News & Hot Topics

E mail Bulletin 25th November 2020


In the BRA bulletin of 6th November, we gave the results of North Somerset Council (NSC)’s “Challenges” Consultation, and said we would give further information in a later bulletin on the “Choices” consultation, which closes on Monday Dec 14th.

Please read this bulletin, and submit your comments to NSC. It is your chance to make an input on development in North Somerset up to 2038, which will influence what happens in Backwell.

Priorities for the Future

The “Choices for the Future” document runs to 32 pages, and can be viewed on:

On page 9 the document presents NSC’s priorities for the future, which were revised following feedback from the responses to “Challenges”. The most important priorities were:

  • addressing the climate emergency
  • promoting sustainable, low carbon development and renewable energy
  • developing new and existing communities to enhance health and wellbeing
  • prioritising housing development close to services, facilities and jobs
  • increasing job opportunities for all
  • prioritising use of brownfield sites
  • avoiding development in flood risk areas and safeguarding the natural environment
  • developing transport and community infrastructure in step with housing and employment
  • delivering essential new transport for more sustainable and active travel options
  • delivering a range of quality, ‘low carbon’, genuinely affordable homes
  • regenerating town centres

BRA’s Approach to the Questionnaire

BRA has received advice from Lucy White, our Planning Consultant, who is providing the official BRA response, which includes references to the National Planning Policy Framework (2019), the NSC Corporate Plan, and the Sustainability Appraisal etc. The BRA committee has also given its views, together with results from the recent Backwell village survey. These have enabled us to give some guidance to members, but it is important that you make your points in your own words. The intention is for us to provide the official BRA response, with technical matters as required, along with a large public response of residents making their own points.

The Questionnaire

This can be found in a link from page 31 of the “Choices” document

Or directly via:

Consultation Homepage – North Somerset Local Plan 2038: Challenges and Choices Part 2: Choices for the Future – North Somerset Council Consultations (

Q1 Brownfield Sites You are asked if you support brown field development.

Q2 Flood Risk Various questions to answer on development in flood risk areas.

NSC has suggested four alternative approaches to development, each of which is illustrated on an easy to read map.

Q3 Retain Green Belt

Q4 Urban Focus

Q5 Transport Corridors

Q6 Greater Dispersal

Q3 Retain the Green Belt

This is a complex issue, given that the designation of areas needs updating and some of the areas now have limited value. Although broadly in favour of its retention, we have concluded that the Government’s unrealistic housing targets for North Somerset (which NSC is required to meet) are on a scale which is completely incompatible with retaining all of the Green Belt, whilst avoiding the extensive flood risk areas and dealing with climate change / sustainability issues.

Q4 Urban Focus

This has received support from the BRA committee as being the best approach for the big climate change issues, and for Backwell.

We remain of the view that large scale development at Grove Farm or elsewhere in the parish would unacceptably alter the character of our community and should be resisted.  This option does not include major housing development in Backwell.

Q5 Transport Corridors

This approach creates major developments for Nailsea, Backwell and Flax Bourton, along the A370, and on other major roads in North Somerset.

Q6 Greater Dispersal

A glance at this map shows development scattered over North Somerset in many villages, which has major disadvantages.

Q7 Alternative Approaches

Responders are invited to produce their own alternatives. 

We consider the ‘Urban Focus’ approach to be the best option for the future. A possible alternative would be to modify this approach by reducing the scale of development in Nailsea, and to increase development east of Weston beside the M5, and/or at SW Bristol. We believe that Backwell does need continuing, small scale housing developments, similar in scale and speed of development as that achieved in our Neighbourhood Plan. This would be a contribution towards the NSC housing target.

We also consider that one of the biggest issues we have in Backwell is the volume of traffic, particularly on the A370 and Station Road. This must be addressed before there could sensibly be any more large-scale development in Nailsea. 

Completing the questionnaire

One needs to register with an email address and to create a password to start the process. This minor inconvenience is a small price to pay for the subsequent ability to stop and start again at a later date, and even to change one’s answers. It is possible to change your response at any time prior to the closing date. Responses may also be made by post.

The BRA committee would welcome any feedback from your participation in this process.

This questionnaire is well presented and is very important. Please go to the NSC website link above, and help create the Backwell Future that you would like, by the closing date of Monday Dec 14th.

E mail Bulletin 18th November 2020

Dear Member                                                                       

BRA has been asked to publicise the following information regarding the ways in which Backwell residents can be supported for the duration of the pandemic.

Community Support

A message from our North Somerset Councillor Bridget Petty

Many people are fortunate to have family and friends nearby but do you know your neighbour? Could you lend a hand, set up a group for your street; WhatsApp or emails? Maybe you and your neighbours could have a local group and look out for those less connected.

