Bath and North East Somerset proposes student housing restrictions in new local plan

A West of England council has published local plan options that would allow it to meet a 14,500-home housing target, including proposals to ban new student housing outside of university campuses.

Bath city centre. Image credit: Pedro Szekely
Bath city centre. Image credit: Pedro Szekely

The West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) - prepared in conjunction with North Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council - was submitted for examination in April this year.

The JSP is believed to be the first joint local plan of its kind to have been submitted for examination. 

Bath and North East Somerset Council is allocated a target of delivering 14,500 homes over the JSP plan period, an increase of 1,500 units compared to the council’s adopted core strategy.

According to a local plan options consultation paper, published this week, proposed policies including restrictions on student accommodation that would limit all new development to university campuses. 

The document states: "Given forecast slower future growth rate for both [Bath's] universities ... and the flexibility provided within the existing and committed private sector accommodation, it is at this stage considered approprate to prioritise new student accommodation development on campus, rather than making provision elsewhere in the city."

In terms of its housing target, Bath and North East Somerset has secured existing commitments to build 9,840 dwellings and has to plan for the delivery of around 4,700 additional homes.

Three thousand of these are expected to be delivered at strategic development locations. Urban intensification could provide 300 homes while non-strategic growth accounts for 700 units. A small windfall allowance of 672 dwellings is also included.

Options being consulted on include the development of a 1,500-home settlement in North Keynsham and a 2,000-home community to the south east of Whitchurch. Both options are included in the West of England JSP.

Bath and North East Somerset has also proposed restrictions on fast food takeaways preventing them opening near schools and other youth facilities.

Consultation on the Bath and North East Somerset local plan options will end on 7 January. The council said it expects to publish a draft local plan in the summer of 2019.

In September, North Somerset went out to consultation on an issues and options paper setting out how it might deliver 25,000 new homes. 

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