreech. The developer had questioned the council’s ability to demonstrate five year’s supply of land for new homes.

North Somerset Council ran into similar difficulties, being made to review its housing supply and wider implications following a challenge in the High Court by Bristol University over hundreds of homes on a 70-acre green belt land between Long Ashton and the A370.

North Somerset Council has arranged a series of exhibitions for people to view the plans and have their say.

Meanwhile planners at BaNES Council were considering additional housing sites around the edges of Bath, Keynsham and Bristol having increased their target from 11,500 to 12,700 homes.

Marcus Plaw, Associate Director of Planning at Colliers International’s Bristol office, said it was clear that councils should be responding to the Government’s aim of growing the economy in part through the planning system.  

He said: “The Government continues to stress the importance of the planning system to deliver sustainable development. Changes in the approach to preparing local plans stripped back government guidance and initiatives to relax permitted development rights reflect this.”