North Somerset Local Plan 2038 Preferred Options

North Somerset Local Plan Preferred Options: Consultation Draft March 2022


Policy DP13: Highway safety, traffic and provision of infrastructure associated with development

Development will be permitted provided it would not prejudice highway safety or inhibit necessary access for emergency, public transport, service or waste collection vehicles.

Development likely to have a severe residual cumulative impact on traffic congestion or on the character and function of the surrounding area, will only be permitted where acceptable mitigation measures are delivered. All mitigating infrastructure will need to be delivered within an agreed specific timeframe and prior to the aforementioned impact becoming severe. In some circumstances planning permission may be granted subject to the applicant entering into an appropriate legal agreement to deliver or fund the improvements required.


Developers will need to determine the transport needs arising from their proposals and the means by which any adverse impacts will be mitigated. They should discuss their plans with the Council at an early stage to determine the required form and scope of assessment. Guidance on Transport Statements and Transport Assessments is set out in North Somerset Council's Highways Development Design Guide. National Highways will be consulted on Transport Assessments for proposals with a significant impact on the M5.

All development needs a safe means of access from a highway that is suitable for the traffic generated. Where this can only be achieved with an environmental impact (such as the loss of trees, hedgerows or attractive stone walls), the Council will wish to prevent the harmful impact and may refuse planning permission unless the impact can be shown to be acceptable. Many remnants of historic highway features are retained in the network of country lanes forming part of the maintainable highway. Where planning permission is sought for their alteration, including as part of adjacent development, their historic interest and character need to be taken into account.

In addition, the effect of additional traffic on the surrounding road system must be taken into account such as where development introduces traffic of excessive volume, size or weight into a network of country lanes, or residential areas. Where there is a detrimental impact and no acceptable countermeasures are possible, planning permission will be refused.

The Local Plan aims to minimise the need to travel and provide attractive travel choices that support a modal hierarchy which prioritises active transport modes to improve quality of life and environmental conditions for local residents and businesses. Its locational strategy aims to place new jobs, services and facilities where they are easily accessible by non-car modes that provide a realistic alternative to the car. Residential development close to key railway stations will help reduce traffic congestion on the local network. Developers must address how they will contribute to the creation and promotion of more sustainable transport patterns through design, and contributions where appropriate.

The local plan approach allows for developers to provide or contribute towards the cost of providing necessary infrastructure which may be off-site. Development on windfall sites well related to any of the transport proposals in this plan, or to schemes identified in the Joint Local Transport Plan, may be required to deliver or fund part or all of an improvement if it can be regarded as serving that development.

Although developers will not generally be expected to contribute to resolving existing transport problems, planning permission should not be granted for a development that would unacceptably worsen an already unsatisfactory situation. In such cases, a developer contribution would enable the timing of improvements to be brought forward. To accommodate the road traffic it unavoidably generates, a development will be required to deliver or fund improvements to boost the attractiveness of walking, cycling and public transport, or traffic management measures, in the relevant corridor(s) sufficient to maintain overall road traffic at the otherwise expected level. A development may be required to contribute to funding the improvement of rail freight facilities, even where of no direct benefit to itself, if the resultant reduction in goods vehicles on the highway network would overcome traffic objections.

In determining whether the likely consequences of development for traffic congestion are unacceptable, account will be taken of the overall impact. For example, proposals that reduce out-commuting from North Somerset, especially Weston-super-Mare, will have a beneficial effect on the overall level of congestion by reducing traffic on the M5, which will need to be balanced against any detrimental local effect.

Policy DP14: Active and sustainable transport

New development will be designed and located to minimise the need to travel and support a hierarchy which prioritiseswalking, then cycling, public transport, car clubs and finally private electric vehicles.

