Work is starting on a new Local Plan covering the Somerset West and Taunton Council area. SWT will be consulting on the Issues and Options document from Monday 13 January to Monday 16 March 2020.
The Local Plan will set out where new development should go and how it should be designed.
It covers spatial strategy and policies to address issues such as climate change, housing, jobs, infrastructure, the environment and community facilities.
It also details the policies that planning applications will be assessed against. The Council’s current Local Plans were adopted between 2008 and 2017 and cover the period up to 2032.
The new district wide plan, to be adopted in 2021/22, will cover the time period up to 2040. Before a Local Plan can be adopted, it has to go through a number of stages of public consultation and independent examination in public.
The issues and options document is the first consultation stage in the Local Plan process. It sets out draft objectives and key issues for the Local Plan particularly around climate change and development needs over the next 20 years, taking into account Taunton’s Garden Town status.
All parishes in the Local Plan area and all neighbouring district and parish councils have been invited to respond to the Issues and Options document which outlines the scale of growth and starts to set out different ways this growth could be achieved.
The Council has also organised a series of roadshows for members of the public to learn more about the Local Plan with officers on hand to answer specific questions. The roadshows will take place at:
- Wellington, Quaker Meeting House – 21 January, 10am to 3pm
- Taunton, the Orchard Shopping Centre – 6 February, 10am to 3pm
- Wiveliscombe, Community Centre – 20 February, 10am to 3pm
- Taunton, Deane House – 27 February, 2pm to 7pm
Cllr Mike Rigby, Executive Member for Planning Policy and Transport, has told Tone News:
“A good Local Plan is helped by information from local people so that we understand what is important to local communities and businesses.
We need to make sure that enough homes and jobs can be built as well as facilities such as shops, services and transport improvements.
This is the chance for everyone, who lives, works or cares, to make a difference to the future of the district.
We are consulting on a range of potential approaches and invite as many people as possible to respond to our consultation. It’s really important that if people are interested in how their localities develop over the next two decades, they engage with this process.
There have recently been a number of large-scale housing developments around the edge of Taunton. While the details of these are decided through planning application s, often submitted shortly before development commences, the principle of those developments was established many years ago, the last time this local plan exercise was undertaken. This is the time to get involved.”
The full Issues and Options document is available to view on the website.
All the responses will be analysed to help inform the next stage – a draft of the Local Plan which SWT will consult on in late 2020.