SOUTH Gloucestershire Council has extended the deadline for people to have their say on its Local Plan, which could see thousands of new homes built on the Green Belt.
The latest phase of consultations on the blueprint for development between 2025 and 2040, is now staying open for comment until February 16.
The council says it needs to find sites for 9,260 new homes, at least 7,813 of which will need to be built on greenfield sites.
It has to create a Local Plan for the next 15 years, otherwise developers will be seeking to build on sites all across the district.
The council’s ‘emerging preferred strategy’, which it says is a compromise between the Green Belt and the need for new housing near existing urban areas, proposes allowing 1,480 new homes to be built on fields east of the Avon Ring Road around Shortwood and Warmley.
Development is also proposed at three sites in Hanham: Land at Castle Farm Road, 125 homes; Land south of Abbots Road, 85 homes; Land at Castle Farm Inn, 60 homes.
Other potential development sites include Barry Road in Oldland Common, Jarretts Garden Centre in Willsbridge, and The Sawmills in Bridgeyate.
The ‘east fringe’ of Bristol is favoured by the council for housing because of its employment and transport links. Earlier schemes to build in the north of the district appear to be being shelved because these would need major improvements to the M5 junction at Falfield.
The council has held a series of drop-in meetings across the district during January to give people more information about what is proposed.
A group set up to oppose the plans to build on Green Belt sites, Save Our Green Spaces South Gloucestershire, has set up a petition on the council’s website, which can be found at tinyurl.com/2p8fs6ef.
It has held its own meetings about the proposals, as have several parish councils and a group opposing speculative plans for housing developments at The Batch in Hanham.
All the groups encourage people to take part in the council’s consultation, even though it’s complicated. Some are holding sessions to help residents formulate their responses.
A spokesperson for the Save our Green Spaces group said: “We are not NIMBYs opposed to any development. We support organic growth, but not mass development of housing and industry across the Green Belt.”
The group has built a following of more than 700 people via a Facebook page where information is shared, including details of upcoming council consultation meetings, and is planning to hold its own open meetings in future.
The group is calling on people living in the Kingswood parliamentary constituency to vote for candidates opposing the Local Plan at the upcoming by-election on February 15.
A spokesperson said: “In view of this being such a unique by-election, so close to the next general election which will see the Kingswood constituency disappear, it would be great if this election could act more as a Local Plan referendum, leaving the party politics to the general election.
“We will encourage people to vote for any candidate opposed to this Local Plan.”
Full details of the Local Plan can be found online at www.southglos.gov.uk/newlocalplan, where people can fill in a consultation survey.
Anyone who is not online can call the council on 01454 868009 for help.