September update, 2015

This note is an Autumn 2015 update on the masterplanning process in relation to Sulis Down, Policy B3A. It is prepared on behalf of the Hignett Family Trust and Bloor Homes, however comments from Odd Down Football Club and Sulis Manor have been included where possible. Since the public participation stage earlier this year, we have met with officers of Bath and North East Somerset Council and with Natural England. In May, the landowners attended a workshop organised by the Council and tabled updated survey information, including Constraints and Opportunities Plans for Sulis Down. A schedule of issues and actions was circulated by the Council and since then landowners have been gathering further evidence to support the masterplan. An early draft of a Masterplan was prepared following the workshop and circulated to the Council, Natural England and to the other landowners.


Draft Masterplan version D

Sulis Down Masterplan version D is set out on the website and is the result of the public consultation exercise and the first workshop with officers of the Council. The masterplan shows the mapping of constraints and opportunities at a suitable scale, having regard to Policy B3A. This plan is ‘work in progress’ and is now subject to further site assessments and to capacity testing. The Council has not yet been formally consulted on the draft masterplan or had the opportunity to comment on the document.

The Masterplan version D shows the general land uses within the area allocated in the Core Strategy for residential led mixed-use development. The total allocation amounts to approximately 33 hectares however the potential residential footprint, as shown within the red line on the plan, amounts to about 50% of the allocation. The location of additional local employment, to be delivered through the conversion and redevelopment of farm buildings at Sulis Down Business Village, is shaded blue on
the plan. 

Proposed residential areas are defined on the plan by reference to the current landownership, although specific reference is made in the Council’s Placemaking Principles No. 6 & 10 to the treatment of the two smaller areas.

Access from the west, is shown via Combe Hay Lane across the field known as Derryman’s, which remains in the Green Belt. Potential connectivity through Sulis Manor, as shown on the plan, is still subject to on-going site assessment, in particular the impact on trees, ecology and Sulis Manor itself. Various options are being considered, including alternatives to a primary vehicular route through Sulis Manor including possible access from Sulis Meadows or an access to the East. Access to Sulis Down Business Village is shown from the east, via South Stoke Lane. These options have yet to be shared with
the Council.


Site Assessments

The list below sets out the assessments currently commissioned and underway at Sulis Down:

  •     Landscape and Visual assessment  
  •     Ecology assessment 
  •     Lighting assessment 
  •     Land stability
  •     Heritage Assessment 
  •     Tree Assessment 
  •     Highway Assessment 
  •     Recreational Assessment
  •     Educational Assessment 
  •     Urban Design  

The results of these assessments will be reported to officers of the Council and included within the Comprehensive Masterplan to be placed before the Council.


Capacity Testing

The Council’s Placemaking Principle 1 sets the broad parameters for development at Sulis Down, that is

“residential led mixed use development (to include 40% affordable housing) of around 300 dwellings, in the plan period. The site should be developed at an average density of 35-40dph. The figure of 300 dwellings is not a cap on development if all the Placemaking Principles can be met”.

This next stage of the workshop with officers will consider capacity testing of the broad allocation areas shown on Masterplan version D, to establish the optimum capacity of the site, having regard to recommended density requirements, the constraints and opportunities and meeting the Placemaking Principles.  

The actual capacity will in part, depend upon the decisions of each landowner now and in the future and therefore the approach to capacity testing here, is to test alternative scenarios, but to assume that each landowner will in turn, seek to optimise the capacity of their property. This will test the robustness of the masterplan and the impact of alternative scales of development.  It is realistic to anticipate that such capacity testing will involve assessing scenarios that include a scale of residential development significantly greater than 300 dwellings.

The results of the capacity testing and the conclusions from the 2nd officer workshop will be reported during a forthcoming round of public consultation.