Development will be supported where:

  • Future occupiers benefit from genuine choice through opportunities to travel by sustainable non-motorised modes;
  • All opportunities to make travel on foot, by cycle or public transport the natural choice over private car use have been included;
  • It is well integrated into, protects and enhances existing pedestrian and cycle routes and the public rights of way network (active travel routes);
  • It is well connected to the existing settlement through a comprehensive network of walking (particularly pavements) and cycling routes, affording direct and attractive access to community facilities and infrastructure and public transport interchanges such as a bus stop or train station. Routes are well defined, lit and feel safe with natural surveillance wherever possible;
  • The design accommodates the needs of people with disabilities and reduced mobility in connection with walking, cycling and access to all types of vehicular transport;
  • It provides an appropriate level of safe, secure, accessible and usable parking provision for both cyclists and vehicle users, in line with the adopted standards. Levels of vehicle parking should reflect the accessibility of the site by sustainable modes of transport; and
  • The use of electric vehicles (including electric cycles) is supported by providing electric vehicle charging points with regard to the requirements set out by the Council.

Development will be expected to contribute to the delivery of local active and sustainable transport strategies for managing the cumulative impacts of growth. Opportunities to improve provision of or access to public transport, in rural and urban areas may be required to mitigate the impacts of the proposed development and facilitate the use of sustainable transport options.

Residential development will be expected to ensure that safe and appropriate pedestrian/cycling links to local facilities, including schools, are designed to the required standard or suitable mitigation will be required.


This policy address the climate change impacts of travel and aims to encourage more sustainable transport modes and active travel.

Road transport greenhouse gas emissions represent a fifth of total UK emissions, the biggest contributor being private vehicle trips. The transport sector is at 49% the largest single source of carbon emissions in North Somerset. This is considerably higher than the regional (South West) average of 24% and the national average of 24% from transport (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 2019). For the West of England region, transport CO2 emissions will rise by a further 22% by 2036 if we don't act, increasing the risk of droughts, floods and extreme heat globally and in the South West. Consequently, North Somerset and the other four authorities in the West of England have declared climate emergencies and are urgently working on action plans to mitigate this. Prioritising active travel will be an important part of North Somerset's carbon reduction action planning.

Current private vehicle trips and predicted growth represents a significant challenge in meeting national and local carbon reduction targets. It is not expected that mass take-up of low emission vehicles will solve the problem alone, nor will it solve the challenges of capacity, congestion, deteriorating health and well-being and pressure on space.

One of the biggest challenges in reducing highway transport emissions is encouraging behaviour change. Planning of new developments offers an important opportunity to influence behaviour from day one. The location and design of new developments is crucial in achieving this.

New communities with poor accessibility encourage private vehicle dependent travel, which undermines initiatives to encourage sustainable transport use in line with net zero objectives and promote healthy lifestyles. New developments provide an opportunity to influence behaviour change and achieve necessary modal shift.

National guidance emphasises that transport issues should be considered at the earliest stages so that the potential impacts on transport networks can be addressed. These include opportunities arising from new transport infrastructure and the promotion of walking, cycling (including other forms of micromobility) and public transport use. Patterns of movement, streets, parking and other transport considerations are considered integral to the design of schemes and contribute to making high quality places.

The NPPF also states that significant development should be focused on locations which are or can be made sustainable, through limiting the need to travel and offering a genuine choice of transport modes. This can help to reduce congestion and emissions and improve air quality and public health, although it does recognise that opportunities to maximise sustainable transport solutions will vary between urban and rural areas.

Sustainable transport aims to reduce the need to travel by car, encourage a hierarchy of modes (walking, cycling, public transport) but also recognises that due to rurality some form of private and/ or shared vehicles are likely to still be necessary. The aim is still to reduce the number of these trips.

To achieve the goal of reducing the need for travel by private vehicle, particularly for shorter journeys, active travel needs to be embedded in design of new places, promoted by parking and design standards.

Policy DP15: Active travel routes

Existing and proposed active travel routes will be safeguarded. Development proposals that would reduce, sever or adversely affect their use or attractiveness, or prejudice the planned development of the network will not be permitted unless acceptable provision is made to mitigate these effects such as through its diversion or replacement. It must be demonstrated that any alternative provision is convenient and safe.

