North Somerset Core Strategy Issues & Options (October 2007)

Core Strategy Issues & Options

5. Main Issues

Listed below are the main spatial planning issues that have been identified in the Topic Papers, Sustainable Community Strategy and Weston AAP work.

General Issues

  • Population growth - at least 17% increase by 2026
  • Growth concentrated in specific areas - Two urban extensions of 9,000 houses at either end of the District
  • Coping with an older/ageing population - and specific health issues
  • High levels of localised deprivation - particularly in Weston-super-Mare
  • Huge range of inequality within the district (health, access, housing)
  • Creating sustainable new communities with a sense of place, purpose and local distinctiveness but which also relate well to the wider urban areas
  • Lack of local identity -assist in promoting the distinctiveness of North Somerset in design, support for local employment, local markets, produce, events and cultural experiences

Economy

  • Achieving employment-led growth at Weston-super-Mare - promoting economic development and regeneration in the regeneration areas and town centre, addressing the dominance of the service sector, providing more high quality office accommodation and skilled employment.
  • The imbalance between housing and employment in the towns and villages across North Somerset which results in out-commuting to other areas for work
  • Ensuring the South West Bristol urban extension relates to the wider Bristol urban area particularly to the regeneration of South Bristol
  • Establishing the quantity and type of employment floor space required for the South West Bristol urban extension.
  • Safeguarding enough land of the right type to accommodate business growth and inward investment particularly in the key employment sectors for North Somerset
  • Restructuring in the tourist market- need to supporting the tourism sector as a key employment base especially at Weston-super-Mare
  • Balancing the needs of the large businesses in the district including the Port and Bristol International Airport, with local communities, sustainability and the environment
  •  Ensuring rural enterprises contribute effectively to the economy, whilst reconciling the environmental impacts (how people and places may be affected)

Housing

  • Building the allocated number of homes within the required timescale without compromising on quality
  • Lack of affordable housing - both generally and for rural affordable housing, and for other specific housing needs
  • Locating the remaining housing growth - outside the urban extensions
  • Phasing housing growth particularly in relation to employment especially at Weston-super-Mare
  • Ensuring efficient use of land to increase overall densities but providing flexibility to achieve high quality environments and to respond to differing characteristics across the district.
  • Identifying locations for additional pitches for Travellers and Gypsies

Settlement Role and Function

  • Establishing which towns, if any, outside Weston-super-Mare should be the focus for locally significant development- and establish what local objectives could be pursued which would not worsen their dormitory status.
  • Establishing the rural settlements where development to meet local needs would improve their vitality and viability
  • Determining the boundary of the Green Belt Boundary extension

Transport

  • Congestion, high levels of commuting and increasing use of cars- worsened by free work place and retail parking
  • Local traffic using the M5 for example improvements needed at Junction 21
  • Growth which could make problems worse but could also contribute to delivering improvements to the transport network
  • Ensuring accessibility for all to education, health and employment
  • Obtaining funding, prioritising and safeguarding transport schemes and facilities to 2026 for example South Bristol Link Road, second Avon crossing, Banwell improvements
  • Poor public transport usage
  • Local road, rail and cycling constraints
  • CO2 and pollution from transport
  • Accommodating the need for parking -particularly in high density developments
  • Increased passengers at the Airport

Culture, Leisure and Recreation

  • Improvements to quality and quantity of leisure, recreation and cultural facilities especially in Weston-super-Mare
  • Lack of regionally significant sporting, leisure and cultural facilities
  • The need to protect existing cultural and community facilities from alternative development.
  • Enabling appropriately located new facilities to meet the needs of existing and future communities including any new open spaces or sports facilities identified in the emerging Sports Pitch, Built Facilities and Green Space strategies.
  • Ensuring new development contributes towards the provision of facilities.
  • Ensuring new facilities in the urban extensions act as a focus for community life and are phased with the development

Retail

  • Establish which centres should grow or where new shopping facilities should be situated such as within the new urban extensions

Biodiversity and Landscape

  • Maintaining and enhancing biodiversity in the context of pressure for development and climate change
  • Ensuring development reflects and supports the local landscape character

Design

  • The need for increased quality of design throughout North Somerset including sustainable eco-friendly development, innovation and design that responds appropriately to its context.
  • Ensure effective 'place making' (giving places their own special identity), prevent mediocre design by providing a more robust design framework.
  • Ensure the opportunity is taken to deliver excellent standards of design and sustainable construction at the urban extensions
  • Poor local identity in some the towns and villages with poor urban fabric and built environment.

Infrastructure

  • Ensuring appropriate infrastructure (for example, schools, play areas & roads) is delivered in a timely way to enable new development and upgrade deficiencies in existing provision

Flood Risk

  • Ensuring that new development takes into account the increased risks of flooding as a result of changes to the climate and how this affects North Somerset
  • Protecting vulnerable areas from sea and river flooding

Energy

  • Improving energy efficiency, the smarter use of new energy technologies and the reduction in energy demand to help communities move towards being carbon neutral
  • Balancing the advantages that can be gained from the use of new energy technologies with the possible effects on the environment, ranging from micro-generators to making use of tidal power resources of the Severn estuary

Waste

  • Securing the promotion of sustainable waste management in the provision of waste treatment facilities

Minerals

  • Balancing the protection of un-worked mineral resources with a strategy to ensure the continued supply for development and industrial purposes

Question 3

Question 3
Have we identified all the key issues?