There has never been greater pressure on our urban and rural areas to accommodate additional housing and economic growth. As a council and a community, we need to plan ahead for homes, workplaces, services, facilities and infrastructure that will meet our needs up to 2036 and ensure the continuing prosperity of our area. 

The South Gloucestershire Local Plan (2018-2036) will help identify the sustainable growth we need over the next 20 years. The plan will guide how and where this will happen. It will include where homes, businesses, transport, schools and other services and facilities will go. We will use the completed plan to decide whether planning applications that come forward are appropriate and meet our needs. 

The Local Plan (2018-2036) will review and eventually replace existing local planning documents including 

Consultation and engagement 

At the start of 2017 we invited comments on the Local Plan (2018-2036) prospectus. The prospectus sets out the proposed scope and programme for preparing the plan. Details of this consultation including comments made can be viewed online.  This helped us prepare the next stage of the plan.  

In Autumn 2017 we ran a number of engagement events to support the planning of Strategic Development Locations (SDLs).  This ensured that we can develop local planning policies alongside the final decisions of the scale and location of housing and employment growth for the West of England, to be confirmed by the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). 

In 2018 we held a public consultation on a Local Plan Consultation Document and produced a short video (below). You can read comments made on this document. 

A video explaining the South Gloucestershire Local Plan (2018-2036). This video has not yet been captioned.

Evidence base 

The following evidence supports the development of the plan. This list is updated as new evidence is prepared and available.   

Energy management, renewables and low carbon energy

Flood risk

The following technical guidance and information on the avoidance, reduction and management of flood risk has been taken into account when developing the Local Plan.

South Gloucestershire strategic flood risk assessment (SFRA) level 1

South Gloucestershire strategic flood risk assessment (SFRA) level 2

Note the SFRA level 2 report errata sheet at the beginning A, B and C.

Avonmouth-Severnside strategic flood risk assessment (SFRA) level 2

In addition to referring to the SFRA, developers and applicants should also use the most recent Environment Agency flood maps “Flood Map for Planning (Rivers and Sea)”. The flood map is updated quarterly and therefore some areas of the SFRA will be superseded by more up to date mapping since the SFRA was published.

The Environment Agency’s website also maps the risk of flooding from surface water and reservoirs. The surface water mapping is not suitable for determining flood risk to individual properties, but provides an indication of whether an area may be affected by surface water flooding and to what extent.

Developers and applicants are responsible for ensuring all drainage designs, strategies and site-specific flood risk assessments are supported by the most accurate and up to date information on flood risk.

Oldbury on Severn Strategic Flood Risk Assessment  – Planning Policy Statement

National policy

To avoid inappropriate development in flood risk areas, the National Planning Guidance (NPPF) (paragraphs 100-104) directs development to areas of the lowest flood risk. Development should not be allocated to high risk areas where other reasonably available sites are available in areas with a lower probability of flooding (flood zone 1), this is called the sequential test. Following the sequential test, if it is not possible for the development to be located in flood zone 1, the exception test can be applied. For the exception test to be passed, it must be demonstrated that the development provides sustainability benefits to the community which outweigh flood risk. In addition a site specific flood risk assessment (SFRA2) must demonstrate that the development will be safe for its lifetime (taking account of the vulnerability of its users), not increase flood risk elsewhere and where possible reduce flood risk overall.

Core Strategy and Policies Sites and Places Plan

The South Gloucestershire Core Strategy (adopted 2013) sets out the long term vision and spatial strategy for the area. It also sets out the strategic policies needed to deliver sustainable communities until 2027. It provides for a minimum of 28,355 homes to be built between 2006 and 2027. Applying the sequential test, the strategic housing locations identified to meet housing needs in South Gloucestershire have been proposed in areas with lower risk of flooding.

Through the location strategy set out in Core Strategy policies CS5 (Location of Development) and CS34 (Rural Areas), provision was also made to enable rural communities to identify any need for small scale additional housing to meet local needs through the Policies Sites and Places (PSP) Plan or Neighbourhood Plans.

