Public Consultation

North Somerset Local Plan 2038

North Somerset Council (NSC) is inviting local organisations, businesses and the public to have their say as part of a consultation on proposed a new Local Plan.

The council is starting the process of preparing a local plan to shape investment and infrastructure funding to support new homes, workplaces and local facilities for the next 15 years and beyond.

Click on the Project Title above to go to the North Somerset Consultation landing page for this project.

The first stage was a Pre-Commencement Consultation, by which the scope and structure of the plan would be developed. This started on 10 March 2020, consultation closing on 22 April. The document for this is available on the NSC website here. Various documents containing additional background information and the responses received are also available on that page.

The Conservation & Planning Group, on behalf of the Civic Society, have commented.

Our letter text was as follows:

CLEVEDON CIVIC SOCIETY.

NORTH SOMERSET COUNCIL LOCAL PLAN 2038. 

COMMENTS ON PRE-COMMENCEMENT DOCUMENT March 2020

Our comments on the above are set out in the same sequence as the proposed local plan strategic policies in section 10. 

HOUSING REQUIREMENT; 

Assessment of housing numbers should be modified to reflect reduced immigration levels post Brexit.

This policy should make reference to the provision of both affordable housing and social housing, and how it is to be achieved e,g. By providing sites and support for self builders.

ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE; 

To maximise sustainability and focus on active travel the coast path between Clevedon and Weston super Mare should be completed as a priority. This has been discussed but not realised for decades

SPATIAL STRATEGY; 

Strategic locations and key sites should include affordable housing in the most sustainable locations, e.g. close to employment and town/village centres.

There should also be a restriction on the number of elderly persons sheltered schemes and an emphasis on affordable housing for younger people.

The Civic Society would not wish to see any additional new housing in Clevedon outside the natural boundaries formed by the motorway, the Land Yeo ,the sea, and the green belt.

INFRASTRUCTURE; 

Completion of Coast Path between Clevedon and Weston super Mare.

Extending the segregated footpath /cycleway network e.g. through the Gordano Valley to connect Portishead and Clevedon on the route of the disused WC&P railway.

With the additional new housing ,waste water and surface water treatment capacity will have to be increased if the systems are not to be overloaded with consequential environmental impact.

GREEN BELT; 

The Civic Society is against any intrusion into the green belt, as ”exceptional circumstances” establish a precedent. This is how towns and villages coalesce over time and the original sense of place is lost.

EMPLOYMENT; 

Redevelopment of Clevedon Town Centre presents a unique opportunity to introduce more employment and affordable housing in a sustainable location..A strong policy supported by a masterplan is essential if this is to be achieved within the lifetime of this local plan.

REGENERATION; 

See EMPLOYMENT above.

TOWN CENTRES AND HIGH STREETS; 

In Clevedon all the objectives in this section of the pre consultation document could be achieved as redevelopment of the town centre is imminent. Adoption of the right policies and masterplanning will produce a town centre that can survive and adapt to future changes.

PLACE MAKING,QUALITY DESIGN AND PROVISION OF COMMUNITY FACILITIES; 

The Civic Society supports all these objectives.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND HISTORIC CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT; 

The Civic Society supports all these objectives

MINERALS; 

No comment.

In addition to the proposed strategic policies listed we feel very strongly that there should be additional strategic policies dealing specifically with; 

• TOURISM,

• SPORT,

• CULTURE INCLUDING THE ARTS.

These activities already contribute to the local economy and are likely to increase in significance in future.

Local Plan policies which assist these sectors to grow would be of great benefit to the community.

END

The next stage was the Challenges Consultation, which ran from 22 July to 2 September 2020. The documentation for this can be found on the NSC website here.

The C&P Group commented as follows:

CLEVEDON CIVIC SOCIETY AUGUST 2020

RESPONSES TO LOCAL PLAN ; 2038 CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE.

QUESTION 1 [What are your hopes and fears about having new development where you live?]:

HOPES
• That new development can take place without existing towns and villages being overwhelmed by urban sprawl. For Clevedon ,no development beyond the existing natural boundaries
• That the government statistics on housing numbers will be reviewed downwards to reflect the situation post Brexit, and that as a result North Somerset will not have to accommodate so many new homes.
• That this local plan can protect our district in the face of government “streamlining “ of the planning process

FEARS
• That the essential rural character of the district will be lost as the countryside between towns and villages is steadily encroached upon by new development.
• That investment in essential infrastructure such as drainage , sewerage and transport services will not keep pace with development, e.g. the Portishead to Bristol rail link and completion of the coast path between Clevedon and Weston, both of which have been “imminent” for the last 20 years.
• That residential and commercial development will not take place in a balanced and planned way,so that people continue to have to commute long distances to work, with the resultant additional pressure on already overloaded infrastructure.
• That changes to the planning system and removing S106 and CIL money from local control will result in more freedom for developers to lower quality and maximise profit.

