Local Plan 2036: Issues and Options Stage

Document Section 1. North Somerset Local Plan 2036: Issues and Options Document Backwell Q21. Do you have any comments on the concept diagrams and alternative scenarios set out? [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 10410369//6
Respondent Taylor Wimpey UK Ltd (DLP) [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 10 Dec 2018
Comment

Land at Grove Farm, land at Burnt House Farm and Rodney Road, Backwell has been identified as one of the SDLs in the JSP due to its highly sustainable location. TW fully support and endorse the identification of the Backwell SDL as a location for sustainable housing development. TW believe that development at Grove Farm would serve as a catalyst
for further growth in the area and support the delivery of the identified strategic infrastructure. An enclosed Site Location Plan (Appendix 1) shows the location of the site.

Site Context

The Backwell SDL is within Flood Zone 1, it is not located within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) or Conservation Area and is not within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The site is situated to the west of Backwell’s settlement boundary and approximately 900 meters from Backwell village centre. The overall vision for the development is to deliver a sustainable urban extension to the west of Backwell, which is fully integrated into the existing village.

A small proportion of the site, between Chelvey Road and the A370, is within the Green Belt, however the emerging masterplan does not include any buildings on this part of the site. This section of the site is currently proposed to be used for school playing fields and enabling transport infrastructure, thereby retaining the openness of the Green Belt in this location.

With the exception of a handful of properties at West Town and Moor Lane to the north, the landholdings do not generally abut residential properties. They do, however, abut public open space and a children’s play area to the north and West Leigh Infant School and Backwell Playing Fields to the west. It can therefore be concluded that the site is not subject to any
fundamental physical development constraints.

The site has good links to existing public transport infrastructure. The railway line runs to the north of the site and Nailsea and Backwell Station is on the railway line linking Weston-super- Mare (WsM) to Bristol City Centre and beyond. The village is therefore on the main transport corridor to both Bristol and WsM. There are existing footpath links to the north of the site that provide direct access to the station.

TW, as one of the major national housebuilders, have a proven record of delivering large scale housing sites throughout the UK. Development at the Backwell SDL can be brought forward early in the plan period, allowing for elements of the infrastructure to be delivered alongside much needed new housing development.

An outline application is in preparation and is to be submitted to North Somerset Council early in 2019. Taking into account the time taken to obtain outline planning permission, reserved matters approval and the discharge of all pre-commencement conditions, it is anticipated that work will commence on site in 2022.

It is estimated that initial delivery of residential units on the site would occur in 2023. It is suggested that development would occur initially on the Rodney Road parcel to the north of the site, where around 65 units could be delivered early-on over an 18-month period (completed by 2024/25). During this period, the necessary site access infrastructure proposed at the southern end of the site would be built and delivered by 2024. From then on this would allow for the delivery of further housing development.

TW are in the process of producing a masterplan of the site. Vehicular site access will be taken off the A370 in the form of a new roundabout. The primary route extending from this access point is configured in a loop and designed to accommodate a cycle/pedestrian only route through to Station Road. A network of secondary and tertiary routes supports the spine
road to form a sustainable circulation strategy, employing the principles of streets hierarchy and legible environment and enabling pedestrian/cycle access back to existing village facilities to the north-east.

Access to the parcel at the north-east corner of the site is to be provided separately off Rodney Road, to serve circa 65 dwellings on that parcel, with no through routes into the remaining residential parcels.

Retail/community uses are proposed on the site, along the primary route, and a 2FE school is proposed near the site entrance. New pedestrian and cycle routes are proposed to integrate with and consolidate the existing Public Rights of Ways (PROWs). The network of proposed and existing pedestrian routes are incorporated in the green infrastructure, forming an attractive setting to the residential parcels.

The north-south PROW is proposed to be upgraded to a cycle route to assist in enhancing connectivity to Backwell, while situated within the substantial proposed green open space at the western edge of the proposal. This green amenity space, on the western slope of the ridge, provides an ecological buffer for the existing wildlife habitat and softens the transition
from the developable area to the open countryside, as well as affording extensive views out to the west, towards the open countryside and to St Bridget’s Church.

Additional substantial green amenity spaces are proposed at the southern edge of the site, as part of the Green Belt, and along the existing north-south drainage ditch, forming part of a green-blue corridor, contributing to the scheme’s drainage strategy. Attenuation basins and swales incorporated within the western green open space will support the green-blue corridor to form the drainage strategy, while providing an opportunity to enhance biodiversity and wildlife habitat.

The proposed layout has been designed to allow for sufficient depth of residential parcels, allowing active frontages onto the public realm and promoting a sense of security and passive surveillance.

The land at the Backwell SDL is already assembled. The whole of the site is within the ownership of three parties (Land at Grove Farm, Land at Burnt House Farm and Rodney Road) and TW benefit from signed Option agreements. There are no legal or ownership barriers to the site coming forward for development.

Conclusions

As set out above, TW support the preparation of the NLP and the identification of Land at Grove Farm, Backwell as a suitable location for housing development. TW have the following main representations:
• TW are broadly in agreement with the issues and challenges identified in the NLPIO regarding the Backwell SDL and note the potential consideration of local Green Belt amendments to form a permanent boundary alignment along the access to the Backwell SDL from the A370;
• TW are generally supportive of the proposed vision and the majority of the design principles set out on the Backwell SDL. However, they do question the rationale and justification of the second design principle whereby the Council require the delivery of the new Station Road to A370 link in advance of development commencing;
• TW are supportive of the current extent of the Backwell SDL and its indicative capacity of 700 dwellings and do not consider there to be any other alternative options to accommodate strategic growth at Backwell due to the existing Green Belt designation;
• TW contend that the NLP policy on affordable housing should be compliant with the revised NPPF and supported by an appropriate viability assessment that ensures the delivery of SDLs in North Somerset is not undermined by a combination of on/off site infrastructure, CIL and affordable housing requirements; and
• Taking into account the time taken to obtain outline planning permission, reserved matters approval and the discharge of all pre-commencement conditions, it is anticipated that work could commence on site in 2022. It is estimated that initial
delivery of residential units on the site would occur in 2023 with completion of the whole site by 2033. The Backwell SDL has the potential to be an early delivering strategic site.

Summary
Explanation of the advantages of land at Grove Farm and its deliverability.
Attachments