4. Urban areas and market towns

Making the most effective use of land in built-up areas

4.1 This section looks at future development within the existing boundaries of our urban areas and our market towns. This includes the communities of the north and east fringes of the urban area of Bristol, as well as Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Thornbury.

4.2 We have already discussed our strategy for development within these areas, and how this is consistent with national policy, in two previous Local Plan consultations. This is to make the most effective use of land in our already built-up areas by optimising the density of any new development or redevelopment. Optimising means achieving more, well-designed homes or businesses on each site, whilst respecting the local area’s prevailing character and setting, and taking account of the amenity of existing residents. A key element is to locate higher density development in places where local facilities and public transport are available, within or close to our town centres, high streets, and transport hubs.

4.3 If you want to know more about our proposed approach to new development in the urban areas and market towns, including optimising density, please see our previous consultations using the links below:

Local Plan 2020: Phase 1 – Issues and Approaches consultation document (Nov 2020 to March 2021)

4.4 In the consultation document we introduced and sought your views on:  

  • the background to the approach; why it is needed, the benefits and potential issues with higher density development, what it may look like and where it may be appropriate. 
  • the areas within or close to our town centres, high streets and transport hubs where a policy to optimise density and make effective use of land in new developments could be appropriate. 

Local Plan 2020 Phase 2 Urban Rural and Key Issues consultation document (Feb 2022 to April 2022)

4.5 In the consultation document we:

  • considered what higher density design development could look like in the context of South Gloucestershire.
  • explained how we decided the most appropriate density range for each place and the evidence behind this in our South Gloucestershire Council Density and Character Study (Jan 2022)
  • introduced and sought comments on a draft new Effective Use of Land policy which will ensure that higher density developments are of the right quality and any issues associated with this type of development, such as car parking and open space, are addressed. Working policy title: Urban Lifestyles and Density
  • identified and confirmed the most accessible areas in SGC where higher densities are appropriate and where the new policy will be applied.
  • provided an update on work on masterplans being prepared.

4.6 Through our previous consultations we know that this approach to optimising brownfield development, and the linked policy are generally supported by our communities and other stakeholders. For a summary of responses to previous consultations read the consultation reports.

Capacity from urban areas and market towns

4.7 The approach to optimising density, and making effective use of land, in the existing urban areas and market towns, will make an important contribution to our housing and employment needs as the first step in our strategy for providing the new homes and jobs we need alongside the infrastructure to support this. Overall housing and employment targets for South Gloucestershire, and the way in which they have been calculated, is explained in section 3a.

4.8 This section sets out the overall capacity for new homes and mixed-use sites which can be provided within the urban areas and market towns and explains the different sources of that capacity. These are; site allocations, small “windfall” sites, and the potential for larger “windfall” sites including areas which have potential for evolution and change; the University of the West of England, Filton Airfield, Parkway Station, and Kingswood Town Centre. Yate is part of a longer-term process of evolving to meet its changing needs and aspirations and coming to terms with the rapid development it has experienced in recent years.

Proposed site allocations in urban areas and market towns

4.9 A housing or mixed-use site allocation is a specific site identified in the Local Plan for housing development which will contribute to meeting our housing and employment needs. National policy requires a certain approach to preparing evidence for these site allocations to demonstrate that they are deliverable within the next five years or developable over the plan period.  

4.10 For further information about how we have assessed if a site is deliverable/developable or not, please see the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) methodology and report which is also being consulted on. 

4.11 A summary of the sites which we are proposing to allocate in the new Local Plan is provided in the table below. Table 1 identifies sites which contribute a total of 1,540 homes to the Plan’s overall housing requirement and new employment space. Each site shown in Table 1 has a detailed template which sets out all the important information relating to the site itself and the proposed uses and capacity, including a site plan. These site templates will be released as part of the full public consultation.  

4.12 You can also find and comment on these proposed site allocations by accessing the interactive map

4.13 A number of the sites included in the Local Plan Phase 2 consultation document were on land which is currently safeguarded for employment uses.  In the Phase 2 consultation we consulted on two potential options for each site, to retain as employment land or change to residential use or mixed-use (which means a mix of residential and employment). We have considered responses to this consultation alongside further evidence on our need for employment land and are now consulting on a single option for these sites as shown in table 1. Our approach to employment land and the sites which we propose to continue to safeguard for employment uses is set out in section 3b

4.14 In addition, since the Local Plan Phase 2 public consultation, a number of other potential sites have fallen away for a variety of reasons e.g. planning permission has been granted, and a number of new sites have been included.  

