AMBITIOUS plans to create three new villages on green belt land on the outskirts of Bristol have taken a step forward.
Developer Taylor Wimpey announced last year its vision for a new development of up to 4,500 homes, which will be known as The Vale, on a 305 hectare site on the edge of North Somerset.
The site is bounded to the east by south Bristol and to the west by the A370 Long Ashton bypass and Barrow Tanks.
The area of North Somerset where the proposed development will be built
Although formal plans have yet to be drawn up for the site, a large number of technical surveys have been carried out.
A series of public exhibitions are now being planned next month in a bid to gather peoples’ views and develop the proposals further.
As well as the thousands of new homes, plans for the development include new educational facilities including primary schools.
The development could also see the creation of a new secondary school or university technical college.
The site would also have land earmarked for employment use as well as new village centre(s) with space for cafes, restaurants, shops and services.
It would also include lots of publicly accessible open space, including parkland and new transport hubs with connections into the city.
The new South Bristol Link Road would pass through the eastern section of The Vale, providing the opportunity to extend the Metrobus network, serving the development and connecting through to the A38 and Bristol Airport.
New foot and cycle routes would also connect the new development to the South Bristol Link and the Ashton Vale to Temple Meads corridor,
As part of the plans new sporting, leisure and community facilities could also be developed.
The proposals come at the same time as the four West of England authorities, North Somerset, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire, are working on a joint strategic planning strategy (JSPS) allocating housing provision between them.
North Somerset Council had previously put out a call for sites where housing could be allocated across the district – but has always stressed it will robustly defend the area’s green belt.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: “We consider there to be significant advantages to building a new village community on the land either side of the A38 and south of the A370.
“A new community can be planned from the start with strong transport links and with services and facilities that all communities aspire to have on their doorsteps.
“While green belt development should only be pursued after careful consideration and where there are very special circumstances, green belts can change and – in this case – we think should change.”
Bosses at Taylor Wimpey say they expect to submit a planning application ahead of the Joint Spatial Plan(JSP) being finalised.
However it is not expected that the application would be determined until after the JSP is approved later this year.
The spokesman added: “By undertaking all the technical work required of a planning application now, we can be sure that what we are proposing is certain and deliverable.
“We want the new community at The Vale to be the very best that it can.”
The Joint Spatial Strategy is being put together by the West of England’s four authorities and will be a blueprint for future housing, transport and infrastructure developments up until 2036.
The plan calculates that the area will need 85,000 new homes by 2036, 56,000 of which have already been approved or are planned.
It also explores where a further 29,000 homes could be built across the region.
Twelve thousand of these are likely to be provided via ‘urban intensification’, which could see areas such as Bristol, Weston-super-Mare and Bath expanded.
That leaves 17,000 – essentially two towns of the size of Clevedon – to be built across the region, and some of these will be in North Somerset.
The draft Joint Spatial Plan will be published in the autumn of 2016 and submitted to Government in 2017 and could be formally adopted in early 2018.
Plans for up to 9,000 homes on The Vale site had previously been put forward but these were put on the back burner after a decision to scrap the Regional Spatial Strategy was made by the previous coalition government.
Public exhibitions where Taylor Wimpey’s development team, technical experts and highways and ecology experts will be on hand to answer questions are being held over the next month.
Sessions will be at Barrow Gurney Village Hall on July 5, Long Ashton Royal British Legion on July 6 and at Dundry Village Hall on July 7. All sessions run from 3.30pm to 8pm.
Following the exhibitions people will be able to find out more information at www.thevale-northsomerset.co.uk.
People will be able to give feedback on the scheme and sign up for regular email updates.