Photograph courtesy of Matthew Gilder
The Campaign to Protect Rural England exists to promote the beauty, tranquility and diversity of rural England by encouraging the sustainable use of land and other natural resources in town and country. CPRE Avonside comprises the four districts which cover the old county of Avon.
Policy and Campaigns for 2015
National Planning Policy
The Government’s planning reforms, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), were published in March 2012. We are becoming increasingly concerned about the effects of its implementation alongside other changes to the planning system, which together promote the idea that the possible economic benefits of development per se should take priority over the concept of the right development in the right place. Local Authorities’ Local Plans play a key role in determining where different kinds of development should be located, and which green spaces and landscapes should be preserved. Unfortunately the adoption of several of Avonside’s plans have been held up for a variety of reasons, so the presumption of sustainable development enshrined in the NPPF takes precedent, despite the proposals drawn up in the Local Plans which have been subject to wide consultation. Developers are submitting applications in a piecemeal fashion and arguing that the NPPF allows them to develop any site which they claim to be “sustainable”. For an analysis by CPRE South East in March 2013 of what it calls “an era of unplanning”, click here We have been campaigning against the more harmful provisions of the NPPF since the production of the initial draft in 2011. Back then we felt that some provisions would either harm the countryside (and urban green spaces) or would be open to differing interpretations because of over-simplification. Avonside Branch joined the campaign against the original version and contacted many local MPs about our concerns. To read the text of our own response to the Government’s consultation on the draft click here
Housing in the Avonside Area
Until the 2010 General Election there were targets for housing provision set out in the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS), a 20 year plan for the South West 2006-2026. Read what we said about the RSS and proposed housing numbers. However, the RSS was never ratified and the Government revoked RSSs nationally. The local plans of the local authorities in the Avonside area, which were originally supposed to reflect the RSS proposals, are currently at various stages at a time when the new national and local planning system is being introduced. We are very concerned about the threat to greenfield land in the Avonside area.
Bristol’s Core Strategy was examined by a Planning Inspector who accepted Bristol’s proposal for housing numbers which are much lower than in the RSS but would not allow the deletion of references to possible cross-boundary urban extensions in the Green Belt as a contingency measure if target numbers cannot otherwise be met. This Core Strategy was adopted by the Council in summer 2011.
North Somerset’s Core Strategy was adopted in April 2012. However, following a legal challenge, Policy CS13 (scale of new housing, which had been set at 14,000) was found to be unlawful on the grounds that the inspector was found to have “failed to give adequate or intelligible reasons” for his conclusion that the North Somerset housing requirement made sufficient allowance for latent demand. Policy CS13 which has been amended to 17,130 dwellings and a number of other policies which may require amendment as a consequence of that process have been remitted to the Planning Inspectorate for reexamination.
In November 2013 a Planning Inspector judged South Gloucestershire’s Core strategy to be sound, provided a number of modifications were included and the document is reviewed by 2018. Housing numbers have increased from the figure of 21,500 in the original version of the Core Strategy to 28,355. Some of this housing will be built on sites which came forward during the Core Strategy process, including Filton airfield and sites around Thornbury.
For details of campaigns we are running within the geographical area of each of our District groups, click on the link to that District.
Village of the year
It has regretfully been decided that our Village of the Year competition has been suspended from 2013. The funds set aside for prizes were finally exhausted by last year’s competition and the Executive Committee’s approach to a new sponsor has not been successful. However the search for new sponsorship continues and we hope to run a competition in the future. We are very grateful to all the volunteer judges of the competition, and to the villages, large and small, which have participated so enthusiastically in past years. Thanks are also due to the organisers, Les Forrest and Rita Boote, who have ensured the smooth running of the competition. Click here for the results of the 2012 competition » Winners of previous years’ competitions can be found on our Village of the Year 2011 and Village of the Year 2010 pages.
The Branch and District Groups are run entirely by volunteers. Please visit http://www.cpre.org.uk/support/volunteer to see the ways in which you could help us.