LEAKED DOCUMENT!!! GOSW instructs councils to to give the RSS "considerable weight" when considering planning applications

Despite not being finalised and being the subject of a legal challenge, the Government Office of the South West (GOSW) has written to Council Chief Execs and Chief Planning Officers instructing them to give the controversial South West Regional Spacial Strategy (RSS) “considerable weight” when considering planning applications.

Here in Bristol this opens up the possibility of the development of Ashton Vale for not only the new Bristol City FC stadium but for up to 10,500 housing units stretching out to Long Ashton that developers Land Trust are about to apply for outline planning permission for.

The letter in full:

Letter From GOSW on #4D499F by bristol_citizen on Scribd

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8 Responses to LEAKED DOCUMENT!!! GOSW instructs councils to to give the RSS "considerable weight" when considering planning applications

  1. alex woodman says:

    Draft policies are a material consideration when deciding planning applications. Under most circumstances, I suppose they would be given only limited weight compared to other factors. I suppose what the GOSW letter is saying it that the RSS is so far advanced that they expect we should be taking more notice of it than might otherwise be the case.

    I think it’s less a case of “considerable weight” compared to other policies and more one of “more weight than might otherwise be afforded to it as a piece of unfinished planning policy”.

  2. Yes, what’s interesting is not so much the content (which is to be expected), but the timing…

  3. Glenn Vowles says:

    The RSS is seriously inaccurate and the general approach it is part of is highly flawed. Ant councillor or officer who gives it ‘considerable weight’ is not thinking straight (to put it kindly)!!

  4. Paul Mizen says:

    The Secretary of State, John Denham has rejected a proposed urban extension for Swindon on the grounds “it could undermine the Borough Council’s urban regeneration plans”. Surely the same could be said about the Yanleigh/Ashton Park project! There is obviously a concerted plan by developers to all submit applications at the same time, new stadium, Ashton Park, Failand, and Oldland Common all in the last couple of weeks. Coincidence? I d’ont think so. Reason, I d’ont know. Any Ideas.

  5. Tony Dyer says:


    Decisions to approve applications are not normally influenced by the levels of public support for it, but decisions to refuse may be so affected. August is peak holiday month so many potential objectors will be away on holiday.

    The letter from the GOSW has all the tone of a “closing down sale” offer – in other words a clarion call to developers and planning officers alike to get the applications in whilst the RSS is still being supported – before a new administration files it under “B” for bin.

  6. Paul Mizen says:

    Land Trust have now applied to North Somerset Council for outline planning permissionto build 9,500 dwellings, plus all else that goes to make up a small town, on the countryside between Dundry slopes, Long Ashton, and Ashton Vale. NS Council do not welcome this application which is all on Greenbelt protected land (PPG2). There seems an acceptance that the RSS will mean developers will have “carte blanche” to destroy our Greenbelt but this is not nescessarily true and it is important local councils stand-up against bullying housebuilders and that unellected quango the GOSW. I say this because in a response to the Environmental Audit Ctte. report “Greener homes for the future” the Government said, and I quote – “Under PPG 2 (Green Belt Protection), any real changes to Green Belt boundaries are only justified in exceptional circumstances. The Government does not accept the view expressed to the Committee that it is placing growing pressure on regional planning bodies or local planning authorities to review Green Belt boundaries to meet housing demand. It is for local authorities to identify the most sustainable locations to accommodate the needs of their communities for sufficient, good quality housing in a way that is consistent with the strong protections in place on some areas of land, such as Green Belt, to safeguard them from inappropriate development. ” It c’ant be much more clear. It is for local authorities to decide where new housing is built, not Government, not quangos, and certainly not developers. NS Council should politely tell Land Trust to “go away”.

  7. Paul Mizen says:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation. What does that mean?

  8. thebristolblogger says:

    It means the spambot thought you were spam. It’s posted now.

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