South Gloucestershire council have welcomed the Government’s decision that the areas annual housing delivery targets will not increase, after the council called for a 'rethink' on original proposals.

The plans, which had gone out to public consultation in the Autumn, would have seen South Gloucestershire slapped with an even higher housing delivery target than neighbouring Bristol and more than twice as many as Bath and North East Somerset, potentially forcing an uncontrolled and aggressive expansion into the existing green belt in order to make up the numbers.

Prior to making its consultation submission to Government, South Gloucestershire Council’s Conservative Administration had publicly raised their concerns over the proposals, citing the fact that many communities were already stricken with unplanned speculative development that sought defence through housing numbers, and that further increases could prove catastrophic to planning for strong and supported communities.

Having considered the feedback received, the Government has announced it will not proceed with the proposals, with South Gloucestershire’s annual housing deliver target of 1,412 new homes set to remain unchanged.

The change has been warmly welcomed by South Gloucestershire Council which, has continued to exceed targets each year, with 1,979 new homes completed between April 2019 and August 2020 despite delays due to the impact of Covid-19.

Speaking after the announcement, Councillor Steve Reade, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Strategic Infrastructure, said: “We are delighted that the Government has listened to the strong representations we have made to reconsider the unsustainable new targets being proposed.

“It is right for the Government to consider how to make the planning process simpler and easier, removing red tape and putting more pressure on developers to create more beautiful communities, but this aim to ensure better quality would be negated by putting too much pressure on local authorities to focus on quantity, so we are pleased that the numbers will remain manageable.

“We are ambitious in our delivery of new homes and in fact continue to over-deliver, but we remain focused in our plan-led approach to create new communities across South Gloucestershire with sufficient local infrastructure to support them.”