Portishead Branch Line – MetroWest Phase 1

The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

Portishead Branch Line - MetroWest Phase 1

Received 25 February 2020
From North Somerset Council


The Council fully supports the proposal to re-open the rail line between Portishead and Bristol and believes it will reduce traffic movements with attendant carbon reduction and air quality benefits and reduction of congestion on the network including the M5 and A369 and increase the resilience of the sub-regional transport network. It considers there are potentially significant economic benefits to the region, improving accessibility to the Temple Quarter growth hub in Bristol and providing access to job opportunities in this location. The Council, which has declared a Climate Emergency, will also wish to make representations concerning matters including: The Planning statement gives a thorough overview of the issues that arise from the proposal. We are the Unitary authority for the area through which most of the line passes through. North Somerset Council has responsibility for Local Planning policies and making decisions on planning applications. We are currently preparing a new Local Plan for the period up to 2036. We therefore have considerable knowledge of committed development within the locality and its relationship with the proposed rail line. We also have a responsibility for Highways and Transport including roads, travel and parking. Our role extends to being Lead Flood and Public Health Authority, provider of social care, children, young people and families’ services and education authority. We also have an important role in community safety, crime prevention and emergency management. The Council is a Waste Management Authority. We have partnerships with other bodies in the area including the Avon Fire and Rescue Service, the NHS and Ambulance service, the Police, WECA and work closely with neighbouring authorities, Town and Parish Councils and other organisations such as the Environment Agency, and North Somerset Levels Internal Drainage Board to deliver services to our communities. Consequently, we will have interests in matters including traffic generation, highways, parking, accessibility for all groups, equal opportunities, living conditions of our residents, quality of design and landscape, the historic environment, air quality, biodiversity and ecology(there are several national and international designations), flood risk and drainage, contamination, materials and waste, noise and vibration. These include construction and operational phases. Importantly much of the area through which the line passes is Green Belt. Key locations include proposed stations, road re-alignment, and the Avon Gorge. Our Local Impact Report will detail these matters. We will continue to work with the applicant over these matters and a Statement of Common Ground. In addition, we have a vision for our four main towns and are committed to delivering economic regeneration in Portishead. Together with our close neighbour Bristol City Council we are aware of interests immediately outside our administrative boundaries such as the Conservation Areas and designations of national significance such as the Avon Gorge that straddle the boundary. As a Local Authority we have a responsibility to use our resources wisely and in a financially prudent way and the arrangements for discharge of Requirements and other procedural matters that form part of the Development Consent Order will be of significance to the Council.