Could you offer to pick up items for each other? I’ve heard of others passing jigsaw puzzles, books or gardening tips. If the weather turns nasty people might really appreciate knowing the neighbours are looking out for them. Feeling connected is an important part of wellbeing. This week I knocked on a neighbour’s door to just check everything was OK. Could you do that for someone you don’t know very well?

There may be people less willing to ask for help, but each of us reaching out to one person might mean loneliness is less, and ensures helping hands are offered.

Backwell Parish Council continues to connect volunteers from the village including those from St Andrews, Meeting Point and Backwell Residents Association and those requesting support across the village.

As a group we are trying to keep self-help information here

If you need help or support email , giving the title HELP WITH SHOPPING REQUIRED or HELP WITH PRESCIPTION COLLECTION REQUIRED or a similar title in the subject. This will help speed up a response. With consent you can refer someone else by email.

Alternatively ring 07985 199724 to leave a message and someone will get back to you.

Volunteers are ready (if you are a volunteer and have not yet been called on, this does not mean you are not wanted. A severe change in the weather or a sudden increase in infections will mean we will have to call on those waiting in the wings). Support might be a regular telephone call from The Meeting Point volunteers or those from St Andrew’s church or the other churches.

I’m delighted to be working with other community groups, dealing with matters from essential needs to the other aspects of community life. I am Backwell District Councillor, I am a busy mum, and trying to support community spirit for young and old across the village. If you have ideas or advice, please email me on or contact me on messenger on Facebook (Bridget for Backwell).

St Andrew’s has a pastoral team that can offer friendship, emotional and spiritual support via the telephone. To make contact or refer others with their consent, for ease please email or if by telephone 01275 462469 (although during covid19 the answer machine is only checked twice weekly)

Any prayer requests will be held in confidence please email or telephone the number above.

E mail Bulletin 6th November 2020

Dear Member

We are sending this bulletin out as we start another lockdown, which is having a major impact on our lives and livelihoods. We sincerely hope that, for all our sakes, this phase will result in a slowdown of the spread of the Corona virus.

In spite of the national restrictions, BRA needs to continue to concentrate on the emerging North Somerset Local Plan (LP), and on two other significant matters for our village, the proposed housing to be built off Rodney Road, and Bristol Airport’s expansion proposal.


 Challenges for the Future – Part 1

Our bulletin in August introduced the consultation document from NSC, which asked for your comments by Sept 2nd. This document covered the “Challenges” in producing the Plan. The feedback from the consultation is given in a 57-page document available on the NSC website in the link below.

The document includes responses to a “call for sites”, whereby significant parcels of land are submitted (not always with the full approval of the owners) as possible development sites, no matter how speculative!

In total 56 sites were identified in North Somerset, of which 3 were in Backwell:

Farleigh Fields                                 21 Hectares

Land around Grove Farm              43 Hectares

Land NE of Backwell*                     37 Hectares

*This land is adjacent to Backwell School playing fields going North and just beyond the railway line. All of this is in the Green Belt.

There has been a number of previous “call for sites”. There is no immediate cause for alarm but it emphasises the need for us to be alert and aware.

The “Challenges” document responses gave the factors that residents considered to be the most important for the next stage of the process.

Some of the many points raised by respondents included hopes that:

  • housing developments should prioritize a good mix of house types – design, size and tenure, with small houses (both affordable and for downsizing)
  • climate change and protecting environment measures should be a top priority
  • housing should be built next to employment
  • services, facilities and public transport, open space and recreational areas should be made as accessible as possible
  • plans would seek to prevent village over-development and loss of character.
  • plans would also seek to prevent development without the necessary infrastructure
  • brownfield development sites should be prioritised
  • green belt should only be developed in exceptional circumstances but sometimes this may be the best option.

 The above seem helpful points to bear in mind when completing the “Choices” questionnaire, particularly when considering ‘The Alternative Approaches’.  

Many members, including those on the BRA committee, reported difficulties in using the NSC website to make their “Challenges” comments. BRA reported this to NSC and we received an appreciative letter from the Chief Executive, Jo Walker. Following the “Challenges” above, the consultation now moves to “Choices”, and we think this is a huge improvement in its user-friendliness.


Choices for the Future – Part 2

NSC’s consultation has just opened on “Choices”, with a deadline for comments by Dec 14th.

