A PROPOSAL to expand a motorway junction and allow warehouses to be built in the countryside is under review by the council.

North Somerset Council’s proposed new local plan allocated a 25 acre swathe of land east of Junction 20 on the M5 by Clevedon as space for “distribution, logistics, and warehousing demands”.

The document added that a new exit could come off the motorway junction to serve the new facilities.

But the plans were met with outcry in Clevedon and caused concern at the town’s beloved craft centre, a group of studios for art and heritage crafts based around a farmyard, which the plan suggested could be totally surrounded by warehouses and distribution centres.

Now, the council says it is reviewing the proposal and the development could happen by Weston-super-Mare instead.

Mark Canniford, North Somerset Council’s cabinet member for spatial planning, placemaking, and economy, said: “I have now taken it back to planning policy to see if junction 21 is more appropriate.”

North Somerset Times: Clevedon Craft Centre.Clevedon Craft Centre. (Image: John Wimperis)

But he added: “We are not going to keep everyone happy.” 

He said: “At the moment, we are doing a big piece of work to see what the impacts would be in the two areas.

“No decision has been taken and the fact that we are looking at this in such detail really proves that.”

Mr Canniford added that, if the plans at junction 20 did go ahead, buildings would be in the south of the allocated area and would not surround the, craft centre but he said he understood their concern.

But he added that the employment land would be needed somewhere.

He said: “I’m doing my best to consider the benefits for everyone in North Somerset.”

The local plan is a document produced by North Somerset Council which establishes where development is acceptable and will guide planning decisions in the district for the next 15 years.

The local plan does not necessarily mean there are currently plans in the works for such a development, but that council planners will consider it acceptable if companies propose it.

The latest version of the plan has been in development for years and is on the verge of being submitted to the secretary of state for approval.