Core Strategy - Consultation Draft

Comment ID 2862209/CSCD/24
Document Section Core Strategy - Consultation Draft Chapter 4: Area Policies CS30: Weston Urban Extension CS30: Weston Urban Extension View all on this section
Respondent Natural England View all by this respondent
Response Date 17 Mar 2010
The Weston Urban Extension area is not free from constraints in terms of the natural environment. Notably, it lies within relatively close proximity to the North Somerset and Mendips Bats European site and it may well be that horseshoe bats from that site make use of the area earmarked for development.

For that reason we support the intention to produce a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) including a Master Plan, Design Codes and Delivery Plan. We trust that the natural environment will be an important consideration in these documents and look forward to working with the authority in relation to them.

Key requirement 8 - Naturally we strongly support the requirement for a provision of green infrastructure across the whole urban extension and in particular the "Green Heart Park" as a central feature. This will ensure that the development is served by the full range of functions that green infrastructure provides for people and the environment.

We would also recommend that the consideration of green infrastructure extends beyond the boundaries of the extension area. This may be necessary in order, for example, to offset increased recreational impacts upon the Mendip Hills AONB but is also highly desirable in terms of achieving ANGST standards and making the most of the opportunity provided by the proposed off site flood mitigation measures.

Key requirement 12 - We support the use of Sustainable urban Drainage Systems (SuDS). We recommend a presumption in favour of "soft" SuDS that work with natural systems and encourage wildlife habitats, enhance amenity and contribute to green infrastructure.

Key requirement 14 - We can see the benefits of a tariff approach applying to all planning applications within the urban extension area. We trust that this will extend to provision for the implementation and long term management of green infrastructure.

The delivery of the urban extension is likely to be a complex process spanning many years. We would also encourage the authority to promote as high a degree of co-ordination as possible amongst development interests to ensure that best chance of achieving a cohesive exemplar urban extension that evolves from the "Green Heart".