Have your say on the future development of the West of England region

The West of England Combined Authority is asking people living and working in the region for their views to help shape the Spatial Development Strategy, a plan to make sure homes, employment spaces and vital transport links are planned in the right places over the next 20 years.

As the region’s population grows and as people live longer, the amount and type of housing that is needed across the West of England is changing. Covid 19 has also altered the way many people are working, travelling and spending their leisure time.

The strategy will help make sure residents have the homes they need, where they want to live with the connections to get to job opportunities, education and leisure across the region.

It offers an opportunity to plan for a cleaner, greener recovery, ensuring new development is resilient, contributes towards reducing carbon emissions, and brings improvements for nature and sustainability.

Residents and businesses can give their views via a survey on the West of England Combined Authority website.

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said:

“This Spatial Development Strategy will make sure that over the next 20 years, we are building homes in the right places so that the West of England remains a great place to live and work. Importantly, it will also make sure we are building sustainable communities that are less reliant on cars, improving our environment and connecting our residents to jobs, education, businesses and leisure facilities right across the region.

“Whether you are a resident, business or other organisation based in the West of England, I want to make sure you have your chance to get your voice heard at this early stage of the process, so that as the work progresses it reflects the priorities of the people who live and work here.”

The West of England Combined Authority is working with Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils, stakeholders and residents to develop the plan. 

Councillor Tim Ball, cabinet member for Housing, Planning and Economic Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said:

“We are committed to working collaboratively to plan for the West of England’s future housing, employment and transport needs and this is more important than ever as the whole region recovers from the effects of Covid-19. The Spatial Development Strategy will directly affect how people in Bath and North East Somerset live, work and enjoy leisure time so I’d encourage everyone in the district to submit their views. Over the next two decades we need development that meets people’s needs but is also sustainable to help meet our goal to become carbon neutral by 2030.”

Nicola Beech, Bristol City Council Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning and City Design, said:

As we plan how to build a more sustainable and inclusive Bristol it’s really important that we hear what people value most. This plan will shape the west of England for years to come and so we want everyone to share what is important to them, whether that’s improving travel links, protecting green spaces, building homes, or anything else that will help us to create a more equal, sustainable and diverse region that reflects the priorities of those who live and work here.”

Cllr Steve Reade, South Glos Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Strategic Infrastructure said:

“We are committed to plan-led development for the benefit of our whole community and we recognise that what happens beyond our boundaries affects the people of South Gloucestershire. It is therefore really important that we work together across the West of England to plan for a future, in terms of growth, transport and infrastructure, which will help maintain South Gloucestershire and the wider region as a place people want to live and do business. I would like to encourage residents, businesses and others to contribute to this process so that we can move forward together, with shared aims and understandings of what should be protected, maintained and improved, and what we all value as important for our shared future.”

The survey closes on 14 December 2020. Responses to the survey are the first step in developing a draft of the Spatial Development Strategy alongside technical evidence and studies. Once the draft is completed and published in 2021, it will be subject to a full statutory consultation, providing the opportunity to formally comment on the proposed plan.

Once the Spatial Development Strategy is agreed and published, it will form part of the ‘development plan’ alongside council’s own Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans which will be considered when determining planning applications across the region.

For more information and the survey visit https://www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/future-of-the-region/