Challenges and Choices consultation
Deadline 2nd September 
Following the Independent Inspectors recommendation after only half of the Public Examination for the West of England Joint Spatial Plan to be withdrawn, North Somerset Council is preparing Local Plan which will guide housing, jobs and business investment, transport, community facilities and supporting infrastructure in the area until 2038.  
To see the full consultation click here.
The CALRAG team is preparing its response to each of the 13 questions.  It will be uploaded shortly.  We strongly recommend engagement with every stage of the Local Plan preparation to ensure that the planners are aware of your views.   

North Somerset Council Local Plan 2036 Issues and Options Public Consultation 

Consultation now closed.

Technical Evidence Consultation - November 2018 - January 2019 

Consultation now closed but here is a bit about this important set of documents which can be viewed here.


The Churchill and Langford/Mendip Spring area has been ear-marked by NSC for major development - in other words a 'Strategic Development Location' (SDL).  For this to become a reality, SDLs have to be thoroughly examined by two Independent Planning Inspectors through the Public Examination process.  In the case of Churchill/Mendip Spring new dormitory town, this forms part of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) - a Strategic Plan involving Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath and North East Somerset local authorities.  At the Public Examination, Independent Inspectors will look at the whole of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) and will decide if the SDLs of Churchill and Banwell are Sound (deliverable, viable, and sustainable) and Legal (whether due process has been followed etc).  The JSP examination is not due to begin until after the Local Elections in May 2019 with the results unlikely to be known until early 2020. 


CALRAG support the need for a Joint Spatial Plan - it has to be both Sound and Legal. 

What is the Technical Evidence Work (TEW) and Habitats Regulations Assessment consultation?

  • The TEW documentation consists of  10 separate documents and their appendices WED001 - WED010.  This is new evidence that was not available for the JSP consultation November 2017 -January 2018 and for which the Independent Inspectors have asked in advance of the Public Examination hearings, predicted to start in May 2019.  This extra evidence required a consultation.  It gave North Somerset Council the opportunity to demonstrate in detail how and why Strategic Development Locations such as Banwell (SDL7.5) and Churchill (SDL 7.6) were chosen.  The Inspectors gave all the Unitary Authorities the opportunity to consider other locations and if they chose not to do so, to give their full reasoning.   It gave us the opportunity to challenge the incredible assumptions and subjective judgements that have been made, in many cases based on inaccurate information probably from desk-top studies.   

  • North Somerset Council now refer to the two SDLs of Banwell and Churchill as the "M5 - A38 Economic Corridor".  

  • We recommend reading the CALRAG response to this Technical Evidence Consultation.  

  • The CALRAG team, having studied all of the evidence in the TEW documentation concludes that these two SDLs are not justifiable, viable, deliverable or sustainable and will be devastating in terms of damage to the character of the village, the landscape, environment and ecology.  The evidence given, we believe contravenes many policies in the National Planning Policy Framework (both 2012 and 2018 versions) and the JSP's own policies and objectives.  The importance of the AONB and views from it appear to be all but ignored.  We contend that this renders the JSP in its current form to be neither sound and nor legal.

What are the proposals for Churchill/Mendip Spring new dormitory town?

  • 2,800 houses

  • New Dual Carriageway

  • New Major road around Windmill Hill to Churchill traffic lights.

CALRAG's Key Issues:

High Density housing including 3 and 4 storey buildings near the base of Windmill Hill 

‘Alternative scenarios’ in the Issues and Options document are not ‘alternative’.  All three will be necessary to accommodate 2,800 houses 

Nearly 300 houses are already being built or applications are in the pipeline IN ADDITION to the 2,800. Of these 30% should be affordable BUT local people are not given priority AND according to the BNP Paribas viability report for the JSP, the building costs will be so high that affordable housing will not be possible in Churchill/Mendip Spring New Town.

Affordable housing:  The West of England Authorities’ own evidence demonstrates that Churchill/Mendip Spring New Town cannot provide affordable housing due to abnormal development costs

Employment : Very limited skilled/unskilled local employment 

5000+ commuters each way daily into Bristol -  local roads will be heavily congested.  Totally underestimated figures have been given in the Technical Evidence Work documentation WED001 - WED010

Ecology:  Irreversible ecological damage to Mendip Hills AONB and Windmill Hill - not adequately considered.

