Abbots Leigh, Ham Green, Pill and Easton-in-Gordano Neighbourhood Plan consultation on submitted Neighbourhood Plan

Abbots Leigh, Ham Green, Pill and Easton-in-Gordano Neighbourhood Plan

3 The Neighbourhood Area and its history

3.1 The Neighbourhood Plan Area

In May 2016 a proposed Neighbourhood Plan Area (NPA) covering the whole of the two parishes, including Royal Portbury Dock, was put to North Somerset Council. Following community consultation and comments from a number of individuals, agencies and organisations the Council accepted the proposal in autumn 2016.

The 16 NPA covers the two parishes of Pill & Easton-in-Gordano and Abbots Leigh. It stretches from Leigh Woods on the outskirts of Bristol to the River Severn at Royal Portbury Dock. The NPA is bounded on the south-east by the parish of Long Ashton, on the south-west by the parishes of Wraxall and Portbury and on its north-western edge by the River Severn with the River Avon marking the north-eastern boundary (The River Avon towpath remains owned by Bristol City Council and is thus technically outside the NPA). In 2017 the area had a population of 5,698, 80% of whom live within the Pill/Easton/Ham Green settlement boundary.

Encompassing most of the Leigh Woods woodland (including some Forestry England and National Trust owned land) down to, but not including, the towpath along the Avon Gorge the NPA includes the village of Abbots Leigh and assorted woodland and farmland past Leigh Court to Ham Green, Pill & Easton-in-Gordano and as far as the M5 excluding the Gordano Motorway Services Area. Beyond the M5, but still within the parish of Pill & Easton-in-Gordano, lies Royal Portbury Dock, owned and operated by the Bristol Port Company. The Dock benefits from specific regulation in terms of development activity (The role of the Bristol Port Company arises from primary legislation to establish the dock project, and exemptions provided via elements of the General Permitted Development Order). The Plan, therefore, cannot and does not, address strategic or operational issues relating to the Dock. Nonetheless the dock area makes an important contribution to land-based and marine conservation. In addition, it offers public access walking and cycling for both leisure and travel to work. The employment opportunities offered by the Dock and the traffic implications of its operations have consequences for the rest of the NPA as does an ongoing review of air quality.

In terms of traffic and movement the NPA is dominated by the busy and often overloaded east/west Bristol to Portishead A369 road. The Ham Green/Pill/Easton settlement is accessed by a separate loop running from the Haberfield junction and re- joining the A369 close to the M5 at St. George’s Hill. The north/south M5 itself runs through the NPA with the Junction 19 Service Area immediately adjoining. Along the length of the A369 feeder and connecting roads and lanes link the main road to local residential development. The advent of the Portishead to Bristol passenger rail line will impact Pill in particular. Within the area lie the Avon Trail, the Gordano Round and a network of Public Rights of Way footpaths & bridleways and on and off-road cycle routes criss-crossing the whole of the NPA.

The NPA has important heritage assets (a Historic Gardens site at Leigh Court and twenty-seven Historic England listed buildings and monuments) plus a range of protected environmental areas (SSSIs and SNCIs, RAMSAR, Protection Areas) as well as flood defences.

Map 1 Neighbourhood Area

Map 1 Neighbourhood Area