Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

National Context

1.24 The Government has published the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) March 2012 which sets out the planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied. This provides the framework which local authorities and local communities can use to shape their areas and identify priorities. This NPPF needs to be read in conjunction with other national policy statements for major infrastructure, energy and specific policies for travellers sites and waste.

1.25 The purpose of the planning system is to provide for sustainable development and the national framework sets out in policy guidance what this means in practice. The three dimensions of sustainable development are identified as economic, social and environmental requiring the planning system to build strong and competitive economies, making land for employment uses available, coordinating infrastructure, providing a supply of housing to meet the present and future needs of the population within high quality environments, supported by community facilities and services whilst continuing to protect and enhance the natural, built and historic environment, improving biodiversity, minimising use of natural resources and meeting the challenge of adapting to climate change.

1.26 The Government recognise that many social, environmental and economic issues can only be effectively addressed at a ‘larger than local’ scale. As people and businesses do not confine their activities to one council area. For example employees may live in one area and work in another, thus local plan-making will have a ‘strategic’ element to it. To respond to this issue the Government has introduced a ‘duty to co-operate’ between Local Authorities in England. In order to comply, the Government anticipates that joint working should occur on areas of common interest taking into account different geographical areas where appropriate for mutual gain.

1.27 In the making of this Plan, South Somerset District Council has worked collaboratively with Somerset County Council and its neighbouring Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) in the preparation of evidence base documents and has specifically consulted adjacent LPAs on cross-boundary issues where they have been identified. The most significant cross-boundary planning issues being the growth agenda for Yeovil which could potentially impact across the administrative border of West Dorset District.

1.28 The limited scope of cross border issues for South Somerset relates to the fact that South Somerset Travel to Work Area (TTWA) and Housing Market Area (HMA) are very much favoured around the Districts borders.

1.29 The Government is particularly keen that local communities shape local development and this Local Plan has been informed by community engagement at early stages of preparation.

1.30 The Council is also committed to assisting those communities who wish to produce Neighbourhood Plans to shape their own areas. Provisions have now been put in place[1] to allow local communities to set out their own policies in Neighbourhood Plans in relation to the development and use of land in their areas providing that these are in accordance with the adopted policies of the Local Plan and NPPF. Communities can also identify opportunities where neighbourhood development orders can be used to enable developments that are in accord with neighbourhood plans to proceed. Communities through these provisions will therefore be able to have influence over where development can go and what it might look like and to set out more detailed aspirations for their areas.

1. Schedule 9 of Localism Act, Section 38A Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 [back]