Hengrove Park Fiasco Shows How Flaws in Neighbourhood Plan System means they are poor at Allocating Strategic Sites

Hengrove Park is not a good advertisement for teh British development plans system.

The largest startegic site in Bristol, the former airport.  1,500 homes plus a park etc.  included in made neighbourhood plan.  Site council owned, councils own application and masterplan.  Refused for not having a high enough density or large enough park.

The problem:

Four potential options for the development of the site were put forward for consideration- set out in full in the Design and Access Statement.
These included a range of layouts for, and amounts of, the proposed housing and siting of the new north/south road link. One showed the housing adjacent to St Giles Estate with the main park in the centre of the site while the others kept this area undeveloped with differing layouts of housing particularly in the area to the north of the Bottleyard.
At this time, the Neighbourhood Planning Forum (NPF) for the Hengrove and Whitchurch Park area was actively promoting possible uses and ideas for Hengrove Park and were consequently invited to participate in the focus group. As an NPF they introduced their own master plan for the development
of the park for consideration – Option 5 though this was outside of the scope of the formal consultation.
It is this masterplan that is referred to in the adopted Neighbourhood Plan.

In other words multiple competing plans and the one in the neighbourhood plan not the one favoured by the lanowner – the council.

Clearly there needed to be one and only one masterplan.

Now you might ask why the council didnt object to the masterplan put to referendum as contrary to startegic policies.  Well it wasnt.  They could have objected as the allocation was not deliverable because it was contrary to national policy – as the site as not deliverable if not proposed as the landowner favoured.  They didnt.  Probably thinking that as the mastyerplan in the neighborhood plan was only ‘illustrative’ it had little weight.

Bristol only have themselves to blame.  They needed a one masterplan process with the extent of the development and the park inked into the policies map.

The problem is that nolt every element of national policy is relevant to the basic conditions.  The guidance hints that only para 29. is rel event i.e. scale, providing that is met the form and locations within the NP area doesnt matter.  But it does matter if landowners agreement isn’t met at the NPPF tests of viability, availability and devliverability are met.

If Neighbourhood plans are to play with the big boys and allocate major sites then the tests for inclusion of sites in national policy should be met,






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s