Alternative solution:  There is a better, sustainable alternative by building close to jobs and infrastructure in Bristol

 Even more detail

  • There are very many significant reasons, (expert opinion and reports), why Churchill/Mendip Spring is an inappropriate location for a new dormitory town of 2,800 houses and why it will not comply with many aspects of the Government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW) and the Joint Spatial Plan's own policies.

  • There is unprecedented opposition to the proposals for Churchill/Mendip Spring new dormitory town following the analysis of the JSP consultation in November 2017-January 2018.  This opposition is growing.  We currently estimate that 98% of residents are opposed to the development.  This is taken from local Drop-ins and doorstep conversations, social media and the number of local residents who have chosen to subscribe to this website to be kept informed of ways that they can register their views.  

  • Much more information yet to be made public - e.g. the Joint Transport Plan.

  • We could go on, so if You would like to sign up to this website with your email address to receive updates and of course contact us for further information.  

  •  Please consider  making a donation to help us save not only our villages, but the beautiful views from the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding National Beauty for future generations, and for those from Bristol, Weston-S-Mare and all over the South West to enjoy.  
    • Leading London legal planning team appointed: CALRAG is working with this team on the JSP and Local Plan process..  To date we have raised nearly £10,000.  We need to raise  £10,000 more.

​Why should I be concerned 

  • North Somerset Council want to create and 'Economic Corridor between M5 and A38.   The Council incorrectly and prematurely assumes that the Strategic Development Location (SDL) of Churchill/Mendip Spring New Town will go ahead. This is definitely NOT the case.  The Independent Inspectors at Public Examination will make this decision.

  • The SDL of Churchill/Mendip Spring new town has not been through the Public Examination of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan.  This is not due to start until after the May 2019 local elections.

  • No one, not even North Somerset Council can or should prejudge the Independent Inspectors’ decision.

  • CALRAG and many other planning professionals have expressed the opinion that Churchill/Mendip Spring new dormitory town is undeliverable and unsustainable and will have irreversible ecological damage to the Mendip Hills AONB.  This is clearly stated in the CALRAG response to the latest Technical Evidence Work consultation (November 2018 to January 2019 .  To read CALRAG's response click here.

  • Much more information is needed.  

  • The Joint Local Transport Plan should be coming out shortly.  (January 2019)  yet it should be part of a Local Plan consultation.

  • The Inspectors asked for additional technical evidence in advance of the May hearings.  This is known as the Technical Evidence Consultation and has just closed.  The CALRAG team studied approx 2000 pages of this extra evidence which was extremely helpful in understanding the process of assessing the viability, sustainability deliverability of the Strategic Development Location (SDL ) of Churchill, Mendip Spring New Town.  It has also helped to realise that in our opinion, the environmental damage has not been appropriately considered/assessed.   Our response addresses all these issues in relation to the documents provided - WED001 - WED010 plus appendices.

  • Affordable housing: 

  • The  West of England Authorities’ own evidence demonstrates that Churchill/Mendip Spring new town cannot provide affordable housing.  The abnormal development costs will be too high.

  • Eight  'Affordable houses' are already available at the Pudding Pie Lane site.  Local people have not been given priority  for these houses.  Many more are in the pipeline under existing development that is not included in the Churchill/Mendip Spring new dormitory town housing numbers - it is unlikely that any of these will be allocated to local people.

  • The conceptual drawings now differ from the one submitted to the JSP Inspectors. It has been divided up to create  "Alternative Scenarios" which relate to the original drawing presented to the JSP.  ​We believe that these are not alternatives, all three'Alternative Scenarios' will be necessary to accommodate 2,800 in an appropriate rural setting.  However the  earlier NOrth Somerset Local Plan 2036 'Issues and Options document' (WED200) indicates high density, 3-4 storey houses which would be totally out of keeping for a setting adjacent to an AONB and close to Windmill Hill (No 5, page 46 of I & O).

  • All this when there is an alternative which North Somerset Council refuses to consider. 

Good development is development in the right place