 The “Choices” document can be viewed on the link below:

or found here Choices Questionnaire Nov 2020

The 32 pages are easy to read and give a helpful summary of the planning process, making good use of maps of North Somerset to show green belt, areas at risk of flooding etc. In order to facilitate the consultation it presents four alternative approaches to the choice of development sites. Residents are asked to comment on these and give a preference – or even to suggest a fifth alternative. This is your chance to be a planner!!

 One needs to register with an email address and to create a password to start the process. This minor inconvenience is a small price to pay for the subsequent ability to stop and start again at a later date, and even to change one’s answers. Response may also be made by post.

On this occasion, we believe most people will be content to fill out the questionnaire on-line. Members may like to see the whole questionnaire in advance, so they know what to expect. It is attached as a pdf with this bulletin.

BRA will be seeking professional help in making its comment, which will be the subject of a bulletin to members well before the deadline. Residents may of course make their comments before the BRA submission. In any event, we would welcome hearing the views of members before BRA submits its comments.

Please read the 32 page “Choices” document and be prepared to make a submission by Dec 14th.



The closing date for comments was September 9th, with 324 comments against the housing and 2 in favour. At the moment the application rests in the in-tray at North Somerset Council (NSC), and we await further information on the date that NSC will make its decision.



The airport is currently running at 10 -15% of its present capacity, but much has been happening on the planning front. The application by the Airport for an expansion from 10 million passengers pa to 12 mppa, which was refused by NSC in February this year, is the subject of an appeal. We mentioned the Compulsory Purchase Order made by the Airport in September, for the purchase of land on both sides of the A38 at Lulsgate Bottom. This is under consideration by the Secretary of State for Transport, along with the airport’s application for “Fully Slot Coordinated” status, which would increase night flights. The Airspace review which potentially will see increased flights over Backwell has been delayed until 2021. The Parish Councils Airport Association (PCCA), which comprises 26 councils surrounding the airport has provided valuable information which any single village would struggle to obtain. BRA has donated to its Legal Costs Appeal fund. We will continue to monitor these issues and keep you informed.


E mail Bulletin 27th September 2020

Dear Member


This application has received 324 comments against the proposal, and only 2 in favour.  BRA made its submission to NSC, with help from our Planning Consultant, Lucy White, who has spoken at our recent AGMs. In view of the importance of transport issues in this location, we have also employed Paul Lacey, who is well qualified on these matters. He prepared a separate transport paper which was sent alongside our letter. Both of these can be seen on the BRA website under “Taylor Wimpey Housing Proposals”, on this link:

We think that our submission is comprehensive and professional, and that these experts have guided us to make the points most likely to maximise our wish that NSC will refuse the application. We believe that our members will agree that paying for this advice has been a good use of BRA funds.


 On September 15th 2020, Bristol Airport made an application for the compulsory purchase of land on both sides of the A38 at Lulsgate Bottom. This process is technical and complex, with the application going to the Sec of State for Transport. Comments are required by 16th October 2020.

A summary of the application can be viewed on the website below, which has links to the detail of the application.

The CPO is a parallel process to the application by the Airport for an expansion from 10mppa to 12mppa which was refused by NSC earlier this year, and which is now the subject of an appeal.

Bristol Airport Limited (BAL) is obviously hoping that the refusal will be overturned on appeal, because the CPO states:

  “The Order is required to support BAL’s planned increase in the permitted passenger cap at the Bristol Airport from 10 million passengers per annum (mppa) to 12 mppa, which is the subject of an appeal against the refusal of planning application (reference 18/P/5118/OUT). “

A clear majority of BRA members are opposed to the 12mppa expansion. However, this area of the A38 is regularly congested and any improvements in the road junctions would be welcomed by some people. It is unusual to do this under a CPO by an independent body, and raises serious questions and the need for assurances as to the future of this highway. The CPO is premature, given that the new North Somerset Local Plan, and the associated infrastructure transport plan, are still in progress, and the outcome of the appeal for the expansion to 12mppa is awaited. Downside residents are anxious about the implications of this CPO, with maybe further CPO applications if this is seen as a precedent.

LAND INVOLVED IN CPO (source: Bristol Airport Application)

The areas of land are shown in red and numbered for reference in their detailed submission

The full map can be found here Signed A38 Bristol CPO Map

BRA is seeking advice and will respond with a strong objection before the deadline.  Individuals may of course comment directly if they wish by writing to the Secretary of State for Transport, Aviation Policy & Reform, Zone 1/25, Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR before 16 October 2020 quoting the following reference:


with the grounds of objection and the objector’s address and interests in the land. There does not appear to be a route for an email response.


At a meeting in the past week, NSC decided to end its current commercial contract with BIFFA and replace it with a wholly council-owned company to run the services from April next year. More details are given in the link below:

NSC is working to ensure there will be a smooth transition, including transfer of staff, and there will be no immediate changes to the service following the change.

