North Somerset Local Plan 2038 Preferred Options

Comment ID 39305601//5
Document Section North Somerset Local Plan Preferred Options: Consultation Draft March 2022 3. Strategic Policies SP3: Spatial strategy SP3: Spatial Strategy View all on this section
Respondent jennahm View all by this respondent
Response Date 29 Apr 2022
Please select one of the following statements:
  • Support the policy allocation with amendments (provide details in the comments box below)

Villages were the original 20-minute community

It is not necessarily true that development at villages is less sustainable.  This particularly applies to villages in NS 2038 that have a settlement boundary.  Villages are important to the character of NS.  Before cars, villages were the original 20-minute communities.  Villagers could access local services and amenities within a 20-minute walk.  The NS population is older than average across the UK.  The older people in our village who have been there for 30+ years will have to downsize as they become unable or unwilling to drive to local shops.  As older people are more likely to rely on public transportation in a village, this will reduce demand for public transport further.  The village supports even fewer services, so villagers drive more. 

We want our village to be safe, with clean air, fewer cars and more space for nature, where people of all ages participate in the community.  What if villages are able to develop at least basic services?  We think development in villages can “reflect community needs” AND be sustainable.  We think there are three ingredients.

Allow infill development, per DP2, but specifically encourage “Missing Middle Housing” ie allow multi-unit housing which is compatible in scale to single family homes. (FN) This does not change the scale of the housing in a village, but makes it more dense, eg convert a 2,000sq ft house to 3 x 700 sq ft flats.  For older homeowners, this could provide them with a source of income, allow for shared cost of retrofitting carbon and biodiversity positive features such as better insulation, heat pumps, solar panels etc.  It may also provide attractive housing for a single person or couple with no children, to live locally.

Create green transport hubs at each village/ town, max 10-15 mins walk, so that increased densification does not lead to traffic congestion.  This could look like a park-and-ride at the Town Hall, with space for EV car/ bike/ mobility scooter/ golf buggies charging, EV car share, sheltered bus stop, secure grocery delivery.  If these can be planned, then Missing Middle Housing would not need parking provision, which could be used for shared garden space and council-led rewilding.  If people are willing to walk 10 mins to their green transport hub, perhaps they would be willing to do the same with their recycling/ composting/ general rubbish.  This would make waste collection more efficient.  A pilot green transport hub can be tested at a local village for say 6 months to see how it would work in practice.  Could we have the first car-free village in the SW.    

As villages densify, this may also support waste-to-energy, especially with technological improvements over the next 15 years.  Our village of around 800 people is not connected to mains sewage, which is worrying given that not everyone’s septic tanks and soakaways are inspected as often as they could, people have installed different standards of equipment over time, many of which are leaking, in the meantime children and other vulnerable people are being exposed to sewage in their gardens, especially during extreme climate events.