A New Garden Village in South Gloucestershire?

Background and History.

The West of England Authorities, consisting of South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bristol City, and Bath and North East Somerset Unitary councils previously produced a plan to deliver at least 105,500 homes in the period between 2016 and 2036 as well as plans for new employment opportunities, transport and other infrastructure needs.
At the start of that plan making process, as the first stage in the creation of a Joint Spatial Plan for the four local authority areas, the Councils invited responses to an “issues and options” consultation; which ended in January 2016.
In response, the Tortworth Estate, working with Hunter Page Planning Ltd, submitted a concept document for a new “Garden Village” at Buckover. Crucially the site is not in the Green Belt and benefits from being under the ownership of just one party – Tortworth Estate.
We set out the background, rationale and vision for a possible new garden village, of up to 3,000 homes with employment, health, and education facilities. Together with the necessary transportation and communications infrastructure, there will also be retail provision, community facilities and green open spaces.
The Tortworth Estate embraces the Garden Village concept because it accords with our sustainable beliefs, and the principles behind our successful estate management. It is taking a refreshing look at how we plan for the homes we will need in the future and begins with what is, in effect, a largely blank canvass. This avoids poor planning by ensuring that there is a holistic approach planned from the outset rather than trying to deliver large-scale housing bolted on to the edge of our towns and villages.
Following lengthy public consultation and full endorsement by the West of England Authorities the Joint Spatial Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for Examination on the 13th April 2018. Buckover Garden Village was chosen as one of the five South Gloucestershire Strategic Development Locations (SDLs) to deliver 3,000 houses, employment opportunities and key infrastructure; of which 1,500 houses are to be built within the lifetime of the Joint Spatial Plan.
Full details of the JSP can be found here:- www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk
The next stage of the JSP was for the government appointed Independent Planning Inspectors to conduct an Examination in Public (EiP), originally in May 2019. This timeframe slipped and the EiP began in July of 2019 with the aim of the EiP Inspectors reporting back to the local authorities on their findings.
In the Autumn of 2019 the West of England Authorities were advised by the EiP Inspectors to withdraw the Joint Spatial Plan. Their reasons for doing so were published in series of publicly available letters that can be found on the website link above.
The relevant authorities considered this request and, in summary, the following statement was made and appears at https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/consult.ti
“As a result of North Somerset Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council formally withdrawing from the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) process, following the planning inspectors’ report, the JSP will no longer be taken forward across the four West of England councils. The councils and the West of England Combined Authority are now working together to commission the strategic planning evidence base needed to inform plan making. The four councils remain committed to joint working on strategic cross-boundary issues (including housing, economic development, infrastructure, and environment).”

Engagement.
During the period May 2016 to January 2018 the Estate devoted much time to meeting various local groups, residents, Parish and Town Councils and businesses face-to-face to understand the challenges that exist at the moment, and the opportunities that people tell us about for the future. Our aim is to work in a collaborative manner. We have faced challenging questions but also received constructive help and advice on what is required should the Garden Village proceed. In addition, we are exploring what makes a successful community, how you create that community from scratch and how you ensure it remains sustainable into the future. Our firm belief is that we need to “complement rather than compete” with local facilities and communities already in place.
All this work culminated in us beginning a series of consultation events in April 2018. The relevant press announcement can be found on the attachments section below.
The first event was on the 17th April 2018 and was targeted specifically at representatives from local groups, organisations and service providers. A full report on this workshop was published in August and can be found under the attachments section below. In July 2018 a second workshop was held for individual households who live on, or adjacent to, the proposed Garden Village site. The report of that workshop can also be found under the attachment’s sections below. At this householder event interest was expressed in forming a resident’s liaison group and this will be organised in due course. Engagement continued with stakeholders, householders and various interest groups throughout 2018 and 2019.
In July 2019 an event was held with residents in the Crossways Lanes area to hear their views on current traffic issues and the likely impacts of Buckover Garden Village. The feedback given at that event is being used to inform the master planning exercises.
During 2020 our engagement will continue with a range of stakeholders, service providers and individuals. The Estate and St. Modwen have always said that they wanted Buckover Garden Village to be plan-led, but with the current policy vacuum that now exists, this situation will be kept under review. However, the commitment remains that at an appropriate time, and before any planning application is submitted, a full public engagement exercise, open to everyone, will be held.