4.15 It is important to note that in some cases, there have been changes to the capacity of the proposed site allocations which were set out as part of the Local Plan Phase 2 public consultation.  

4.16 The HELAA was used as a starting point to understand a sites potential capacity and the approach used can be found in the HELAA methodology which is linked above. A more detailed capacity process was carried out for each urban and market town proposed allocation site to test the initial figures from the HELAA and to provide a more thorough and deliverable capacity. A detailed background paper explaining how the housing capacities were calculated (a capacity methodology) will be presented at the Regulation 19 stage.  

Site nameDwellingsEmployment
1EF010Downend Clinic10500m.sq.
2EF001Lyde Green Road60
3EF006Lyde Green Farm393
4NF009Filton Clinic6300m.sq.
5EF014Anstey’s Road (Kleeneze)200650m.sq.
6EF003Lucas Works1004,000m.sq.
7EF013The Grange210
8EF015Broad Street14Commercial ground floor
9NF005Oxbarton Mead Road8
10NF011Filton Retail Park132
12TH001Thornbury Health Centre152,000m.sq.
13NF002Old Gloucester Road30
14YA001Yate Town Centre200TBC
15YA003Land north of Ladden Garden Village162
Table 1 – the proposed site allocations within urban areas and market towns.

Proposed site allocations ‘options’ sites

4.17 Table 2 sets out the proposed urban site allocations where an option is being consulted on. We would like to hear your views on whether these sites should be proposed for allocation under option 1 or option 2.

4.18 More detailed information for each of the sites shown in tables 1 and 2 can be found within the sites template section, in Appendix 1 – Urban and market town potential site allocations.


No.Site codeSite nameOption 1Option2
1NF004Filton 20 (Golf Course Lane)Continue as employment only350 dwellings + employment
2EF016Bristol UniformsContinue as employment only58 dwellings  
Table 2 – proposed site allocations with options.


Do you have any comments on any of the 15 proposed urban or market town site allocations?

Do you have any comments on the 2 proposed urban allocations with options for different uses?

Please submit your comments through our interactive map.

Capacity from ‘windfall’ sites

4.19 The term ‘windfall site’ is used for sites which become available for development unexpectedly and are therefore not included as allocated land in the Local Plan. Small windfalls are on sites of between 1-9 homes (also referred to as a ‘minor’ site in planning application terms) and over the years we have seen an average of 244 homes a year in this category being built in our area of which around 60% were within our urban areas and market towns. Our new policy to make the most effective use of land by optimising density will help to support this element of our supply.

4.20 As well as these small scale ‘windfall’ developments larger scale developments will also continue to come forward in addition to our site allocations as owners redevelop their land or buildings. Our new Effective Use of Land policy will apply to make the best use of these opportunities to provide new homes in sustainable locations.

Areas with potential for evolution and change

4.21 There are some areas where we know that there are opportunities for regeneration and change. This is because they have been identified through the Council’s approved masterplans or by the owners of the site. These will be supported by the new Local Plan policy to make effective use of land which will guide any new development. We are not showing these sites as allocations or including them as commitments in our housing trajectory at this stage due to uncertainty over their capacity to deliver within the first 10 years of the plan period. However, they form a pipeline of sites which are expected to make a significant contribution to our housing need in the last 5 years of the plan period. This position will be reviewed and updated at the next stage of plan making and in reviews of the Local Plan.

Former Filton Airfield

4.22 This is a major development site which is subject to long-term master-planning and investment by its owners YTL. The site is allocated for development in the Core Strategy and already has planning consent for mixed use development. However, an outline planning application for a higher-density, mixed use scheme has been submitted and is currently being considered by the Council. As this application has yet to be determined, we currently consider that 2,600 homes will be completed by 2040. We are keeping this under review and should circumstances change we will consider if it would be appropriate to include more completions at this site within the Plan period at the next stage of consultation on the Local Plan in 2024.

