Local Plan Review Issues and Options Regulation 18

Foreword

This consultation represents the first stage of the South Somerset Local Plan Review. The update will use the same framework as the existing plan but incorporate the latest data, especially around population and economic growth. It will also reflect changes in Government Policy and will eventually incorporate the outcome of the Government’s new formula for calculating Objectively Assessed Housing Need. The revision will provide us with a refreshed policy framework that will guide and shape development in the District up to 2034.

The District is facing a number of issues; the population is continuing to grow, with an increasing proportion of older residents, and there is sustained pressure on the need to achieve delivery of new housing of all types and tenures to meet current and emerging need that is affordable to local people. Maintaining access to services and rural connectivity are also important factors.

From an economic prospective, business growth has been stable with strong representation in the manufacturing sector and unemployment levels are low; however the allocated strategic employment sites have not been developed and there is little appetite for office building. Although only a 10 year blip, the scale and duration of having the construction of Hinkley C, Europe’s largest engineering project, in relatively close proximity to South Somerset, will inevitably distort the picture in the short to medium term.

The issues in preparing a new plan are wide ranging and will involve not just the Council itself, but also many other organisations and individuals. This Issues and Options consultation provides an opportunity to get involved and give your views and comments.

I must stress that this is only the start in shaping the Local Plan Review and no decisions have yet been made. It is vital that as many individuals and businesses as possible respond to this consultation and your comments will be taken into account in evolving the preferred policy options. Whilst this document is based upon evidence, by testing that against local knowledge and “live” economic factors, I believe that the final version should be stronger and more relevant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ric Pallister

Leader of the Council