CS21: Retail Hierarchy and Provision

CS21: Retail Hierarchy and Provision

The vitality and viability of the following hierarchy of centres will be maintained and enhanced:

Sub-regional Centre

- Weston-super-Mare Town Centre

Town Centres in the Market and Coastal Towns

- Clevedon (Triangle)

- Nailsea

- Portishead

District Centres

- Clevedon (Hill Road)

- Locking Castle, Weston-super-Mare

- Phillips Road (Asda), Weston-super-Mare

- Queensway, Weston-super-Mare

- Worle High Street

Local Centres

a) within Weston-super-Mare

- Bournville (St Andrews Parade)

- Castle Batch

- Coronation Estate (Loxton Road)

- Locking Road

- Milton Hill

- Milton Road

- Oldmixon (Aller Parade)

- Whitecross Road

b) outside Weston-super-Mare

- Backwell

- Churchill

- Congresbury

- Long Ashton

- Pill

- Winscombe

- Wrington

- Yatton

Elsewhere in the district the council will resist the loss of small-scale shops including neighbourhood and village stores, and eating and drinking establishments that support the needs of local communities and support self-containment.

Proposals for town centre uses in the identified centres (1-4 above) will be supported, provided that they:

1) are of a scale appropriate to the size and role of these centres

2) support the creation of a comfortable, safe, attractive and accessible shopping environment

3) improve the mix of town centre uses in each centre.

Proposals for new or extended town centre uses outside these centres with a floorspace above 200 m2 will need to demonstrate that:

1) there is a quantitative and qualitative need for the development

2) the uses could not be located within or on the edge of an existing centre

3) they would have no adverse impact on the vitality and viability of these centres.

Proposals resulting in the loss of town centre uses in these centres will need to demonstrate that:

1) the vitality and viability of the centre is not adversely affected

2) adequate retail provision remains for local residents.

A future Site Allocations Development Plan Document will define exact boundaries to the retail centres, and where appropriate shopping frontages to be protected. The aim in defining boundaries and frontages will be to retain the predominance of town centre uses in general and retail uses in particular.

This policy contributes towards achieving Priority Objectives 4, 6 and 10.


The policy reflects Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres, which states that local authorities should plan positively for the growth and development of town centres by:

  • developing a hierarchy and network of centres each performing their appropriate role to meet the needs of their catchment;
  • assessing the need for town centre use and ensure there is capacity to accommodate them;
  • focusing development in and planning for expansion of existing centres as appropriate;
  • planning for new centres of an appropriate scale in areas of significant growth, e.g. new district centres at Weston-super-Mare;
  • strengthening local centres, particularly in rural areas, by ensuring that there is a range of facilities and that these are retained;
  • indicating an upper limit for the scale of development likely to be acceptable in particular centres.

The Core Strategy approach

The North Somerset Retail and Leisure Study (2006) assessed the need and demand for additional retail and leisure facilities throughout North Somerset up to 2021. It identified a requirement for the following types of additional retail floorspace:

Retail requirement table



This policy allows for provision of the forecast scale of development in each of the centres. At Weston-super-Mare it is envisaged that new district and local centres will also be required to meet the needs of the urban extension.

Draft RSS Policy TC1 proposes a concentrated retail strategy, where most new town centre uses are located in major centres. The flexibility allowed in the Core Strategy mainly concerns the classification of the different type of centres, identification of their boundaries and interpretation to reflect local circumstances.

