Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft

Comment ID 8075617//1
Document Section Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead PH1 View all on this section
Respondent Deleted User View all by this respondent
Response Date 19 Apr 2013

I write to register our support, on behalf of Loc8 Developments (Portishead2) Ltd, for the proposed extension to Portishead town centre.  Our reasons for supporting the proposed extension are outlined below:

  • The current town centre boundary was originally defined within the North Somerset Replacement Local Plan, which was adopted in March 2007.  However, in view of the small and constrained size of Portishead town centre, a number of retail proposals have subsequently been permitted at edge of centre locations - including a Lidl/Travelodge at Harbour Road, a Sainsburys Foodstore at Serbert Way and a Furniture Store at Wyndham Way. In the first instance, therefore, it is considered that the proposed extension provides an ideal opportunity to formalise the incremental "creep" of the town centre boundary which has occurred in recent years;
  • Secondly, paragraph 3.2.70 of the adopted Core Strategy indicates that additional retail floorspace is required within Portishead in order to meet the demands of an increasing population¡on.  In response, therefore, the proposed extension to the town centre boundary will provide additional retail/service floorspace to fill existing gaps in provision, thereby ensuring that Portishead is better able to address the increasing needs of a growing population.  On this point, the National Planning Policy Framework states that ¡t is important that needs for retail, leisure, office and other main town centre uses are met in full and are not compromised by limited site availability;
  • Thirdly, The North Somerset Retail Study (2011) identifies a leakage of locally generated expenditure to stores and centres outside of Portishead.  Accordingly, it is considered that an extension to the town centre boundary will assist in enhancing the quality and range of shops and services available within Portishead.  This will enable Portishead to compete more effectively with stores and centres further afield, thereby preventing trade leakage, consequential vehicle movements and mileage to stores and locations outside of Portishead. This will enhance customer choice, whilst promoting a more sustainable pattern of development - two key objectives of national planning policy;
  • Significantly, whilst there are some vacant units within the town centre, the historic nature of the High Street means that the units tend to be small, irregular in shape and have confined servicing arrangements.  Accordingly, many retailers cannot physically accommodate their operation within the current town centre - as evidenced by the recent permissions for a Furniture Store at Wyndham Way and a Sainsburys Foodstore at Serbert Way.  It is considered, therefore, that a formal extension to the town centre boundary will provide a range of additional opportunity sites which are better suited to the needs of modern retailers.  Accordingly, national retailers who previously would not have been able to meet their floorspace requirements in Portishead, will now have the opportunity to do so.  Clearly, this will further enhance consumer choice and aid the retention of locally generated expenditure; and
  • Finally, a north-easterly extension to the town centre boundary presents an opportunity to further enhance linkages between Portishead Marina and the town centre.  Improved connectivity will increase footfall within the town centre, whilst providing enhanced access to services for those who work and/or live within Portishead Marina.

In summary, an extension to the town centre boundary will regularise the "informal" and incremental expansion which has occurred in recent years in response to market demand, whilst delivering a number of other benefits. Most notably, the provision of additional retail/service floorspace will ensure that Portishead is better placed to meet the needs of a growing population and to retain locally generated expenditure, thereby promoting sustainable economic development.  In sharp contrast, it is considered that a "do nothing" approach would result in Portishead town centre not realising its full potential by better meeting the needs of the local community.  In the absence of such a plan-led approach, there will be continued expenditure leakage to competing centres further afield.