Local Plan 2036: Issues and Options Stage

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


What does the JSP propose?
The JSP proposes an extension to Backwell village for approximately 700 dwellings (Policy 7.4).

The proposed location is to the west of Backwell on land located outside the Green Belt. The development would need to be sensitively designed to integrate with the village and be appropriate for its rural setting. A development of this scale would require a new primary school, but most other local services and facilities would be found in the existing village centre. Transport improvements are essential to support delivery of the site in the context of the wider transport network which includes improved accessibility to Bristol and the wider principal road network. There is a need for improved accessibility to the rail station. This is an ecologically sensitive area particularly in relation to greater and lesser horseshoe bats and appropriate strategic mitigation will be required. Development will need to respect the settings of historic Chelvey and the West Town Conservation Area.

Critical issues raised through consultation
Consultation responses on the JSP and ‘generating ideas’ were extremely critical of the proposed development location. Many of the strategic issues including the principle of development in this location will be addressed through the JSP
examination. This included the following concerns:

  • Impact on existing road network and resulting congestion. Despite Metrobus, development will encourage more traffic which will transfer congestion to Long Ashton bypass and edge of Bristol.
  • Detrimental environmental impact of new roads on Backwell Common, particularly Backwell Lake and environs and Local Nature Reserve and impact on the strategic gap.
  • Impact on flooding.
  • Concern about lack of existing services and facilities in the village to support the level of growth proposed.

Proposed vision for development
Backwell will remain an attractive and vibrant village set on the edge of the Green Belt. A modified road network will facilitate expansion of the village and relieve pressure on Backwell Crossroads and Station Road and allow environmental improvements within the village. There will be improved access to the rail station and opportunities for walking and cycling. The new development will respect the setting of heritage features including the setting of nearby Chelvey.

Question 19:

Do you have any comments on the proposed vision for Backwell?

How the principles are developing
Design principles in the evolving masterplan seek to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Development to be well-related into the existing village.
  • New Station Road – A370 link to be delivered in advance of development commencing coupled with modifications to Station Road.
  • Design to safeguard and enhance existing heritage assets including the rural setting of West Town Conservation Area and nearby listed buildings. Key plots and hedgerows to be retained to safeguard the open setting.
  • The setting of Grove Farm including views from the main elevation should be protected and the form of development in the immediate vicinity of the complex should respect its historic nature.
  • Design and materials applied to new buildings surrounding Grove Farm should reference the historic palette and styles with a lower density to create a historic core to the development.
  • Retention of historic hedgerows will help preserve the character of the area, and the reinstatement of historic orchards within the new development should be investigated. These are shown indicatively on the concept diagram.
  • Historic field names should be considered for application within the new development to contribute to the historic value of the site.
  • Development form and layout to developed taking into account views to and from Chelvey to the northwest of the development.
  • Strategic ecological habitat mitigation to be delivered including onsite features and links to wider strategic mitigation.
  • Surface water will be managed effectively including potential for on or near site attenuation, and using a catchment based approach to managing water.
  • Green infrastructure will feature as a key element of the development linking through and surrounding development and offering a soft transition to surrounding countryside on the western side. This will be interconnected and multifunctional having ecological, recreational, and environmental benefits.
  • Cycle and pedestrian links will be made into Backwell from the new development providing access to the station. New and improved
    routes will also be located to facilitate views to surrounding landmarks including St Bridgets Church in Chelvey.
  • Station Road will be improved with a new access to the A370 helping to address congestion at Backwell Crossroads.
  • A new primary school will form a focal point within the development located to offer safe and convenient walking routes to surrounding development.

Question 20:

Do you agree with the principles set out for Backwell and would you suggest any changes to these? We consider that establishing the principles is a fundamental step towards developing the detail for development in these areas.

Nailsea and Backwell Concept Diagram

Concept diagram explanation
The plans presented are not final master plans and do not represent site allocations or a preferred policy position. Instead they begin to express some of the principles and themes that are influencing the development proposals at this stage, and take into account engagement undertaken to date. The concept diagram and alternative scenarios presented for each location are indicative at this stage, and prepared for the purposes of the Local Plan Issues and Options consultation. Following this consultation further investigation and testing of options will take place to inform the next stage of the Local Plan taking into account responses to this consultation.

Nailsea and Backwell Concept Diagram:

Nailsea and Backwell Concept Diagram

Key features
1. Employment development well connected to new highway link (4) and close to Nailsea and Backwell station.
2. Retention of a Strategic Gap between Nailsea and Backwell with Backwell Lake set within.
3. Multifunctional and interconnected green corridors across development linking to wider countryside.
4. New highway running through development between Hanham Way and Station Road.
5. Higher density housing around mixed use local centre.
6. Lower density fringe of development on western side opening out to open countryside.
7. Retention and safeguarding of existing designated wildlife areas to west.
8. Cycle and pedestrian links between new development and rail station.
9. Potential new access onto A370 into Backwell SDL (specific alignment to be identified).
10. The setting of key heritage features is safeguarded including around Grove Farm and Chelvey.
11. A mixed use local centre with a range of services and facilities.
12. Potential reinstatement of historic orchards (specific location to be confirmed through detailed masterplanning).

Backwell Alternative scenarios
The alternatives outlined are intended to stimulate discussion on the possible options identified at this stage for accommodating the strategic growth. At this stage these may not be exhaustive as further options may arise following consultation.

Alternative scenario 1: Further development towards Chelvey Lane at Backwell – there is potential to extend the development closer to this route however it may impact upon the open setting of this part of Backwell.


Question 21:

Do you have any comments on the concept diagrams and alternative scenarios set out?

Question 22:

Are there any other options you would add for accommodating strategic growth within Backwell?