4,300 homes with planning permission ‘not built’

There are over 4,300 homes with planning permission in Bath and North East Somerset which are yet to be built, figures uncovered by the Conservatives have revealed.The number include homes which are under construction but not yet completed, as well as development sites with outline planning permission such as the second phase of Bath Western Riverside. However, the 4,300 figure does not include some of the authority’s major brownfield sites, such as former MoD land in Bath and the Somerdale Cadbury factory site in Keynsham.

Conservative councillors have said the large number of homes with permission but yet to be built adds weight to their argument that greenfield sites can be protected from large-scale new housing development.

The figures have been revealed as councillors in Bath and North East Somerset prepare to meet at the end of the month to agree changes to the authority’s Core Strategy planning blueprint, which will detail the number of homes required over the next fifteen years and the Council’s preferred locations for new development.

The Council’s original Core Strategy was rejected by a planning inspector last year after the Liberal Democrat-run authority failed to comply with new national planning guidelines, which includes the need to identify a 5-year supply of land ready for new housing development.

Conservative Shadow spokesman for Homes and Planning, Cllr Geoff Ward, commented:

“The fact there are so many thousands of homes in B&NES with planning permission but not yet built adds weight to our argument that it is possible for the Council to meet our area’s housing needs whilst protecting the Greenbelt from large-scale development.

“The figures we’ve uncovered will also bolster the arguments being made in communities which are currently fighting unwanted greenfield housing developments.

“It’s clear that B&NES should be able to deliver the housing needed in the next few years through a combination of existing sites and brownfield redevelopment. However, in order to protect the Greenbelt, the Council must demonstrate that is has a clear brownfield regeneration strategy and timetable for delivery.

“It is also incumbent upon B&NES to put up a robust defence against unwanted opportunistic planning applications which do not accord with Council’s strategy. B&NES has spent over half a million pounds in the past year on failed planning appeals, a situation which obviously can’t continue.”