More than 2,500 new homes north of Banwell in Local Plan draft

An impression of how the new village at Long Ashton could look

An impression of how the new village at Long Ashton could look - Credit: Taylor Wimpey

More than 2,500 homes could be built north of Banwell - and a new VILLAGE at Long Ashton - under new plans being proposed.

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

And among plans in the draft includes plans for a new village - with 2,500 homes - which could be built on a golf course in the green belt near Bristol, at Long Ashton. 

The biggest development sites are at Wolvershill, north of Banwell, where 2,800 homes are proposed, and the village site, on green belt land south of Long Ashton, at Woodspring Golf and Country Club.

Previous plans for a 'garden village' at Mendip Spring near Churchill have been scrapped as residents would have been too dependent on their cars to meet climate emergency targets. 

A report on the evolving draft plan to executive members next week says: "Development at Yanley Lane (Woodspring golf course) has been identified as being appropriate for consideration given its proximity to Bristol and its unique opportunity to create high quality public transport and cycle access into the city, in a location which avoids the most sensitive areas of green belt and which has the potential to deliver a high quality, sustainable new community."

Building on the 95-hectare Woodspring Golf and Country Club, which currently has 27 holes of championship golf and a 20-bay driving range, was first mooted some 15 years ago. 

Woodspring Golf and Country Club could be developed to create a new village with 2,500 homes

Woodspring Golf and Country Club could be developed to create a new village with 2,500 homes - Credit: North Somerset Council

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It was put forward for development by Taylor Wimpey in 2018 as part of The Vale, a 'collection of village communities' that, together, could have offered 4,500 homes. 

Because it is in the green belt it was not included in the West of England joint spatial plan that was later scrapped. 

The draft Local Plan reflects a change of heart in the council: "Given the scale of the housing requirement and the lack of sustainable locations outside the green belt which conform to the spatial strategy, the preferred options suggest the need to allocate green belt land."

'Exceptional circumstances' are needed to build in the green belt and the report says they only apply to the most sustainable locations, not villages within the green belt such as Pill, Easton-in-Gordano or Failand, which are deemed inappropriate locations for development.

The proposals will see the golf club become a 'distinctive, new sustainable community' with 2,500 homes, 875 of which would be affordable, 10 hectares of employment land, a village centre, a secondary school and three 420-place primary schools. 

A segregated mass transit route will pass through the development and provide the opportunity for fast, frequent access to Bristol. The village will be designed with direct access onto the Metrobus network. 

Reusing the golf club's clubhouse will provide the opportunity for community facilities from the outset. 

A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey said: "We are pleased that North Somerset Council has identified Yanley Lane/Woodspring Golf Club in the draft local plan.

"We will be working with the Local Authority to deliver a high quality and carefully designed plan which will include much needed new homes and a wide range of benefits to residents and the surrounding area.

"We look forward to engaging with the local community on how to create a vibrant and sustainable community on the edge of Bristol."

The draft Local Plan proposes sites for 18,046 homes – 2,021 short of the 20,085 set 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.