Local Plan review proposes more guidance on student housing developments: Mayor and Nicola Beech

19 Feb 2018

Housing and Planning

Local Plan review proposes more guidance on student housing developments

A new approach to managing student housing developments is being considered by Bristol City Council to give clear guidance on where they should be built.

Additional measures are also proposed to protect existing communities close to the new Temple Meads campus.

The proposed change is part of the latest review of the Bristol Local Plan, which outlines the council’s policies for deciding planning applications. It is the key piece of guidance directing development in the city over the next 20 years.

Communities are being asked for their views on the changes to the Local Plan, which will help support the creation of new homes and jobs. It will also safeguard the environmental areas valued the most.

To support future plans and create an environment where everyone feels the benefits of the city’s growing academic precincts, the council wants to adopt a more focussed approach to where specialist student housing can be built. This will ensure these developments are only built in the most appropriate areas and do not have a negative impact on the surrounding locality.

The revised Local Plan also proposes enhanced controls for Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMO) developments to ensure harmful concentrations of student accommodation do not occur. The proposals also mean that planning permission would be required for all HMOs in the parts of Bristol where housing pressures are highest.

Cllr Nicola Beech, Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning and City Design at Bristol City Council, said:

“When we are planning for the future and where Bristolians will live, we must think about the consequences of our growth and how we can support mixed communities. The surge in student numbers is bringing significant economic and social benefits. Many students fall in love with Bristol and make a life here and the level of higher education investment in Bristol is a big vote of confidence.

“At the same time, we know concentrations of student accommodation can displace or prevent genuinely balanced communities from flourishing. These changes to the Local Plan would give us extra controls to manage the expansion of student housing in Bristol, and in places like Temple Quarter, we would be able to give extra protection to family homes in areas such as Totterdown and Arnos Vale.”

Some of the other notable changes proposed for the Local Plan include:

• Clarity on the role new developments play in creating healthy, inclusive and diverse communities;

• Setting out the ambition to transform areas of the city, modernising infrastructure with a ‘shelf life’. such as the Cumberland Basin, to create communities with new homes, work places and public open spaces;

• Significantly increasing the number of new and affordable homes, building more densely and welcoming high quality taller buildings in the right places;

• Encouraging urban living across the city in well-designed, connected and accessible neighbourhoods with a focus on brownfield land;

• Diversifying the housing offer, promoting new building types and tenures such as build for rent, housing for older people and self-build;

• Enabling growth of the economy for everyone in Bristol, with modern work places and digital infrastructure fit for the future;

• Protecting valued green spaces to support a liveable, healthy city;

• Making sure new buildings protect the environment;

• Tackling the challenges of air quality, obesity and environmental quality.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said:

“This plan is a critical tool to help us guide development over the next 20 years and it will help us meet our commitment to building a better Bristol. I’d like to thank Cllr Beech, our council colleagues and partners who have helped develop these draft proposals so far. We need to work together to deliver the homes and jobs we need, while protecting our spaces and ensuring everyone in our city benefits from our successes. Please take time to read our vision of the future development of our city so you can help shape the detailed policies it contains.”

You can view the Bristol Local Plan Review Consultation at www.bristol.gov.uk/localplanreview. Alternatively reference copies are available to view at libraries. Comments should be submitted by 13 April 2018.