During the preparation of the PSP Plan, Oldbury-on-Severn Parish Council identified the potential for limited additional housing to meet their local needs and provide sustainable development. The parish council, in consultation with the wider community, initially identified a need for approximately 14 dwellings over and above that which would come forward under existing planning policies and permitted development including redevelopment, conversion and infill. In response to this the council carried out an assessment of potential housing sites at Oldbury on Severn in December 2014. This process however identified significant constraints/issues principally in relation to flood risk – see Proposed Submission PSP Plan March 2015 (para 11.1-11.13) and supporting Sustainability Appraisal (p 67-75) South Gloucestershire Online Consultations – Draft Policies, Sites and Places Plan Summer 2014 – CONSULTATION CLOSED – Consultation Homepage

In summary the PSP Plan evidence concluded that Oldbury village is at risk, but is defended from tidal flooding. The highest flood risk affecting the area is classified as high probability having a 1 in 100 or greater annual probability of river flooding, also known as functional floodplain (flood zone 3b (FZ3b)). This area is associated with flooding from Oldbury Naite Rhine and Pickedmoor Lane Rhine, which also impacts parts of Chapel Road and Pickedmoor Lane.  All main infrastructure, including highway routes which provide access to the village are affected by flood risk, classified as either FZ3a or 3b.

There are two areas of lower flood risk in Oldbury. “dry island” is adjacent to the Toot Scheduled Ancient Monument in the centre of the village and is surrounded by extensive areas of higher flood risk. The second is to the south and is subject to Green Belt and significant heritage constraints. Potential development sites in Oldbury on Severn unaffected by flood risk and meeting the requirements of the Sequential Test could not therefore be identified. As a result of the flooding and other constraints, and with the support of the Environmental Agency, the PSP Plan did not allocate sites for additional homes in Oldbury.

If a specific local need was identified in future to meet the first part of the exception test, further work through a detailed Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA2) could be undertaken to improve understanding of the flood risk. This would then inform the second part of the exception test and help investigate the potential for limited further development of the village.

The Oldbury on Severn strategic flood risk assessment 2

Following the decision not to allocate through the PSP Plan, in 2017 we commissioned the Oldbury on Severn SFRA2 together with the Environment Agency and parish council to provide further detailed evidence supporting the potential for small scale housing development at Oldbury on Severn.

Oldbury on Severn neighbourhood plan

The village has taken up the option of neighbourhood planning and the neighbourhood area was designated on 27 November 2016.

If the neighbourhood planning process in Oldbury confirms a need for limited housing to meet the specific requirements of the village (supported by a technical evidence base and tested through the examination process), this will provide the justification for part 1 of the exception test i.e. that the wider sustainability benefits to be afforded to the village as a result of plan led development outweigh the flood risk, although the justification remains to be tested through a neighbourhood Plan Examination process.

It should be noted this has yet to be undertaken and is intended to be completed through the preparation of the Oldbury Neighbourhood Plan.

The main purpose of this strategic flood risk assessment 2 is to inform the second part of the exception test for the neighbourhood planning process. This will ensure that any potential new development would be in areas with least flood risk and safe for its lifetime (taking account of the vulnerability of its users), not increase flood risk elsewhere and where possible, reduce flood risk overall.

The council considers that the exception test part 1 will not have been met until the neighbourhood planning process has been completed. We are committed to supporting the parish council to undertake this work through the neighbourhood planning process.

The Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) and new South Gloucestershire Local Plan

The JSP and new Local Plan will update the strategic housing policies currently in the Core Strategy to meet housing need to 2036. This includes an element of non-strategic housing in rural areas to meet the needs of the district (allocations of 10 homes and above). In line with national policy on flood risk and the sequential test, Oldbury on Severn will unlikely be considered for additional housing through the district wide plan making process, given the range of other location options situated in a lower risk of flooding and with higher levels of sustainable access to key services and facilities.

The South Gloucestershire Council Level 2 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for Oldbury on Severn can be viewed below.

Final report September 2017

Housing and economic land availability assessment

The purpose of the housing and economic land availability assessment (HELAA) is to identify a future supply of land which is available and suitable for housing and economic development, over the period of our Local Plan.

The assessment will examine land from a variety of sources including our call for site submissions, council owned land and sites identified by the Urban Living Report. When completed, the HELAA will provide a key part of the Local Plan evidence base, helping to inform the process of identifying sites for allocation within the emerging Local Plan.

