1 Introduction

Purpose of this document

1.1 The purpose of this document is to set out for consultation the Council’s proposed strategy for delivering new homes and employment over the period 2016 to 2036, including site allocations and policies against which planning applications will be assessed.

1.2 During December 2017 and January 2018, South Somerset District Council (the Council) consulted on the Local Plan Review (LPR) Issues and Options document. The comments made at that stage have been summarised and used to inform this Preferred Options document.

1.3 In July 2018 and February 2019 Central Government published a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and some accompanying Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) and these have been taken into account in the drafting of this document.

1.4 It is important that there is early and meaningful engagement in the LPR process. In accordance with Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012, this consultation document has been prepared to support engagement with the general public, statutory consultees, local communities, businesses, voluntary groups, other public organisations, landowners and other bodies that the Council has a ‘duty to cooperate’ with (see p.14 – Duty to Cooperate).

1.5 We are seeking your views on the preferred approach / options for addressing spatial planning issues in the District.

1.6 Representations made at this stage will help to refine the Submission version of the Local Plan Review, that stage will include a further round of public consultation.

What is the Local Plan and why are we reviewing it?

1.7 A Local Plan sets out the strategy and policies to support the Council’s long-term vision as well as the strategic context for managing and accommodating residential and economic growth across South Somerset. This is in the context of national policy as well as other strategies and plans at District, County and sub-regional level.

1.8 The current adopted Local Plan covers the period 2006-2028[1] . In his report to the Council, the independent Inspector who carried out the Examination into the Local Plan made it clear that an early review of part of the Plan should be undertaken and the decision was subsequently made to review the whole Local Plan. The LPR rolls the plan period forward covering the timeframe 2016-2036.

1.9 Figure 1.1 shows the relationship between the South Somerset Local Plan and other policy documents.

Figure 1.1

1.10 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) highlights that Local Plans are key to delivering sustainable development. Planning decisions must be made in accordance with the Development Plan[2]  unless material considerations indicate otherwise.[3]  . Figure 1.2 shows in simple terms how the decision-making process for planning applications interacts with the Local Plan.

Figure 1.2

Figure 1.2: How planning applications will be considered against the Local Plan

1.11 It is important to have an up to date local plan to ensure that it is effective. Reviews should be completed within five years of the date of adoption to ensure that policies remain relevant and effectively address the needs of the South Somerset community[4] .

1.12 The consultation on the Local Plan Review Issues and Options took place between October 2017 and January 2018. The main issues arising from the comments made at that stage of the process have informed this document. A schedule of the main issues raised with an officer response was presented to District Executive Committee on 7th February 2019.

1.13 The timeline for the Local Plan Review is set out in Figure 1.3 below.

Figure 1.3

Figure 1.3 Local Plan Review Timeline

1. https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/your-council/your-council-plan-and-strategies/planning-policy/local-plan/ [back]
2. The Development Plan consists of the adopted Local Plan and any ‘made’ neighbourhood plan. [back]
3. Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. [back]
4. Regulation 10A of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (as amended) and NPPF, 2019. Paragraph 33 [back]

Evidence Base

1.14 The evidence base as well as the NPPF and accompanying guidance underpin the draft policies set out in this document.

1.15 Links or references to relevant evidence base documents are provided throughout this document.

1.16 In line with the approach set out in the NPPF, the Council will be commissioning a viability assessment of the Local Plan’s policies. This assessment will be undertaken prior to the Local Plan being submitted to the Secretary of State.

What this document covers

1.17 The document is set out in sections which broadly reflect those in the current Local Plan. It has been written as a complete Draft Local Plan Review and as such includes a number of the policies in the existing adopted Local Plan, some remain unchanged and others have been modified or removed. It should be noted that due to the deletion of some policies, the addition of others and some re-structuring of the document to make it clearer and easier to use some policy names and reference numbers have changed.

1.18 Strategic policies are identified by being in a green box and non-strategic polices are identified by being in a blue box and are listed in Appendix One.

1.19 Maps showing the proposed site allocations can be found in the Appendix Two and a Glossary can be found in Appendix Three.

Why should I get involved?

1.20 It is important that you make your views known and take this opportunity to contribute to the LPR. Consultation is being undertaken in accordance with the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)[5] . The main issues raised at this stage will help to inform the preparation of the Local Plan Review going forward.

 

 

5. South Somerset Statement of Community Involvement, December 2015 https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/media/1934/statement-of-community-involvement-final-september-2018.pdf [back]

How to comment

1.21 You can make comment in a number ways:

 

 

Online via the website

www.southsomerset.gov.uk/your-council/your-council-plan-and-strategies/planning-policy/local-plan-review-2016-2036/

 

 

Email

Strategy@southsomerset.gov.uk 

 

 

In writing to

Strategy and Commissioning

Council Offices

Brympton Way

Yeovil

BA20 2HT

1.22 Hard Copies of the document are available to view during normal opening hours at the following District Council offices and in libraries across the District:

Brympton Way, Yeovil

Petters House, Yeovil

Library opening times can be found here: https://www.somerset.gov.uk/libraries-leisure-and-communities/libraries/our-libraries/

Strategic Environmental Appraisal / Sustainability Appraisal

1.23 The first stage in the production of a Local Plan is the preparation of a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) Scoping Report. This document identifies the key environmental, social and economic issues for the LPR and establishes SA objectives for testing the Local Plan proposals. SA incorporates the requirements of the SEA Directive[6]  which seeks to establish whether a programme or plan is to have widely significant environmental effects. The aim is to ensure that these policies contribute towards achieving sustainable development. A Sustainability Appraisal of this document has been prepared and is available on the Council’s website.

6. Directive 2001/42/EC [back]

Duty to Co-operate and Statements of Common Ground

1.24 There is an ongoing legal requirement for the Council to co-operate with statutory and non-statutory partners. In order to demonstrate on-going joint working the Council will prepare and maintain one or more statements of common ground, these will be produced using the approach set out in the planning guidance[7] .

1.25 This work ensures that strategically significant issues that have potential cross boundary impacts are discussed. The Council is mindful of its direct relationships with local authorities as well as its functional relationships with a range of councils.

1.26 South Somerset District Council adjoins Dorset Council, Wiltshire Council, Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West & Taunton Council, and East Devon Council. South Somerset will continue to engage with these adjoining councils and other specified bodies as necessary and appropriate in future.

1.27 It should be noted that prior to local government reorganisation in April 2019 and the associated creation of Dorset Council and Somerset West & Taunton Council, these areas were represented by West Dorset District Council / North Dorset District Council and Taunton Deane Council respectively.

7. NPPF, 2019. Paragraphs 24 to 27. [back]