Regional Spatial Strategy

Regional Spatial Strategy                                                                                                                                                            Appendix B

Secretary of State’s Proposed Changes

July 2008


RSS policy

Proposed RSS policy text

Policy SD1: The Ecological Footprint

The region’s ecological footprint will be stabilised and then reduced by:

  • achieving development that respects environmental limits
  • requiring the wise use of natural resources and reducing the consumption of key resources such as energy, water and minerals
  • building a sustainable, low carbon and low resource consuming economy which can be secured within environmental limits to bring prosperity and well-being to all parts of the region
  • encouraging sustainable construction and design as the norm in all future development and when opportunities arise, improving the region’s existing building stock in line with current best practice
  • minimising the need to travel and securing a shift to use of more sustainable modes of travel by effective planning of future development, better alignment of jobs, homes and services, improved public transport and a strong demand management regime applied in the region’s Strategically Significant Cities and Towns 
  • meeting national and regional targets relating to renewable energy, resource consumption/extraction and waste production/recycling.

Policy SD2: Climate Change

The region’s contribution to climate change will be reduced by:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least in line with the current national target of 30% by 2026 (compared to 1990 levels), as part of a longer term reduction of 60% by 2050 

The region will adapt to the anticipated changes in climate by

  • Managing the impact of future climate change on the environment, economy and society
  • Identifying the most vulnerable communities and ecosystems given current understanding of future climate change and provide measures to mitigate against these effects
  • Avoiding the need for development in flood risk areas and incorporating measures in design and construction to reduce the effects of flooding
  • Recognising and putting in place policies and measures to develop and exploit those opportunities that climate change will bring
  • Requiring ‘future proofing’ of development activity for its susceptibility to climate change
  • Improving the resilience and reliability of existing infrastructure to cope with changes in climate and in the light of future demand. 

Policy CSS: The Core Spatial Strategy

Across the region, provision will be made to:

  • meet identified housing and community needs;
  • improve connectivity, accessibility and the functional efficiency of places; and
  • enhance economic prosperity within environmental limits.

To accommodate and manage growth in the most sustainable way, most new development will be provided for at Strategically Significant Cities and Towns (SSCTs). Provision for more limited development will be made at market and coastal towns and in small towns and villages where this will increase self-containment and promote stronger communities.

The Regional Transport Strategy will seek to improve connectivity within the region and between the South West and other regions, while reducing congestion and the rate of growth of road traffic, and reducing negative impacts of transport on the environment.

Development Policy A: Development at Strategically Significant Cities & Towns (SSCTs).

The primary focus for development in the South West will be the Strategically Significant Cities and Towns (SSCTs):

Barnstaple, Bath, Bridgwater, Bristol, Cheltenham, Chippenham, the Cornish Towns (Camborne-Pool-Redruth, Falmouth-Penryn & Truro), Dorchester, Exeter, Gloucester, Newton Abbot, Plymouth, Salisbury, South East Dorset, Swindon, Taunton, Torbay, Trowbridge, Weston-super-Mare, Weymouth and Yeovil.

Provision will be made to maintain and enhance the SSCTs'  regionally and sub-regionally significant roles and functions for  housing, employment, cultural, education, retail, health and other services and facilities and as strategic hubs for public transport by:

  • improving the quality of the urban environment, including new development and the public realm
  • promoting social cohesion and healthy and secure living conditions through access to good social and community facilities
  • supporting growth in the economy and skills through the availability of a range of premises and land that meet the needs of business
  • securing improvements to public transport, traffic management and use of road space to tackle congestion and poor air quality
  • making efficient and effective use of land, including through regeneration, and planning for and delivering development and infrastructure in a comprehensive and co-ordinated way.

Development Policy B: Development at Market and Coastal Towns

At market & coastal towns that meet all of the following criteria:

  • there is an existing concentration of business & employment & realistic potential for employment opportunities to be enhanced
  • there are shopping, cultural, faith, education ,health & public services that meet the needs of the settlement & the surrounding area
  • there are sustainable transport modes that can be maintained or developed to meet identified community needs in the settlement & the surrounding area

provision will be made for housing, employment, shopping & other services that increase their self-containment & enhance their roles as service centres.”

