The firm behind the redevelopment of the former Filton Airfield has announced its intention to submit a revised masterplan that could allow the number of new homes built on the site to be increased from the currently approved 2,675 to as many as 6,500. The uplift would be achieved by increasing the proportion of apartment blocks within the mix of property types to be built, with the tallest of these blocks potentially rising to a massive 18 storeys.
Under the existing outline planning consent, granted in 2018, YTL Developments has permission to build 2,675 new homes, 62 acres of commercial space to support 10,000 new jobs, and new community facilities including three new schools, a library, a doctor’s surgery and sports facilities. The approved plans also incorporate landscaped public squares and parkland.
The only sector of the scheme to have so far received full planning consent (via a reserved matters application) is the Hangar District, consisting of 278 homes on the northern edge of the site, near the Trust Ford car dealership on Hayes Way. Work on these properties started in earnest in January 2020 and the first residents have now moved in.
In 2020, the company also received consent to repurpose the iconic Brabazon Hangars – where every UK Concorde was built – into a 17,000-capacity arena, to be known as YTL Arena Bristol. In addition to the arena, the complex will offer adjoining spaces for exhibitions & conventions, leisure facilities and food & drink outlets.
YTL Developments has given three main reasons to justify its “reimagining” of the Filton Airfield site, which it markets under the Brabazon banner:
1. To integrate Brabazon and YTL Arena Bristol
“The current Masterplan for Brabazon was developed in 2015 and approved in 2018. The plans for YTL Arena Bristol were approved in 2020. We need to update the masterplan to ensure that these projects are fully integrated, making the new neighbourhood as vibrant as it can be, while ensuring the safety and security of everyone visiting the arena.”
2. To build much-needed new homes
“Building more new homes is one of the most pressing challenges facing the UK.”
“For a generation, a lack of supply of new homes has forced up the cost of housing. The West of England region needs to build over 100,000 new homes in the next 10 years to meet demand. Yet at the current approved density, Brabazon would feel like a sleepy suburb.”
3. To build more sustainably
“We also face a climate and ecological emergency. We therefore not only need to build homes, but also build them in the right places.”
“That means building on brownfield land, like Brabazon. Otherwise, more new homes will be proposed on the green belt.”
Seb Loyn, planning & development director for YTL Developments, said:
“In Bristol and South Gloucestershire we face a housing crisis, and the region needs to build over 100,000 homes in the next 10 years to meet demand.”
“We also face a climate crisis, so it is not enough just to build homes: we must build them in the right places. That means on brownfield land along existing transport corridors, rather than on green fields in out-of-town locations.”
“And we have the opportunity to build back better following Covid-19, creating the space, the connectivity and the opportunity for local businesses across the region to drive prosperity for the next generation.”
“Brabazon is perfectly placed to help Bristol and the wider region tackle the challenges we all face.”
YTL Developments says intends to submit its updated masterplan application for Brabazon in February or March 2022.
The Filton Airfield site is a constituent part of the Cribbs-Patchway New Neighbourhood (CPNN), which will deliver 5,700 new homes across north Bristol, in accordance with South Gloucestershire Council’s Core Strategy, approved in December 2013.
As shown in the map above [or view a hi-res version], the Core Strategy foresees the CPNN’s housing contribution being made up of 1,000 homes east of the A4018 (lead developer: Taylor Woodrow), 1,100 homes south of the airfield (lead developer Persimmon), 1,000 homes at Patchway Trading Estate, north of The Mall, and around 2,600 homes on the former airfield.
Transfer of homes
However, YTL Developments says that the Patchway Trading Estate project is “no longer expected to go ahead”, so its revised masterplan for Brabazon seeks to transfer that site’s 1,000-home quota to Brabazon, increasing its allocation to 3,675 homes, without increasing the total number of homes being built within the CPNN.
Furthermore, the revised plans will also include a “flexible framework” to allow the number of homes built at Brabazon to increase in stages beyond 3,675 up to a maximum of 6,500 “should the frequency and capacity of public transport services and active travel routes (e.g. cycle paths) increase sufficiently to accommodate additional homes”.
While the increase to 3,675 homes at Brabazon could retain compliance with the Core Strategy, the further increase to 6,500 homes would need to be accepted into South Gloucestershire Council’s emerging new Local Plan, and the West of England Spatial Development Strategy, both of which are not due to be adopted until late 2023.
The uplift in the number of homes would be achieved by increasing the proportion of apartment blocks within the mix of property types to be built, with the tallest two blocks, located close to the arena, potentially rising to 18 storeys. It is understood that the developer is also relying on an anticipated future relaxation in South Gloucestershire Council’s car parking provision policy for areas which have good public transport provision and active travel potential.
YTL Developments also says its new masterplan will have the flexibility to provide commercial space to support up to 30,000 jobs, up from 10,000 in the currently approved scheme. However, it is understood that increasing the amount of land used for commercial purposes would be at the expense of a reduction in the maximum number of homes that can be built.
Seb Loyn, planning & development director for YTL Developments, added:
“By putting the right framework in place now, we can evolve the plans for Brabazon as future demand dictates. The revised planning application will also ensure we can only build at the same pace as new infrastructure and transport connections come forward.”
The full build-out of the site is expected to take 20 to 30 years to complete.
YTL Developments is inviting residents, local businesses and community groups to share their views on the proposed new masterplan. To take part in the consultation, please share your views either:
Online via the website www.ytldevelopments.co.uk/brabazon-planning; or in person at one of of a series of consultation events taking place at YTL Developments’ Site Operations Centre, Gloucester Road North, Bristol, BS34 7QD [map]. The two remaining events are on:
- Tuesday 11th January 2022; 10am to 12 noon
- Thursday 13th January 2022; 6pm to 8pm
Note: Access to the event venue is from the southbound A38 Gloucester Road North, using the North Way slip road (just after Car Shop and Waylands Volvo) and then following the road under the A38 to reach the airfield site.