Core Strategy - Consultation Draft

Chapter 2: Visions and Objectives

This section takes the issues and challenges facing the district and describes the visions to guide objective setting and policy development.

The starting point is the North Somerset Vision as set out in the Sustainable Community Strategy (SCS):

'Sustainable, inclusive, safe, healthy, prosperous communities thriving in a quality environment.'

  • To help achieve the vision, the SCS has developed six shared priorities:
  • Tackling disadvantage and promoting equality of opportunity;
  • Developing strong inclusive communities;
  • Ensuring safer communities;
  • Improving health and wellbeing;
  • Developing a prosperous economy and enterprising community;
  • Living within environmental limits.

The role of the Core Strategy and other planning policy documents is to provide the spatial, land-use expression of these shared priorities. In order to create a clear policy framework, the Core Strategy identifies a suite of spatial visions. These are grounded in the work of the SCS, but have been refined and developed to provide a clearer strategic planning context.

The Core Strategy visions have been refined through engagement and discussion with stakeholders. They reflect existing parameters we have to work within, such as the emerging Regional Spatial Strategy, and incorporate important aspects of local distinctiveness and key local issues. They are aspirational, yet realistic and deliverable. They provide an agreed framework against which Core Strategy objectives and policies can be produced.

The following visions therefore seek to blend the overarching planning framework with the local context and community aspirations.


VIS 1: North Somerset Vision

By 2026 North Somerset will be a more prosperous district, with reduced inequalities throughout.  Its coastal and rural setting, underpinned by a rich heritage will strongly influence new development. Development will respond to the challenge of climate change and be characterised by high-quality design that contributes to creating successful, thriving places.

Weston-super-Mare will be established as a major economic centre south of Bristol catering for the employment, social and leisure needs of its population whilst attracting visitors to support this role.  New development areas will be established, creating mixed-use communities valued for their high standards of sustainability, quality of life and inspired design. 

The market towns will increasingly support their populations and play less of a dormitory role. The service villages will cater for rural needs with their character and that of the open countryside protected from intrusive development.

The future planning of Royal Portbury Dock and Bristol International Airport will be guided by the need to balance the advantages of economic growth with control over key environmental issues.

VIS 2: Weston-super-Mare Vision

By 2026 Weston-super-Mare will have an image as an enjoyable and attractive place to live and visit, with a strong cultural identity and good employment base, and successful and thriving communities.

By 2026 an employment-led development strategy will have achieved a strong and diverse economic profile in Weston-super-Mare with an improved range, quantity and quality of local employment opportunities which redresses the imbalance between employment and homes reducing dependency on out-commuting by car for work and improving self-containment and sustainable living.

By 2026 Weston-super-Mare's strategic transport, utilities and flood prevention infrastructure will have been developed in tandem with new residential and employment developments to a high standard. The transportation network will provide an integrated, convenient and sustainable service for all parts of the town, with improved public transport services and external linkages.

By 2026 Weston town centre will be a good quality, diverse year-round shopping and leisure destination set within a high-quality built environment which has retained its historic identity and capitalises on its seafront location and the natural beauty of the area. More people will live and work in the town centre which will add vibrancy during the day and into the evening, resulting in a safe and desirable place for its residents and visitors.

By 2026 Weston town centre will have increased the amount of high-quality tourist accommodation, and offer a range of indoor and outdoor attractions and activities catering for a wide range of visitor needs.

By 2026 the town centre gateway area will have transformed itself into a distinctive entrance to the town creating a sense of arrival set within a consolidated, high-quality built and landscaped environment, providing good pedestrian connections to the town centre.

VIS 3: Clevedon Vision

By 2026 Clevedon will be a thriving, prosperous settlement and local service centre which provides for both its population and that of the rural hinterland, as well as a popular destination for visitors.

The historic fabric of the 'old town' will have been retained and reinforced and there will be an evident sense of pride in Clevedon's historic heart and coastal setting.  

The town centre will have regained its popularity and become a thriving local retail and service centre fulfilling the needs of residents and the surrounding area, assisted by suitably-sized retail units and welcoming setting. Hill Road will remain an attractive area for specialist shops, restaurants and cafés.

The employment base will have strengthened allowing more opportunities for residents to work locally. Increasing numbers of those who travel to work outside Clevedon will make the journey by public transport, cycle or shared car journey.  Access by public transport within Clevedon and between the other towns will be improved.

The area around the historic seafront and coastline from Church Hill to the historic pier will be a draw for increasing numbers of visitors and residents enjoying the unique setting, diversity of activities and its culture.

VIS 4: Nailsea Vision

By 2026, Nailsea will be a thriving, prosperous settlement and local service centre which provides for both its population and that of the rural hinterland.  The quality of life, feeling of safety and community spirit of those who live and work in the town will be highly valued.

Assets such as the built heritage and open spaces will be respected. Community services (such as schools, libraries and health centres) will be retained to meet everyday needs and service provision will grow at a commensurate scale to the needs of the population.

New development taking place in the town will be focused on addressing local housing need to encourage a more balanced age structure and support economic growth. There will be an emphasis on encouraging further job opportunities by supporting our companies to grow and making provision for space to relocate.  Accessibility to Bristol and Weston-super-Mare will be improved through a better choice of transport modes. 

