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Pre-planning advice

Somerset West and Taunton Council working with the other district councils and Somerset County Council has committed to improve their collaborative working by endorsing the Somerset Enabling Growth Charter.

We want all new development to be of the highest quality, and we know how important good design is in planning.

National planning policy says that we should have review arrangements in place for assessing and improving the design of development and listen to any suggestions they make.

To help ensure that these aspirations are fulfilled, the Council has established a Quality Review Panel to provide advice and guidance to support the delivery of high quality development in Somerset West and Taunton, including Taunton Garden Town. The Quality Review Panel will:

  • give independent and expert design suggestion, from a wide range of expert
  • help to make sure you don’t get an unexpected decision about design
  • help to speed things up

We therefore encourage and support The Quality Review Panel being used particularly early on in the planning application process. The panel’s advice to the Council officers will support sound planning decisions in respect of design quality. It may assist Council officers in negotiating design improvements and support planning committee decisions, where design quality is a key consideration.

For further information on the Somerset West and Taunton Quality Review Panel, including the process, panel members, review types and costs, please refer to the Quality Review Panel Terms of Reference.

What we can do

We can give you advice and information before you get started. We welcome and encourage discussions before you put in a planning application. This helps sort out problems early on.

Spending time and effort getting your scheme ready is more likely to result in good quality development and will also help us process your application quickly.

The service will:

  • provide detailed advice about design, building materials and advice on the national and local planning policies. This means better quality and quicker processing
  • spot, and where possible, give advice on problems so you can make changes before you get to a formal stage
  • guide you on what you need to provide with your application
  • advise who else you need to speak to
  • include a detailed written report and possibly a site meeting

Please note if your require Conservation/Listed Building Advice you need to indicate this on form and there will be an additional fee for such advice.

Please follow the pre-planning application guidance and complete the pre-planning application form and provide the information and fee requested.