Extra 1,100 homes earmarked for Keynsham - have your say

Published on: 05 Nov 2016

Residents are once again being asked for their views on how the communities of Keynsham, Saltford and surrounding areas can help meet a housing shortfall of thousands of new homes across the West of England region.

A plan by the four councils that make up the area – Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset – is about to be made public, with up to 1,100 new homes for Keynsham and a new Saltford bypass among the proposals.

The document – the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) – maps out where the extra 39,000 homes it is calculated the region will need by 2036 should go, as well as transport improvements and new employment. This is on top of the 66,000 homes the four authorities have already allowed for in their core strategies, around 450 of which are to be built on land around Keynsham.

Residents are now being urged to take their chance to have their say on the proposals, which will “help shape the future of our area for the next 20 years”, says Keynsham councillor Charles Gerrish.

A public consultation is due to start on November 7 and will run until December 19 at www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk

Development on land to the north and east Keynsham would “need to respect the separate integrity of Keynsham and Saltford”, the draft JSP says. Cllr Gerrish has explained in a letter to Keynshamvoice this would be on land to the north of the railway line.

The document also says development would be “dependent on the timely provision of significant new transport measures to enable new growth and to mitigate existing congestion”.

At the same time, the four councils have been drawing up a Joint Transport Strategy, which features a number of proposals for the Bristol to Bath corridor along the A4, including a potential tram service, improved links between the A4 and A37 roads, a Callington Road link in nearby Brislington and – controversially – a Saltford bypass travelling from the A4 around the south of the village.

The bypass plan promises to split opinion in the village with some undoubtedly backing measures to divert traffic from the centre of the village, while others, including members of Saltford Environment Group, say it would result in the loss of green belt land and existing footpaths, harm wildlife and run the risk of seeing housing development spread out to the edge of the new road.

As part of the councils’ work on the JSP, other potential development sites around Keynsham and Saltford have been rejected because of the “negative impact” they would have, while land at Hicks Gate was also ruled out because it “lies in a very sensitive part of the Bristol and Bath green belt which makes a major contribution to preventing the merger of Bristol and Keynsham”.

To meet the housing shortfall, the JSP says Bristol will accommodate up to 12,000 new homes and Bath 300 as part of urban development, while 3,500 homes could be earmarked for land to the south and east of Whitchurch village – with many other sites across the four councils areas also taking a share.

Announcing the start of consultation this month, the leaders of North Somerset Council, Nigel Ashton, South Gloucestershire Council, Matthew Riddle, Bath and North East Somerset Council, Tim Warren and the Mayor of Bristol City Council, Marvin Rees, said: “The challenge we face as a region that is continuing to grow, is to continue to develop our economic prosperity in a way that benefits all our communities and protects the planet.

“We’re responding to the needs of our growing population; increasing demands for homes and jobs, and seeking to address the issue of affordability for people on lower salaries wanting to buy or rent their own home. There is a significant gap between the cost of houses and the level of income and whilst we cannot narrow the gap alone, we want to give more people the opportunity to get onto the housing ladder.

“Our intention is to have a joined-up approach to providing the homes that people need and the supporting infrastructure, whilst retaining the individuality of each community. This is an opportunity to ensure that the housing is matched by the necessary support and facilities. This could mean new roads, public transport, schools, and health facilities to meet local needs.

“No decisions have been made at this stage, but we are in agreement that affordable housing is a high priority that will mean the next generation can live and work in the West of England and benefit from growing business and employment opportunities. We’re also committed to prioritising development on brownfield sites to rejuvenate existing derelict land.

“The solutions to these challenges will affect each of our council areas, which is why we are taking this joint approach and why we will consult extensively with all the communities and stakeholders across the West of England from the start of November.”

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