CS32: Service Villages

 

CS32: Service Villages

Proposals for development which support or enhance their role as local hubs for community facilities and services, employment and affordable housing, including public transport will be supported.

New employment development must be located within or adjacent to the settlement boundaries and be of an appropriate scale and character, and contribute towards improved self-containment.

New residential development will be located within settlement boundaries, and be of an appropriate design, scale, character and type. Such development will only be acceptable where it will maintain or improve self-containment, support the retention of existing services or fulfil an identified local housing need in respect of affordability or dwelling mix.

Transport proposals will be supported which increase accessibility by public transport, community transport, cycling and walking.

This policy contributes towards achieving Priority Objectives 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.

Background

The emerging Regional Spatial Strategy (Policy C) supports/proposes a more sustainable approach to development in the rural areas, than has previously been the case, with the emphasis being on supporting services, employment and facilities in smaller towns and larger villages, rather than dispersing development throughout smaller villages.

The Core Strategy approach

Service Villages are places where a small amount of development (particularly economic, or which extends the range of services available) may be appropriate.

With regard to non-housing uses, allowing a certain level of new service and employment uses in or adjacent to the settlement boundaries of Service Villages (but not in the Green Belt) is in line with comments received during consultation, which set out a general desire for development to be employment-led and for expanding the employment base of villages.

It is important that all development taking place in small towns and villages supports their roles as local hubs for community facilities, employment and services, including public transport. Given their relative accessibility to local services and facilities, the Service Villages will also be a focal point for affordable housing provided it is supported by a needs assessment.

The settlement boundaries as defined in the Replacement Local Plan for the Service Villages will remain, although there is scope for these to be reviewed and adjusted via the Site Allocations DPD.

Uphill sign

Within North Somerset there are a number of villages which carry out the role of Service Villages. Service villages have been classified as settlements which have at least a village shop, post office, primary school, GP surgery, community hall and pub accumulating to at least 20 units of town centre uses[1]. They provide a service role function beyond their immediate locality and normally serve the population of one to three parishes. They range in size from 2,000 to 5,000 population per settlement.

Churchill was identified as a possible service village in the Issues and Options report. While it does not have a sufficient amount of retail floorspace, it does have all the other facilities, plus a leisure centre and a secondary school. In addition, consultation comments identified a need for a focal point in Churchill and the Parish Plan found that 50% of the residents were in favour of "some new housing for local people or those in vital services". Furthermore, the Parish Plan is looking to establish a new village centre/hall and upgrade to the existing leisure centre all of which could be supported by allowing a small amount of new housing development.

In addition, Hutton, Locking, Uphill and Banwell villages are included given their proximity to Weston. There are small settlements close to Bristol, but given their rural character and limited range of facilities and services these would be inappropriate for additional development; the mere fact of their relative proximity to Bristol would not make them sustainable locations.

The list of settlements where the service village policy will apply is set out in Policy CS14 and listed below:

Backwell                               Locking

Banwell                                Long Ashton

Congresbury                         Uphill

Churchill                               Winscombe

Easton in Gordano/Pill         Wrington

Hutton                                   Yatton

How and where the policy will be delivered

The policy will apply within the defined Service Villages. Identifying opportunities to enhance the role and function of these places will benefit from close working between developers and landowners, the council, local communities and other partners.

Alternative options and contingency planning

Having an area-based policy pulls all the main strands of the visions and individual subject policies to be expressed in one place and supports 'placemaking'. Alternative options include:

a) Not having area policies - would make the policy context for these places less easy to identify.

b) Include more settlements. Taking into account national and regional policy, further dispersal of development to other settlements not exhibiting the requirements set out in RSS Development Policy C is likely to create a more unsustainable pattern of development.

Monitoring and review

The policy will be measured against individual policy targets.

1. Town centre uses are defined in PPS6 as retail, leisure, entertainment facilities, restaurants and pubs, offices, arts, culture and tourism. [back]