QUESTION 2 [What changes over the next 15 years do you think will affect how we need to lan for residents, businesses and communities?]:

• Significant increase in investment in infrastructure to facilitate free movement within the district and improve access to national networks.
• Proper policy to integrate and coordinate public transport systems so that they work together.
• Movement towards more localised energy self sufficiency; e.g. facilitating private investment in solar, wind and tidal power .
• Investment in training for high quality jobs for example in the developing green industries.
• Improvement in phone networks to support increase in numbers of people working from home

QUESTION 3 [Are you concerned that climate change may impact you or your family, business or local community in the future? And if so, in what way?]:

We comment on the measures you describe to alleviate the effects of climate change as follows; 
• New Buildings. To ensure that resilience to climate extremes is embedded into the design of new schemes will require strong national legislation, and a commitment at planning and building control level locally to see it enforced. Lobbying by the big housing developers destroyed a similar national initiative very recently,so this will not be easy to achieve.
• Flooding. In addition to limiting development in flood zones 3a and 3b it will be necessary to upgrade the drainage infrastructure to cope with increased surface water drainage from development in “safe“ areas. For example run off from the mass housing planned in Nailsea will increase the risk of flood events down the line in Clevedon.
• Prioritising walking and cycling. The current situation has underlined the importance of existing footpath cycleways. The unprecedented level of use has however highlighted a number of problems such as lack of maintenance and safety of pedestrians on narrow paths which are also used by cyclists. For walking and cycling to achieve the benefits you refer to maintenance of the existing routes must improve and new routes which separate motor vehicles from cyclists must be established. For example use of the old WC&P railbed to make a footpath/cycleway through the Gordano Valley connecting Clevedon and Portishead.
• The overriding concern is that climate change will erode our quality of life.

QUESTION 4 [How should we plan for how you and your family will work in the future, or the future needs of your business?]:

Whether the home working trend continues or reverses,it will be necessary for people to switch occupations more easily and into more skilled jobs. Further education facilities should be planned with this in mind,offering access to trades and vocational courses open to all ages.
• Provision of more charging points for electric vehicles.
• Adequate secure cycle storage facilities at railway stations and at main bus stops and at park and ride sites.
• Creation of segregated longer distance cycleways.
• A rail connection between Portishead and Bristol -SOON.
• Better access to Bristol airport via public transport so that less land is swallowed up by car parking.

QUESTION 5 [What sorts of types and sizes of houses do you think will be needed for your community in the future?]:

More SOCIAL housing which is within the reach of younger people enabling them to get onto the property ladder
Less flats and more small houses

Whatever the household size each dwelling should:
• Allow for home working
• Have some private outdoor space.
• Have adequate storage
• If there is a pitched roof the loft space should be properly insulated, and have a floor that will allow it to be habitable space if required in the future
• Provision for disabled access to all floors.
• Easy access to on plot parking even if the garage has been converted to other uses .
• Provision for on plot electric vehicle charging.

At present the large housing companies determine the mix of housing available. They also determine the density for economic reasons, and this does not allow for the aspirations above.

This is why we stress the need for SOCIAL housing, not affordable housing grudgingly provided by the housing developers in the worst location on housing estates.

QUESTION 6 [What do you think makes a good community?]

• A stable population most of whom value their environment.
• Access to a variety of cultural and sporting facilities
• Responsive local government which looks after the interests of its residents.
• A mixture of age ranges with realistic access to high quality housing for all (SEE ALSO RESPONSE TO QUESTION 5)

QUESTION 8 [We have come to value our local footpaths and green spaces more since Covid-19. How can we ensure that future residents benefit from access to green spaces?]:
Adequate expenditure on the public realm - paving, railings etc., and frequent maintenance so that hard used footpaths and green spaces do not degrade in quality.

More support for the volunteers who do so much to keep our paths and green spaces usable.

QUESTION 9 [Should we be thinking about adjusting the Green Belt boundary if necessary?]:

The Green Belt should not be encroached upon, (SEE ALSO RESPONSE TO QUESTION 1)

For Clevedon development should not take place beyond the existing natural boundaries - Sea, Motorway, Blind Yeo, and currrent Green Belt.

Stage three was the Choices Consultation, which ran from 2 November to 14 December 2020. The documentaton for this is available on the NSC website here.

The Conservations and Planning Group did not comment on this stage as they felt that it would just be reiterating previous responses.

The next stage is the preparation of the Draft Plan. This is in progress, and the Council are planning to issue a consultation document during 2021. The relevant page on the NSC website is here.

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