Permission given to more than double number of airfield homes to 6,500

CGI of the proposed Brabazon development.
Indicative CGI of the proposed Brabazon development on the former Filton Airfield site (for illustrative purposes only). View looking west, with the A38 in the bottom left corner.

A “historic decision” has been taken to approve revised plans for a giant housing development on the former Filton Airfield. YTL Developments now has planning permission to build 6,500 homes on the site, more than twice the number included in its original masterplan.

The plans also include new schools, a research campus, office spaces, laboratories, cafés and restaurants. Developers won’t be allowed to build some of the new homes until they can prove public transport has been improved, to prevent clogging up the nearby road network with cars.

Councillors on the Strategic Sites Delivery Committee at South Gloucestershire Council voted to approve planning permission on Thursday 29th February 2024. Developers previously had permission to build 2,675 homes, but the new Brabazon development will now be much more dense.

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Speaking to the committee, Simon Fitton, technical director of planning at YTL, said:

“Today hopefully represents a huge milestone in the evolution of Brabazon. This consent will allow for review to ensure the transport strategy is working, and the right amount of education, community and health facilities are available and meeting everyone’s needs.”

“Should the public transport improvements we anticipate not happen, we have committed to pause if needs be and agree to further mitigation to allow the development to continue. Few other developers are willing to make such promises, but we see this as a pragmatic way to work in partnership with the council and National Highways.”

“There’s probably no other site outside of London that can minimise the need to travel by car, plan around new public transport and create a thriving walking and cycling neighbourhood. We’ll deliver over 1,700 affordable homes, and the commercial floorspace would also triple with jobs rising to 30,000. And we’ll deliver more public open space than under the current permission.”

Construction is already taking place on the first phase of homes, as well as the main spine road through the area. Over 150 homes have already been finished and are occupied.

Aerial view (CGI) of a built-up area.
Indicative CGI aerial view of Brabazon, with the YTL Arena centre right.

As well as new housing, the plans include three hotels, 600 extra care units, 270,000 square metres of offices, 55,000 square metres for industrial uses, 25,000 square metres of town centre uses, student accommodation, two primary schools, one secondary school, community buildings, health and sports provision. A 18,000-seat arena and a new train station are also planned on adjacent sites.

Local councillor Sanjay Shambhu (Conservative, Charlton and Cribbs) said:

“The former Filton Airfield site is brownfield and perfectly suited for a development of this size and scope. This development will bring significant benefits to my ward and to the wider district with a boost to economic activity and enhanced public services. There’s a great deal of support for this locally.”

Infographic showing four phases of increased housing.
Brabazon development (Filton Airfield): From 2,675 to 6,500 homes in four phases.

The development will be split into phases, to ensure there’s not an adverse impact on the local road network. This means YTL won’t be allowed to build all of the homes planned, unless critical upgrades to buses and trains take place. As part of the development, several new bike lanes and bus routes are planned, and there will be few car parking spaces for residents.

Cllr Adrian Rush (Lib Dem, Chipping Sodbury and Cotswold Edge) said:

“Transport is the one thing that worries me more than anything else. That’s because we’ve completely failed to change modal transport ever in South Gloucestershire.”

“We’re looking here to change people’s attitudes away from cars and into buses and trains, where it’s never happened before in this county that we’ve been able to do this. I’m worried it’s not going to happen, and I’m hopeful that if we get to the stage where they review it and it’s not working quite as well as they’d thought, we can go back and start thinking again.”


Another concern was service charges which future residents will have to pay. These will go towards a management company responsible for running the public open spaces and parks. Some councillors suggested these should be handed over to the local parish councils instead.

Speaking after the meeting, Seb Loyn, planning and development director for YTL Developments, said:

“The approval of the new masterplan for Brabazon is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. It will transform not just north Bristol and South Gloucestershire, but the entire West of England.”