Development Policy C: Development at Small Towns and Villages

In small towns and villages greater self-containment and stronger local communities will be promoted by making provision that:

  • supports economic activity appropriate to the scale of the settlement.
  • extends the range of services to better meet the needs of the settlement and its surrounding area.
  • meets identified local housing needs.

Development Policy D: Infrastructure

The planning & delivery of development should ensure efficient & effective use of existing infrastructure & should provide for the delivery of new or improved transport, education, health, culture, sport and recreation & green infrastructure in step with development. Central government, local authorities, regional bodies, service providers & developers will work in partnership to identify regionally & sub-regionally significant infrastructure requirements & solutions, including funding.

Development Policy E: High Quality Design

All development should deliver the highest possible standards of design, both in terms of urban form & sustainability criteria.

Development Policy F: Planning and Delivery of Major Development

Major developments, including urban extensions and regeneration, should be planned on a comprehensive and integrated basis to ensure that they contribute to the delivery of sustainable communities & a high quality of life by providing for:

  • high standards of design & access & the lowest practicable levels of energy & car use;
  • public transport, cultural, leisure, retail, health care, education and other services & facilities commensurate with the needs of the expected population of the area & delivered in step with the growth of that population.
  • sustainable transport links between urban extensions and city/town centres, with an emphasis on public transport, cycling and walking;
  • amenity space and green infrastructure that meets community needs and supports improved biodiversity; and
  • a range of housing types & tenures.

Development Policy G: Sustainable Construction

Local Planning Authorities should promote best practice in sustainable construction and help to achieve the national timetable for reducing carbon emissions from residential and non-residential buildings.  This will include:

  • consideration of how all aspects of development form can contribute to securing high standards of energy & water efficiency
  • the use of sustainable drainage systems to minimise flood risk, manage surface water and encourage natural drainage and ground water recharge where appropriate
  • designing for flexible use and adaptation to reflect changing lifestyles and needs and the principle of ‘whole life costing’.

There will be situations where it could be appropriate for local planning authorities to anticipate higher levels of building sustainability in advance of those set out nationally, for identified development area or site-specific opportunities.  When proposing any local requirements for sustainable buildings, local planning authorities must be able to demonstrate clearly the local circumstances that warrant and allow this and set them out in Development Plan Documents.

Development Policy H: Re-using land

The full potential of previously used land will be taken into account in providing for new development, whilst recognising that previously developed land may not always be in the most sustainable locations and that development may not necessarily always be the most sustainable land use. For the region as a whole the aim should be to achieve at least 50% of new housing development on previously developed land (including the conversion of existing buildings).


Policy HMA1: West of England Housing Market Area

In the West of England HMA provision will be made for:

  • Growth of about 137,200 jobs
  • Growth of at least 137,950 homes distributed between the local authorities as:

Bristol  36,500

South Glos  32,800

North Somerset  26,750

B&NES  21,300

West Wiltshire  12,300

Mendip  8,300


Bristol SSCT


Bristol will realise its potential as a major driver of the regional economy at the centre of a wider city region, increasing its importance both nationally and internationally while safeguarding the integrity of environmental and habitat designations by providing for:

  • a better balance between homes and jobs to reduce the need to travel
  • strategic employment sites to meet the needs of business, broaden the economic base and develop the economy
  • expansion of the employment, service, retail and cultural roles of the city centre, including through redevelopment and regeneration
  • a focused programme of regeneration initiatives at South Bristol to broaden the housing stock, improve the quality and diversity of retail, employment and service provision and improve accessibility
  • the continuing role of the North Fringe as an economic centre of regional and national importance, including the nationally significant advanced engineering/aerospace cluster
  • expansion of Yate and Keynsham to strengthen their roles as service centres
  • port-related development and a range of employment uses at Avonmouth/Severnside while managing flood risk
  • an increase in local services at Cribbs Causeway retail centre to serve local communities but not to the scale of a formal town centre.

