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Local Plan review 2040

We have a statutory requirement to prepare a Local Plan which covers the whole of the new Somerset West and Taunton area (excluding Exmoor National Park which produces its own Local Plan).

We have started work on the Local Plan 2040. When adopted by the Council, it will replace the existing Local Plan documents of the former Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset Council.

Local Plan Issues and Options Document

The first stage was the Issues and Options document. The document looks at key issues for our area and suggests ways we can address these.  The issues we are looking at include how to plan for the places and spaces we live and work in; community services, shops, transport and infrastructure; our wildlife and landscapes; and the climate emergency.

We consulted on the Issues and Options document between Monday 13 January and Monday 16 March 2020.

We have also produced two Topic Papers on two key issues:
Topic Paper 1: Brief assessment of settlement strategy options
Topic Paper 2: Settlement boundaries

Sustainability Appraisal

The Sustainability Appraisal (SA) supports the Local Plan. It looks at how the Local Plan can deliver environmental, economic and social objectives.

The Scoping Report and the Objectives and Alternatives Main Report and Appendix A and Appendix B were consulted upon at the same time as the Issues and Options document.

Habitats Regulation Assessment

The Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) looks at whether the plan, alone, or in together with other plans or projects, is likely to have a significant effect on an international nature conservation sites (Special Protection Areas (SPA), Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) or Ramsar sites).  The HRA was consulted upon at the same time as the Issues and Options document.

Next steps

We are now looking at the comments made on the Issues and Options document.  We will produce the Consultation Report in two parts.  Part 1 has the results from the questionnaires.  Part 2 will look at the comments in greater detail and come to a conclusion about next steps for the Local Plan. Part 2 is timetabled to be available in October 2020.

We are also developing the Draft Local Plan informed by further evidence, comments received on the Issues and Options document and the Sustainability Appraisal and Habitat Regulation Assessment.

The Local Plan timetable

At this stage the effects of Covid-19 on the timetable cannot be known but the next stages of the Local Plan, including the Regulation 19 planned for Summer 2020 (as set out in the Local Development Scheme) will be delayed.  We are therefore keeping the Local Plan timetable under review.

Stage Stage name Summary of stage Time period
Stage 1 Evidence gathering (Reg 18) Includes the consultation on the Issues and Options document (Jan-Feb 2020), draft Sustainability Appraisal of alternatives, Habitat Regulation Assessment, production of technical evidence We are here
Stage 2 Draft Plan (Reg 19) Consultation on draft policies, potential development locations and supporting information, informed by the previous stage and further technical evidence To be confirmed
Stage 3 Publication version of the Plan Consultation on the revised plan, changed in light of the previous stage and further evidence gathering. Plan and comments go to the Planning Inspector To be confirmed
Stage 4 Planning Inspector's hearings An independent Planning Inspector examines the plan, evidence and comments made. The Inspector holds hearing sessions to discuss the ‘soundness’ of the plan To be confirmed
Stage 5 Plan is adopted The plan is adopted and is used to inform local planning policy and decisions on planning applications To be confirmed

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