Portishead Neighbourhood Plan Submission Consultation

Portishead Neighbourhood Plan 2022-2038

Priorities for Portishead Town Centre

Policy PTC1: Protection of Portishead Town Centre Character and Viability


6.11 Portishead High Street is the historic focus of the town’s retailing and community services. It retains a vibrant mix of uses and a distinct character. It also retains its role as a vibrant focus of local shopping, services and community life. The Neighbourhood Plan aims to protect this vitality and support its ongoing resilience and potential for transformation to achieve long term viability as a community hub.

6.12 North Somerset Development Management Policies DM60 and DM47 (Town Centres) state that within defined boundaries of the town centre of Portishead (as illustrated on Figure 18), the vibrancy, vitality and community focus provided by the town centres will be maintained and enhanced. Proposals for main town centre uses within these areas will, in principle, be supported provided they contribute to the improvement of the town centre.

6.13 Emerging North Somerset Policy DP26 (Primary shopping areas) provides support for retail uses (Class Ea) and for other Class E uses, conditional upon their supporting town centre footfall and vitality and extend business hours within defined primary frontages (defined on the North Somerset Local Plan Policies Map), but it resists inappropriate or overly large floorspace uses that could harm the character and vitality of the centre.

6.14 Policy DM47 also seeks to ensure that Portishead town centre will be maintained as the focus for town centre uses, requiring a sequential assessment approach to be applied to optimise the use of available town centres sites before out of centre.

6.15 Changes to the Town and Country Planning Act Use Class Order in 2020 and 2021 have consolidated the majority of high street uses within a new single use class E, enabling changes of use within the class through permitted development. This does not apply to proposed changes to the appearance of the frontage or building. New Class MA also enables vacant class E premises to be changed to residential accommodation through the simplified Prior Approvals process. This may make it easier for new ventures to bring new vitality to an ailing high street. However, it also removes layers of previous protection given to primary retail frontages, risking their loss.

6.16 Within the limitations of planning legislation, Portishead Neighbourhood Plan aims to protect the vitality, viability and character of our high street through supporting the protection and investment in active business and service frontages, but also by seeking to prevent harm to both neighbouring uses and character through inappropriate changes to frontages or service areas which do require permission.

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

  • CS1: Addressing climate change and carbon reduction
  • CS20: Supporting a successful economy.
  • DM47: Proposals for Economic Development 
  • DM60: Town Centres
  • DM63: Primary Frontages 
  • DM66: Sequential Approach to Retail Development within or Adjacent to Town Centres


Within Portishead Town Centre (defined by North Somerset emerging Local Plan (policy DM60) and illustrated in Figure 17, proposals for development including changes of use and operational development will be supported where they:

  • Conform with North Somerset Local Plan Policies DM60 (Town Centres)
  • Contribute to the continued development of a diverse, high value and low carbon economy
  • Protect or increase the viability and quality of retailing, commercial and community service ground floor frontages, and the vitality of the evening economy
  • Conserve or enhance the character of the town centre and, where appropriate, the Town Centre Conservation Area.

FIG 18: Portishead Town Centre:

Figure 18 Portishead Town Centre