North Somerset Local Plan 2038 Preferred Options

North Somerset Local Plan Preferred Options: Consultation Draft March 2022

2. Vision, Strategic Priorities and Sustainability Objectives


The Local Plan vision is our aspiration as to what good development will look like in the future and reflects the corporate values of open, fair and green. This is then reflected in the Council's strategic priorities.

By 2038 there will be a transformation in the way we live which reflects a more responsible attitude to climate change and the use of resources. New homes, buildings and communities will be highly sustainable, accessible and attractive places with higher quality standards. There will be more diversity in terms of the form and type of new development to increase variety and choice to better meet the needs of all, create jobs and to tackle inequality. Regeneration will transform and breathe new life into existing towns and valued areas will be protected. People's well-being, a strong sense of community, opportunity and fairness will be at the heart of all development in North Somerset.

Strategic priorities

2.2 Government guidance requires the local plan to identify the priorities for the development and use of land. The Council consulted on draft priorities in Challenges for the future and these were amended in Choices. These are important in that they directly influence the development of the spatial strategy and the broad distribution of growth. The Local Plan strategic priorities are as follows:

  • To promote sustainable development and address the climate emergency.
  • To deliver the zero carbon ambition by maximising the opportunities for low carbon development and the use of renewable energy.
  • To develop new and existing communities in a way which enhances health and wellbeing, reduces inequalities and is child and family friendly.
  • To increase the number and range of job opportunities across the district, particularly at the towns to give people the opportunity to work near to where they live.
  • To prioritise the location of new development close to places with a wide range of services, facilities and job opportunities.
  • To address the decline in the town centres of Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead through supporting regeneration and place-making initiatives which revitalise these places as the focus for retailing, community uses, housing and jobs.
  • To reduce car use, encourage walking and cycling, and high quality and effective public transport.
  • To deliver a diverse range of housing in a variety of tenures, sizes and forms, particularly genuine affordable housing, to meet future needs of North Somerset residents at locations where they are most needed.
  • To deliver essential new strategic transport infrastructure to support new development and enable more sustainable travel options.
  • To deliver higher residential densities through good design, particularly at town centres, transport hubs and on brownfield sites.
  • To provide essential infrastructure in step with development, both transport infrastructure and community infrastructure such as schools, healthcare facilities and community centres.
  • To prioritise the importance and delivery of green spaces when considering new development, support priority habitats and species and safeguard areas at risk of flooding.

Sustainable development objectives

2.3 The purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. This is delivered through the preparation and implementation of plans which seek to balance economic, social and environmental objectives. The Local Plan will set out what sustainable development means for North Somerset.

2.4 A Sustainability Appraisal is prepared in parallel with the plan-making process and provides a way in which sustainability effects can be described, analysed and compared. The process of undertaking a SA involves the identification of sustainability objectives which are used to measure and monitor the success of the plan. The SA objectives which are used to assess the local plan are:

1.1 Ensure a range of job opportunities are easily accessible without having to use a car.

1.2 Provides opportunities to improve economic wellbeing and reduce inequalities by providing good access to education and training opportunities.

1.3 Promote the optimal use of land which supports regeneration, maximise re-use of previously developed (brownfield) land and protects the rural economy.

1.4 Promote development which requires a deliverable level of highquality and sustainable infrastructure.

2.1 Boost delivery and meet the housing need identified within the plan period.

2.2 Deliver affordable or specialist housing where it is most needed to meet the needs of North Somerset's population.

2.3 Achieve reasonable access to a wide range of community, educational, town centre and healthcare facilities.

2.4 Enhancing community cohesion and community facilities provision including cultural facilities.

2.5 Achieve healthy living opportunities -promoting good access to healthcare centres, open spaces, public rights of way, walking and cycling opportunities, and outdoor leisure activities.

3.1 Reduce carbon emissions by supporting appropriate decentralised renewable energy generation

3.2 Minimise vulnerability to tidal & fluvial flooding, without increasing flood risk elsewhere. Also minimise surface water flood risk and harm to water quality and availability.

3.3 Reduce the need to travel by car to minimise environmental impacts of unsustainable forms of travel, including transport related carbon emissions and air pollution. Ensure good access to infrastructure that promotes travel by active modes (walking and cycling).

3.4 Minimise impact on and where appropriate enhance sensitive landscapes.

3.5 To conserve and enhance historic assets, heritage assets and their settings.

3.6 Protect and where possible enhance biodiversity, geodiversity & green infrastructure and allow its adaptation to climate change. Particularly with respect to protected habitats and species.

(If you have specific comments on the Sustainability Appraisal please make them in this part of the document in the comments box below. There is also a non-technical summary and Maps and Proformas which accompany the SA).