Portishead Neighbourhood Plan Submission Consultation

Portishead Neighbourhood Plan 2022-2038

Natural Environment

Policy PEN1: Landscape Setting and Views


3.10 The character and quality of landscape is key to maintaining a strong sense of place which is an important objective in the National Planning Policy Framework. Portishead has a distinct and varied landscape setting8 which is cherished by residents and visitors.

3.11 The Portishead Community Character Statement (2022) has been prepared as part of the evidence base to the Neighbourhood Plan. The Community Character Statement has been prepared by a working group of local people with the support of expert Plan consultants. It describes and analyses important and locally distinctive features of the town as a whole and in the landscape setting.

3.12 As set out in the Community Character Statement, the landscape setting to the town plays a vital role in the distinct and separate identity of Portishead. There are four distinct areas to the landscape setting, from the higher ground of Portishead Down, with its extensive and valued views and the ancient woods of Weston Big Wood. The ridge of Portishead Down then dips and rises again further to the east at East Wood. To the west is Portishead Bay, culturally and historically important to the town and its sense of place, again with wide expansive views. To the east of the town is the open flat landscape of the Gordano Valley.

3.13 These distinct areas that contribute to the distinct and highly valued setting of the town have been assessed and categorised into different character areas, both at a national level and by North Somerset Council. The North Somerset Council ‘Landscape Character Assessment’ (2018)8 supplementary Planning Guidance has identified different character types and areas in North Somerset. It is used to inform and guide planning decisions. The areas can be seen on Figure 2.

3.14 The last remaining open spaces, particularly the area around Weston Big Wood and farmland and floodplain outside the settlement boundary, are valued as settings to the town and for their role as local green spaces. They also deliver multiple ecosystem services and benefits (as set out in the Portishead Green and Blue Infrastructure Evidence Base Report 2022) and consequently should never be built on. Any future development needs to be carefully managed to protect and safeguard Portishead’s assets, which from the coastline to the ancient woodland, are unique assets that provide much value to the wellbeing of residents, the quality of the environment and the distinct character and visual amenity of Portishead.

3.15 As part of the character assessment work, the working group also identified key local views that should be protected. These are shown in detail in the Portishead Local Key Views Report (2021) also prepared as part of the evidence base to support this Plan.

Relevant Objective

O1 To protect Portishead’s locally valued views, landscape setting and valued relationship with the Gordano Valley, and maintain the separation of Portishead from other villages and towns.

Local Policy Context

  • CS5 Landscape and the historic environment
  • CS6 North Somerset’s green belt
  • DM10 Landscape
  • DM12 Development within the green belt


Any development should seek to conserve and enhance the landscape setting of Portishead and its landscape character, views and features, including those identified on Figure 2.

Development proposals will be expected to:

i. integrate natural features such as groups of trees and the local rhyne system that contribute to both the landscape character and setting of the development; and

ii. demonstrate that the whole scheme, including hard landscape and planting proposals, draws on local landscape characteristics and features through reference to relevant existing landscape and historic landscape assessments, the Portishead Community Character Statement, as well as any additional site specific assessments; and

iii. respond sensitively to the transition between settlement edge and surrounding countryside and green belt, respecting the tranquillity of the landscape, and avoid any adverse impact on irreplaceable habitats such as Weston Big Wood and East Wood.

Development proposals that are likely to affect any of the local key views shown on Figure 3, and described in the Portishead Local Key Views Report, should assess the effect of the proposals on the view(s) and demonstrate how any adverse effects have been addressed.

FIG 2: Portishead Landscape Types

Figure 2 Portishead Landscape Types Map

FIG 3: Portishead Key Views

Figure 3 Key Views Map