E mail Bulletin 2nd September 2020

Dear Member


Our BRA bulletin of 22.8.20 gave details of this application, and suggested several reasons to make an objection (see below). 

Well done – Backwell residents!  At the time of sending this bulletin there are 191 objections to the planning application, with only 2 supporting it. Comments vary from just a few sentences to well-argued substantial paragraphs on each main issue.

Please respond in whatever way you like. A large number of objections will have a significant impact. We understand that Backwell Scout Group will be objecting.

The link to view comments and make a comment is given below:

It has a button marked “Make a Comment” on the right-hand side.

The process for making a comment is straightforward and we urge all members to do so before the expiry date of Wednesday 9th September.


The school will be open to all its 1800 students from Monday 7th September.

As well as major changes within the school grounds, new arrangements have been made to avoid large groups of students leaving at one time, particularly along Station Road where social distancing is almost impossible.

Among the many changes are:

  • encouraging more students to walk or cycle to school
  • creating a Park and Stride scheme, whereby children can be dropped off at The George, Rising Sun and Nailsea/Backwell Station, rather than at school
  • using the pedestrian gate next to the leisure centre to reduce the numbers on Station Road
  • staggering the finish times from 3pm
  • during lockdown, neighbours were allowed to use the school fields for recreation. This will not now be permitted at any time

Backwell School Headteacher, Mr J Nunes, sent a letter to local residents, Backwell School Communication for Neighbours – August 2020 . Full details on the reopening of the school can be seen on the school website;

A glance at these changes, which are taking place along with some building works, shows how busy everyone has been, and not forgetting the A level and GCSE traumas!!

We wish everyone in our local schools much good luck and success for the new academic year, in these difficult and challenging times.

E mail Bulletin 22nd August 2020

Dear Member

August is normally a month for relaxation, but sadly it is often chosen to launch contentious planning applications! We are sorry to disturb you again in these challenging times.


Taylor Wimpey (TW) consulted on this project last November, and we were also able to discuss it at our AGM last February. An Outline Application (NSC reference 20/P/1847/OUT) has recently been posted on the North Somerset Council (NSC) website, with an expiry date of Wednesday 9th September (we shall challenge this short timescale, particularly as it was launched in the school holidays, for such a large development).

Details can be found on:

This page gives the link to 45 documents, of which 3 are key to a general understanding.

Illustrative Master Plan

This single page gives the site location in relation to West Leigh Infant School and the Playing Fields, with the access from Rodney Road. It also gives a possible layout for the development.

Design and Access Statement

This has 26 pages, giving a summary of the main points such as access, drainage, landscape etc. One of the concluding paragraphs is:

“The document demonstrates that the proposal is a sustainable and modest extension to Backwell, with the landscape, ecology, movement, drainage and place-making strategies being considered as key sustainability components.”

Transport Statement

This has 52 pages. The conclusions near the end of the report are:


“The transport impact of the proposed development on the local road network during peak times is considered to be negligible. It is acknowledged that Rodney Road experiences peaks in traffic demand and on street parking for short periods of times across the day due to traffic activity associated with the school and the Playing Fields.”



“In conclusion and based on the findings of this report, it is considered that the residual cumulative impacts on the road network would not be severe. There are no valid highway or transportation reasons that should prevent the development proposals from being granted planning consent.”

 BRA Response

Despite the claims above, BRA considers that the application should be rejected for the following reasons:

  1. The narrow (and only) vehicular approach to the site in front of the Scout Hut is too small for the traffic from 65 houses.
  2. There are no adequate routes into the site from any direction. The main route, using Rodney Road, is already busy for most of the day.
  3. The field was not identified for housing in our current Neighbourhood Plan
  4. The field is outside the settlement boundary for Backwell.

There are currently 3 housing developments in progress in Backwell, providing a total of over 80 houses. All of these are in the Neighbourhood Plan and within the settlement boundary.

BRA will be seeking professional advice to prepare its formal objection, and will be working closely with Backwell Parish Council (BPC).

How to Comment

 The page referred to above has a button marked “Make a Comment” on the right hand side.

Please make your comment by the expiry date of Wednesday 9th September. The comment from BRA as an organisation will include planning technicalities. Equally important are the number of individual comments, which simply state how people would regard the development from their perspective.


Please remember to complete the two surveys mentioned in our bulletin of 14th August.

Backwell Parish Council Survey (closing date Friday August 28th)

North Somerset Council Survey (closing date Wednesday September 2nd)

E mail Bulletin 14th August 2020

Dear Member

In our bulletin of 23rd July, we drew your attention to the start of the process to create the North Somerset Local Plan 2038.

