BWA has responded to a West of England Combined Authority (WECA) consultation on a Spatial Development Strategy (SDS), which considers the region’s strategic housing, planning and infrastructure needs. The SDS follows a Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) that was rejected by Examiners in 2019.
The consultation was in the form of a number of high-level survey questions. One of the questions introduced the concept of a 15-minute neighbourhood, and asked for views on what should be included in the concept. As well as responding to the survey, BWA submitted a statement of what we think should be the top priorities in the SDS.
Suggested top priorities
Priority 1: reduced car use
This requires a settlement pattern throughout the WECA area that encourages the use of trains, trams, light rail and buses for long journeys, and cycling and walking for short ones.
Priority 2: Green Belt review
48% of the WECA area should not be regarded as inviolable when there is such an urgent need for land to be developed. We suggest that the three WECA authorities and North Somerset review Green Belt boundaries urgently.
Priority 3: 15 minute neighbourhoods
The system can and should ensure that everyone has easy access to the following:
- outside public space with a children’s playground and seats for social interaction
- accessible green space
- attractive and safe walking routes
- attractive and safe cycling routes
- bus/tram stop/station for good public transport to other essential facilities.
Planners should also seek as far as is possible to ensure the following are within walking distance:
- shop for daily essentials, with a post office counter
- nursery and primary school
- indoor space for social interaction
- doctor and dentist
Priority 4: liveable/low traffic neighbourhoods
Limiting vehicular through-routes in certain neighbourhoods and making public realm and other environmental improvements, makes neighbourhoods more attractive for walking and many other aspects of life.
The full BWA response is here.
Use the following link for more information about the Spatial Development Strategy.