Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft

Document Section Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft Development Management Policies SP1 [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 8142593//11
Respondent Deleted User [View all comments by this respondent]
Agent Deleted User
Response Date 19 Apr 2013
Current Status Accepted

Proposed New Allocation – Land South of Sheepways

The Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft identifies no new housing sites in Portishead over the plan period – beyond those sites that have planning permission but are not yet completed, or are carried forward from the previous plan.  This failure to provide for new housing development at Portishead will see insufficient growth to meet the requirements of the settlement over the plan period. 

The NPPF requires LPA’s to positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area (Paragraph 14).  To do so, and to accord with the presumption in favour of sustainable development, it is necessary for additional sites to be allocated within Portishead.  This is even more pertinent given the remission of a number of key policies contained within the adopted Core Strategy, which is likely to result in a need to identify additional housing development within the district. 

Portishead would be a logical and sustainable location for additional development.  It is recognised that there are no significant sites available for additional dwellings over the Core Strategy plan period within Clevedon, Portishead and Nailsea.  It is therefore necessary to look at suitable sites outside of the settlement boundaries at these locations, and where appropriate, service villages.  This will invariably require the release of some land within the green belt for future development within the plan period.  There are limited opportunities for suitable unconstrained development on the edges of Nailsea and Clevedon, with greater potential at Portishead. 

Land to the south of Sheepway is a logical extension to the existing settlement boundary at Portishead to provide for future development needs.  Other than green belt policy there are no other known constraints.  The site is adjacent to the existing settlement boundary and within close proximity to a range of existing services, facilities and employment sites.  Other than the loss of countryside, the release of this site would not significantly impact on the five purposes of including land in the green belt.  The release of the site would not lead to the unrestricted sprawl of the built up area as defensible boundaries could be established as part of any development.  Development of the land would not lead to neighbouring towns merging or impact on the setting of historic towns.  The release of the land would not have a detrimental impact on urban regeneration, in fact it would support the continued growth of Portishead as a settlement.  There would be a loss of countryside, but this is not deemed to be a significant encroachment.       

Paragraph 83 of the NPPF states that green belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances and through the preparation or review of the Local Plan.  Given the need to plan for future growth within the district, and the lack of available land within the existing settlement boundaries, it is necessary to release some land from the existing green belt.  Land must be located in sustainable locations capable of delivering new housing provision – such as land at Sheepway.  The site can be brought forward without major infrastructure investment and is deliverable within the short term. 

Portishead is a growing town and requires the allocation of further housing sites (over and above those already with planning permission) to maintain the vitality of the settlement.  The site at Sheepway provides an opportunity to bring forward either a non-strategic green belt extension to Portishead, or to form part of a wider green belt extension to the south east of the settlement.  Development in this area would also provide a gateway to the town alongside the A369.  The site would also help support the proposed reopening of the Portishead to Bristol railway.  Without new development coming forward in the area, it is unlikely that sufficient funding will be secured to deliver this important policy. 

Service and Infill Villages

Proposed New Allocation – Land at Farleigh Fields

The Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft fails to plan for sufficient levels of growth within Backwell over the plan period and the benefits deriving from it.  By providing for a higher level of housing growth in the settlement, there is a greater chance of sustaining existing services and facilities, but also delivering much needed new community facilities.  This in its own right would help to enhance the sustainability of the settlement over the plan period.   

The Sites and Policies Plan should allocate further development taking advantage of sites in sustainable locations, such as land at Farleigh Fields.  Land at Farleigh Fields is located within walking distance of the existing shops, services and facilities (within the proposed local centre), community, recreation and education facilities and public transport in the form of bus and rail options.  The site is also capable of delivering a range of market and affordable housing, alongside new community facilities, public open space and green infrastructure.     

Being located adjacent to the proposed local centre the site would be well positioned to support the existing services and facilities available in Backwell.  Importantly, depending on the scale of the development proposed, the site also provides the opportunity to deliver additional benefits through the provision of community facilities and services.  The allocation of an enabling residential development at Farleigh Fields would, therefore, not only help to support and enhance the existing services and facilities available within Backwell, but also provide an opportunity to deliver new and improved facilities. 

The Sites and Policies Plan should not unduly restrict the growth of Backwell.  This is contrary to the requirements of the NPPF and would be to the detriment of sustaining the existing facilities and services offered in the settlement, and providing for improvements over the plan period.  The Plan should instead proactively plan for opportunities for growth by considering appropriate levels, and locations for development.  This would be to the benefit of existing and future residents. 

Land at Farleigh Fields provides an opportunity to deliver not only much needed market and affordable housing in a suitable and sustainable location, but also associated community benefits including the potential for new facilities.  The allocation of the site would also provide an opportunity to deliver a significant area of publically accessible open space and green infrastructure.  As it stands, only part of the site is accessible to the public (limited to public rights of ways crossing two fields).  The proposed development would deliver a comprehensive network of public open space, green infrastructure and landscaping that would be publically accessible to the settlement. 

Whilst we believe that the overall level of market and affordable housing growth provided for at Bakcwell is insufficient, we would also argue that land at Farleigh Fields is more appropriate for residential development than that proposed at Moor Lane.  The land identified at Moor Lane is currently allocated for employment development (as part of a wider mixed used allocation).  There is a danger that by reducing the employment provision of the allocation from 3 ha to 1 ha that insufficient employment land will be provided over the plan period.  There is also a risk that the residential development will be brought forward, with no emphasis given to delivery of the 1 ha of employment land. 

In conclusion, land at Farleigh Fields is located in a sustainable location and is suitable for mixed use development including residential.  It is capable of providing market and affordable housing, together with significant community facilities and publicly accessible open space.  There is also the potential to include an extra care housing facility to meet local demand.  Similar benefits cannot be attributed to the proposed development at Moor Lane.