The North Somerset Council (NSC) Consultation document has 35 pages, but is written for general consumption without undue planning technicalities. The document may be viewed on:

On page 34 of this document there is a link to “Respond on-line”.

This opens up a new document which has 13 questions within the text. After answering the questions as they arise, the whole set can be submitted to NSC directly. There is also the option to email a reply, or use post.

On this occasion, we have decided we should not advise our members on how they should respond, as this consultation is focused on seeking each person’s individual views.

Backwell Parish Council Working Party Survey “The Future of Backwell”

Residents will have received a hard copy of this survey delivered to Backwell households this week. The questions on this survey have some overlap with the NSC questions above, but there are others which the Working party thinks will assist them in formulating a response from Backwell which reflects the views of residents, for future stages of this important but lengthy process.

Access to the on line survey is available via :

This also provides a link to “Background Document”, which is a helpful note of what NSC needs to do to produce the Local Plan.

The Working Party has asked for your returns as soon as possible, but no later than Friday 28th Aug, to enable them to respond to NSC by Wednesday Sept 2nd, after analysing the survey responses.

We hope that as many BRA members, and their family and friends as possible will feel able to complete both surveys. The questions at this stage are concerned with broad concepts and “challenges”. Later consultations will address choices to be made against this background, but it is important our views and wishes are known to NSC from the start of this planning process.

NSC Planning Map

 The link below takes one to a very useful planning map of our area

Members may be interested to see the above map, provided by NSC, which BRA committee members find to be hugely valuable.

It covers the whole of North Somerset, but by moving the + button one can zoom into the Backwell area. The magic of the map is revealed by introducing features from the map legend on the left-hand side, by ticking the appropriate box – then unticking and choosing another feature. The following features are ones that we find most useful:

Green Belt – this has relevance to the consultation above.

Settlement and Town / Parish Boundaries.

Conservation Areas – The 3 areas in Backwell are clearly shown.

Tree Preservation Orders – including dates when granted by clicking on a particular tree.

It is also very useful at a high resolution for finding houses with only names, e.g. in Chelvey Batch.

We hope that many of you will find it as useful as we do.

E mail Bulletin 23rd July 2020

Dear Member

We apologise for interrupting your school holiday period, but we should like to draw your attention to the start of the process to create the North Somerset Local Plan, which we have only just received. The deadline for comments is very tight – ending on Sept 2nd. We are currently examining the consultation and will send a BRA bulletin with guidance and other information well before this deadline.

The Consultation document has 35 pages, but is written for general consumption without undue planning technicalities. The document may be viewed on:

The process has been introduced by North Somerset in the email, printed below.

Best wishes

From your BRA Committee                                                         23rd July 2020

Received from North Somerset Council

The new North Somerset Local Plan 2038

We’re in the early stages of preparing a new local plan for North Somerset. The North Somerset Local Plan will guide housing, jobs and business investment, transport, community facilities and supporting infrastructure in the area until 2038.

It will also shape investment and funding for the infrastructure which will support new homes, workplaces and community facilities for the next 15 years and beyond.

The way we live our lives has changed over the last 15 years and will continue to change in many ways. The Covid-19 pandemic has made us all think about how we plan for the future.

This first stage of Local Plan consultation focuses on the challenges we believe we face in North Somerset and the issues the plan needs to address:

  • the climate emergency and the need to work towards a low carbon future
  • job creation and the allocation of space for business
  • how to provide the right type and number of houses and create new communities
  • creating high quality, sustainable places
  • protecting important green and blue spaces as well as the character of existing villages and towns
  • the future role of the Green Belt.

An online consultation will run for the six-week period Wednesday 22 July to Wednesday 2 September 2020 at

The online consultation will be supported by regular updates across the council’s social media platforms. There will be many other opportunities to get involved and have your say but the time to really influence the development of the new Local Plan for North Somerset is now.

The responses received to this summer’s consultation will guide the next stage of creating the plan, which will focus on the choices around the location of future development.

Have your say and help shape North Somerset’s future.


Planning Policy Team 

E mail Bulletin 24th May 2020

These are difficult times for all. No one knows what the future rate of infections will be, or the financial impact of the disruption. We hope those most affected will see some improvements in the weeks ahead. Many people have commented on the benefits of Backwell with rural surroundings, yet with good facilities. We are pleased that Backwell Lake has recently re-opened for residents to enjoy.

Much has been on hold in recent weeks, but there are some matters that require an update.

