Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft

Weston-super-Mare

Weston Town Centre

The Core Strategy sub-divided Weston town centre into three broad areas - seafront, retail core and gateway areas. The Sites and Policies Plan proposes a suite of policies which sets out the detailed policy framework to deliver the Core Strategy objectives. The main elements of the Sites and Policies approach are:

  • Definition of the town centre within which 'town centre' uses are appropriate in principle (this is more tightly drawn than the retail core as defined in the Core Strategy).
  • Identification of the overall strategy and priorities.

Policy WSM 1- 5

Weston Town Centre

 

Core Strategy Policies

CS29: Weston-super-Mare Town Centre

CS21 Retail hierarchy and provision

 

Replacement Local Plan Policies

E/1 Weston-super-Mare Vision

E/1A Revitalisation of Weston seafront and town centre

E/1B Town centre and gateway and outer commercial area.

RT/1 Strategy for revitalising the town and district centres

RT/2 Rejuvenating Weston-super-Mare town centre.

RT/6 Out-of-centre shopping

Evidence:

North Somerset Retail Study (2011).

Policy Intentions:

  • Enhance the vitality and viability of the town centre to better reflect its sub-regional role.
  • Encourage the provision of a better quality and variety of retail opportunities in terms of size and type of premises - from larger purpose built units to smaller shop units, start-up premises and market stalls.
  • Ensure that the majority of any additional retail comparison floor-space capacity identified for Weston is accommodated in the town centre.
  • Improve the quality of the town centre experience through quality design, environmental improvement, lighting and signing to increase the attractiveness of the town centre to investors and customers.
  • Prioritise Weston's unique selling point of shopping by the seaside through creating a synergy between retailing, tourism and leisure - particularly through improved connectivity between the seafront and the town centre to encourage visitors into the town centre and create higher footfalls.
  • To be flexible and proactive in response to regeneration opportunities and redevelopment sites.
  • Retain the amount of public car parking facilities and improve the quality.
  • Support the principal retail focus at the Sovereign Centre and High Street and link this with the proposed development at Dolphin Square.
  • Provide planning guidance on the future role and potential of sub-areas within the town centre, including how to retain their distinctive character, support vitality and viability to minimise vacant units, support independent retailers and scope for alternative uses.
  • Protect and enhance the valued public areas and green spaces within the town centre for people to enjoy.
  • Support and enhance the evening and night-time economy.
  • Improve accessibility and the quality of the approach into the town centre for all.
  • Detailed policies for key development sites.

Background

These policies reflect the NPPF approach of giving priority to redevelopment in existing town centres. Weston Town Centre has attracted considerable investment and redevelopment opportunities in recent years and these policies seek to build on this success. A healthy Weston Town Centre with its good public transport links and social facilities is essential if the town is to be sustainable.

Policy WSM 1: Weston town centre

The extent of the town centre is shown on the Proposals Map. Subject to other policies of the plan, a range and mix of town centre uses are appropriate within this area to reinforce its role as a major commercial and tourist location and enhance the vitality and viability of the centre as a whole.

Within the town centre area priority will be given to:

WSM1 town centre
  • retaining and enhancing A1 retail uses in the primary shopping frontages to retain the vitality and viability of the spine of the retail area from the Sovereign Centre to Dolphin Square;
  • opportunities to increase pedestrian connectivity and footfall and provide new retail floorspace, leisure and tourism opportunities through redevelopment of sites between the seafront and High Street;
  • encouraging the delivery of a range of unit sizes, particularly larger modern units to meet the needs of national retailers;
  • supporting the retention of smaller units providing opportunities for specialist uses and independent traders, including start-up units/low cost facilities in locations which will complement the primary retail focus;
  • retaining and enhancing the character of areas such as Orchard Street, Meadow Street, Waterloo Street/Boulevard and Grove Village to complement the primary retail offer through more flexibility in respect of range of uses, particularly on the periphery of these areas;
  • enhancing the highway corridor and pedestrian routes from the A370 and railway station into the town centre through good design of buildings and spaces, the provision of an appropriate mix of uses and enhanced public realm; and
  • Retaining the overall amount of public car parking whilst improving its quality.

Priority sites for redevelopment within the town centre area are:

WSM 7: Dolphin Square;

WSM 9: St. James Street;

WSM10: Lower High Street East;

WSM 11: Walliscote area (part of site);

WSM 15: Tesco site.

