Wincanton Neighbourhood Plan voted in favour of by residents

A Neighbourhood Plan for Wincanton, which would see it used in the town to help South Somerset District Council decide planning applications, has been voted in favour of by local residents.

A referendum was held on Thursday 8 February that asked residents of Wincanton: 'Do you want South Somerset District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for Wincanton to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?'. 838 votes were cast, with "Yes" receiving a total of 750 votes.

Wincanton's Neighbourhood Plan is the first plan in South Somerset that has gone to a public referendum.

Neighbourhood planning aims to help local communities play a direct role in planning the areas in which they live and work. The plan can show how the community wants land to be used and developed in its area.

The Wincanton Neighbourhood Plan represents the views of Wincanton Town Council and other stakeholders on the preferred approach to future development in the town. The main objectives within the Neighbourhood Plan for Wincanton include:

  • Identifying the most sustainable locations for development
  • Housing suitable for Wincanton's population
  • New employment space near the A303
  • Make the town centre more attractive to users
  • Protect open spaces & improve walking & cycling routes

Councillor Angie Singleton, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning said, "This is our first agreed Neighbourhood Plan and it's been a long process to get this far, but I'm really pleased for the local community after the amount of work they have put in to get to this stage. Council officers have been pleased to give assistance, but this is essentially a plan for the local community developed by local people."

The Wincanton Neighbourhood Area designation was approved by the District Council in March 2014. Since then, the Neighbourhood Plan for the area was prepared by the local Steering Group and a 'Pre-Submission' Plan consulted upon in November 2016 (Regulation 14). This was followed by formal submission of the Plan in April 2017 and the District Council carried out consultation in line with procedures set out in the relevant Regulations (Regulation 16). The Plan was then the subject of independent examination and the District Council agreed on the 7th December 2017 with the Examiner's recommendations for Proposed Modifications and that the next step should be a local referendum.

A report will now be presented to SSDC's District Executive in March which recommends that the Committee agrees to the making of the Wincanton Neighbourhood Plan.