Provision for sustainable housing growth will comprise:

  • 51,000 new homes within the existing urban area of Bristol (33,500 in Bristol and 17,500 in South Gloucestershire)
  • 10,500 new homes at Area of Search 1A (9,000 within North Somerset and 1,500 in Bristol)
  • 9,500 new homes at Area of Search 1B (of which 8,000 within Bath and North East Somerset and 1,500 in Bristol)
  • 8,000 new homes at Area of Search 1C (South Gloucestershire)
  • 2,000 new homes at Area of Search 1D (South Gloucestershire)
  • 3,000 new homes at Area of Search 1E at Yate (South Gloucestershire)
  • 3,000 new homes at Area of Search 1F at Keynsham (Bath and North East Somerset)

Planning for employment will provide for about 92,000 jobs in the Bristol TTWA including the provision of about 352 ha of employment land.

(Separate Bath SSCT section)

Weston-super-Mare SSCT

Weston-super-Mare will secure concerted employment-led regeneration, while safeguarding the integrity of environmental and habitat designations by providing for:

  • revitalisation of the town centre and sea-front through improved retail, leisure and cultural facilities and public realm
  • a better balance between homes and jobs, with an emphasis on significantly improving the employment offer of the town and reducing the impacts of car-based commuting
  • housing growth to be phased and linked directly to job growth.

Provision for sustainable housing growth will comprise:

·        3,000 new homes within the existing Weston-super-Mare urban area (North Somerset)

·        9,000 new homes at Area of Search 1H to the south east of Weston-super-Mare (North Somerset)

Planning for employment will provide for about 10,000 jobs in the Weston-super-Mare TTWA including the provision of about 34 ha of employment land.

(Separate Trowbridge SSCT section).

Bristol and Bath Green Belt

The general extent of the Bristol and Bath Green Belt will be maintained subject to the following alterations:

·        removal of the green belt between the Royal Portbury Dock and the M5 motorway, having regard to development needs of the Royal Portbury Dock

·        removal of the green belt at Bristol International Airport, having regard to the development needs of the airport

·        removal of the green belt to accommodate urban extensions at Areas of Search 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1F and 1G.

Transport outcomes

Action should be taken to:

·        tackle congestion on the corridors  between Yate and Bristol and between Weston-super-Mare and Bristol and reduce use of the M4 and M5 for local journeys

·        to improve access for all to and from South Bristol and to provide for orbital movement, supporting regeneration and employment growth.


This should comprise:

·        demand management measures

·        sustainable travel measures; and

·        if necessary, targeted new infrastructure investment to unlock pinch points.

Policy HD1: Sub-regional distribution of housing 2006-2026: managing and stepping up supply

Provision should be made across the HMAs and LPA areas to deliver the total number of dwellings in the periods between 2006-2016 and 2016-2026 as set out in Tables 4.1 and 4.2. To support the required step-up in the delivery of new homes and to ensure that new homes are in locations that accord with the Core Spatial Strategy;

Local Planning Authorities should complete Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments (SHLAAs) as evidence for LDFs

Local Planning Authorities should identify and manage the release of land to maintain the momentum of housing delivery to meet the region's objectives for places by;

  • Identifying sites and contributions form areas of planned change in LDFs (based on Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments and other evidence) to ensure a 15 year supply of land for housing , including a 5 year supply of specific, deliverable sites
  • Where needed, identifying broad locations in LDFs so that these locations can be included in the 11-15 year supply and be further tested before sites are identified
  • Co-ordinating the release of housing land with the necessary improvement to and/or provision of infrastructure
  • Adopting a flexible approach to delivery by not treating housing figures as ceilings whilst ensuring that development is focused on locations that deliver the Plan's Core Spatial Strategy
  • Maintaining housing and brownfield land trajectories, and managing delivery where actual performance is outside of acceptable ranges.

The Regional Planning Body should monitor the five-year supply in the region, along with levels and patterns of migration, household and population change, the recent and projected performance of the regional economy, housing mix, affordability, and delivery in rural areas.  The RPB should maintain a regional housing trajectory, linked to regional and local Annual Monitoring Reports. Where monitoring suggests that the expected outcomes of the Plan are not being achieved, consideration should be given to reviewing the Plan.

The Plan will be refined through a partial review to ensure that additional and longer term housing growth is planned and accommodated in the most sustainable way by identifying broad locations to meet longer term development needs, taking account of New Growth Points, Ecotown initiatives, and other evidence.

