University’s land development hopes boosted

Posted: 19th February 2013

university style officesBristol University’s hopes that 70 hectares of land it owns on the outskirts of the city will be removed from the green belt and allocated for housing development have been boosted by a High Court ruling. The court overturned a central plank of North Somerset Council’s core strategy on grounds that it was based on a planning inspector’s flawed recommendations.

The university’s land-holding is within the Bristol-Bath green belt. However, it has campaigned for an increase in the numbers of new homes provided for in the council’s core strategy and for an ‘urban extension’ to the city that would encompass its land and would involve re-drawing the green belt’s boundary. In order to raise a substantial capital sum for investment in research and teaching, the university hopes that 1,000 homes will ultimately be built on its land.

The core strategy adopted by the council in April 2012, pursuant to the inspector’s recommendations, projected the construction of 14,000 new homes in the area over a 13-year period and left the university’s land within the green belt, the boundaries of which were left unchanged. The university argued that the 14,000 figure was a substantial under-estimate of the likely need for housing over the strategy period.

Allowing the university’s appeal and quashing the relevant policy within the core strategy, the court ruled that the inspector had failed to give adequate or intelligible reasons for accepting the council’s arguments that the 14,000 figure made sufficient allowance for latent demand for housing, unrelated to the creation of new jobs.