Somerset Local Plan Support
DAC Planning and Arup were commissioned in early 2022 to provide critical friend advice to assist in scoping the approach and programme to producing a Development Plan and associated evidence base for the new unitary authority.
The new unitary authority Somerset Council was established on 1 April 2023, replacing Somerset County Council and the district councils Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton and South Somerset. As part of the devolution deal, the Council is legally obligated to produce an adopted Local Plan within five years of the formation of the new Council.
Desk based review
We reviewed all relevant background documents, including budgetary information and evidence base documents to inform our advice. We also considered the potential implications of planning reform proposals.
We produced a Recommendations Report that established an effective and efficient approach to scoping and structuring the Development Plan, associated evidence base, timetable and resource requirements.
Workshop with Officers
We facilitated a workshop with officers from all five Local Authorities to explore key options and obtain a steer on approach to be taken to plan production, including approach to resourcing and the future relationship between land-use, minerals and waste plans.
Workshop with elected Members
We delivered a Member workshop to present the findings of the support, to discuss and agree the approach to producing the Development Plan.
The DAC Planning and Arup project team produced a Recommendations Report which assessed existing policy resources for the five Councils, identifieD risks and constraints to producing the Development Plan, and provided recommendations for Plan production going forward. The Report was used by the newly established Somerset Council to inform the approach to be followed to plan production.