In the context of this policy, 'town centre uses' include retail, leisure, entertainment, intensive recreation, offices, arts, culture and tourism facilities (PPS6, para 1.8). When defining what constitutes the 'scale appropriate to the size and role of these centres', the upper limits are as follows:

Sub-regional/town centres

No limit

District centres: existing


Local centres: existing


District/local centres: proposed (Weston-super-Mare urban extension)

The Weston urban extension policy sets out specific requirements

Retail Hierarchy

Centres have been identified according to their amount of town centre floorspace, existing and planned roles as follows:



Existing role

Planned role

Sub-regional Centre:

Weston-super-Mare Town Centre

Town Centre currently defined, with Primary Shopping Frontages, in North Somerset Replacement Local Plan (2007). Weston-super-Mare Town Centre AAP considering future of retail core

  • Largest centre in North Somerset, serving all needs of the town and surrounding area short of those met by major attractions such as Cribbs Causeway and Bristol and Bath city centres

Strategically Significant Town (Draft RSS Policy A), whose sub-regional role as a service centre should be enhanced. The retail study identified need to accommodate significant new floorspace to enhance sub-regional role and improve attractiveness for North Somerset residents relative to the major attractions

Town centres in the Market and Coastal Towns:

Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead

Town centres currently defined, with Primary Shopping Frontages, in North Somerset Replacement Local Plan (2007)

  • High level of service provision, playing a major role in promoting increased local self-containment
  • Cater for residents' daily needs but also for higher-order, less frequent goods for the surrounding parishes
  • Proximity to each other means overlapping catchment areas, somewhat smaller than expected in a rural area
  • Proximity to Bristol and Weston means they are not expected to provide highest order goods

All identified in the retail study as healthy centres not needing significant further floorspace.

Need is for upgrading/ regeneration, dependent on availability of funding

District centres:

Four in Weston-super-Mare;

One in Clevedon (Hill Road)


a large supermarket plus some large retail units, (e.g. Locking Castle),


more than 60 units of town centre uses (e.g. Worle High Street)

  • Serve a wider neighbourhood area with a catchment of about 800m
  • Often have a monopoly position with regard to convenience goods for that neighbourhood

Existing role maintained, taking opportunities to increase retail/social self-containment of the settlement. New district centres to be planned as part of Weston-super-Mare urban extension

Local centres: within Weston-super-Mare

Minimum of one small foodstore and six other retail units

  • Serve a narrower neighbourhood area with a catchment of about 400m

Existing role maintained, taking opportunities to increase retail/social self-containment of the settlement. New local centres to be planned as part of Weston-super-Mare urban extension

Local centres: outside Weston-super-Mare

Minimum of 20 units of town centre uses

  • Serve the parish and sometimes neighbouring parishes with essential day-to-day goods

Existing role maintained, taking opportunities to increase retail/social self-containment of the settlement

How and where the policy will be delivered

A net addition to floorspace accommodating town centre uses is expected at the four towns, to meet forecast growth in demand. The Weston-super-Mare Town Centre AAP, the Site Allocations DPD and master planning for the urban extension will identify site-specific opportunities. Other aspects of the policy are permissive rather than aspirational.

Retail and town centre development is led by the private sector, though the council may also have a role in land assembly in some circumstances.

clevedon town centre

Alternative options and contingency planning

The hierarchy of centres accords with the settlement strategy set out in this Core Strategy, reducing the need to travel long distances for shopping trips and protecting and consolidating the roles of existing centres. Only one alternative has emerged, which is to

  • include the Marchfields Way Retail Park in Weston-super-Mare as a district centre

This has a supermarket and a number of retail warehouses but lacks other services typical of a district centre, such as banks and restaurants, libraries or other public facilities. It is by definition a retail park and in accordance with PPS6, para. 2.54 the preferred approach is not to designate it as a district centre and 'sequentially preferred' site for town centre uses.

Retail and leisure provision to meet local needs is a by-product of population and employment growth. Any economic slowdown would result in reduced demand for floorspace, which would therefore come forward more slowly than the Core Strategy proposes. The adverse effect of this would be continued reliance on higher order centres, involving longer shopping trips. It is therefore important that the LDF identifies land for retail and related development, which is then safeguarded from short-term demands to release it for other uses.

Monitoring and review

Key performance targets will be:

  • Proportion of vacant shops in all centres
  • Number of all retail and other uses in all centres
  • Proportion of units given over to retail use in all centres.
1. Comparison = Good required on an infrequent basis e.g. clothing, electrical goods. Convenience = Goods required on a daily or weekly basis e.g. food [back]