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 the below 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.
This can be found in a link from page 31 of the “Choices” document
Or directly via:
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.
North Somerset Council (NSC) is now consulting on “Choices” as part of the process for creating the North Somerset Local Plan 2038. The deadline for comments is Monday 14th December.
The “Choices” document can be viewed on the link below:
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!! We hope that many residents will make their views known.
Please find below the response submitted by BRA in response to the North Somerset Council consultation
North Somerset Local Plan 2038 – 14th August 2020
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”
(The survey has now closed)
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.
Letter from BRA to North Somerset Council North Somerset local plan 2036: representations to issues and options paper 4th December 2018
9th July 2018
North Somerset Local Plan The first stage in the development of this Plan (which will run to 2036) has just emerged – an Issues and Options Document. It has some interesting, as well as some fairly alarming, proposals specifically about Backwell, and local transport proposals. It is part of a fairly long process, and there will be opportunities for consultation and comment in Summer 2019.
This document can be read online now:
It will need to be consistent with the JSP for our region, and the current version includes the 700 houses on Grove Farm. The Local Plan (page 39) in Section 4.3 ‘Backwell Garden Village’ states:
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.
On Page 26 in the section on Nailsea and Backwell Transport Schemes, it states:
The first phase proposes focusing on developing Nailsea & Backwell railway station as a transport hub with cycle & pedestrian links from the strategic development locations and MetroBus services from the station to join the existing MetroBus infrastructure at Long Ashton Park & Ride. The first phase also proposes a new highway link from the railway station to the A370 near Farleigh. This link offers congestion relief to Backwell Crossroads.
We understand that the new ‘highway link’ would join the A370 opposite Stancombe Lane, which leads to Stancombe Quarry, on the edge of Flax Bourton.
NB – This document is not yet ready for consultation, but it emphasises the need for us all to be alert to future possibilities and to respond when given the opportunity.
Please see the Future of Backwell for the letter of the 5th December 2017 was sent to the whole village on behalf of Backwell Parish Council, BRA and Backwell Resistance
Also see the latest BRA bulletin of the 21st November 2017 on Other Info
The new North Somerset Local Plan 2036 will set out the detailed planning and proposals for North Somerset and can be viewed at
The North Somerset Local Plan covers all of North Somerset, and the above website includes a Backwell questionnaire asking for comments on the plan, though much of it at this stage is “indicative”, particularly new roads. We are concerned that the North Somerset Local Plan is designed to relate to the 700 houses at Grove Farm in the regional Joint Spatial Plan (JSP), but no mention is made of the Backwell Neighbourhood Plan, which proposed only modest developments, within the village boundary, up to 2026. Nothing was allocated to Grove Farm.
The new NSC Local Plan would mean the demise of the current NSC Core Strategy, and would render the Backwell Neighbourhood Plan obsolete.
A NSC “drop-in” event was held at Backwell Parish Hall on Thursday 30th November 2017. There was a static display of information with NSC planning officers on hand to answer questions.
The leaflet Generating Ideas – November 17 was also available at the event which has been scanned in order for it to be added to the website.
The final date for comments on the Joint Spatial Plan and the North Somerset Local Plan was Wednesday 10th Jan 2018. BRA gave guidance on points that could be made the bulletin on the 19th December which can be found on Other Info.