“The region desperately needs more homes. Brabazon will deliver 6,500, with over 1,700 being affordable. Local businesses need space to grow and expand; Brabazon will provide over 3 million square feet of commercial space. That means that the local cluster of world-leading engineering, aerospace and technology firms can provide new opportunities for young talent.”

“But if we are to tackle the climate crisis, we need to build more sustainable homes in the right places. Brabazon is on brownfield land along existing public transport corridors. Maximising its potential will ease pressure on the Green Belt. This decision paves the way for YTL Developments to build the new homes, offices, schools and community facilities we all need, and to do so in a way that is environmentally and economically sustainable.”

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Cllr Chris Willmore (Lib Dem, Yate North), Cabinet member for planning, added:

“This is a historic place-shaping decision by the council for a major sustainable community with the necessary infrastructure to create a truly outstanding place. The plans for Brabazon will create a major new community for South Gloucestershire and a new quarter for the wider Bristol area, built on brownfield land.”

“We have been working positively with YTL Developments and National Highways to ensure the right infrastructure will be in place. As well as delivering 6,500 high quality homes, 1,724 of these will be affordable homes for social rent and shared ownership, and there will be office and industrial floor space, which in conjunction with the construction work has the potential to create over 30,000 jobs.”

“The development will help reduce reliance on car travel with MetroBus and local buses serving the area along with the train station which already has secured planning permission. A community hub and health care facility will also be provided, along with parks, lakes and open spaces, with over 3,500 trees planted on the site.”

More information and related links

Article by Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

Editor’s note: A recently approved planning application granted permission for up to 1,514 bedrooms of student accommodation on part the Brabazon site near the proposed new railway station. These units are understood to be in addition to the 6,500 residential dwellings referenced in the newly granted outline planning permission for the whole site.

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Officer report

Items of note contained in the officer report on the new site-wide outline planning application…

Development Phasing

[Section 5.43]

In order to deliver the quantum of development proposed, the applicant has proposed a phased approach in order to deliver development in a sustainable way over a long period of time. Although Key Phase 1 [with 3,675 dwellings] is predicted to be completed at 2036 with full build out at 2048, specific timescales have not been set out for each Key Phase.

More information: Brabazon Phasing Schedule (submitted as part of planning application P22/02113/O). [PDF, 159kB]

Building heights

[Section 5.140]

The height parameter plan specifies that the tallest buildings would be located in the Eastern Framework adjacent to the Bristol Arena and Brabazon Park where the topography of the site is lower than the central areas. This area would allow for buildings up to 18 storeys and for two buildings up to 30 storeys. Elsewhere in the Eastern Framework building heights would generally be a maximum of 7 storeys. The storey heights are lower in the Western Framework and are generally a maximum of four storeys in height except along the main spine road where buildings would be a maximum of 7 storeys to help define the main route through the site. Building heights are restricted to a maximum of three storeys adjacent to certain heritage assets to the north of the site and buildings are reduced to a maximum of two storeys adjacent to existing residential properties at Fishpool Hill and Paynes Orchard.

Progress report

Aerial photo of the Hangar District at Brabazon.
The Hangar District at Brabazon: Drone image (2024). The Trust Ford car dealership at Blenheim Roundabout on Hayes Way can be seen in the top right corner. Image credit: Brabazon.

YTL Developments says it is already making “good progress” on delivering elements of the Brabazon site that were approved through previous planning applications. The current status is as follows:

  • The Hangar District – the first phase of new homes – is due to complete before the end of 2024. A range of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments and two-, three- and four-bedroom houses is on sale now, with over half of the 300 properties already completed and occupied.
  • Properties in the second phase of new homes are under construction, with the first homes due to complete in 2025.
  • Boxworks – the iconic shipping container workspaces – has moved to Brabazon from Bristol Temple Meads. Tenant demand is said to be “very strong” ahead of the opening of the very first workspaces at Brabazon in May this year.
  • The primary road network within Brabazon is under construction.

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