In respect of redevelopment opportunities, Dolphin Square (Policy WSM 7) is the highest priority to provide enhanced retail and leisure floorspace followed by sites located between the seafront and High Street.

 

WSM2 night time economy

Policy WSM 2: Night-time economy

When considering development proposals and new uses support will be given to those which encourage the use of the town by a wider demographic profile during the evening subject to no unacceptable adverse impacts on residential and other uses. Proposals should seek to improve the functioning of the town in the evenings through, for example, good design, imaginative use of lighting and siting of new uses which will improve the safety, image and attractiveness of the town.

Policy WSM 3: Seafront

Within the seafront area as shown on the Proposal Map regeneration of the following sites will be a priority:

WSM 8: Victoria Square;

WSM 12: Birnbeck Pier and environs.

Within the seafront area all development will be required to:

  • encourage increased footfall and connectivity between the seafront and retail areas;
  • through sensitive contemporary design, contribute to the overall seaside character and ambiance of Weston; and
  • reflect the historical townscape character, particularly the solid urban edge of buildings fronting the coast in terms of their height, materials and colour.

Policy WSM 4: Gateway area

Within the gateway area as shown on the Proposals Map regeneration of the following sites will be a priority:

WSM 11 Walliscote area (part of site);

WSM 13 Sunnyside Road site;

WSM 14 Rugby Club site;

WSM 16 Locking Road car park;

WSM 17 South of Herluin Way (Avoncrest site); and

WSM 18 Gas Works.

Within the gateway area all development will be required to:

  • contribute to improved access and connectivity between the gateway area and the town centre along the A370 corridor for pedestrians, cyclist and public transport users; and
  • through good design and landscaping improve the appearance of the approach into Weston.

Policy WSM 5: Weston out-of-town retail area

Within the area shown on the Proposals Map as the Weston out-of-town retail area development and redevelopment will be permitted where:

  • retail uses are restricted to bulky goods retail and any proposals will not harm the viability and vitality of the town centre retail core or seafront area;
  • for new retail development above 200m2 net it has been clearly demonstrated that the sequential approach to retail development has been applied and no other sustainable and appropriate location is available; and
  • other employment generating uses such as business use and leisure (if it meets the test of Policy DM 49 (Proposals for economic development within towns and defined settlements) may be appropriate.

Within this area all development will be required to:

  • make a significant improvement to the overall built form of the area by the use of higher quality design of buildings, layout and landscaping;
  • demonstrate that a coordinated approach has been developed with other retailers and businesses to ensure an improved layout of the buildings and spaces including shared use of car parking and pedestrian links between premises;
  • demonstrate that the enhancement of the gateway into the town on the A370 is included in any proposals which front this road, see Policy WSM 6 (A370 corridor into Weston-super-Mare);
  • ensure proposals fully take into account the Weston Package changes to the road layout and contribute to greater linkages between different parts of the area; and
  • improvements to the public realm are included in the proposals.

A separate evidence paper has been produced setting out the context for the designated Weston out of town retail area. The document can be viewed here.

WSM 6

A370 corridor into Weston-super-Mare

 

Core Strategy Policies

CS28: Weston-super-Mare

CS29:Weston-super-Mare town centre

Replacement Local Plan Policy

E/1B Town centre gateway and outer commercial area.

Policy Intentions:

  • To create a high quality approach corridor from the M5 right into the town centre to improve the perception of the town for visitors and business users.
  • To prioritise the importance of a comprehensive approach to the provision of a landscaped corridor and high quality urban design when considering development proposals and other opportunities. 

Policy Background:

Broad approach set out in Replacement Local Plan and Core Strategy, but need for a more specific policy given the importance of this corridor and the number of redevelopment sites which are located alongside the route.

 

Policy WSM 6: A370 corridor into Weston super Mare

Development proposals and other opportunities affecting the A370 corridor from the M5 to the town centre as defined on the Proposals Map must contribute to the creation of a continuous, co-ordinated, high quality visual approach into Weston-super-Mare.

Priority will be given to a landscaped boulevard approach with street trees supported by high quality design, siting and materials of buildings to create a corridor of high quality townscape and architectural interest. The emphasis is on the view from the A370 corridor and how new development can make a positive contribution to a high quality, prosperous, contemporary and green image of the town.

Proposals for extensions, alterations and improvements to existing buildings should similarly make a positive contribution to the A370 corridor. Developers will be encouraged to remove unsightly buildings, structures and signage as part of their proposals.