Knowle Hill Briefing


The purpose of this briefing note is to provide an update on the progress of the Knowle Hill re-development by This is Gravity Ltd, for a high quality, low impact housing scheme of six dwellings reflecting the highest standards in environmentally led architecture, which will be an asset to the locality.


The Knowle Hill site forms a part of the former estate of the ROF, which has now been designated as an Enterprise Zone and is subject of an adopted Local Development Order (LDO). Knowle Hill is located separately from the main Gravity site and houses the now redundant filtration plant site, which served the former ROF until 2008 when operations ceased.  The filtration plant provided water to the ROF site, fed by a gravity system downhill (northwards), as well as extracting water and holding it from the King Sedgemoor Drain.

The delivery of homes on this site, of a high quality and design, will support the wider objectives of Gravity and the locality to attract high-value jobs and international investment to Sedgemoor and Somerset.

Following positive pre-application discussions with Sedgemoor District Council, initial plans were drawn up and consulted on in September 2020 where a generally positive response was received from the community. No objections or comments were raised by the Parish Council’s or local community which required the scheme to be redesigned. However, at the time an application was not subsequently submitted as This is Gravity Ltd decided to focus on attracting occupiers and achieving the LDO to enable inward investment into the area and high quality and high skilled jobs. Following adoption of the LDO on 22 February 2022, the Knowle Hill scheme has progressed again.

The scheme review and refinement has addressed matters raised during the pre-application with Sedgemoor District Council.


The vision for the site is to create a small and sensitive development reflecting the highest standards in environmentally led architecture, reusing a redundant brownfield site which has been vacant for over 14 years. The development will maximise passive design principles, the opportunities to reduce the need for energy and will utilise a range of renewable energy methods.

The new build elements will be provided on the same footprint as the existing buildings, that are proposed to be demolished, to limit impact locally and on the wider landscape. The existing materials across the site will be recycled and reused within the redevelopment of the site. The dwellings are designed to sit low within the landscape, utilising the depressions created by the existing structures. Where the dwellings rise above the existing buildings on site, they resemble clusters of farm buildings, and thus sit naturally within the landscape.

Benefits of the Proposals and how it Responds to Consultation Responses Received

  • The dwellings are designed to sit low within the landscape, utilising the depressions created by the existing structures, incorporating parts of those structures where they can be retained.
  • The design has been informed by the landscape character, the long-range views and the microclimate.
  • The dwellings have been sensitively designed using patterns of built form found within the landscape, for example neighbouring dwellings and farmstead buildings.
  • Landscaping and planting have been designed to reduce views into the site from the wider landscape and to increase biodiversity.
  • There will be a 51.82% biodiversity net gain across the site, which is a significant increase.
  • Native trees and plants will be used across the site and a wildflower meadow will be provided for communal use.
  • Brown living roofs are to be used to soften the development further and further enhance the natural elements of the site. It will be left to naturally self-seed with plants via the wind and wildlife.
  • The dwellings combine passive design principles with on-site renewable energy generation to reduce its climate footprint.
  • The development integrates to the existing nearby settlements through the bridle way and improved site access.  A permissive path for the bridleway will be provided running alongside the existing access point.
An application has been submitted to SDC as the Local Planning Authority and formal consultation will follow in the near future.

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