Portishead Neighbourhood Plan Submission Consultation

Portishead Neighbourhood Plan 2022-2038

Built Environment

Policy PEB1: Locally Distinctive, High Quality Design


3.59 In 2019 the Government published a ‘National Design Guide’ which highlights the importance of understanding and responding to local character. In early 2021 a National Model Design Code was introduced as part of the government’s planning practice guidance. It expands the National Design Guide and reflects the government’s priorities and provides a common overarching framework for design.

3.60 The 2021 update of the NPPF also underscores the importance of high quality design: “the creation of high quality, beautiful and sustainable buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve.”

3.61 The NPPF sets out that “Neighbourhood planning groups can play an important role in identifying the special qualities of each area and explaining how this should be reflected in development”.33

3.62 An in-depth survey and analysis of the locally distinctive character and design of the built and natural environment is summarised in the Portishead Community Character Statement (2022), which forms a key part of the evidence base for our Neighbourhood Plan. It has been produced by the Steering Group with guidance from Plan consultants. The core of this document is a description and analysis of important and locally distinctive features of the town as a whole and the distinctive areas within it.

3.63 The Portishead Community Character Statement complements and informs our Neighbourhood Plan. It reflects local aspirations and sets out how the identified special qualities and locally distinctive characteristics should be reflected in development proposals. The combination of Portishead’s distinctive landscape setting that ranges from coastal to ridges with areas of ancient woodland, to pastoral farmland in the Gordano Valley, and its diverse settlement pattern, as well as a rich variety of building forms and architectural styles contribute to a rich and diverse character.

3.64 The Community Character Statement should be used at the earliest possible stages of design and as part of early pre-application community engagement.

3.65 Policy PEB1 includes requirements for ‘major’ development proposals. ‘Major’ development is generally defined as development where 10 or more homes will be provided, or where the site has an area of 0.5 hectares or more.

3.66 Policy PEB1 encourages developments to take note of the twelve design quality considerations in Building for a Healthy Life which cover the themes of ‘integrated neighbourhoods’, ‘distinctive places’ and ‘streets for all’. If developments achieve nine out of twelve ‘green’ indicators within these themes, they can secure a Building for a Healthy Life commendation.

Relevant Objective

O5 To ensure that development protects and reinforces Portishead’s character and distinctiveness, and encourages the highest standards of building, public space and landscape design and sustainability.

Local Policy Context

  • CS12 Achieving High Quality Design and Placemaking
  • DM32 Quality Design


High quality development proposals which protect, conserve and enhance the built and natural environment of Portishead and deliver locally distinct places and high quality design where people can live well will be supported.

All new development must be based on thorough site and context appraisal, and must draw upon positive and distinctive features of Portishead’s built and natural character and heritage.

Any proposals for major development must demonstrate how the proposed development layout, density, access proposals and building design approach complement and extend the positive characteristics of the immediate area, wider settlement and landscape of Portishead.

In addition to having regard to the National Design Guidance and North Somerset Council design policy, development proposals must demonstrate how they have been informed by the Portishead Community Character Assessment, and therefore how they have responded positively to the history and characteristics of the area in which the site is located.

Major development scheme proposals with a residential component should be shaped using the Building for a Healthy Life design assessment tool or similar, and have regard to National Design Guidance and Secured by Design standards. Major residential development schemes that demonstrate that they achieve nine out of twelve ‘green’ indicators, securing Building for a Healthy Life Commendation, will be supported.

FIG 10: Character Areas:

Figure 10 Character Areas