Core Strategy - Consultation Draft

CS13: Scale of New Housing

CS13: Scale of New Housing

Land will be identified to meet the provision of up to a further 17,750 dwellings to meet the 26,750 additional dwellings from 2006 to 2026 proposed by the emerging Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West (excluding development of 9,000 dwellings at SW Bristol urban extension - see Chapter 5). 

North Somerset District (excluding urban extension)

Land is identified within the Weston urban area to deliver in excess of the RSS requirement of 3,000 dwellings (see Policy CS28).

Within the remainder of North Somerset the RSS requirement of 5,750 dwellings will be met by land from existing identified sources.  Overprovision within the Weston urban area means that no additional allocations will be required in the plan period.

Urban extensions

Land will be allocated at Weston urban extension to accommodate up to 9,000 dwellings (see Policy CS30).  Delivery will continue post 2026.

At SW Bristol the council is opposed to the development of an urban extension in the Green Belt. However, given the emerging Regional Spatial Strategy allocation, the consultation will be used to explore the issues and options relating to the proposal (see Chapter 5).

This policy contributes towards achieving Priority Objective 1.


As a starting point the Core Strategy must address the emerging RSS requirement of 26,750 dwellings in North Somerset 2006-2026. While the RSS has reached Proposed Changes stage, it has not been approved, and many authorities, including North Somerset, have significant objections. Until the RSS is finally approved and any legal challenges resolved, there will remain uncertainties with regard to its status, particularly as a future government may take a different approach to regional planning. The Core Strategy must therefore be mindful of the weight attached to the emerging RSS while exploring alternatives through the Consultation Draft process which don't prejudice or pre-judge future policy choices.

The emerging RSS proposes the following dwelling distribution for North Somerset:

  • Weston urban area 3,000
  • Remainder of North Somerset 5,750
  • Weston urban extension 9,000
  • SW Bristol urban extension 9,000
  • Total 26,750

This distribution provides a very significant proportion of the overall allocation in the form of two new urban extensions - nearly 70% concentrated in two major strategic locations. Each of these has issues relating to both viability and deliverability over the plan period, and in the case of SW Bristol, fundamental concerns over the use of Green Belt.

The Core Strategy approach

Residual dwelling requirement

As at 1 April 2009, there were 3,541 completions, leaving an amended target of 23,209 dwellings when assessed against the RSS requirement of 26,750 dwellings. This total is further reduced by sites with permission (including under construction) and existing Replacement Local Plan allocations.

The following table summarises the land availability position at April 2009 in relation to existing commitments. There were no commitments at the proposed urban extensions.

Table page 70

The estimated housing supply for the RSS sub-areas over the plan period is as follows:

North Somerset District (excluding urban extensions)

a) Weston urban area

Delivery within the Weston urban area will exceed the RSS requirement of 3,000 dwellings over the plan period. It is currently anticipated that by 2026 there will be an overprovision of some 3,005 dwellings. This includes sites identified in the Weston Town Centre Area Action Plan (Preferred Options) totalling 2,198 residential units.

The housing supply situation will continue to be closely monitored over the plan period. Any overprovision against the RSS target within the Weston urban area will contribute to the Remainder of North Somerset figure. Development at Weston must be employment-led in order to secure improved self-containment and reduced out-commuting.

b) Remainder of North Somerset

In RSS terms this relates to the whole of the district outside Weston, excluding the urban extensions. This includes the three towns of Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead, the 12 service villages, and the remaining settlements and rural area. It is currently anticipated that there will be an underprovision of housing against the 5,750 dwelling RSS target of 603 dwellings over the plan period. No further allocations will be required given the predicted overprovision of 3,005 within the more sustainable Weston urban area.

The anticipated housing trajectory for North Somerset District (excluding urban extensions) is as follows:

Table page 71

Includes completions 2006-2009, planning permissions as at April 2009, remaining allocations from the North Somerset Replacement Local Plan, sites identified within the Weston Town Centre Area Action Plan Preferred Options document and windfall assumptions for the last seven years of the plan period.

Urban extensions

Two large-scale strategic allocations are proposed within the RSS. For the purposes of housing numbers urban extensions will be treated as self-contained, and will not be transferred elsewhere as this will result in dispersed, less sustainable development contrary to RSS objectives. If RSS numbers at the urban extensions fail to be delivered during the plan period, then the long term nature of these developments means that any residual may need to be identified post-2026.

a) Weston urban extension

New housing provision at Weston urban extension must be employment-led, and linked to key infrastructure provision particularly flood mitigation and highway improvements, and capacity may also be constrained by helicopter safety and noise constraints. In addition, the urban design consultants (Broadway Malyan) raised significant concerns regarding deliverability and viability. They anticipate that only 5,750 dwellings are likely to be delivered by 2026. While delivery will be monitored, it is currently expected that this development will continue post-2026.

Weston is the key strategic priority for North Somerset in terms of addressing a range of regeneration issues, and priority is given to making an early start on the urban extension, building on the employment-led approach adopted in the Replacement Local Plan.

The anticipated trajectory for the Weston urban extension as identified by Broadway Malyan was as follows:

Table page 72

b) South West Bristol urban extension

Within south Bristol the priority is the regeneration of brownfield urban areas within Bristol City. There is a concern that development of greenfield, Green Belt land could prejudice these objectives through adversely affecting investment opportunities within the adjacent urban areas. Any development in this area must be carefully phased and sequenced in relation to regeneration initiatives in south Bristol.

North Somerset is opposed to development in the Green Belt at SW Bristol and is aware that significant changes to regional policy which would rule out Green Belt development could be introduced following the general election. It is therefore important not to prejudice any future policy change. Chapter 5 examines possible options and their implications but the preferred option is for no development at SW Bristol.

How and where the policy will be delivered?

Housing supply will be focused on opportunities within the Weston urban area and Weston urban extension, plus other commitments elsewhere within North Somerset. Policy CS14 examines the more detailed distribution of the proposed housing supply.

The policy will be delivered primarily through private development, but there will be considerable partnership working involved, particularly in relation to infrastructure provision, ensuring employment-led development and affordable housing.

Alternative options and contingency planning

Alternative options are as follows:

a) In the absence on an approved RSS, roll-forward existing Structure Plan requirements.

  • By using RSS figures (with the exception of SW Bristol), North Somerset is demonstrating a commitment to delivering the strategic priority location.

b) Identify housing figures for SW Bristol.

  • Chapter 5 explains how the allocation of SW Bristol at this stage would be ill advised. If this site is eventually confirmed in the approved RSS, then additional consultation would be required before the Core Strategy could progress to the next stage.

c) Make provision for additional allocations in the 'remainder of North Somerset' area to take account of the anticipated shortfall by 2026.

  • Any shortfall in the 'remainder' category is compensated for by overprovision at the Weston urban area, a more sustainable location.

d) Make provision elsewhere in North Somerset to accommodate the non allocation of 9,000 dwellings at SW Bristol urban extension.

  • The RSS allocation is in relation to a strategic urban extension which would be unsustainable and contrary to RSS policy to redistribute elsewhere.

Monitoring and review

Housing supply is monitored annually and assessed in relation to the four five year tranches in order to ensure that there remains a flexible supply of available and deliverable land for housing.