Policy RTS1: Corridor management

In the following corridors of:-

National importance:

·        London - South Wales (via Bristol); and

·        Exeter - Birmingham (via Bristol).

Regional importance:

·        Exeter - London (via Taunton and/or Salisbury);

·        Exeter - Penzance (via Plymouth or Okehampton);

·        Weymouth - London (via South East Dorset);

·        Swindon - Gloucester / Cheltenham;

·        Bristol/Bath - South Hampshire;

·        Torbay - Exeter (via Newton Abbot);

·        Barnstaple - Exeter;

·        Exeter - Dorchester; and

1.      Penzance - Isles of Scilly.

In order to improve the reliability and resilience of journey times, to develop opportunities to facilitate a modal shift and support growth at the SSCTs, provision will be made to manage the demand for long distance journeys and reduce the impacts of local trips on these corridors.  Measures will include:- 

·        Demand management measures and improvements to the local transport networks serving the SSCTs along the corridors (particularly walking, cycling, public transport and interchange facilities) that will reduce the rate of road traffic congestion on the corridors of national and regional importance;

·        Developers managing down the impacts of their developments on the corridors of national and regional importance;

·        Access control measures on the corridors of national and regional importance;

·        Improvements to road junctions that will reduce the rate of road traffic growth and congestion on the corridors of national and regional importance;

·        Proposals that will make the best use of the existing infrastructure;

·        Improvements in information management, including the timetabling of rail services;

·        Engineering measures to enable increasing frequency of rail services; and

·        Capacity enhancements to the corridors, including rail passenger services.

Substantial priority should be given to those measures that will have the greatest impact in reducing the rate of growth of congestion on the corridors of national importance. Priority on corridors of regional importance should be commensurate with the relative level of economic and housing growth along and within the corridor.


Policy RTS2: Demand management and sustainable travel measures at the SSCTs

Demand management measures should be introduced progressively at the SSCTs to reduce the growth of road traffic levels and congestion.  This should be accompanied by a ‘step change’ in the prioritisation of sustainable travel measures serving these places.  The range and degree of demand management measures should be determined by the functional role of the SSCT and the availability of sustainable travel modes.  Priority should be given to those measures that will have the greatest impact in relieving congestion at the most congested SSCTs.  Consideration should be given to the following range of measures:

·        better walking and cycling measures;

·        the promotion of more sustainable travel behaviour (e.g. ‘Smarter Choices’);

·        improved facilities for public transport;

·        new and expanded park-and-ride;

·        improved management of road space including schemes to improve average bus speeds and high occupancy vehicle lanes;

·        parking strategies including charging regimes

·        congestion charging/road pricing;

Policy RTS3:Parking

Parking measures should be implemented to reduce reliance on the car and encourage the use of sustainable transport modes. Relevant plans and strategies should include policies and proposals for:

Parking Standards

Standards should promote sustainable transport choices.  In those parts of the region (particularly the SSCTs) where levels of accessibility by sustainable modes are high (or are planned to be high), lower levels of parking provision for new development should be provided.

Parking Provision

The total parking stock should be managed to reflect local circumstances and the relative accessibility by sustainable transport modes.

Parking Charges

Parking charging regimes should be designed to:

·        Discourage commuting while protecting the commercial viability of town centres;

·        Avoid wasteful competition between different locations; and

·        Reflect the availability of alternative more sustainable travel modes.

Policy RTS4: Freight and the primary route network

Relevant plans and strategies should include policies and proposals for rest and service areas for freight vehicles.

The primary route network (including motorways and trunk roads) should be promoted for use by HGVs in preference to other roads. The routes should be signed appropriately.  Environmental weight restrictions should not be placed on these routes.

The priority for road maintenance investment should reflect the importance of the corridors identified in RTS1 and the rest of the Primary Route Network.

A site for a road/rail freight interchange should be identified and safeguarded in Local Development Documents at or near Exeter subject to viability.

Policy RTS5: Ports

Relevant plans and strategies should include policies and proposals that maintain and enhance the role of the following:

  • Bristol Port to meet its potential for providing general and deepwater container freight.

