Site Allocations Plan March 2016

Settlement Boundaries


Settlement boundaries are a well-established planning tool for directing development to the towns and other settlements. The settlement boundaries in North Somerset have been well established through a succession of planning documents. The Core Strategy deleted some of the settlement boundaries of the smaller villages. 

The primary function of the settlement boundary is to prevent sprawl and concentrate development appropriate to the scale and needs of that community. Settlement boundaries define the limit of development that is necessary to preserve and maintain the character and separate identity of many of the towns and villages in North Somerset. Where possible, settlement boundaries have been drawn to follow features on the ground, although in certain instances, e.g. large residential curtilages, this is not always practical.

Given that only limited development is envisaged outside the towns it is considered that there is no justification for a comprehensive review of settlement boundaries. Exceptions have been made at those locations where settlement boundaries have been extended to encompass recent development. At this stage settlement boundaries have not been amended to take into account proposed new housing allocations. However when the plan is adopted it is anticipated that the settlement boundaries will be redrawn to take into account these development proposals.

For the purposes of this Plan, ‘countryside’ is defined as all land outside defined settlement boundaries .It is important that the distinction between the countryside and  the adjoining built up area is maintained by restricting the spread of residential curtilages into adjoining  fields. This can have a detrimental impact on the rural setting of a village or town.

Green Belt

Para 83 of the NPPF states “Once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of the Local Plan. At that time, authorities should consider the Green Belt boundaries having regard to their intended permanence in the long term, so that they should be capable of enduring beyond the plan period.”

Policy CS6 (remitted) of the Core Strategy states that “Within North Somerset the boundaries of the Bristol – Bath Green Belt will remain unchanged during the plan period (i.e. up to 2026).” Policy DM12 of the Sites and Policies: Part 1 Development Management Policies confirms that the Green Belt boundary is shown on the Proposals Map

Despite the housing numbers in the Core Strategy increasing to 20,985 over the period 2006 to 2026 this Site Allocation Plan (see Table 1) makes it clear that this housing target can be met without requiring any amendments to the Green Belt. Therefore no exceptional circumstances exist as required by Para 83 of the NPPF.

Policy SA 1: Settlement Boundaries

Settlement boundaries for the towns, service and infill villages are shown on the Proposals Map. The boundaries define the area within which development may be acceptable in principle subject to the detailed policies of the Core Strategy, Sites and Policies Plan Part 1: Development Management Policies, and any relevant neighbourhood plans.  Land outside of these boundaries is regarded for planning policy purposes as countryside.

The extension of a residential curtilage, including the extension into the countryside of the curtilage of a dwelling located within a settlement boundary, will be permitted provided that it would not harm the character of the surrounding area or the amenities of adjoining occupiers.