Where appropriate, new development proposals will be expected to provide direct, safe and secure links to existing or proposed active travel routes.

Where a new or improved active travel route is proposed, it shall be designed for use by pedestrians, cyclists and where possible for equestrian users, unless appropriate evidence demonstrates that the route should be limited to specific users.

New or enhanced active travel routes must demonstrate that their design has reflected:

  • The local context and character;
  • The likely users and purposes of travel;
  • Managing potential conflicts between different users;

The usability of the route;

  • Safety issues;
  • Local community aspirations; and
  • Best practice active travel infrastructure standards.


The term active travel route includes any public right of way or other routes specifically catering for travel by pedestrians, cyclists or horse riders, or any combination of these user groups. Strategic active travel routes are set out in the schedule of Policy LP10 Transport Infrastructure. Other routes will be identified in the Active Travel Strategy (incorporating the LCWIP) and guidance provided in SPDs. To facilitate a strong network of active travel routes, the policy seeks to safeguard routes that are available for walking, cycling and horse riding, or any combination of these activities.

Where development is proposed affecting an active travel route, the Council will expect that route to be retained, either on its defined route or on an acceptable alternative alignment. Contributions may be sought towards the improvement of the access network in relation to a proposed development.

This policy also provides for the safeguarding of proposed strategic active travel routes. The schedule is subject to further investigation and more routes are expected to be identified and added to this list. The identification of existing and new routes reflects the Active Travel Strategy and the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan. The schedule of potential active travel routes to Policy DP15 is set out below:


    • Brean Down Way
    • West Wick
    • Bridgwater Road to Canberra Road
    • Side of Ashcombe Park
    • Herluin Way to Locking Road link
    • Weston Villages - routes as identified in planning applications
    • Saint George to A370 cycle link
  • Summer Lane - Grumblepill Ryhne path via M5 accommodation bridge


  • Parallel to Valley Road between Walton Road and Woodland Glade
  • Parallel to Blind Yeo - Lower Strode Rd to Hazel Close
  • Parallel to Blind Yeo, west of M5 to Manmoor Lane
  • Parallel to Blind Yeo, sluice to Lower Strode Rd
  • Parallel to Middle Yeo, Marshalls Field to Strode Road; Strode Road to Hill Moor
  • Tweed Road to Fosseway
  • Seaward side of Marshalls Field
  • Clevedon/Kenn/Yatton (Strawberry Line Extension).
  • M5 culvert bypass route
  • Link path from B3133 to Duck Lane, Northend
  • Path alongside Clevedon Rugby Club route from adopted path to south to Great Western Way


  • Off Mizzymead Road (rear of Porlock Gardens and Ash Hayes Drive)
  • Through Scotch Horn Centre, across playing field to Nailsea Park
  • Nailsea Park to Trendlewood Way
  • Path from Brockway to High Street
  • Path through Nowhere Woods
  • Nailsea orbital route


  • Harbour Rd to Cabstand via Precinct
  • Sheepway - reserves path - Ashlands
  • Bristol Road verges to enable continuous footway
  • Path alongside 'the Drain'
  • North bridge over Drain to Brampton Way
  • Trinity School south west to connect to adopted routes

