North Somerset Council to launch two-step consultation on district’s future

Weston-super-Mare Town Hall. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Weston-super-Mare Town Hall. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

North Somerset Council is urging residents and businesses to take part in its two-stage consultation to help ‘shape the future growth’ of the district.

The North Somerset Local Plan will guide council policy regarding housing, business investment, transport and infrastructure in the district until 2038, and the council wants ‘communities, individuals and organisations to be involved in developing the plan’.

At a meeting on April 29, the council’s Executive agreed to the two-stage consultation process, which will take place later this year.

The first stage of the consultation, due to take place in the summer, will focus on the challenges facing North Somerset and seek views on the issues the Local Plan will need to address.

The result of this will then inform the second, taking place in the autumn, which will focus on future developments in North Somerset.

The Executive also agreed to write to the government and MPs to challenge the basis for forecast housing growth in light of the Covid-19 crisis and the climate emergency, and to highlight the ongoing need for substantial investment in infrastructure and jobs to support development.

The council’s executive member for transport and planning, Cllr James Tonkin, said: “There is a need to create a clearer approach to consultation and engagement given both the challenges of engaging effectively during the extremely difficult times we are living through with the current Covid-19 crisis, and recognising the opportunity to give more time to reflect on the broader context for the choices to be made around future development in North Somerset.

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“There is also a need to better understand the government’s exit strategy from the Covid-19 crisis and the longer-term economic impacts and implications for North Somerset.

“It is also unclear what impacts the Covid-19 crisis will have on the housing market and the implications this will have for North Somerset’s housing needs.

“This requires further consideration and also recognition by government that the basis of current forecasts may need to change.”

Details on how people can get involved in the consultations will be made available by North Somerset Council at a later date.