Further information on the HELAA process is available at GOV.UK. 

List of sites

As part of the first stage of the HELAA process, we have formed a ‘long list’ of sites that will be assessed for development potential over the coming months. These sites can also be viewed on an interactive map.

At this stage we have not reached a decision on how suitable or deliverable the sites are in this ‘long list’. Work to identify development potential will be undertaken over the coming months. Once complete, sites considered to have potential for development will be subject to public consultation in 2019.

We have published a technical note on our proposed approach to identifying this long list of sites and a draft HELAA methodology statement which explains how the sites will be assessed.

An evidence based study has been undertaken by Nash Partnership relating to the urban areas of South Gloucestershire:

Local green spaces and designations

Local green space designation provides special protection against development for green areas of importance to local communities. Since the designation must conform with national planning policy, it is not suitable for all green spaces.  

A list of protected spaces within South Gloucestershire is available in our Policies, Sites and Places (PSP) plan. Within this plan, policy PSP4 Designated Local Green Spaces outlines the type of protection to these spaces. 

During public examination of the PSP plan, we agreed to reassess all nominated spaces that were not designated in this plan through the development of our new Local Plan (2018-2036) .  

Local green space designations interactive map 

The following information on local green space designations applies to the end of the PSP plan process. The reassessment of spaces is not yet complete. 

You can view an interactive map to display: 

  • the local green spaces designated in the PSP plan and which are subject to Policy PSP4 Local Green Space Designations 
  • the nominated (but not designated) spaces which will be reassessed when developing the new Local Plan. These spaces are displayed with information outlining why they were not designated in the PSP plan. This information is also available as a spreadsheet. 

Comments and nominations were invited on local green space designations as part of the February-April 2018 Local Plan consultation, as well as the submission of new spaces. This consultation is now closed. 

For further information on the reassessment and designation process see guidance on local green space designations. 

Minerals evidence

We are the minerals planning authority for South Gloucestershire.  

To ensure that we plan for a steady supply of sufficient aggregates in the area, we  

  • prepare a Local Aggregate Assessment (LAA) 
  • participate in operating an Aggregate Working Party (AWP) 
  • make provision for land won aggregates in our Local Plan 

Local Aggregate Assessment 

The 2007-16 West of England Local Aggregate Assessment (LAA) is the latest information on permitted reserves and production for crushed rock as of the end of 2016. 

The assessment has been prepared jointly by the four unitary authorities  

  • Bath and North East Somerset Council 
  • Bristol City Council
  • North Somerset Council
  • South Gloucestershire Council 

which together comprise the West of England sub region. The assessment is part of the evidence base used to inform the Local Plan for each of these authorities. 

Aggregate Working Party 

We participate in the South West Aggregates Working Party. 

Local Plan 

Our local minerals development plan currently comprises the 

We have also published a background paper relating to minerals. 

Strategic development locations

Report of the Autumn 2017 Strategic Development Location Events

Final decisions on the scale and location of housing and employment growth will be confirmed through the West of England Joint Spatial Plan, (JSP). However, we need to ensure that our local planning policies within South Gloucestershire are developed alongside the JSP process, to ensure there is the shortest possible gap between the JSP and local policies.

With this in mind, we undertook some engagement in September and October 2017 when we held a number of events in relation to the Strategic Development Locations (SDLs). The exhibition material and FAQs for each event are available to view below.

  • Charfield: 20 September at Charfield Memorial Hall.
  • Coalpit Heath: 22 September at Coalpit Heath Village Hall/Miners Institute.
  • Thornbury: 29 September at Armstrong Hall
  • Yate and Chipping Sodbury: 4 October at Sodbury Town Hall
  • Buckover Garden Village: 6 October at Falfield Village Hall

A report presented in a series of sections prepared by Design Action who supported the council during the exhibition events has now been published below.

Report on Joint Spatial Plan SDLs Routes to Zero Carbon Study January 2018

Joint Spatial Plan SDLs: Routes to Zero Carbon Study (Jan 2018) produced by RegenSW for the 4 West of England Authorities tests the ability of the new strategic development locations to meet zero carbon energy objectives.

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