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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.

The timetable of the Local Plan has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and so further evidence gathering and the Regulation 19 Draft Plan stage anticipated for Summer 2020 (as set out in the Local Development Scheme) has been delayed.  

Furthermore, the Government’s recent Planning Reform proposals will impact upon the content and scope of the Local Plan so we need to review what this means for our Local Plan if the proposed changes are confirmed.

Additionally, the timetable shown below is likely to be affected by the outcome of the unitary proposals for Somerset. Whichever unitary scenario emerges in the summer of 2021, a Local Plan would need to be produced to cover the whole of the new Local Planning Authority area. The background work and consultation so far on the Local Plan 2040 will still be of relevance to any new Local Plan for a unitary authority.

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.

If you would like to see the full consultation responses submitted by individuals/organisations please go to our Consultation Portal.

For the Issues and Options consultation we 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.

The Local Plan timetable

Stage name Summary of stage Time period
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
Draft Plan (Reg 19) Consultation on draft policies, potential development locations and supporting information, informed by the previous stage and further technical evidence Under Review
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 Under Review
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 Under Review
Plan is adopted The plan is adopted and is used to inform local planning policy and decisions on planning applications Under Review

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