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Land at north and east Keynsham (including Policy KE3b)

View Policies KE3a and KE3b on a map View Land at north and east Keynsham on a map

Key opportunities and constraints

Most of the wider North Keynsham area is located within the Green Belt.

When land at East Keynsham was being considered for development in the Core Strategy, the Council concluded that whilst Keynsham is a relatively sustainable location, the scope for development was constrained by the impact on the A4 and that more significant development would require major transport infrastructure. It was concluded that there were exceptional circumstances to remove land from the Green Belt for a moderate level of development before substantial infrastructure requirements are triggered. The outcome was that two parcels of land at East Keynsham was allocated for around 250 homes plus employment as set out in Policy KE3a, the southern part now being developed as Hygge Park.

In addition, Policy KE3b of the Core Strategy removed two areas of land adjacent to the Policy KE3a southern allocation (Hygge Park) from the Green Belt and safeguarded them for possible development in the future. Whilst being suitable for development in principle, these two areas of land are not currently allocated for development primarily because of the transport impacts that may trigger substantial infrastructure requirements. In line with national policy, Policy KE3b states that planning permission for development of the safeguarded land will only be granted once it is proposed for development following a review of the Local Plan, as is now being undertaken through the partial update of the Local Plan.

The outline permission for Hygge Park (16/00850/OUT) included a high-level masterplan which showed how the site could in the future link to the safeguarded land.

A planning application (18/01509/OUT) for the eastern parcel of safeguarded land was refused permission, in part due to highway impact. A current application for the eastern parcel of safeguarded land (20/02673/OUT) is pending consideration.

Further assessment of the suitability and deliverability of land at north and east Keynsham has continued since the adoption of the Core Strategy, via the SHLAA (Strategic Housing Land Assessment). This further work entailed preparation resulted in the preparation of a Strategic Planning Framework which informed the Joint Spatial Plan (now withdrawn) and the new Local Plan consultations in 2017 and 2018. At this stage, the safeguarded land was considered as part of the wider North Keynsham Strategic Development Location (SDL) to deliver a comprehensive mixed -use development including around 1,500 homes.

The current evidence available to the Council (including the Keynsham Core Strategy Options Highways Impact Assessment, CH2M, Feb 2014; and Transport Evidence Explanatory Note for the Placemaking Plan, CH2M, April 2016) supports the view that any development above and beyond that proposed in the current Development Plan would be likely to have severe implications on the highway network, and which need to be adequately addressed and mitigated. National Policy states that development should be refused on highway grounds if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety, or the residual cumulative impacts on the road network would be severe. Consequently, based on this conclusion little or no additional housing can currently be expected to be delivered until substantial infrastructure improvements are made to the existing transport infrastructure in the town.

The Council is currently updating the transport evidence for this location and this will identify if and what local transport improvements are required to mitigate the impacts of any development beyond that proposed in the current Development Plan. These measures will include the assessment of walking and cycling schemes and will take into account the future transport schemes identified in JLPT4 including the A4-A4175 multi-modal corridor, A4 corridor mass transit (including Metrobus), improvements at Keynsham rail station, and an expanded or relocated A4 Bristol Park and Ride. These transport schemes are now included in the Joint Local Transport Plan 4 as Early Investment Schemes.

Policy Options

Pending the outcome of the further transport evidence, the Council has identified two primary options for land at North & East Keynsham for consideration prior to a preferred option being identified. These options are shown in the map above and outlined below.

Option 1: Allocation of the Safeguarded Land

If updated transport evidence concludes that there are deliverable measures to enable the allocation and delivery of the safeguarded land without prejudicing JLTP4 policy outcomes, then this could enable the allocation of the two areas of land currently safeguarded for development under Policy KE3b. This option would not entail a change to the Green Belt and would deliver around 300 dwellings during the plan period. The suitability and appropriateness of the wider area of north and east Keynsham for development would continue to be assessed through the West of England Spatial Development Strategy.

Option 2: Allocation of the Safeguarded Land and the wider site

The updated transport evidence may however conclude that more extensive transport infrastructure improvements, such as those evidenced in the Strategic Planning Framework, are required to enable the development of the safeguarded land. This may require consideration of the need to remove a larger area of land from the Green Belt, potentially all of the land north of Keynsham identified in the SHLAA as a potential development site.

Option 2 therefore proposes to allocate the whole of the North Keynsham site, including the safeguarded land. This would deliver at least 1,500 dwellings as evidenced by the 2017 Strategic Planning Framework, although due to its size and complexity much of this would be delivered after the end of the plan period (post 2029). The main benefit of this option is that it facilitates substantial infrastructure improvement through a comprehensive approach to development for the wider North Keynsham area. It would require the demonstration of the exceptional circumstances to remove land from the Green Belt.

Other approaches

It may be that in light of the responses to this consultation, and following the new transport evidence, the approach taken in the Draft Plan will need to be a hybrid of options 1 and 2. Key factors will include:

  • The need to demonstrate delivery of comprehensive development in a way which helps to address the Council’s climate emergency priorities
  • The form of transport infrastructure improvements required to enable the safeguarded land to be developed and the extent and location of land needed to facilitate transport infrastructure delivery (particularly that identified in JLTP4)
  • The need to ensure comprehensive planning for the whole North Keynsham site, rather than incremental releases
  • Whether exceptional circumstances exist to change the Green Belt, including the need to take account of national policy that requires that when land is removed from the Green Belt, where necessary, plans should identify areas of safeguarded land between the urban area and the Green Belt, in order to ensure that the Green Belt boundary is changed only once, has permanence in the long term, and can endure beyond the plan period.

Key relevant evidence

North Keynsham Strategic Planning Framework (B&NES, 2017)

Concept masterplan for approved 16/00850/OUT scheme for Hygge Park showing indicative links to safeguarded land (Clifton Emery for Mactaggart and Mickel Homes)

Annex 1 of Full Council Report (4th March 2013)

Keynsham Core Strategy Options Highways Impact Assessment (CH2M, 13th Feb 2014)

Transport Evidence Explanatory Note for the Placemaking Plan (CH2M, April 2016)

Joint Local Transport Plan 4