Local Plan to 2032

Follow this link to view and download the Proposed Modifications to the Local Plan being subject to public consultation between the 3rd June and the 15th July 2016.

The Council is currently working with the community to produce a new set of planning policies for the parts of the District outside the Exmoor National Park which, once adopted, will replace many of the policies of the Saved West Somerset District Local Plan adopted in 2006.  These new planning policies should help to bring positive changes whilst safeguarding what is already working well.

The starting points for the new Local Plan are the vision and aims of the West Somerset Sustainable Community Strategy, together with information from research and data about the way the economy, communities, services and environment are currently functioning within the area (see the Evidence Base Information section).  The Council must ensure that the policies produced will work to address the issues that really matter for local communities, whilst also complying with government planning policy.

Your help is essential because the informed views, ideas and knowledge contributed by members of the public, businesses, community groups and other stakeholders are of great importance in identifying the issues which matter, and in developing ways to tackle them positively by encouraging development which is appropriate for each place, and through the use of planning policies to determine planning applications.

A brief outline of the Local Plan process:

Frontloading, issues and options (Regulation 18)

The policy making process involves the principle of “frontloading”, this means that that the really important issues must be identified and – if possible - resolved early on.  The results of research, and statistics about the area are used together with wide ranging community and stakeholder involvement in order to achieve this.
Once the vision, key issues and objectives for the area have been identified and justified, options for the Local Plan’s policies can be evolved and tested with confidence that they are supported by evidence and the benefit of involvement and scrutiny by a wide range of interested organisations and individuals.  

This part of the Local Plan's preparation has now been completed, the information and views gathered during these stages, together with the Sustainability Appraisal of the options and the information in the evidence base will be used to test and consult on a draft preferred strategy. 

The Preferred Strategy, publication and submission

The Preferred Strategy was subject to public consultation for an eight week period, between 22nd March and the 16th May 2012.  Following the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework, a further round of public consultation on a Revised Preferred Strategy took place between 29th July and 23rd September 2013.  The Draft Local Plan is now being prepared for formal publication and then submission to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for Examination.  By publication stage the Council should be confident that the Local Plan is ‘sound’, (see ‘examination’ below). 


The examination of the Local Plan begins as soon as the document is formally submitted, it consists of a consideration of whether the document and its policies are technically sound in terms of the regulations and evidence rather than being a public inquiry into objections to the document’s proposals.  The Inspector’s job is to determine whether the Local Plan is sound, having considered the evidence, whether the Regulations, and the SCI and LDS have been followed in its preparation, whether it is deliverable and whether it generally conforms with national planning policy. 


The Inspector will publish a Report on the examination indicating whether or not the document is sound together with recommendations for any necessary amendments.  The Council will then consider the Inspector’s recommendations and resolve to adopt  the Local Plan with any necessary modifications.

Last updated 23rd December 2014.