Update on Local Plan consultation

Following the demise of the ill-fated West of England Joint Spatial Strategy, North Somerset Council (NSC) has embarked on its own new draft Local Plan (looking ahead up to 2036).

A consultation process was due to start in April, but a combination of the realisation that their earlier attempts at public consultation were flawed, and the Covid-19 disruption has led to a postponement of this process.

We are advised that a two-stage public consultation process will start “in early summer”. Your committee is keen to ensure valuable and informed local opinion is relayed to the NSC Planning Authority at an early stage. We shall ensure our members are told as soon as we have more details of how this consultation process will operate.

Bristol Airport

It is strange to look back to earlier this year, when NSC refused permission for Bristol Airport to expand to 12 million passengers pa, given the current almost clear skies. There is however still the outstanding application for Bristol Airport to become a Coordinated Airport. Comments may be made up to Friday 26th June. BRA members were sent a bulletin dedicated to this topic on April 20th.

Backwell Recycling Centre

There has been much anticipation and concern at the announcement by NSC of the opening of the Recycling Centre on Friday 29th May. At first it will operate very differently. Many similar sites around the country have seen long queues due to social distancing and other requirements. It seems sensible to avoid the Recycling Centre for a couple of weeks if possible. NSC has stated that:

  • The centre should only be used if storing at home is a health hazard.
  • Only one person will be allowed to get out of the car, and there will be no help to put things in a skip.
  • Only one visit per month will be allowed.
  • No trailers will be allowed.
  • Users must obey social distancing of two metres.
  • Users must wear gloves.

It will operate on the former hours and days, but a new ‘odds and evens’ scheme is to be introduced. Different days will be allocated to restrict the number of vehicles using the site. This will be based on the last number on the vehicle’s number plate and whether it is odd or even:  

  • Odd: For example – AB59 REY (1,3,5,7,9) – Monday & Saturday.
  • Even: For example – CD62 WST (0,2,4,6,8) – Friday & Sunday.
  • Both: Odds and Evens are allowed to enter on Tuesday.
  • Backwell is closed on Wednesday & Thursday.

You can find all of the other rules and policies about travelling to the recycling centre by following this link:

The operation of the Recycling Centre may change and potential users are encouraged to check the NSC website before going.

Backwell Motors

This site has been closed during the lockdown, but BRA has been provided with its re-opening details as follows:

Backwell Motors will be re-opening for petrol, shop sales and workshop activities on Tuesday 26th May 2020.

 Please note the revised opening times: 

  • Monday – Friday – 7am – 6pm.
  • Saturdays – 7am – 1pm.
  • Sundays – CLOSED.

Measures have been put in place following government guidelines to keep everyone safe. Although the government has given MOT’s a 6-month extension, please do not wait until then to book a test as we will have a backlog after the extension period ends.

E mail Bulletin 20th April 2020

Making Bristol a Coordinated Airport?

Dear Member

We send our best wishes to members and your families in these troubled and uncertain times, and hope you are coping as well as possible in spite of the many restrictions. Although we are all properly focused on Coronavirus, the BRA committee is trying to keep an eye on other important issues – we hope you will agree this is one such issue.

Much planning and development work has come to a halt during the current lockdown but there is a proposal regarding Bristol Airport, for which comments are invited by Friday 26th June. This bulletin covers this single topic.


Bristol Airport handled 9 million passengers per year (mppa) last year, and has permission to go to 10mppa. It made an application to have this increased to 12mppa. This was refused by North Somerset Council (NSC) on 10th Feb 2020, then ratified by NSC on 18th March. The main grounds for refusal were damage to the environment and the impact on residents. Bristol Airport applied to be granted Coordinated status in December 2019.

What is a Coordinated Airport?

If an airport gets to a certain size, with airlines all wanting the popular slots, it can apply to become a fully Coordinated Airport, working to a four-rotation system, within a twenty-four-hour period. In practice this means that an aircraft could fly out from Bristol in a four-flight onward rotation, i.e. Bristol to Alicante, Alicante to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Edinburgh, finally returning to Bristol.

Fully coordinated means aircraft are in maximum use. Airlines usually need the early morning and late slots to work four rotations. 

Coordinated airports are considered to be at capacity and congested. Consequently, flight time restrictions can be removed in favour of assigned ‘slots’ throughout the day and night.

In the UK, Coordinated Airports include Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, London City, Luton, Manchester and Birmingham. Bristol is currently ‘partially coordinated’ with restrictions limiting times and numbers of night flights (11pm to 7am), to 1,000-night flights during the winter, and 3,000 in the summer.