Villages & countryside

  • Yatton/Congresbury/Churchill/Winscombe and Sandford to NSC boundary - route of former railway line (Strawberry Line path)
  • Easton-in-Gordano/Pill - Ham Green Hospital site and St Katherine's School
  • Easton-in-Gordano/Pill/Portbury - Marsh Lane to A369 Motorway Service Area
  • Easton-in-Gordano - sections at Lodway Close and The Breaches
  • Long Ashton/Flax Bourton/Backwell - Route parallel to railway and Long Ashton Bypass, avoiding A370
  • Congresbury/Churchill/Wrington/Burrington/Blagdon - route of former railway path avoiding B3133/A368
  • Moor Lane to Chelvey Road
  • Festival Way (Parsons Farm) to South Bristol Link (A4174)
  • Kingston Seymour/Wick St Lawrence - route of former light railway line and sluice crossings
  • Clevedon to Nailsea
  • Portbury to Clevedon Rd (B3128)
  • Nailsea to Wraxall
  • Portishead to Clapton Court
  • Portishead to Clevedon (Gordano Greenway)
  • Portbury Bridleway links
  • Banwell bypass to Strawberry Line link
  • A38 Active Travel Corridor
  • Ashton Vale into Bristol via South Liberty Lane
  • Parallel or along Clapton Lane from Portbury village to Portishead
  • England Coast Path
  • Tyntesfield - link to Portbury Lane

Policy DP16: Public transport accessibility

All residential development should be within reasonable distance of a direct and frequent bus service providing access to a good range of facilities, services and jobs via a direct, safe and attractive pedestrian route. Infrastructure improvements to provide direct pedestrian or cyclist access to, and improvement of, bus stops may also be required.

Developments will, as appropriate, be expected to encouragethe use of public transport and delivery of effectiveand convenient services. This will include the integration of routes within residential areas, bus priority measures, direct routes to well-located public transport infrastructure, improved bus stop facilities, supporting interchange between different modes, higher density development in proximity to public transport, and contributions to enhanced levels of service.

Where residential accommodation for the elderly or mobility impaired is proposed but provision for community transport serving the area does not exist, proposals must demonstrate that such provision, including capacity for wheelchairs, is made ahead of occupation.

For non-residential development, bus services should operate during the hours that the facility is open to users and reflect the targets on service frequency.


The Council is working in partnership with the West of England Combined Authority and local bus operators to improve bus services for all users and meet the objectives set out in the National Bus Strategy. The West of England Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) sets out ambitious targets to reduce bus journey times, increase patronage and passenger satisfaction and work towards making all buses zero emission by 2030.

This policy sets out transport accessibility criteria that should be used to assess development. These are minimum criteria to which developments should conform. Tighter standards should be set in liaison with the Council where appropriate.

In terms of locating development within a 'reasonable distance' this means a maximum of approximately 400 metre walking radius of a bus stop with a service frequency as identified below. It is acknowledged that developments occurring in more rural locations may not be able to show that they meet the 400 metre walking distance. In such locations this should not be more than 600m.

The appropriate bus service frequency must comply with the following principles of frequency based on population size:

Large urban areas (25,000+) [eg Weston-super-Mare]: Minimum frequency of 15 minutes. 

Inter urban services [eg A370 corridor]: Minimum frequency of 15 minutes. 

Small urban areas (10,000-25,000) [eg Clevedon]: Minimum frequency of 30 minutes. 

Medium and large rural areas (1000-10,000) [eg Yatton]: Minimum frequency of 60 minutes. 

Small rural area (1000) [eg Kingston Seymour]: Demand Responsive Transport unless on main public transport corridor.

In small rural areas demand responsive transport and transport hubs could be used to link passengers onto fast frequent services. 

For both residential and non-residential development, the target bus service frequency should be as follows. Minimum frequencies will apply between 07:00-19:00 Monday to Saturday, with 50% of minimum frequencies outside these times and 30% between 09:00-19:00 on Sundays.  Depending upon the scale of the development and its location, it may be appropriate to provide higher bus service frequencies.

The nearest appropriate bus stops must be compliant with the necessary

disability legislation with raised kerbs. In some locations other work will be required in order to make bus stops safe and to be able to install raised kerbs.

