Local Plan comments – Kerry McCarthy MP for Bristol East
I welcome the focus in the Local Plan on the need to build new homes to address the housing crisis, including the provision of affordable housing and accommodation which is accessible for elderly and disabled people. I welcome innovative solutions, such as self-build, custom housebuilding, and community-led housing. Any housing development must be accompanied by the necessary infrastructure, including sustainable transport, school places, GP surgeries, local shops and green spaces, to alleviate pressure on existing services and ensure that development has local support.
Draft Policy H6: Homes in multiple occupation and other shared housing; and Draft Policy H7: Managing the development of purpose-built student accommodation
Some residential areas have seen a rapid increase in the number of students lets, causing issues for longstanding residents. It is good to see new policies in the draft Plan aimed at preventing over-concentration of student lets in residential areas, and encouraging the construction of purpose-built student accommodation to reduce student demand for conventional housing.
Draft Policy DS7: Central Fishponds
Development of central Fishponds could benefit current locals and new residents, and I support proposals to permit housing and workspace development in this location, provided it is sustainable and an improvement to the area. The Council should engage with employers in the area to avoid unintended consequences of development, which could harm businesses’ viability, such as increased congestion.
Draft Policy DS9: Brislington
Proposals for new development in Brislington on the Bath Road are justifiable in the context of Bristol’s housing need. Public and alternative transport options should be improved in line with this, to reduce the amount of traffic added to the already congested Bath Road.
Draft Policy DS11: Development allocations – southwest Bristol
I am concerned by proposals to permit development on land currently used by Yew Tree Farm and think that this should be reconsidered. The farm is one of the few remaining sustainable working farms in the city and makes an important contribution to local food production.
Draft Policy DS12: New Neighbourhood – Bath Road, Brislington
I am not objecting to the adjustments made to Green Belt land in Brislington and the proposal to move the Brislington Park and Ride to Hicks Gate. It is important that a range of transport options are provided for the area, to reduce the impact new residents will have on congestion on the A4. The existing allotments on Bath Road contribute towards Bristol’s aspirations for sustainable food procurement, so it is very welcome that they will be retained.
Draft Policy GI1: Local Green Space
Local green and open spaces are a crucial part of a healthy city and one of the things that makes Bristol a great place to live. I welcome the protection offered to them in the plan. As new neighbourhoods are built, I would encourage the Council to create more parks and green spaces for local people to enjoy.
Draft Policy GI4: Stapleton Allotments and Holdings – Food Growing Local Green Space
Bristol is aiming to achieve gold status as a Sustainable Food City by 2020, and I welcome that the Plan designates Stapleton Allotments as a Local Green Space. This should also be extended to land used for food growing opposite the allotments on the other side of the M32. I would also hope that the land adjacent to this site, owned by Bristol City Council but in South Gloucestershire and therefore not covered by this Local Plan, could also be retained for food-growing.
Draft Policy HW1: Pollution Control and Water Quality
I fully support the introduction of the Agent of Change principle and hope this will help support music venues and other parts of the night-time economy.
Draft Policy HW2: Air Quality
I welcome new proposals to block developments which could produce harmful emissions and cause air pollution, particularly in areas with already high levels of air pollution and around schools and nurseries. It’s important to adopt a holistic approach to addressing air pollution which includes supporting sustainable travel and green/ clean energy.
Draft Policy HW3: Takeaways
New restrictions on the opening of takeaways near schools are very welcome. However, I am concerned that the distance set in this policy (“400m and up to 600m walking distance”) is not far enough.
A study by Brighton and Hove Council: ‘Hot Food Takeaways Near Schools’, found that pupils routinely travel in excess of these distances to buy fast-food, and recommended a distance of 800m. I urge the Council to increase the distance to 800 metres.
This could run alongside a potential relaxation of the rules for healthier A5 food outlets – so if the business making an application is pledging to make a conscious and demonstrative effort to put low fat/low salt/low sugar dishes on their menu, this could be looked on favourably.
The Government recommends that councils produce a Hot Food Takeaway Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to help tackle unhealthy lifestyles and obesity. I would urge the Council to produce such a document.
I do not intend to comment on specific draft allocations here, other than to say that a considerable number of my constituents have raised with me their concerns about plans to permit development on the site of the current Stapleton Cricket Ground. The Cricket Club, which wants to relocate, has also been in contact and I am due to meet them soon.
I am concerned at the potential loss of a public amenity by permitting development on this site and ask that it be reconsidered. If plans are brought forward to relocate the cricket club, then this should be subject to local consultation.