Bristol Airport’s Application for Coordinated status

As part of its application, Bristol Airport commissioned a 38-page report from Mott MacDonald, aviation consultants, to make its case. This can be seen on the consultation website link below. The report assumed that Bristol Airport would be granted permission to expand to 12mppa. Despite the planning refusal the coordinated status application is still under consideration, with an original deadline of April 3rd, now revised to Friday, June 26th.

The operation of a coordinated airport is very complex, with many regulations and associated procedures. Becoming fully coordinated increases the number of night flights, with major implications for flights over Backwell, including increased noise, CO2 emissions, and night time road traffic movements. If approved, Bristol Airport flights will be allocated by an independent aviation organisation which will assign landing and take-off slots rather than be accountable to local planning conditions.

Response from our MP, Liam Fox

the request for coordinated designation was made in the expectation that the increase in passenger numbers would be granted. This is not the case and, given that there is to be no change of the planning status, it would seem utterly inappropriate to change the status of the airport at this point. There is local suspicion that this is a means to ensure that there is a mechanism to increase the number of night flights without a change in planning permission being given.”

His full letter can be found on his website,

Stop Bristol Airport Expansion

This organisation has a website with suggested responses which members may find helpful.

What has BRA done?

  • One of our committee members, Barbara Harland, has attended several meetings, including those of the Parish Councils’ Airport Association representing 27 local councils, and read key reports. This has helped us to establish contacts, and understand the implications of the airport’s plans.
  • BRA responded before the original deadline of 3rd and contains many of the points made by Liam Fox and can be found here Letter re Bristol Airport Consultation 1st April 2020
  • Liaised with Backwell Parish Council.
  • BRA has written to Bridget Petty, Backwell’s District Councillor who confirmed NSC’s response to this consultation supported the status quo, having ‘recently refused expansion due to raised concern over the impact to local communities and also questioned the need given current uncertainty in the airline industry.’

 What you can do

In any planning consultation, responses from members of the public are considered as well as comments from technical “experts” and formal bodies

We encourage members to respond via email, letter or the website with views on this matter, in your own words, before the deadline of Friday 26 June 2020

By email to: 

Or write a letter to:

Josie Fieulleteau 

Airports and Infrastructure Directorate

Department for Transport

Great Minster House

33 Horseferry Road

London SW1P 4

Or via the consultation website for response

E mail Bulletin 2nd April 2020

Community Resilience Programme

Dear Member

The impact of Covid-19 is growing by the day.  Please find the letter from Backwell Parish Council – Backwell CRP Letter 2.4.20.

It gives Guidance and Useful Contacts. We hope you will read it, and, if possible, please safely check (e.g. by phone or staying at a safe distance) that your neighbours know the content of the letter, which is also being delivered to households.

Keep safe 

E mail Bulletin 19th March 2020

Dear Member

This bulletin follows less than a week after the last one, which was exclusively devoted to Coronavirus, which is affecting all of us. For some it is an inconvenience, for others it is a huge medical worry or a looming financial disaster. We hope that our community spirit helps pull us through.

There are also other matters to consider, and with us all spending more time indoors we hope you do not mind this update.


We received several offers of help from members which we have passed onto Backwell Parish Council (BPC). They are keeping a list of volunteers to give help and a note of vulnerable people who might need it.

Cllr. James Cousins from BPC says

We are delighted to say that at present we are ahead of the game with an ever-growing list of volunteers and at this stage limited requests for help, this will undoubtedly change and as a community we need to help those that are vulnerable near us where we safely can.

Many local groups are offering support to the village. St Andrew’s Church has a pastoral group and would like to offer spiritual and emotional support to residents. Please call the church office between 9am and 12noon Monday to Friday and speak to Justine our Administrator 01275 463469.

BRA will provide support in this fast-moving crisis wherever we can.


On 10th February North Somerset Council Planning & Regulatory Committee voted 18 to 7 to REFUSE plans for Bristol Airport to expand up to 12 million passengers pa.

On 18th March the same committee RATIFIED the decision to REFUSE expansion 18 votes to 5. The reasons for refusal include the application being against North Somerset’s core strategy in relation to noise, traffic, air quality and emissions, the adverse impact on green belt and inadequate public transport links in addition. It was noted there is still capacity for the airport to expand by an extra one million people to 10million passengers within its current planning permission. Bristol Airport is likely to appeal to the Secretary of State and there will be a Public Inquiry. The Parish Council Airport Association (PCAA) covers 27 councils in North Somerset. The PCAA is committed to supporting North Somerset Council (NSC) with expertise and legal costs should it be necessary. The PCAA has provided BRA with much valuable research and information, which has enabled us to improve our knowledge of airport matters. BRA has made a donation to the PCAA to acknowledge this.


