Calls for ‘joined up’ and strategic thinking are at the heart of discussions regarding planning for the future. As the West of England Joint Spatial Plan reaches its next round of consultation we at Landmark are keen to see how the push for jobs, investment and economic growth will be sustainably managed against the many development pressures.

What is the Joint Spatial Plan?

The Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) is a collaboration between four Local Planning Authorities in the South West, to formulate a strategic spatial framework guiding development for the next 20 years. The four local authorities of North Somerset, Bristol City, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset are working together to respond to the acute need to provide new homes and improved infrastructure, thereby ensuring that the region meets the demand for housing and continued economic growth. The plan will:

– Establish the housing requirement to be accommodated using an updated evidence base;

– Determine the broad spatial distribution of development following the assessment of, and consultation on, a range of spatial options; and

– Identify the housing requirement to be accommodated across the four West of England authorities up to 2036.

This agenda includes responding to the current housing shortage across the West of England, investment in new infrastructure and supporting economic growth. Once adopted the plan will then form part of the statutory development plan and will provide an evidence base informing the next round of Local Plan reviews. Following examination, adoption of the plan is consequently timetabled for late 2018.

Why is it important?

To maintain the current prosperity of the South West, the area could need up to 105,000* new homes by 2036.

Significant work and public consultation has been completed preparing the plan and compiling the evidence base. The next stage of the consultation process therefore considers the responses made and evidence documents in order to establish further details about the potential areas highlighted for development as well as the approach to transport projects. At Landmark we are keen to understand how the results from the Sustainability Appraisal, Landscape Sensitivity assessments and Habitat Regulations Assessment have been taken forward and informed the plan preparation.

It is integral to the success of the plan that development is delivered in a co-ordinated way and in the correct location, to ensure that the South West continues to grow in a sustainable manner. The purpose of the JSP is therefore to assist in planning for sustainable future growth for the next 20 years and provide essential infrastructure to cope with this growth. It is essential that the correct balance has been achieved, balancing the need for economic development with the protection of our natural environment.

What has been done?

The current consultation version of the plan details further investigation and results of previous rounds of consultation to form a spatial strategy for the region. This includes maximising the potential or urban areas and the release of land in strategic development locations.

A number of sites have been identified as suitable in the supporting Sustainability Appraisal, such as Thornbury and Keynsham, and also the opportunity to bring forward a new ‘Buckover Garden Village’ close to Junction 14 on the M5.  These are all locations which are identified as suitable for sustainable development in the supporting Sustainability Appraisal. It is essential that these growth patterns meet the identified strategic priorities and vision and are considered to be the most appropriate, when considered against reasonable alternatives.

Want to have your say?

The consultation is open now until the 19th December. All members of the public are therefore invited to comment on the plans and all representations will be considered in the preparation of the document which will form part of the statutory development plan for the area. Make sure you have your say!

Find out more at

Need advice?

Landmark would be happy to assist you in deciphering the JSP documents and understanding what the future growth patterns in the South West would mean for you and / or your business.