Local Plan 2036: Issues and Options Stage

1. North Somerset Local Plan 2036: Issues and Options Document


What is the Local Plan?
National guidance emphasises the importance of an up-to-date Local Plan which provides a vision for the future development of an area, a framework for assessing housing needs and other economic, social and environmental priorities and is a platform for local people to help shape their surroundings. The currently adopted Local Plan in North Somerset covers the period to 2026 and comprises the following three main documents:

  • Core Strategy (January 2017)
  • Sites and Policies Part 1:
  • Development Management Policies (July 2016)
  • Sites and Policies Part 2:
  • Site Allocations Plan (April 2018)

These documents, together with the Neighbourhood Plans form the statutory development plan which is used to help address decisions on planning applications.

Why do we need a new local plan?
The time period for the planning framework is being reviewed to 2036 and the existing plans will require to be updated. The West of England authorities (North Somerset, Bristol City, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire) are working together to prepare a Joint Spatial Plan. This will identify the needs for housing, employment and key infrastructure 2016-2036 and the broad strategy for its delivery. The JSP was submitted for independent examination in April 2018. The West of England authorities are all required to review and update their existing local plans alongside the emerging JSP in order to provide detailed guidance to support its implementation.

What is the Joint Spatial Plan challenge for North Somerset?
The JSP as submitted identifies a need for 102,200 homes and 82,500 additional jobs across the West of England to 2036. While this will be tested through the examination process, the starting point for the North Somerset Local Plan 2036 is the proposed district apportionment.
North Somerset is expected to deliver some 25,000 homes. Of these, some 13,932 dwellings are already committed in existing plans or have planning permission. This leaves sites for new dwellings to be identified through brownfield opportunities in urban areas (‘urban living’), strategic development locations (sites of 500+ dwellings specifically identified in the JSP) and smaller sites (‘non-strategic
growth’ comprising sites of less than 500 dwellings to be identified through local plans).

How the housing requirement will be met:
Existing commitments                       13,932 (to 2026)
Small site windfall                               1,300 (130 pa 2026-36)
Strategic development locations

  • Churchill                                       2,675 (+125 post 2036)
  • Banwell                                        1,900
  • Backwell                                       700
  • Nailsea                                          2,575 (+725 post 2036)

Urban living                                          1,000
Non-strategic growth                          1,000
Total                                                       25,082

What is the purpose of this document?
This is an early stage in the plan-making process. The purpose of the Issues and Options document is to identify the issues which need to be addressed and to receive initial feedback on a range of proposed alternatives. It is not a draft plan and does not contain detailed policies or site allocations. Detailed draft policies will be consulted upon at a later date, taking into account the results of this consultation.

What is a Sustainability Appraisal and will there be one for the Local Plan?
A Sustainability Appraisal (SA) is carried out at all stages of Local Plan preparation. The SA process is designed to help ensure that the plan is compatible with the aims of sustainable development. Sustainable development is defined as development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The main purpose of SA is to identify, describe and evaluate the likely significant effects on sustainability of implementing the Local Plan.

The Sustainability Appraisal consists of a Scoping Report and the Main SA Report. The Scoping Report is the first stage which sets out the context, objectives and approach of the assessment. The draft SA Scoping Report is published alongside this document.

In order to assess what options would be most sustainable for the future development of North Somerset, it is necessary to identify key environmental, social and economic issues that currently exist within the district. Using this information, sustainability objectives are identified which aim to address the issues identified. Five key objectives and 21 sub-objectives are identified in the Scoping Report. These objectives alongside decision-making criteria, used to evaluate potential options, produce the ‘SA framework’ on which the plans emerging policy options are assessed. The SA will inform judgement on what options best achieve the sustainability objectives.

The full methodology of the SA process can be viewed within the draft SA Scoping Report which is being consulted upon alongside this Issues and Options document. The scoping report asks the questions set out below. If you would like to respond to these questions or raise any other issues in relation to the draft SA scoping report please do so directly within the scoping report consultation via this link.

1. Have all relevant plans and programmes been referenced?
2. Is any significant environmental, social or economic data missing or misrepresented?
3. Are there any additional sustainability issues within North Somerset that need to be considered in the development of the New Local Plan document?
4. Do you agree with the proposed Sustainability Appraisal Framework?
5. Is the proposed methodology for the next stages of the Sustainability Appraisal correct?

Following this consultation, all options will undergo Sustainability Appraisal.

A final Sustainability Appraisal Report will be produced which identifies the likely significant effects (both positive and negative) of the plan and reasonable alternatives and will propose measures to reduce or enhance those effects. This SA report will inform the preferred approach which will be put forward in the Publication version of the Local Plan.

How can I comment?
The consultation will run from 3 September 2018 – 10 December 2018.
To comment on the document please visit:

You can make comments either:

You can also look at hard copies of the document at your local library or the Town Hall in Weston-super-Mare or the Castlewood offices in Clevedon. Please be aware that we will add your contact details and comments onto econsult which is our consultation database for planning policy consultations so your comments can be considered as part of the consultation process. Our Privacy Policy is contained within the terms and conditions on E-consult.

What will happen to my comments?
The responses received will help to shape the detailed policies and site proposals in the next stage of the plan. The responses and a summary of the issues raised will be published on the Local Plan 2036 website.

Next steps
The Local Plan is subject to a number of stages of preparation. There has already been some preliminary consultation. A ‘generating ideas’ consultation was held in November 2017 specifically about the proposed garden villages and new communities at Banwell, Churchill, Nailsea and Backwell. There has also been engagement with town and parish councils, business groups and other organisations. There will be further community engagement and consultation on a draft plan anticipated to be available in summer 2019. After that the council will agree a publication version which will be made available for formal representations. The plan is then submitted for examination by a Planning Inspector who will report on whether the document meets the legal requirements and is sound in planning terms. Modifications may be made to the plan at that stage. The council will then formally adopt the plan.