Policy DP17: Travel Plans

Travel Plans are required for all developments which generate significant amounts of movement including:

  • Major residential, commercial, service and educational developments;
  • Smaller developments that would generate significant amounts of movement;
  • New or significantly extended schools;
  • Development comprising or involving a significant increase in existing car parking provision at employment, retail or leisure sites, schools, colleges, hospitals or health centres;
  • Development proposals in locations where traffic conditions have been identified as a matter of concern by the local highway authority, which may include smaller residential, commercial, service or educational developments below the relevant thresholds; and
  • Where there is inadequate transport infrastructure in the area, as identified in (but not limited to) the Local Transport Plan.

Travel Plans will aim to reduce car use generated by the development and to deliver other sustainable transport objectives, related in scale and kind to the development. Planning conditions will be attached, or a planning obligation sought, to require adoption of the Travel Plan prior to occupation and its successful implementation post occupation.


A Travel Plan is a long-term management strategy put in place at the planning application stage to help facilitate travel by sustainable means within and between neighbourhoods and other developments, and to reduce car dependency. They are required for all developments which generate significant amounts of movement including residential developments, businesses, schools, retail and leisure facilities.

The existing Travel Plans Supplementary Planning Document (2010) will be reviewed. This sets out more detailed guidance in relation to the development, implementation and monitoring of travel plans. A revised SPD will allow the Council to better manage Travel Plans and Travel Plan Statements by setting out the requirements that aim to ensure a consistent approach across North Somerset, in line with the other West of England authorities. It is an important tool to support delivery of the North Somerset Active Travel Strategy and Climate Emergency Strategic Action Plan, to encourage a greater proportion of trips by active travel modes, shape active travel neighbourhoods, reduce car travel and encourage sustainable travel, especially walking opportunities for journeys less than one mile.

Indicative thresholds for when a Travel Plan or Travel Plan Statement are required are set out in the SPD and also in the North Somerset Highway Development Design Guide. Thresholds are based on those set out in Appendix B of the Department for Transport Guidance on Transport Assessment March 2007 and are based on size or scale of development. The threshold for residential developments has been adapted to local needs.

In line with National Planning Policy Framework, North Somerset Council reserves the right to request a Travel Plan for any development where the Council considers that the transport impact will be significant. Where a mixed-use development is below the relevant threshold, but the combined development is considered significant, the Council will require a Travel Plan. Smaller developments delivered in phases are also likely to require a Travel Plan if the thresholds outlined are met or the cumulative transport impact is significant.

Policy DP18: Parking

Development proposals should meet the adopted standards for the parking of vehicles and cycles. For any use not covered by these standards, provision will be assessed according to individual circumstances, having regard to the transport objectives of the Council. Regard will be given to the provisions of any submitted Travel Plan.

Parking arrangements should be of high quality, functional and inclusive design. Development will not be permitted if the parking arrangements would unacceptably harm the character of the area or the safe and effective operation of the local transport network.

Planning applications must demonstrate that the functional parking needs of the development can be accommodated on or close to the site without prejudicing highway safety or resulting in an unacceptable impact on on-street parking in the surrounding area. In addition, adequate space must be provided for the parking of vehicles waiting to load or unload. The parking of these vehicles on the highway will not be acceptable where it leads to highway safety issues or unacceptable delay.

The Council will support developments with reduced provision for parking in highly accessible locations, well integrated into the existing settlement with easy and direct access to local facilities via active modes of travel. Such developments must be well served by public transport and should have access to a car club vehicle.

All new development must be designed to ensure that sufficient electric vehicle parking and associated infrastructure is provided in both private and public parking areas.

Car Parks:

Re-development of car parks that would result in the reduction of off-streetcar parking spaces will only be permitted where:

  • Any net resulting increase in on-street parking would not unacceptably harm the character of the area, highway safety or the effective operation of the surrounding highway network; and
  • The location has good access to means of travel other than the private car;


  • Under-provision of car parking can be replaced with park & ride or multi-storey spaces, where appropriate;
  • The car park is operating under capacity and there is no likelihood of increased usage of the car park; or
  • The community benefits arising from the development outweigh the harm from the loss of car parking spaces.