(Separate bullets relating to other ports).


Bristol, Plymouth, Poole and Fowey ports should give priority to the preparation of ‘Masterplans’ as a means of identifying future landside infrastructure requirements and demonstrating how conflicts between existing and future uses in the port or on adjacent land can be managed.”

Policy RTS6: Airports and heliports

Airports within the region should meet an increasing proportion of regional demand for air travel to reduce ‘leakage’ to other regions and the London airports. Relevant plans and strategies should include policies and proposals that:

  • Support the development of Bristol, Bournemouth and Exeter within the currently agreed levels of growth set out in the ‘Future of Air Transport’ White Paper.

(Also separate bullets relating to other airports).


Airport operators required to prepare Masterplans should also prepare Airport Surface Access Strategies and set targets for their airport to achieve:

  • Minimising the environmental impact of surface access: and
  • A higher modal share in favour of public transport, cycling and walking.”

Policy H1: Housing affordability

Within the 29,623 dwellings per annum (at least) required for the region, at least 10,000 affordable homes per annum will be provided in the period to 2026.  Provision will be made for at least  35% of all housing development annually across each Local Authority area and Housing Market Areas to be affordable housing.         

Development Plan Documents should include policies to deliver a substantial increase in the amount of affordable in the region and reflect the outcome of joint working including Strategic Housing Market Area Assessments.  These should;

·        Specify targets for and proportions of affordable housing;

·        Identify an appropriate division of affordable housing between social rented and intermediate tenures;

·        Help to secure and maintain an appropriate supply of affordable housing in the wider context of maintaining an overall five year housing land supply.

Policy H2: Housing densities

In formulating and monitoring their LDDs and when exercising their development control functions, Local Planning Authorities should;

·        Aim to achieve a target net density of 40 dph averaged across all new housing in their respective Housing Market Areas;

·        Seek to ensure that the net density of housing development within the SSCTs falls within the range of 40-50 dph, with higher densities in the most accessible locations;

·        Promote net densities of 50 dph or more overall in planned urban extensions to SSCTs and adjacent new communities.

Policy H3: Mix of housing

The needs of all groups of society will be taken in to account when planning the development of mixed communities. LDDs should include policies which require an appropriate range and mix of housing opportunities by identifying;

·        the likely profile of household types requiring market housing, reflecting the mix of households identified through the strategic housing market assessment;

·        the size and type of affordable housing required;

·        the need to adapt the existing housing stock.

Policy GT1: Gypsy and traveller pitch requirements

Local authorities will identify realistically deliverable sites in their DPDs to provide for 1634 additional pitches for Gypsies and Travellers in the region, over the period 2006-2011, distinguishing between residential and transit pitches to deliver the distribution of pitches contained in Table 4.3. Where it is appropriate to make provision beyond 2011 and other data is not available, provision should allow for a 3% compound growth in requirements per annum. Local Planning Authorities should take account of the specific needs of different groups of Gypsies and Travellers in making site allocations.  The provision of temporary accommodation in connection with festivals and other similar annual events is an important requirement, but should not be regarded as formal transit provision to meet the requirements identified in Table 4.3

North Somerset:

Residential - 36 pitches

Transit - 10 pitches


Local authorities will identify realistically deliverable sites in their DPDs to provide for 94 additional plots for Travelling Showpeople in the region, over the period 2006-2011, to deliver the distribution of plots contained in Table 4.4. Local Planning Authorities should take account of the specific needs of different groups of Travelling Showpeople, in making site allocations.

West of England - 51 plots.

Policy GI1: Green infrastructure

Development of networks of Green Infrastructure (GI) will be required to enhance quality of life in the region and support the successful accommodation of change.  GI networks will comprise multifunctional, accessible, connected assets, planned around existing environmental characteristics.  

Plans, strategies, proposals and schemes should aim to deliver wider spatial outcomes that incorporate environmental and socio-economic benefits by;

  • Conserving and managing existing GI;
  • Creating new GI; and
  • Enhancing its functionality, quality and connectivity.