NSC is inviting comments on proposals to apply parking charges in many car parks, including some in Nailsea well used by Backwell residents. This can be seen on:

The link has box ticking in response to questions, but contains a text box where you can make your points in your own words. BRA has submitted a letter of objection to NSC’s charging proposals, which can be found here BRA response to Car Parking Charges March 20

Please make your views known to NSC by the closing date of Tues, 31st March.


Our AGM was attended by over 100 people, who were treated to some fine aerial shots of the village taken by a drone operated by a member of Backwell Environment Trust. The BRA team and Lucy White (planning consultant), gave an update on major issues, followed by a lively Q and A session. The minutes of the AGM may be viewed on the BRA website under the “Other Information” tab.


We are delighted that more than 300 of our 450 member households have paid their subscriptions for 2020, helping our funds, which were reduced by the fight against the JSP last year. We will almost certainly need to employ further professional help in the next year or so. We should be very grateful if those who have not yet paid for this year could renew their subscription asap as it will save us reminding you again during the summer!

E mail Bulletin 15th March 2020


Many of our members are likely to be concerned about the Coronavirus situation.

Backwell Parish Council has established a new section on its website which can be reached via the following link:

The BRA Committee is supporting the Parish Council as appropriate, and we hope members will be able to assist friends and neighbours if the need arises.


The minutes and the presentations from the AGM held on the 25th February can be found here 

E mail Bulletin 20th February 2020

Backwell Residents Association a reminder for our AGM

7.00pm on Tuesday 25 February 2020 Sixth Form Lecture Theatre, Backwell School(entrance via Meadow Close off Station Road)

2,000 hardcopies of our newsletter have been delivered throughout the village by our amazing team of volunteers. If you did not receive a copy, or would like an electronic version, we have attached it to this email.

We are grateful to many members who have renewed their subscriptions already, and we welcome a number of new members. We should be grateful to receive membership subscriptions as soon as possible, please. Forms and money can be given in at the AGM; put in the BRA box in the Post Office; or given to any committee member. Payments received now will cover this year until December 2020

We hope to see you at the AGM. The formal aspects will be kept to a minimum so that we can devote most of the two hours to the subjects covered in the attached newsletter and topics raised by members

This was expected to be a brief email reminder!! However, several events have happened since the newsletter was printed which we felt you should be aware of.

Airport Expansion

North Somerset Council’s Planning & Regulatory Committee voted 18 to 7 to REFUSE plans for Bristol Airport to expand up to 12 million passengers pa. The decision to refuse is likely to be ratified in March. The implications for this will be presented at the BRA AGM.

North Somerset Council (NSC) Consultation

NSC is seeking the views of residents on the following 5 areas:

Garden waste & Leisure and sport centres – Libraries – Parks and Open Spaces and Street cleaning. Consultation is open until 7th May.

This may be seen on the link:

NSC is also inviting comments on proposals for car parking charges, which include Nailsea. This can be seen on

This consultation closes on 31st March.

Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP4)

Members will remember the delight in Backwell when the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) for our region was rejected by Government Inspectors at the Inquiry in Bath last summer. Alongside the JSP, was the JLTP4 which gave more detail on the transport aspects, many of us had assumed that this plan had been abandoned along with the JSP. However we discovered towards the end of January that NSC were keen to progress many aspects of this plan to avoid a policy vacuum and to enable them to be able to access funding application for 2036. BRA immediately alerted Backwell Parish Council and wrote to Cllr Bridget Petty with our concerns about the inclusion of JSP trunk roads and access from the motorway across Backwell Common. Extensive work was carried out to raise our concerns and many councillors worked hard reading reports, contacting Transport officers, attending transport briefing meetings with NSC officers to ensure that residents’ concerns were heard. At a meeting on Tuesday Feb 18th, North Somerset Council agreed to accept the proposals in JLTP4 in an amended form. Any proposed new roads associated with the defunct JSP are being withdrawn, this includes the removal of the road across Backwell Common and beside Backwell Lake, plus other roads around Backwell and Nailsea. NSC is now working on a JLTP5 which will be drawn up alongside the development of the new Local Plan which will inform housing and infrastructure development for our area into the 2030s. Given this meeting was only a few days ago, the implications for Backwell will take a while to emerge, but we will have an update at our AGM. Generally, the outcome is seen as positive with the removal of this very unpopular road. There will be additional public consultation with NSC as the new Local Plan and JLTP5 emerge

Backwell Parish Council

BRA has been asked by our Parish Council to publicise the need for interested Backwell residents to become new councillors on their team. Details are available from

January 2020 Newsletter

BRA – January 2020 Newsletter