Portishead Neighbourhood Plan Submission Consultation

Portishead Neighbourhood Plan 2022-2038


Policy PPE1: Protecting Portishead's Valued Employment Space


5.15 Portishead has the potential to support a highly sustainable balance of housing, places to work and community services.

5.16 Core Strategy policy CS20 (Supporting a successful economy) aspires to ensure that all new development is sustainable and contributes to reducing the existing problems of out-commuting, lack of local employment opportunities and associated problems such as congestion and deprivation. The Core Strategy seeks to better align job growth with residential development. In Portishead, new employment development will be supported primarily on allocated land with a key objective of improving self containment and reducing out-commuting. Such opportunities are likely to take the form of either small scale development or regeneration on existing employment sites or allocated land.

5.17 The Neighbourhood Plan places a high priority on protecting existing opportunities for employment which simultaneously provide community facilities and local services. This reflects North Somerset Local Plan policy SA4, which contains criteria to protect existing employment uses and discourage change of use from employment to other uses. PPE1 aims to reinforce and add to North Somerset Council policies through adding protection for identified valued places of local employment.

5.18 Figure 14 identifies valued employment locations and uses that would be applicable to this policy.

5.19 In 2020, changes to the Town and Country Planning Act Use Class Order amalgamated business use class B1 with other retail, office and community sports and health employment uses, within a new Class E. This enables flexible changes of use without planning consent within the new class. But it does also remove much of the ability to protect B1 office uses as well as town centre shop frontage uses.

5.20 Use class MA now also enables vacant class E uses to be converted to residential use through a simplified “prior consent’ process. Such a route does enable the delivery of affordable housing as part of the change of use. This more recent employment use context must be taken into account when seeking to protect office, retail and some sport, health and childcare uses within Portishead. Such prior consent and permitted development rights do not affect the need for planning permission for other “operational development” which may materially alter the appearance or the operational characteristics of the land or buildings. 

Relevant Objective

O11 To support Portishead’s economy and local employment, and support the continued development of a diverse, high value and low carbon economy.

Local Policy Context

  • CS20: Supporting a successful economy
  • DM47: Proposals for economic development within towns and defined settlements.


At ‘Valued Employment Sites’ within Portishead, listed in Figure 14, development proposals that retain, restore or increase employment levels within use classes E(g), B2 or B8, will be supported in principle subject to compliance with other relevant policies within the development plan in relation to development that changes the character or appearance of the proposal land or buildings.


FIG 14: Valued Employment Sites:

Figure 14 Valued Employment Sites