Plan for 2,800-home development would see 'Banwell Bypass' built

The outline drawing in the draft North Somerset Local Plan

The outline drawing in the draft North Somerset Local Plan - Credit: North Somerset Council

A new village with 2,800 homes could be built less than 200 metres from the edge of Banwell. 

North Somerset Council’s draft new Local Plan needs to find space for more than 20,000 homes, enough to fill Clevedon twice over. 

Two new strategic development sites have been mooted – on green belt land south of Long Ashton at Woodspring Golf and Country Club, where 2,500 homes are proposed, and northwest of Banwell, where another 2,800 could be built. 

A map, which only gives a broad indication at this stage, shows the village of Wolvershill built on farmland running alongside the M5, surrounding the Summer Lane Caravan Park on three sides, and swallowing the hamlet of Woolvershill Batch. 

To protect Banwell’s identity it would be separated from Wolvershill by a new strategic gap bounded by the long-awaited Banwell Bypass. 

The draft Local Plan says the new settlement will have 2,800 homes, 980 of them affordable, 11 hectares of employment land, a village centre and at least three primary schools. 

It says: “While Weston has a wide range of services and facilities, jobs and public transport opportunities, it is also highly constrained in terms of new development opportunities given the topography and areas at risk of flooding.  

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“Land at Wolvershill (north of Banwell) has been identified as a strategic growth location and this policy sets out the overall approach to the masterplanning of a new community which will complement the existing Banwell village while also benefiting from excellent accessibility linking it to the Weston urban area.  

“The development will be phased in relation to the delivery of the Banwell Bypass.”

The outline drawing in the draft North Somerset Local Plan

The outline drawing in the draft North Somerset Local Plan - Credit: North Somerset Council

Within Banwell itself, three other sites that already have planning permission will collectively provide 101 new homes are also included in the draft Local Plan – west of Wolvershill Road, south of Knightcott Gardens, and at Western Trade Centre. 

Across the M5, Locking will continue to swell but a new strategic gap will keep it separate from Weston. 

The draft Local Plan proposes sites for 18,046 homes – 2,021 short of the 20,085 required by government, so other locations will yet have to be identified. 

North Somerset will have to dramatically increase its rate of delivery as it is now expected to build 1,339 homes per year, well above the current rate of 818. 

The council will consult on the draft Local Plan in March. It is expected to be adopted in December 2023.