Milestones.
An important milestone was reached in October 2016 when the draft site allocations in the West of England Joint Spatial Strategy (JSP) were endorsed for public consultation. Buckover was identified for a potential new Garden Village of up to 2,200 homes.
On the 24th July 2017 the Tortworth Estate announced St Modwen as its partner to deliver the Buckover
On April 13th 2018 the West of England Authorities submitted the Joint Spatial Plan to the Secretary of State. A media statement from the four authorities can be found here:
https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/consult.ti

During 2019 the Examination in Public began but was curtailed when the Inspectors published various letters advising the West of England Authorities to consider the “soundness” of the current proposals.
At the South Gloucestershire Council Meeting on the 12th February 2020 a recommendation was made, and duly accepted, that:-
“That Council resolves to withdraw the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) as submitted to the Secretary of State for examination on 13 April 2018”

What Happens Next?
The proposals for a Garden Village at Buckover remain in place, and continue to be progressed, as the requirements for new homes, employment and inward investment in infrastructure have not gone away. Technical work continues on many fronts not least with the need to recognise the declarations of Climate Emergencies e.g. by South Gloucestershire Council in July 2019. The relevant Councils will now decide what will replace the Joint Spatial Plan and both the Tortworth Estate and St. Modwen remain committed to help deliver on the needs that exist now, and into the future.
In the meantime, we still want to hear your views, and thank you to all those who have already been in touch, and we will keep you updated on this web page.

If you would like to send us your thoughts, please email us at bgv@mediationinplanning.co.uk

AttachmentSize
Second Workshop July 2018 report.pdf3.01 MB
March 2019 - Update on Communtiy Engagement.pdf103.83 KB
18.08.07 EQn Buckover workshop round up FINAL.pdf113.3 KB
First Workshop (April) 2018 report.PDF7.67 MB
Press Release STM2771-Buckover workshop FINAL 20 Mar 2018.pdf170.82 KB
South Gloucestershire new Local Plan drop-in Events.pdf98.92 KB
Media Statement - Tortworth Estate Selects St Modwen for Buckover Garden Village .pdf326.56 KB
Notes Tortworth Estate meeting - Issued 15 Nov 2016.pdf2.67 MB
Media Statment - Statment of Clarification - Issued 14 March 2017.pdf184.75 KB
HCA letter - Issued 5 Jan 2017.pdf295.49 KB
Media Statment re Learning from the Community Nov16 V4.pdf58.71 KB
South Glos JPS Event Posters.PDF823.73 KB
Concept Document.pdf6.81 MB
Public Engagement Timetable - Issued 23Aug16.pdf136.79 KB

Process Timelines

We have put together a timeline to show significant events during the process:

  • 2015
  • 2016
    • January
      • Estate submits responses to JSP and JTS consultation which includes Buckover Village Garden -see documents on this page
      • West of England Joint Spatial Plan: Issues and Options consultation closes
      • West of England Joint Transport Study (JTS): Issues and Options consultation closes
    • May
      • West of England releases responses to JPS and JTS consultations
    • June
    • July
      • South Gloucestershire Council Local Plan: Policy, Sites and Places formal consultation commences
      • Estate attends Falfield Parish Council meeting: http://www.falfield.org.uk/cMinutes190716.pdf
      • South Gloucestershire Council submit Expression of Interest: Locally-Led Garden Villages, Towns and Cities
        to The Department for Communities and Local Government - see document on this site.
    • August
    • September
      • Estate submits response to Local Plan: Policy, Sites & Places consultation
      • South Gloucestershire Council Local Plan: Policy Sites and Places formal consultation closes
      • Estate meets with Falfield Parish Councillors, referenced at this link but full notes yet to be published: http://www.falfield.org.uk/dMinutes200916.pdf
      • West of England Planning, Housing and Communities Board and Joint Transport Executive Committee agenda and papers released for October meeting. Buckover Garden Village included draft JSP consultation.
    • October
    • November
  • 2017
    • January
    • February
      • Estate receives official notes of the meeting between Falfield Parish Council and the Tortworth Estate held in September 2016.  Please see attachments above.
    • March
    • July
      • On the 24th July 2017 the Tortworth Estate announced St Modwen as its partner to deliver the Buckover Garden Village concept.  For further details please see Media Statement under Attachments above.
    • September/October
      • South Gloucestershire Council’s Public Consultation on new Local Plan and Strategic Development Locations
    • November
      • All four Councils making up the West of England Partnership voted to approve and press ahead with the draft Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) which outlines how 105,000 houses are to built across the West of England area by 2036, including 32,500 new homes to be built in South Gloucestershire. Buckover Garden Village remains in the JSP as a committed allocation. The plan is now open for consultation (see above right) before being submitted to the Secretary of State for approval in 2018.
      • Master Planning work and meetings continue.
      • Specialist technical and environmental companies continue with the site investigation, transport and sustainability matters.
      • Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP pledges action to “fix the broken housing market”. Full speech can be found here:-