GI is required as an integral part of development and should include the identification, development and management of new areas of open space, not just more intensive use of existing areas of open space.  Local Authorities and partners will:

  • Draw upon existing expertise and initiatives to take forward GI planning and identify priorities and partnerships for GI.
  • Incorporate GI policies setting out broad locations for GI appropriate to the extent and distribution of development proposed, coordinated across administrative boundaries as appropriate
  • Integrate proposals to improve GI in the delivery of new developments, particularly through area based regeneration initiatives and major development proposals
  • Ensure that a key aim of green infrastructure is the maintenance and improvement of biodiversity
  • Protect the integrity of sites of international importance and provide new areas of appropriate greenspace where development would otherwise cause unacceptable recreational pressure on sites of international ecological importance
  • Maximise the role of GI in mitigating and adapting to climate change
  • Develop a GI Plan with a delivery programme to support GI policies.

Policy RE5: Decentralised energy to supply new development

Local planning authorities should set targets in their DPDs for the energy to be used in new development to come from decentralised and renewable or low-carbon energy sources where it is feasible and viable, and the development thresholds to which such targets would apply. In the interim, before targets are set in DPDs, at least 10% of the energy to be used in new development of more than 10 dwellings or 1000m2 of non-residential floorspace should come from decentralised and renewable or low-carbon sources, unless, having regard to the type of development involved and its design, this is not feasible or viable.   

Policy W1: Provision of waste sites

Waste Planning Authorities should make provision in their Local Waste Development Frameworks (involving joint working where necessary) for a network of strategic and local waste collection, transfer, treatment (including recycling) and disposal sites to provide the capacity to meet the indicative allocations for their area tabulated below:

Municipal Waste – Annual Municipal Waste Management Capacities for Landfill Directive Target Years

Former Avon area:

Target Year: 2010

Minimum Source Separated: 230,000t pa

Secondary Treatment: 150,000t pa

Minimum Landfill: 300,000t pa


Target Year: 2013

Minimum Source Separated: 280,000t pa

Secondary Treatment: 220,000t pa

Minimum Landfill: 240,000t pa


Target Year: 2020

Minimum Source Separated: 310,000t pa

Secondary Treatment: 370,000t pa

Minimum Landfill: 120,000t pa


Commercial and Industrial Waste – Annual Commercial and Industrial Waste management Capacities for Target Years


Former Avon area:


Year: 2010

Recycling/Re-use: 420-460,000t pa

Recovery: 220-240,000t pa

Landfilling: 470-515,000t pa


Year: 2013

Recycling/Re-use:440-490,000t pa

Recovery: 280-310,000t pa

Landfilled: 390-430,000t pa


Year: 2020

Recycling/Re-use: 490-530,000t pa

Recovery: 430-470,000t pa

Landfilled: 190-200,000t pa

Policy W2: Waste facilities & the waste hierarchy

Proposals for the provision of new waste management facilities should accord with the following sequential approach:

  • Accommodate the management of waste on the site where it arises, wherever possible (waste minimisation); and then
  • In order to minimise the distance waste is transported, particularly by road, waste should be managed as close as practicable to where it arises.

The location of new ‘strategic’ waste management or disposal facilities should accord with the following sequential approach:

They should be at SSCTs, as follows:

  • Within, or if that is not practicable;
  • On the edge of, or if that is not practicable;
  • In close proximity to the urban area primarily served by the facility.

To the extent that such facilities cannot meet the needs of smaller towns and rural areas, there should be provision of:

  • A network of local waste management facilities concentrated at, or close to, centres of population identified through Policy B.

Identification of sites for the provision of new waste facilities will take account of the following:

  • Established and proposed industrial sites, in particular those that have scope for the co-location of complementary activities, such as proposed resource recovery parks;
  • Other previously developed land, including use of mineral extraction and landfill sites during their period of operation for the location of related waste treatment activities.
  • Opportunities for connection to the rail network and
  • Opportunities to maximise efficiency through use of by-products of the waste management process in other processes, e.g waste heat and/or materials.

