Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft

Document Section Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft Agriculture DM56 [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 928033//4
Respondent backwellresidents [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 19 Apr 2013
Current Status Accepted

B.1.4 Agricultural Policy:


We support dBNP policies C.12 & C.14 and enlarge as follows:


BRA supports the NPPF paragraph 112 statement that, ‘Local planning authorities should take into account the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land.'  Where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, local planning authorities should seek to use areas of poorer quality land in preference to that of higher quality.’  We submit that land of grades 1, 2 and 3a should not be developed in the plan period since land of lower agricultural quality has been identified.


The draft Backwell Neighbourhood Plan has identified sufficient previously developed land within the existing Settlement Boundary to meet its identified needs in the plan period.  However, if circumstances changed dramatically, as stated elsewhere, then land of poorer agricultural value should be identified before that of best and most versatile higher grades.


Since the CS policies on Service Villages are stated collectively to the nine identified villages (including Backwell), it is necessary to be more specific on agricultural land.  The NPPF states this policy as a duty on planning authorities rather than to a Neighbourhood Plan area.  We submit that if the total number of new dwellings in Service Villages falls short of CS total and ‘significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary,’ then this needs to be considered on a District wide basis. In the circumstances of development being considered on agricultural land in Backwell, it shall first be demonstrated that there is no suitable land in North Somerset of lower agricultural value. 


This may require North Somerset to bring together Natural England’s published Agricultural Land Classification for the District in one publication.  They would then need to encourage Natural England to complete the assessments of those parcels of land – particularly those immediately adjacent to Settlement Boundaries - currently in agricultural use but without formal published classifications.