SOUTH Gloucestershire Council has extended the deadline for people to have their say on its Local Plan, which could see thousands of new homes built on the Green Belt.
The latest phase of consultations on the blueprint for development between 2025 and 2040, is now staying open for comment until February 16.
The council says it needs to find sites for 9,260 new homes, at least 7,813 of which will need to be built on greenfield sites.
It has to create a Local Plan for the next 15 years, otherwise developers will be seeking to build on sites all across the district.
The council’s ‘emerging preferred strategy’, which it says is a compromise between the Green Belt and the need for new housing near existing urban areas.
One of the biggest potential developments in the Green Belt is on the Woodlands golf course at Trench Lane, Almondsbury, which could see 800 homes in the next 15 years and a further 950 after that.
Several other Green Belt sites in Almondsbury and Winterbourne are earmarked for possible development with a total of 365 homes.
The council is also suggesting major housing estates along the Avon Ring Road at Henfield, Shortwood and Warmley, which it says have good employment and transport links.
Earlier schemes to build in the north of the district appear to be being shelved because these would need major improvements to the M5 junction at Falfield.
The council has held a series of drop-in meetings across the district during January to give people more information about what is proposed.
The council said: “We know this will be very challenging for those communities affected by this.”
A group set up to oppose the plans to build on Green Belt sites, Save Our Green Spaces South Gloucestershire, has set up a petition on the council’s website, which can be found at tinyurl.com/2p8fs6ef.
A spokesperson for the Save our Green Spaces group said: “We are not NIMBYs opposed to any development. We support organic growth, but not mass development of housing and industry across the Green Belt.”
The group has built a following of more than 700 people via a Facebook page where information is shared, including details of upcoming council consultation meetings, and is planning to hold its own open meetings in future.
The council cabinet member with responsibility for the Local Plan, Chris Willmore, said it has to “tackle several challenges”, including finding homes for the next generations while preserving the area’s “wonderful environment”, and tackling the lack of facilities on new developments.
She said: “The council hasn’t made any decisions yet, but we want to talk with our communities about these ideas and to hear theirs.
“When we say it is ‘preferred’, that simply means that we think the approach we’re presenting is a positive way of meeting our collective needs in response to the challenges we are all facing together.
“But we are still open to hearing more ideas.
“We want to know where people think this draft plan is right and where it can be improved.”
Full details of the Local Plan can be found online at www.southglos.gov.uk/newlocalplan, where people can fill in a consultation survey.
Anyone who is not online can call the council on 01454 868009 for help.