CS28: Weston-super-Mare

CS28: Weston-super-Mare

Weston-super-Mare will be the primary focus for development within North Somerset. The town will accommodate 12,000 new dwellings and about 10,000 jobs between 2006-2026 as part of an employment-led strategy to deliver improved self-containment and reduced out-commuting during the plan period.

New development in Weston-super-Mare will be focused on two key locations:

The Weston urban extension where the emphasis is on comprehensive development to create sustainable new communities and linked to employment areas (see Policy CS30).

The town centre and gateway where the emphasis is on the regeneration of a range of key sites to stimulate investment, including residential, retail, employment and leisure opportunities (see Policy CS29).

No strategic development will be permitted to the east of the M5 motorway. The settlement boundary of Weston-super-Mare will be extended to incorporate the Weston urban extension.

Within Weston-super-Mare, new development proposals will be encouraged where they:

1) Contribute to increasing self-containment and do not further exacerbate the existing unsustainable jobs/homes imbalance in the town. Large sites proposed for residential development must either provide on-site employment opportunities or, where this is not appropriate, provide off-site contributions.

2) Reinforce the focus of the town centre as the location for higher order facilities and services, including retail, tourism and leisure opportunities.

3) Prioritise the development of previously developed land, particularly within the new development areas.

4) Support existing community hubs of local retailing and other services located within the town.

5) Reflect and enhance the characteristic built historic elements of Weston-super-Mare such as its stone buildings, formal parks and conservation areas.

6) Enhance its green infrastructure and biodiversity, particularly the ridges to the north and south, the woodland areas, the rhynes network, and the seafront.

7) Address issues of deprivation and inequality particularly in South Ward and Central Ward.

8) Improve accessibility within Weston-super-Mare by walking, cycling and public transport, particularly where they enhance connectivity with, for example, local facilities, service centres, the town centre and seafront.

9) Retain and enhance the boulevard effect of the main approaches into the town.

This policy contributes towards achieving Priority Objective 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

Background

The draft Regional Spatial Strategy categorises Weston-super-Mare as a Strategically Significant Town which means it will be the primary focus for development in the district and provision will be made to maintain and enhance the town's sub-regionally significant role and function for housing, employment, cultural, education, retail, health and other services and facilities.

The Core Strategy approach

The purpose of this policy is to provide a set of principles for all development within the town to adhere to and to ensure a comprehensive approach to development which results in a co-ordinated process of town-wide regeneration.

The policy also seeks to contain development of the town within the clear physical boundary of the M5 motorway. The town has sufficient land to the west of the M5 to deliver the required growth. Locating future development to the west of the M5 will consolidate the town ensuring a sustainable new urban extension that is well linked to the town centre by sustainable modes of transport, minimising car trips and ensuring that the future population of the town will support and sustain the regeneration of the town centre. Development to the east of the M5 is inappropriate as it would result in developing greenfield land in an unsustainable location effectively dispersing the development of the town further along the A370, resulting in more car trips and increased congestion.

The economic regeneration of Weston is a key strategic aim of North Somerset Council to be achieved through the promotion of a more sustainable balance between employment and housing. By requiring large sites (of 10 dwellings or more) to provide either on-site employment provision or, where this is not appropriate, off-site contributions towards employment generating initiatives, the policy aims to ensure that further residential development within the town is matched by employment development.

Weston-super-Mare town centre has been identified as a focus for higher order facilities and services. The town centre area (as identified in Policy CS29) includes the seafront and gateway area around the train station extending along the A370 to just beyond Winterstoke Road roundabout. This area has been identified for significant growth and regeneration and an Area Action Plan is being produced to provide detailed guidance for development in this area. The focus will be on providing a significant increase in the town's retail offer over the next twenty years focused on the retail core, creating an office quarter around the railway station on a number of vacant or underused sites in this location and focusing on the town's role as a tourist destination by concentrating leisure, hotel and tourist uses along the seafront and in the town centre.

Knightstone and sea

Within Weston-super-Mare to ensure a sustainable approach to development within the town the priority for housing development will be on previously-developed land. This includes the phasing for the urban extension as identified in Policy CS30.

Although the majority of new development within the town will be focused in the town centre and Weston urban extension it is important to support existing communities and local centres as the town grows and develops over the next twenty years. The council will resist the loss of small-scale shops outside the town and district centres that meet the requirements of local communities. Policy CS21 sets out the Core Strategy approach to supporting local centres.

Weston has a strong identity as a Victorian seaside town and the town centre and seafront contains five conservation areas and numerous listed buildings. This policy seeks to reflect and enhance this setting to reinforce the character and identity of the town.

Green infrastructure consists of strategic networks of accessible, multifunctional sites such as parks, woodland, informal open spaces, nature reserves, wildlife corridors such as rhynes and hedgerows and historic sites. Green infrastructure serves a number of important uses and the emphasis within this policy is on enhancing existing provision and ensuring that new development makes a positive contribution towards the provision of new green infrastructure.

The growth and development of Weston-super-Mare over the next twenty years has an important role to play in helping to deliver on a range of regeneration issues including providing a broader range of jobs, provision of training and helping to improve the range of local skills. South and Central Wards in Weston-super-Mare have been identified as being in the top 2% most deprived wards in the country and this brings a range of social, environmental and economic issues that need to be addressed as part of the regeneration of the town, especially in terms of access to employment and training opportunities.

Weston-super-Mare has the benefit of being a predominantly flat town which lends itself to the promotion of walking and cycling as sustainable modes of transport. Any new development should consider how it integrates and connects with the rest of the town in terms of accessibility by foot and bicycle. Development of the urban extension must ensure that direct, safe pedestrian and cycle routes are provided to the town centre and seafront to ensure its integration with the rest of the town.

Due to Weston-super-Mare's coastal location there are a number of main approaches to the town leading to the town centre and seafront. This creates a boulevard effect of direct routes, rather than through-routes or rings roads that may be found in other towns. These routes create the first impressions of Weston-super-Mare and therefore any development along these approaches will be of an exceptional design to enhance their appearance. Public realm improvements, tree planting, public art and landscaping will also be sought along these routes.

How and where the policy will be delivered

The policy applies within the redefined settlement boundary of Weston-super-Mare which will be extended to incorporate the new urban extension.

Further planning policy guidance in the form of an Area Action Plan for Weston town centre, Supplementary Planning Guidance including a master plan and delivery plan for Weston urban extension, a Site Allocations DPD, and a Developer Contributions SPD will provide detailed guidance to deliver this strategy. Development will primarily be delivered through private investment. As a landowner the council will ensure that its land is used effectively to meet the wider Core Strategy objectives and will where appropriate work closely with other landowning interests and developers.

The council will work in conjunction with the landowners, developers, the South West Regional Development Agency, the Homes and Communities Agency, the main service providers, the local community and other key stakeholders to deliver this strategy.

Alternative options and contingency

The alternative option would be to disperse growth around the district. This would result in an unsustainable form of development and would not provide the quantum of development necessary to facilitate the regeneration of Weston-super-Mare.

Monitoring and review

Key monitoring indicators will include:

  • Amount of new employment development completed and occupied.
  • Amount of new retail floor space.
  • Amount of new leisure development within the town.
  • Percentage of new development on previously developed land.
  • 'Health checks' on local centres in terms of monitoring loss or gain of retail units/services.
  • Levels of unemployment particularly in South and Central Wards.