North Somerset

 

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North Somerset: 51.440966, -2.742653

North Somerset's area covers part of the county of Somerset but it is administered independently of the non-metropolitan county. Its administrative headquarters is in the town hall in Weston-super-Mare. It borders the local government areas of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, Mendip and Sedgemoor.

Between 1 April 1974 and 31 March 1996, it was the Woodspring district of the county of Avon (named after Woodspring Priory, an isolated mediaeval church near the coast just north east of Weston-super-Mare). The district of Woodspring was formed from the municipal boroughs of Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon and Portishead urban districts, Long Ashton Rural District and part of Axbridge Rural District.

Though the government proposed that the new unitary area be known as "North West Somerset" from 1 April 1996, the council voted instead to adopt the name "North Somerset" and so the name "North West Somerset" was never widely used. There remained some legal doubt as to whether the council had validly changed the name to "North Somerset", but in 2005 the council passed a resolution to put the matter beyond doubt.

North Somerset's economy is traditionally based on agriculture, including sheep raised for wool on the Mendip Hills and dairy farming in the valleys. During the Georgian era, tourism became a significant economic sector in the coastal towns, most notably Weston-super-Mare which grew from a small village to a large resort town. Though tourism declined in the mid to late-twentieth century, in common with most British coastal resorts, this sector of the economy has stabilised.

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