Plans for 375 new homes in South Gloucestershire appear to have stalled despite permission being granted by the local council over 2 years ago.
The former Douglas motorcycle works between Hanham Road and Forest Road in Kingswood is due to be redeveloped for housing by Douglas Homes (South West) Ltd. Councillors on the local planning committee approved their plans in June 2011 subject to the developer signing a routine legal document called a section 106 agreement. These agreements set out payments to be made by the developer to the local council to offset the effects of the development on local services likes roads, playing fields, schools and libraries.
However, two years after councillors agreed the development could go ahead the developers have yet to sign the s106 agreement meaning the local council will not issue a decision notice giving formal approval and the development cannot proceed.
Local councillors for the area, Gareth Manson, Andy Perkins and Pat Rooney (Labour, Woodstock) said:
"Quite frankly we are exasperated by these delays. We've not known anything like it and cannot understand why it is taking so long. There is a desperate shortage of housing in this country so you would have thought that developers would be queuing up to put the bricks in the ground."
The local council is currently going through the final stages of having a major update to its guiding planning policies, called the Core Strategy, approved. At a number of the public sessions where these policies have been examined by an independent inspector appointed by the Government, developers’ lawyers were arguing that the local council was unable to deliver on its promised number of houses. The councillors added;
"What this situation with the Douglas works very clearly demonstrates is that failure to deliver houses is not the fault of the council. The blame for not getting on with redeveloping this site in particular lies squarely with the developer community. We hope that the government Inspector recognises this fact when he delivers his report on our Core Strategy within the next month or two."
Plans to redevelop the Douglas site were first submitted to the council in May 2010 before being considered by planning officers for almost a year and then were presented to councillors for a decision in June 2011. A developer whose application is deemed acceptable by councillors is normally given 6 months to sign a s106 agreement. Failure to do so can result in permission being formally refused. As the Douglas site would deliver a large chunk of the local council's housing numbers, the developers have been given a considerable amount of extra time to sign the agreement.
20th September 2013