Main Modifications

1. Introduction and Background

1.1. The Proposed Submission South Somerset Local Plan (2006 – 2028) was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for Independent Examination in January 2013. A series of Examination Hearing Sessions were held during May and June 2013, which resulted in the Inspector issuing a Preliminary Findings Letter[1] to the Council outlining some issues of concern. The Local Plan Examination was suspended whilst additional work was undertaken by the Council to address the Inspector’s concerns.

1.2. Further evidence base work led to the Council creating proposed Main Modifications (MMs). These were subject to consultation between November 2013 and January 2014. Following consideration of the consultation responses, the MMs were submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in March 2014[2].

1.3. Examination Hearing Sessions on the MMs took place from 10 – 13 June 2014. During these sessions the Inspector raised a number of issues where the Local Plan would benefit from additional clarification.

1.4. Some other matters were debated during the Examination Hearing Sessions and the Council produced a series of Mid-Hearing Statements to clarify their position. The documents have been subject to consultation and comments received have been considered by the Council and the Inspector. The need for further MMs was formally confirmed by the Inspector is his letter from the 16th July 2014[3].

1.5. As a result, the Council are proposing further Main Modifications (MMs) relating to:

  • Policy YV2: North East Yeovil Sustainable Urban Extension;
  • Policy YV3: East Coker and North Coker Buffer Zone;
  • Policy SS3: Delivering New Employment Land; and
  • Policy SS5: Delivering New Housing Growth.

1.6. The further MMs have been subject to Sustainability Appraisal, Equality Analysis and Habitats Regulation Assessment.

1.7. The further MMs were approved for consultation by District Executive on the 07 August 2014 and Full Council on the 21 August 2014.

1.8. The Council has sought to discharge its duties under Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (as amended), and its own Statement of Community Involvement[4] by making the MMs available to both specific consultation bodies and general consultation bodies. It has also sought to discharge the "Duty to Co-operate" as prescribed under Regulation 4 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (as amended) by actively engaging with the "Prescribed Bodies"[5].

1.9. The further MMs will be subject to consultation from 28 August - 10 October 2014. The consultation responses on the further MMs will then be considered and submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. This will discharge the Council's duty to request, under Section 20(7C) of the Planning and Comoulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended), for the Inspector to recommend Main Modifications to the Local Plan.

1.10. The Inspector will consider the further MMs in conjunction with the rest of the Main Modifications and will decide whether there is the need for any further Examinaiton Hearing Sessions. If additional Hearing Sessions are not required, the Inspector will move towards finalising the formal 'Inspector's Report'.

1.11. Each of the further MMs is set out below. Where the Council has proposed new text this is shown in bold and underlined; and deleted text shown with a strikethrough.

1. Inspector’s Preliminary Findings Letter (July 2013): https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/media/572193/inspector_s_preliminary_findings.pdf [back]
3. Inspector’s Preliminary Findings following the Resumed Hearing Sessions letter (July 2014): http://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/media/674198/inspector_s_preliminary_findings_post_resumed_examination_hearing.pdf [back]
4. South Somerset District Council: Statement of Community Involvement, Appendix 2 (July 2007) [back]
5. A detailed account of the Duty to Co-operate process can be found here: http://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/media/457227/10._duty_to_cooperate_report.pdf, with an update note scheduled to be tabled to District Executive and Full Council for approval prior to use at the resumption of the Examination. [back]