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Land East of Court House Farm, Portbury, North Somerset

Client: Bristol Port Company
Services Provided:
Planning Consultancy

The Instruction

Alder King’s planning team was appointed by Bristol Port Company to assist with a planning application in relation to the proposed hard standing storage area for cargo in transit on land to the east of Court House Farm.  This site has been safeguarded for port-related development in North Somerset Council’s ‘Development Management Policies Plan Part 1 (Policy DM49).

Our Approach

Given most of the site is in Flood Zone 3 (highest risk of flooding), Bristol Port Company looked to Alder King to provide a robust assessment to satisfy the requirements of a Flood Risk Sequential Test report, regardless of the fact that the proposed development would be considered a ‘less vulnerable’ use.

Alder King, working alongside BPC’s transport consultants, was required to undertake robust collaboration and negotiation with officers at North Somerset Council in respect of requested highways contributions and the suitability of visibility splays from the proposed site access.

Coupled with the technical design matters that needed to be overcome, Alder King worked with BPC on developing its “needs” case which clearly demonstrated the necessity for the proposals. As part of this process, the design team had to provide an assessment of alternative suitable sites which met the criteria of the Council’s policies to be able to release the safeguarded land to the East of Court House Farm.

The assessment of biodiversity impacts had, from the outset, informed the scheme design and the necessary measures had been embedded in the application scheme to ensure enhancements to biodiversity. These were also in response to the advice raised by Natural England as part of the formal screening request. The objective of BPC’s approach had been to conserve and enhance the natural environment and the current provision for species and habitats within the locality whilst safeguarding the Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) to the north.

Other highlighted benefits associated with the application included careful consideration to the impact on the bat fly paths and sympathetic lighting scheme and the biodiversity enhancements that would be achieved through the creation, safeguarding and long-term management of the green infrastructure corridor and Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDs) scheme.


Working alongside BPC, Alder King was able to assemble a case to justify that the port-related uses proposed on the allocated site would accord with each criterion of the Council’s ‘Safeguarded Land’ Policy DM49.

Through approving the planning application for BPC to expand its cargo storage facilities, the Council acknowledged the essential role played by commercial ports as nodal points for international trade and the need to ensure that the UK port industry can handle the nation’s trade and supply chains efficiently, securely, and economically. Notwithstanding this, BPC is also a major provider of employment supporting a total of more than 22,000 jobs.

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