The University of the West of England (UWE) Frenchay Campus

4.23 UWE is a major university and the campus at Frenchay supports academic, employment and social uses as well as homes and student accommodation, and there are planning consents for purpose-built student accommodation elsewhere on the site which are included as commitments in our housing trajectory. Further opportunities may arise over the plan period for student accommodation along with elements of academic, social, community and employment development and improved links to the wider area. UWE is currently undertaking a masterplan process to establish land development principles for the whole campus. At this stage we are not including a housing (student accommodation) figure but this position will be reviewed and updated at the next stage of the Plan.

Kingswood Town Centre

4.24 The Kingswood Masterplan was published in May 2022. Working with the community, investors and landowners it set out the guiding principles for development in Kingswood Town Centre for the next 15-20 years. Elements of the plan are currently being reviewed and updated and we also expect there will be opportunities for additional homes and employment in this area through the regeneration, investment and change envisaged through the masterplan. There is one site at Lucas Works (EF001) which has been identified as a suitable and deliverable mixed-use allocation including 100 homes and 4,000sq of employment space through the Local Plan process at this stage. This position will be reviewed and updated at the next stage of the Plan.

Yate Town Improvement Masterplan

4.25 The council approved the Yate Town Improvement Masterplan in December 2021 after extensive consultation with the local community. This includes opportunities for investment and change in four key focus areas; Yate Town Centre, Station Road, Yate rail station and Western Gateway/industrial estate. Based on the masterplan vision we consider there are opportunities at Yate Town Centre for intensification, including homes above ground floor retail, commercial and leisure uses. We have therefore included potential for around 200 new homes in Yate Town Centre during the later part of the Plan period in our housing trajectory.

4.26 This focus on town centre regeneration aligns with central government and council commitments to support high streets. The council is a key landowner in this area and therefore has more control over housing delivery which gives further confidence to the delivery of this housing number. The council is also committed to working with other landowners to bring forward development and regeneration.

Yate Masterplan

Parkway Station and Surrounds Masterplan and North Fringe of Bristol Strategic Infrastructure Led Masterplan

4.27 The council worked with partners Network Rail, Great Western Railway and West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and approved the Parkway Station and Surrounds masterplan in December 2022 after public consultation. The masterplan provides a future vision for the redevelopment of the station and the surrounding area over the next 10 years and beyond. It reimagines Bristol Parkway as a new destination and fitting gateway for South Gloucestershire and the region, complete with a new station, places to work, meet and gather and new parks and habitat. While there will be opportunities for additional homes and employment in this area through the investment and change envisaged through the masterplan, at present there are no specific sites which have been identified as suitable and deliverable housing allocations through the Local Plan process.

4.28 The North Fringe of Bristol Strategic Infrastructure Led Masterplan was published by the West of England Combined Authority in August 2022. It sets out a long-term infrastructure strategy for the area over the next 30 years. The vision is supported by aspirations which seek to address the key challenges of sustainable development including economic growth, social equity, climate change and net zero carbon. Place-based examples and illustrative opportunities for change have been included to bring to life the key principles and spatial concepts for how the area may look in the future. While there may be opportunities for additional homes and employment in this area through the investment and change envisaged through the masterplan, at present there are no specific sites which have been identified as suitable and deliverable housing allocations through the Local Plan process.

North Fringe of Bristol Masterplan

Parkway Station and Surrounds Masterplan

Total justified capacity

4.29 The total housing capacity within the plan period from the existing urban areas and market towns will come from three main sources: allocated sites, and small and large scale ‘windfall’ sites. The total housing capacity from the allocated sites is presented in Table 1 above. In addition, an allowance for small windfalls has been included in our housing trajectory (read section 3a) and an element of this will be from within the existing boundaries of our urban areas and market towns. We can also expect a contribution from larger ‘windfall’ sites of more than 10 homes in line with past trends and existing commitments. This will be supported by our policy on the effective use of land and our masterplan and regeneration work. However, apart from the allocations in Table 1 (above) we have not included sites of more than 10 against our housing target. They will continue to come forward as windfalls and be managed through the development management process.

Read the next section – Towards an emerging preferred strategy.

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