        https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/sajid-javids-speech-on-the-housin...

    • December
      • Master Planning work and meetings continue.
      • Work on future Community Governance for Buckover Garden Village continues.
  • 2018
    • January
      • Public Consultation on the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) ends.
    • March
    • April
      • South Gloucestershire Council, as part of their West of England Joint Spatial Plan and their own Local Plan process, begin a series of "Stakeholder Workshops” for various Strategic Development Locations (SDL's) to run over the Spring and Summer. Their first event will be focussed on the future growth at Charfield. The other SDL’s are:- Coalpit Heath, Buckover Garden Village, Thornbury, and Yate and Chipping Sodbury.
      • On 17th April a Buckover Garden Village workshop was held for representatives from local groups, organisations and service providers.
      • The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP was appointed Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
    • May
      • Mr Malcolm Rivett BA (Hons) MSc MRTPI and Mr Steven Lee BA (Hons) MA MRTPI were appointed as Inspectors to conduct the Examination and determine whether the JSP is sound and legally compliant.
    • July
      • Workshops held specifically for households living within, or immediately adjacent to, the proposed site. Please contact us at bgv@mediationinplanning.co.uk if you did not receive an invite and, by living within the proposed site, feel you should have been included.
    • August
      • Further details of the JSP process and Examination in Public (EiP), now expected in 2019, can be found here:
        https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/consult.ti/JSPPublication/viewContent?contentid=354419
      • The feedback report on the first workshop held on April 17th this year was published and can be found under the attachments section above.
      • The EiP Inspectors confirmed a delay of at least 7 months to the EiP timetable with the Councils now proposing the hearings to begin in May 2019, instead of October 2018, as originally anticipated.
    • November
    • December
      • The feedback report on the second workshop held on the 19th and 20th of July 2018 was published and can be found under the attachments section above.
  • 2019
    • February
    • March
      • Update on further community engagement published and can be found under attachments above.
      • Ongoing individual meetings between Buckover Garden Village Team and local residents continue.
    • April
      • The Inspectors advised on 11th April that the JSP Examination Hearing Sessions will commence on Tuesday 2nd July 2019.
    • June
      • Buckover Garden Village team made public their response to questions raised by the Inspectors at the current Examination into the JSP, in respect of the Buckover Garden Village Strategic Development Location (Matter 7.8: Buckover Garden Village SDL). All of this submitted information can be found here:- http://mediationinplanning.co.uk/jsp-matters/
      • JSP Examination Hearing Sessions begin.
    • September
    • On the 11th September 2019 the EiP Inspectors published a letter outlining their concerns regarding the “soundness” of the JSP. That letter can be found here:-
      http://www.hwa.uk.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Detailed-Letter-v2.pdf/
    • October
    • November
    • BGV Team present an update report to Falfield Parish Council. When published by Falfield Parish Council the minutes of that meeting will be found here: https://falfieldparishcouncil.org.uk/?page_id=34.
  • 2020
  • January
  • Avison Young (Real Estate and Planning Consultants) join the Buckover Garden Village Team
    • February
    • South Gloucestershire Council voted to withdraw from the Joint Spatial Plan.