Bristol Council has been consulting on proposed changes to the Local Plan policies. This is a scheduled review to reflect changes over the last 5 years. A particular theme is ‘Urban Living’, which is a policy that prioritises housing growth in certain city areas, with denser development, primarily on brownfield sites. Also out for consultation was an Urban Living Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).
The Society suggested some improvements in the draft policies:
- Too much emphasis on tall buildings. The Society is not against tall buildings per se, but higher density does not have to be achieved through building tall. We think that both the Local Plan review and the SPD do not do enough to emphasize that denser development does not necessarily mean tall development.
- The areas for Urban Living need stronger design guidance. Dense development needs careful design, and the Society believes that the Council should play a more proactive role in ensuring high quality spatial frameworks than the SPD proposes. It is also essential to maintain Policy DM 26 – Local Character and Distinctiveness.
- The impact of densification on transport. The Society feels that the documents should address the impact of densification on transport, for instance by reviewing car parking standards
- The language of the SPD needs strengthening. The Society suggests that the language of the SPD is in many places too weak to limit excessive development. The words need to more directive and give clear requirements. The document should distinguish between design principles and design requirements.
Bristol Civic Society’s full response [PDF, 241KB]