Policy ES1: Sustainable economic prosperity

Local Authorities, working with SWRDA, other public sector organisations and the private sector, should include measures in their LDDs to promote a switch from employment-led to productivity-led growth.  These measures should include:

  • Guiding investment to locations where it will have maximum benefit and reduce the need to travel recognising;
  • the role of the region's large urban areas as key drivers of productivity
  • the need to support and diversify the rural economy and promote sustainable communities
  • the need to achieve successful regeneration as well as ongoing economic development;
  • Ensuring a range and choice of appropriate sites and premises to meet business need, including a quota of smaller sites for micro, small and medium sized enterprises, to cater for both organic growth and inward investment;
  • Promoting innovation and the development of the knowledge driven economy by harnessing the potential of Higher and Further Education Institutions, hospitals and other knowledge intensive institutions.
  • Supporting the development of science parks, innovation centres and incubator units through the identification and safeguarding of appropriate sites and premises; and
  • Supporting the development of priority business sectors (as identified in the RES), including clusters of related activity and other key sectors of importance sub-regionally.

Policy ES2: providing for employment land & premises

Local Authorities working in partnership with SWRDA and other public and private sector representatives and sub-regional partnerships will ensure that LDDs provide a range and choice of available employment land and premises to meet the needs of businesses in terms of organic growth and inward investment.

A 20 year supply of employment land, including strategic sites, will be identified to support:

The on-going development of the SSCTs, including providing sufficient land to accommodate the employment numbers identified in the sub-regional policies;

A better balance between the location of jobs and housing;

The on-going restructuring and diversification of the economy, including the rural economy;

The successful delivery of economic development and regeneration initiatives;

The development of key established and emerging business sectors, including clusters of related activity;

The development of the knowledge driven economy by fostering linkages with knowledge intensive institutions including HEIs, FEIs, hospitals and research institutions through the development of science parks, innovation centres and incubator units;

The development of more accommodation for smaller businesses, including smaller units for SMEs and micro-businesses;

The functional role of airports and ports;

The role of non B use class sectors, including health, leisure, tourism and education as key employment generators; and

The contribution of mixed-use development to employment supply.

The location of new employment land should reflect the objective to reduce the need to travel, maximising the use of ICT and sustainable modes of transport.

Policy ES3: Review of employment sites

The supply of land should be critically reviewed in line with Policy ES2 on a three year rolling basis so as to ensure that allocations continue to meet the needs of business and the current and longer term needs for economic development. A portfolio of the best employment sites should be identified and preserved for such uses.

Sites which no longer meet the needs of business or are poorly located for economic development purposes should be considered for redevelopment for alternative uses in the following sequence:

• For non-B use class employment generating uses;

• For mixed use re-development including residential use taking account of the potential for higher employment densities; and

• For residential use only.

Policy TC1: City & town centre

In order to meet the needs of local communities within the region, Local Authorities and other agencies will work together to ensure that the vitality and viability of the region’s existing network of towns and city centres is maintained and enhanced.  In doing so, it will be important to ensure that such centres are not adversely affected by inappropriate development elsewhere, and that provision is made for a mix of uses within town centres, including retail, cultural facilities, offices, other employment and housing.

The central areas of the SSCTs identified in Development Policy A will be the main focus for new investment in retail and other major facilities requiring high levels of accessibility to the communities they serve, recognising their function as focal points for extensive catchment area populations.  The sub-regional policies provide the strategic direction for these places.

The central areas of the SSCTs will also be the prime location for office development (B1a), which is not related to other commercial uses.  The planning of office development at other employment development areas should reflect the need to avoid putting at risk any approved Local Development Documents for a city or town centre.    

Within those settlements identified in the context of Development Policy B, the range and quality of central area facilities will also be maintained and enhanced to meet future needs.  In all settlements, measures will be introduced to improve accessibility by sustainable modes, and to enhance the public realm and quality of the town centre environment.  In doing so, Local Authorities and other agencies must   should recognise the role of central area investment in supporting regeneration objectives.

The scale of new investment in retail and other facilities within town centres should take full account of changing patterns of behaviour and future levels of population growth.  The development of major new regional shopping facilities outside these centres will not be supported. 

Policy TC2: Other centres

Outside of strategic centres the planning of retail provision should be based on the following principles:

The development of major new regional shopping facilities will not be supported

The strategic extension of the existing major shopping centres of Cribbs Causeway and Clarks Village will not be supported

The planning of new centres to serve proposed new development areas should reflect the need to compliment rather than compete with the retail facilities in the relevant strategic centre.