 Opportunities for redevelopment of the town centre will be harnessed where this will improve the leisure and retail offer, ensuring it becomes a focal point for activity within the town.  The design of all new places and spaces will be of exceptional quality and evoke pride within the community, together with challenging perceptions of the town.

VIS 5: Portishead Vision

By 2026 Portishead will have undertaken an extensive period of consolidation and become an increasingly popular location for new business as well as providing opportunities for existing local businesses to expand and grow. There will be increased opportunities for residents to work locally, instead of commuting to Bristol and its north fringe.

Access by public transport within Portishead and between the other towns will be improved. A passenger rail or rapid transit link into central Bristol will have been reinstated, providing a real alternative to residents commuting into Bristol for work.

Portishead will continue to be a popular place to live while retaining the existing distinctive character and village atmosphere of the High Street. The new and old communities in Portishead will be integrated and share a joint sense of place and pride in the town. The newly extended High Street will be a thriving and popular place to shop and spend time.

Strong maritime links will continue to provide important focus. The marina and surrounding coastal area will continue to attract visitors. The unique setting of the Gordano Valley will be protected with opportunities to enjoy surrounding countryside and views enhanced around the new development.


VIS 6: Service Villages Vision

By 2026 service villages will become thriving rural communities and a focal point for local housing needs, services and community facilities. They will become more self-contained in terms of providing jobs and serving the local and surrounding community for all their day-to-day needs.

These settlements are defined in the Core Strategy as service villages:

  • Backwell
  • Banwell
  • Congresbury
  • Churchill
  • Hutton
  • Locking
  • Long Ashton
  • Pill/ Easton-in-Gordano
  • Uphill
  • Winscombe
  • Wrington
  • Yatton


VIS 7: Smaller Settlements and Countryside Vision

Rural areas will retain and enhance their countryside character where the quality of the natural environment is the prime objective and any new development will be small scale and strictly controlled. The rural villages will have maintained their individual character, identity and sense of community.  Accessibility will be improved to facilities and services not locally available within nearby service villages or towns.  The surrounding countryside will have retained its open natural character, its distinctive landscapes protected from inappropriate development, agricultural use supported and valued for its biodiversity. 

Priority Objectives

At the Issues and Options stage a number of objectives were put forward and have now been developed further as a result of outcomes from that consultation, further evidence, and responding to the priorities set out in North Somerset's Sustainable Community Strategy (2008). These objectives will now be tested as part of the sustainability appraisal.

The priority objectives summarise how we will address the spatial planning issues within North Somerset to 2026. They will take effect through the Core Strategy spatial policies that set out how, when and where the objectives will be achieved. The priority objectives are closely aligned with North Somerset Council's Corporate Plan and Sustainable Community Strategy aims.

These objectives do not repeat generic national principles which will be applied as a matter of course, but instead look to identify issues of local importance. For example, national advice in relation to issues such as the need to promote sustainable development, to promote biodiversity, to protect vulnerable land from flooding, to provide affordable housing, or to preserve and enhance conservation areas and listed buildings are not specifically identified.

Each of the Core Strategy policies will indicate its relationship to these priority objectives, or where appropriate, national planning guidance.


Priority Objectives

1.Deliver sustainable housing development across North Somerset to meet housing needs, through the provision of 17,750 new homes by 2026.

2.Ensure that major development proposals are delivered in tandem with the necessary improvements in physical and social infrastructure such as M5 junction 21 improvements at Weston-super-Mare, Junction 19 improvements at Portishead and access improvements to Bristol International Airport, and that appropriate delivery mechanisms including effective tariffs/developer contributions are in place.

3.Prioritise employment growth throughout North Somerset to support greater self-containment, in particular by ensuring that in Weston-super-Mare housing development is delivered in step with employment growth, and brownfield opportunities in Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead are maximised, and that small and medium enterprises are supported.

4.Focus strategic development at Weston-super-Mare as part of an employment-led strategy to deliver improved self-containment, stimulate investment, regenerate and revitalise the town centre to create a thriving and vibrant retail, leisure, tourist, cultural and commercial centre, and to support regeneration within communities elsewhere in the town, particularly in the South and Central Wards.

5.Support and promote major employers in North Somerset, such as Bristol International Airport and Royal Portbury Dock, to ensure continued employment security and economic prosperity.

6.Improve the vibrancy, prosperity, distinctiveness, quality and range of local services in North Somerset's towns and villages, by encouraging and supporting environmental enhancements and regeneration opportunities in Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead.

7.Continue to support North Somerset's existing Green Belt in order to prevent the sprawl of Bristol and its encroachment into valued countryside and to preserve the character of existing settlements; elsewhere, valued strategic green gaps between settlements and characteristic green spaces and areas will be protected.

8.Continue to redress the substantial inequalities between the most deprived and prosperous areas of North Somerset, both urban and rural, and to reduce the overprovision of one bedroomed dwellings, or one particular type or tenure of housing where this is causing social and/or physical problems.

9.mprove accessibility through the delivery of major transport schemes and local improvements to ensure that, particularly in Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead, people are encouraged to make more sustainable transport choices.

10.To ensure that sufficient parking is provided in new developments to meet the needs of users in a safe and well-designed environment, while public parking in town, district and local centres contributes to their continued vitality, and provides for choice in transport modes.