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A critical factor in Homes England’s decision to purchase this site, with the encouragement of Bristol City Council at the time, is its allocation for housing in the adopted Bristol Local Plan.

The site was allocated because it provides an opportunity to help meet Broomhill’s and Bristol’s housing need in a sustainable location. It is within walking distance of schools, shops, employment, parks and public transport.

The need for more housing that underpinned the Council’s decision to allocate the site has not gone away, and in fact the Council is now struggling to meet the planning requirement of maintaining a 5-year housing land supply.

From a planning perspective, nothing has changed. The allocation remains current planning policy and carries great weight in planning law. It effectively establishes the principle of development on the site.

Homes England purchased this site due to it being allocated and the real need for homes in the area which this scheme seeks to address. With Victory Park, Eastwood Farm and Nightingale Valley, Brislington has more green space than most Bristol wards. A large part of Brislington Meadows was private land before Homes England purchased it. Given that the site was allocated for housing, which sets a residential land value, it is unlikely that any nature conservation body would be able to afford to purchase this land for the purpose of creating a nature reserve. There would also be further ongoing revenue costs in managing and maintaining the land as nature reserve.

The majority of the Brislington Meadows site was in private ownership prior to its purchase by Homes England. It is not, and has never been, public open space like The Downs which is maintained by Bristol City Council.

The current allocation of the site for housing remains policy until the new local plan is adopted. Homes England is not responsible for any changes to policy.


Housing need manifests itself in a variety of ways, such as increased levels of overcrowding; acute affordability issues; more young people living with their parents for longer periods; impaired labour mobility, resulting in businesses finding it difficult to recruit and retain staff, and increased levels of homelessness.

Bristol’s growing population and lack of housing supply is causing skyrocketing house and rental prices. Demographic factors have contributed to this, but critically we haven’t built enough homes to meet housing need. East Brislington has seen very little development in the last 30 years, (almost entirely one and two bed infills), far less than other parts of the city such as the city centre.

The Mayor hopes to build 1,000 homes a year, which, if the housing waiting list stays static, would take 16 years to provide a house for every person waiting. Everyone deserves a home, it has fundamental impacts on life outcomes. It is estimated that we need to build at least 85,000 homes in the Bristol area over the next 15 years to catch up.

Bristol is therefore having to make very difficult choices on how it can meet its housing need.

Homes England would make a decision on this following a review of the reasons for refusal. It would be an option open to the agency.

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