Foreword

This Preferred Options consultation represents the second formal stage of consultation on the South Somerset Local Plan Review and follows the Issues and Options consultation which took place during late 2017 and early 2018. The document reflects the latest Government Guidance in the updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the evidence base produced to support the Plan process. The Local Plan Review will provide us with a refreshed policy framework that will guide and shape development in the District up to 2036.

The District is facing a number of issues. The population is continuing to grow, with an increasing proportion of older residents. There is sustained pressure on the need to achieve the delivery of new housing of all types and tenures to meet current as well as emerging need. Alongside this, affordable housing for local people is a key concern.  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 Preferred Options consultation provides an opportunity to get involved and give your views and comments.

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 next stage of the Local Plan Review. Whilst this document is based upon evidence, by testing that against local knowledge and “live” economic factors, I believe that the final version will be more robust and relevant.

Val Keitch

Val Keitch

Leader of the Council