Core Strategy - Consultation Draft

CS33: Smaller Settlements and Countryside

CS33: Smaller Settlements and Countryside

Proposals for development within the rural areas outside the Service Villages will be strictly controlled in order to protect their character and prevent unsustainable development.

New housing will only be permitted where it is for affordable housing (within or adjacent to a non-service village and only if it can be demonstrated that a specific local need cannot be met in an adjacent town or Service Village), replacement dwellings (provided any net increase is part of a live/work unit), or dwellings for workers in essential rural enterprises.

Small-scale new employment development will only be permitted within or adjacent to non-service villages where it would increase self containment or meet the needs of an existing local employer. Employment development will not be permitted in the open countryside.

Shops and community uses will only be permitted within non-service villages where there is a specific local need for a facility and provided it is appropriate in scale, and located within or adjacent to the main body of the settlement.

This policy contributes towards achieving Priority Objective 7.


National and regional guidance emphasise the importance of ensuring that inappropriate development is not dispersed into rural areas as this will encourage unsustainable patterns of development.

The Core Strategy approach

Demand for housing in the countryside has historically been high, with the result that North Somerset villages and hamlets have become dormitory settlements. To avoid perpetuating unsustainable patterns of development and retain the character of our villages and openness of our countryside, development will be very strictly controlled. This will mean the removal of settlement boundaries from non-service villages, as stated in policy CS14, acknowledging that they are no longer appropriate for additional development.

Within small settlements and the countryside, new housing is therefore not permitted unless it is for essential rural workers or replacement dwellings. Any remaining Local Plan housing allocations affected by the removal of settlement boundaries will lapse when the policy change takes effect.

black horse pub

Affordable housing to meet the needs of these areas would be expected to be met in or adjacent to the nearest town or Service Village where there are appropriate facilities to support the housing. Where it is demonstrated that suitable sites are not forthcoming in these locations, then sites for 100% affordable housing will be considered in accordance with the rural exceptions policy CS17.

Non-housing development will also be very carefully controlled within the small settlements and countryside. Some limited employment development may be permissible within or adjacent to the main body of the village in order to increase self-containment, provided it is of a scale appropriate to the village. In respect of retailing or other services most places will look to the nearest towns and Service Villages to meet their day-to-day needs, although where local provision is justified, then permission may be granted.

How and where the policy will be delivered

The policy applies to the smaller settlements and countryside. Development will be provided by a number of individuals and bodies, and will require close liaison with local communities.

Alternative options and contingency planning

A less restrictive approach to development within the rural areas would encourage less sustainable development patterns, contrary to national and regional advice.

Monitoring and review

Measurement will be against individual policy targets