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Bath Road, Bristol

Bellway Homes

Scheme

To promote the greenfield Green Belt site for allocation in Bristol City Council’s Local Plan we engaged local communities as well as senior councillors and officers at Bristol City Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Bristol was the first local authority to declare a climate emergency (and then an ecological emergency). The Local Plan was being progressed after the city had voted to scrap the mayor and the Green Party appeared to be surging.

Recognising this we crafted messaging that explained how the project sought to deliver the homes needed but in a way that helped address the climate and ecological crises. We then worked with the team to evidence and bring credibility to this messaging.

Strategy

A social value needs analysis was prepared to understand the local context and create a different space to engage. We have now begun to engage local communities and other stakeholders on the potential social impact that could be delivered to help refine a longer term strategy.

We took councillors around the site, allowed them to influence our engagement and social value programme and worked closely with them to provide what they needed to build consensus amongst different parties in the chamber.

Outcome

This site was one of the most sensitive in the Local Plan and the only significant Green Belt release. 55 councillors voted in support of the plan, including most Green councillors who acknowledged the plan struck the right balance between the building of homes and addressing the climate and ecological crises. The morning of the council meeting to approve the plan, the Green planning lead wrote in the local press using this very same messaging.

The commitment to social impact helped give councillors confidence the site would be progressed in the right way and helped ensure it was allocated in the local plan submitted for exanimation in spring 2024.

We will now launch a consultation using our interactive map, interstitial survey and social media. The team is also preparing a social impact strategy for submission with the application which will be one of the first to align with the new Local Plan policy on social value.

  • Used social impact and comprehensive engagement to build cross-party support for allocation
  • Grappling with sensitive issues around Green Belt release and ecology
  • Preparing one of the first social impact strategies to align with the new social value policy in the emerging Local Plan

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