South Somerset District Council has agreed to allow more time to
develop a plan that will shape the district up until 2028.
The council has been working on a set of draft policies that
cover everything from how much housing and employment space is
built and where, to what schools, roads, shops, parks and other
services are needed in support.
Around a thousand people made formal comments on the draft plan
during a six-week public consultation with over twenty local
events, held last year.
Since then, the district council has been considering the
responses and updated research to refine the proposals within the
draft plan, known as the draft Core Strategy.
The council is now aiming to finalise its report containing
updated proposals for Area Committee consideration in the New Year,
instead of November and December 2011.
One of the key reasons that the longer timetable has been agreed
is to allow the council to thoroughly review, analyse and
familiarise itself with two significant supporting documents; the
Infrastructure Development Plan and the Community Infrastructure
Levy report. These have been received later than scheduled from
The council has been informing all contributors of progress to
date and will be confirming updated estimated timescales when the
documents have been reviewed.
Cllr Ric Pallister, Leader of South Somerset District Council
explains the next steps: "These two documents are important as they
inform the council of the infrastructure required to support
development proposals and how it might be funded.
"The consultants have provided their comments on this major body
of work and we now have to reflect on what they are saying. It
would be impractical and indeed foolish to rush the checking and
analysis of them into two weeks to meet our original
timescale,which we set ourselves as a guideline rather than a
deadline set by central Government.
"It is important that all of our research and proposals match up
and that we get this right, so we will take a little extra time to
make sure we have gone through these two documents thoroughly and
that we are one hundred percent ready when we present updated
proposals to councillors and to the public for their comment."
"By taking longer, the council is allowing itself to see the
full picture on development proposals and their implications, to
make sure we are proposing growth in the right places.
"The most important thing is to get it right and if that means
taking a bit longer, so be it."
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Updated proposals (informed by comments made in the last round
of public consultation, together with updated evidence and research
such as the two above documents, population projections, transport
surveys etc) will be presented to councillors at all four of SSDC's
Area Committees in the new year.
These will be public meetings. Once the four Area Committees
have made their comments, and put forward any recommendations for
change, the proposals and policy amendments will go to the District
Executive committee, and finally before all sixty councillors at
Further public consultation
The agreed version of the plan (incorporating any changes made
at the public committee meetings) will then go out for another six
weeks of public consultation early next year, so there are many
steps and changes can be made and incorporated at any
Any comments made in the public consultation, along with the
final draft of the plan, will be examined by an independent
Planning Inspector, who then writes his or her report to the
The plan will be adopted after the council receives the
Inspector's comments. This is anticipated to be late in 2012 or
early in 2013.
More information on the Community Infrastructure Levyand
Infrastructure Delivery Plan/Consultants
These are required documents in support of the delivery of the
Core Strategy; in other words they are some of the documents that
suggest what is needed to make sure growth is sustainable
(facilities, transport, etc) and how those will come
These documents need technical research or expertise. Councils
do not usually employ such specialist staff therefore consultants
are used to bring in that expertise only when needed as opposed to
all year around.
The Infrastructure Delivery Plan includes details of the
infrastructure needed to
support the delivery of the Core Strategy.
Issued: 13 October 2011