Policy TO1: Sustainable tourism

Local Authorities, regional partners, stakeholders and the tourism industry (particularly Destination Management Organisations) should have regard to the development of sustainable tourism by:

  • embedding sustainability practices in all new tourism development;
  • taking into account identified regional and sub-regional cultural needs of our visitors and local communities;
  • improving the quality and diversity of existing facilities and accommodation throughout the region, particularly where this would increase out of season visits especially in the winter and spring periods;
  • realising the potential of the region's environmental, cultural and heritage assets as a basis for the development of sustainable tourism, where consistent with their conservation;
  • ensuring that, as far as possible, new tourism developments are accessible by public transport and supported by green transport plan and visitor management programmes.  In rural areas creative and collaborative solutions may need to be found where it is difficult to meet the objectives of access by sustainable modes of transport; and,
  • identifying opportunities for the development of new facilities and accommodation related to outdoor leisure pursuits and recreational cycle and footpath networks within the region.

Policy TO2: Safeguarding & investing in tourism destinations

Within the context of Policy TO1, Local Authorities, Destination Management Organisations and stakeholders should collaborate across administrative boundaries to define the future role of tourism in each of the nine recognised destination zones, identify the measures required to support it, and develop action plans for their delivery.  Such plans should identify;

  • the need to allocate specific sites for new tourism related investment;
  • the development needs of existing businesses to tackle the seasonality challenge;
  • the nature and mix of new investment required; and
  • the necessary infrastructure and investment required to support the industry within the context of the need for regeneration and economic viability.

The role of existing resorts should be maintained and enhanced, especially the major resorts of Bournemouth, Poole, Torbay, Weymouth, Weston-super-Mare and Newquay, by safeguarding existing high quality accommodation and facilities, developing new facilities where appropriate and be of an appropriate scale and supporting the specialisation of resorts into particular markets suited to their location.

Local Development Documents and Local Transport Plans developed in the south east of the region will in particular need to give full consideration to the tourism infrastructure development opportunities offered by the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Policy TO3: Major new tourism facilities

Major new tourism facilities should be located within, or close to, SSCTs where they will;

  • enhance the overall quality of the tourism offer in the region;
  • develop new tourism markets complementary to those in established tourism areas, particularly those areas under greatest pressure;
  • be readily accessible by public transport, cycle and pedestrian networks;
  • help to extend the tourism season and contribution to the regional economy;
  • demonstrate that their development will add substantive additional value to the local area and increase, rather than just displace visitors from other areas and attractions.

Policy ADD1: Priorities for addressing deprivation & disadvantage

Addressing deprivation and disadvantage to reduce intra-regional inequalities will require action at a number of levels by a range of public bodies and the voluntary and private sectors.  This will range from tackling multiple deprivation at the neighbourhood level, to addressing the gradient of productivity and incomes at the regional level.  Critically this will also need to harness the role of prosperous areas with high levels of economic potential, as a process of ongoing economic development, in order to secure wider regional benefits.  This will require investment and action to be focused within the following spatial priorities:

  • Economic development – harnessing the economic potential of Bristol (city centre and north fringe), Swindon and Exeter as well as Bournemouth/Poole and Cheltenham and Gloucester
  • Regeneration and neighbourhood renewal – securing concerted economic regeneration and restructuring and tackling the significant clustering of multiple deprivation in parts of Bristol, Plymouth, Cornwall (Objective 1 and Convergence), Bournemouth, Gloucester, Swindon, Weston-super-Mare and Torbay
  • Urban renaissance – supporting targeted intervention to bring about the renaissance of the region’s main urban areas, particularly Urban Regeneration Companies in Swindon, Gloucester and Camborne-Pool-Redruth
  • Rural renaissance – focussing improvements in productivity in 10 rural priority districts: six Cornish Districts, Forest of Dean, West Devon, North Devon and Torridge, ensuring that these improvements address need arising from problems with accessibility to jobs and services and affordability of housing.

LDDs should identify and seek to address pockets of deprivation at the neighbourhood level in both urban and rural communities.