Local Plan 2036: Issues and Options Stage

Document Section 1. North Somerset Local Plan 2036: Issues and Options Document North Somerset Issues Q3. Do you agree with these or are there other challenges or issues which we have not included and how might the Local Plan address these? [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 928033//1
Respondent backwellresidents [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 04 Jan 2019
Comment

Backwell Residents’ Association (BRA) submits the following representations with the full support and endorsement of Backwell Resistance (BR). BRA and BR fully endorse the representations made by Backwell Parish Council (BPC) in response to this document and does not propose to repeat these points within its own representations. In particular, BRA and BR echo BPC’s concerns regarding North Somerset Council’s (NSC) decision to progress with proposals which have yet to be subject to independent scrutiny through the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). 

Notwithstanding these concerns and without prejudice to their objections in principle to the development proposals for Backwell and Nailsea (Policies 7.4 and 7.7 of the JSP), BRA and BR would like to take this opportunity to raise the following points.  

These representations should be read in conjunction with BRA’s representations to the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (Submission Version) November 2017 (JSP) which were also supported by Backwell Resistance.

Agricultural Land

BRA does not agree that Section 3 of the Paper addresses all the challenges and issues associated with delivering strategic scale housing at Nailsea and Backwell. The Council’s key issues fail to address the loss of high-quality agricultural land.  The development of land West of Backwell and South West of Nailsea would result in the loss of large swathes of Grade 1-3 agricultural land and the fragmentation of existing farm holdings.  However, no consideration has been given to the detrimental impact of development upon regional food production.

Road Improvements

Whilst reference is made to proposed strategic road infrastructure, improvements to the existing road network are largely overlooked. A cursory reference is made to addressing the traffic issues on the A370, however this does not tackle the capacity and safety issues already affecting Station Road and the Station Road/A370 crossroads, which would be exacerbated by the proposed strategic development.  The Issues and Options Paper offers no explanation of how the capacity of the crossroads junction could be improved or how traffic flows through the junction could be reduced.

Delivery of new road infrastructure between Farleigh and Nailsea & Backwell Station (M3) will not alleviate the congestion issues within the village, or offset the additional traffic associated with Backwell Strategic Development Location (SDL), which as currently indicated would be wholly reliant upon the A370 corridor to access employment and services. The planned new infrastructure to the east of the village provides no benefit to residents of the new development at Backwell, serving only the needs of some residents travelling to Nailsea from the Bristol direction. 

Schools

Specific reference should be to the provision of schools within the local area and how this will cater for new residents of the proposed development. In respect of primary school provision, Backwell is currently served by an infant school, located close to the proposed Backwell SDL and a junior school on a separate campus to the south of the village.  The JSP refers to the provision of a new primary school within the Backwell SDL which we understand could be located at the western edge of the development site, resulting in a further, separate school campus within the village.  This would result in a disjointed, inefficient provision of primary school facilities within the village. 

Should the Backwell SDL be confirmed, the Local Plan should take the lead to deliver comprehensive improvements to the educational offer in Backwell, by exploring the potential for a single campus for primary facilities in the heart of the village, closely linked to both the existing and new residential areas. A single campus offers the potential to significantly reduce trips to school by car, create attractive, safe routes to school and manage parking, to alleviate existing parking and traffic issues on local streets.  Similarly, any new school provision should operate within the same multi-academy trust as existing schools within Backwell to facilitate shared use of resources.

In respect of secondary school provision, Backwell School’s catchment area currently accommodates pupils from Yatton, Nailsea and outlying areas. Careful consideration needs to be given to the implications of introducing 700 new homes into Backwell for this catchment area.  If the catchment area shrinks in response to increased local need, what education provision is planned for the pupils of Yatton who may no longer be able to gain a place at Backwell?  Expansion of Backwell School is not a realistic option given the current size of the school roll and the physical constraints to the site. 

Green Belt

BRA supports the exploration of local amendments to the Green Belt around Backwell in the interests of securing sustainable, gradual growth at the village, in place of strategic expansion. Amendments to the Green Belt could offer the potential for non-strategic housing development to the east of the village, which could be better related to Bristol and planned infrastructure.  However, Green Belt must be protected and could be extended where it serves to retain the separate identify of Backwell and Nailsea. 

The Issues and Options paper outlines the key issues NSC intends to address in respect of development at Nailsea and Backwell, if the strategic growth identified by the JSP is accepted. BRA is concerned that matters which affect the suitability of sites for residential development are deferred to the Local Plan stage, after the broad location has been identified for development through the JSP.  Matters which affect the suitability of sites to accommodate residential development must be considered comprehensively at the strategic policy level to ensure the principle of development is sound and the delivery of such schemes is sustainable. 

Summary
Doesn't agree that the paper addresses all the challenges and issues associated with delivering strategic scale housing at Nailsea and Backwell.
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