Delivering progress on our new Local Plan

Today’s blog is by Councillor Nicola Beech, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Resilience and Floods and Labour Councillor for St George Central ward.

The overarching planning document that maps out how and where Bristol will develop over the next 20 years is now out for consultation. The Bristol Local Plan is being reviewed and we want people in the city to give us their views.

The Bristol Local Plan is important because it will:

• guide development across the city over the next twenty years
• update all existing policies for deciding planning applications
• deliver new development that supports net zero and helps nature to recover

Reviewing an entire city’s Local Plan is a long, detailed process. We have been working on the new plan for nearly five years, its progress held back by the challenges of planning across the whole region. Now we are ready to share our plan, working with our neighbouring councils where we need to, with the aim to get a new Local Plan in place before the end of 2024.

The new Local Plan will deliver the inclusive, sustainable growth we need by enabling new homes and new workplaces to be built. The document takes on the complex challenge of doing this in the face of the climate and ecological emergencies.

The need for affordable homes and delivering them in sustainable ways in the right places is a core priority for the next 20 years. We need to deliver more homes and regenerate our neighbourhoods to tackle Bristol’s housing crisis and make homes more affordable.

The types of homes we build, and where we build them, will be the biggest determinants of the carbon price the planet pays for our population growth – so it is essential we prioritise brownfield sites and build densely wherever appropriate to reduce pressure on greenbelt sites.

The consultation takes the local plan’s commitments to our environment a step further. It contains ideas that will result in a plan with a stronger focus on net zero and ecology than ever before. Since the current Local Plan was agreed in 2014, we now include new policies on biodiversity and proposes changes of approach at sites such as the Western Slopes, Brislington Meadows, and Yew Tree Farm that aim to give priority to nature conservation and food growing.

This latest consultation sets out drafts of additional policies that are proposed to be included in the new Local Plan. The results of the last consultation, held in 2019, have also been used to inform this next stage.

So, what’s new?


• an ambitious housing target is proposed for Bristol based on the city’s capacity to deliver new homes in a sustainable way

• a draft policy on affordable housing to set out the ideas for how new affordable homes will be delivered as part of housing developments


• new draft policies are included on biodiversity and nature recovery to encourage biodiversity gain within developments

Strong local centres and a thriving economy

• a revised network of local centres across the city

• draft policies to support the vitality and diversification of centres and promote a thriving hospitality economy which supports shopping, city and local centres, and the night time economy


• new draft policies to promote food sustainability and support food growing provision

• a new suite of draft policies to address how buildings use energy and can help to deliver a net zero future and tackle the climate crisis

Other updates

• a vision and aims were included in the 2019 consultation for the first-time and these have been updated to reflect latest thinking

• a new framework for design policy is set out that details how design guides and codes will be used

• a new draft policy for advertisement consent applications

This is an important stage in making a new Local Plan for our city, so it is the ideal time to check and comment on the document: to make sure this iteration reflects our shared priorities for the city. Your input and priorities will then influence the main document that guides our partners and developers to deliver the type of development Bristol needs most.

So please do take part, think about what development means to you, and have your say while the consultation is live.

The timescale to get to our new complete local plan is as follows:

• 28 November 2022 to 20 January 2023 – further consultation on the plan’s latest policies and proposals
• Summer 2023 – plan published for representations
• Early 2024 – examination by planning inspector
• Autumn 2024 – new Local Plan adopted