Sustainable development principles encourage a reduced reliance on car use (including electric cars). Alternatives to the private car are easily accessible, widely available and offer residents an attractive alternative to reliance on private vehicles, particularly for local trips. However, whilst car ownership levels vary considerably across North Somerset, it is recognised most households in North Somerset will still own a private vehicle and experiences from recent housing developments has shown that providing too few parking spaces can cause a wide variety of issues. These include parking in inappropriate locations, causing obstructions for service and emergency vehicles and creating a nuisance for other residents.

Nevertheless, in line with the aspiration to become carbon neutral by 2030, the Council will be supportive of low-car development in accessible locations that are well served by public and active modes of travel, have good local facilities and are less reliant on private vehicle ownership. Proposals must be accompanied by sufficient evidence to demonstrate that a lower level of parking will not have a detrimental impact on local highway conditions.

In 2017, the government announced its Clean Growth Strategy, pledging to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 (revised down to 2030 in November 2020). This was followed by the Road to Zero Strategy in 2018 which set out the government's ambition for at least 50% of new car sales to be Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVS) by 2030, and to develop one of the best Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure networks in the world. The NPPF also states local parking standards should consider the need to provide adequate provision of spaces for charging plug in and other ultra-low emission vehicles in safe, accessible, and convenient locations. As such, all new developments are required to meet the Council's standards for the provision of electric vehicle charging points in both residential and non-residential development. This will support the uptake of ULEVS across North Somerset and help facilitate the Council's ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.

In order to ensure the issues associated with the redevelopment of car parks are fully addressed, parking for traditional shopping, leisure and other destinations places including employment centres needs to be appropriately managed to ensure their vitality and viability.

Policy DP19: Airport related car parking

Priority will be given to the provision of airport related car parking within the Bristol Airport Green Belt inset and where it is justified by a demonstrable need, forms part of a sustainable approach to surface transport access to the airport in line with the transport hierarchy and does not undermine increases in public transport modal share.

Any additional or replacement airport-related parking will only be permitted where it does not undermine the objectives of the Airport Surface Access Strategy objectives.

For proposals that do not fall within the Green Belt inset, airport-related parking will only be permitted, where it is justified by a demonstrable need and is consistent with the aims and objectives set in the Airport Surface Access Strategy, particularly in respect of improving the sustainability of surface transport access to the airport. Such proposals will only be supported where they are

  • Reasonably required to service existing overnight accommodation and proportionate to the size of the accommodation located on the same site as the parking;
  • At transport hubs;
  • Easily accessible to the Strategic Road Network and along public transport routes, providing a clear walking route to bus stops; and
  • Do not have a detrimental impact on the surrounding landscape or harm the living conditions of residents.


The approach to proposals for airport related car parking is to ensure that it does not undermine the Airport Surface Access Strategy (ASAS). Any demonstrated need arising from the airport's operation should be met in the Green Belt inset to minimise harm to the Green Belt. The aim is to appropriately manage the demand for travel by car by ensuring that the provision of car parks is secondary to the need to significantly improve alternative travel choices, especially the use of public transport. An over-provision of car parking would reduce the ability to delivery a significant shift to public transport and the objective of reducing the proportion of car trips to and from the Airport.

It is important that the Green Belt is protected from inappropriate development. Numerous appeal decisions have established that car parking is inappropriate development in the Green Belt, which should not be approved except in very special circumstances. Off-site parking away from the airport has also been found to be unsustainable and/or undermining of the ASAS.

Airport-related car parking additional to that approved at Bristol Airport could be considered acceptable when it is essential in association with existing overnight accommodation located on the same site provided proposals do not result in encroachment to the countryside or have a detrimental impact on the surrounding landscape.

The provision of additional car parking spaces should be consistent with the aims and objectives of the Airport Surface Access Strategy in operation at the time the proposal comes forward. Any future car parking proposal must comply with the target set in any future version of the ASAS.