STOGUMBER MARKS A FIRST FOR WEST SOMERSET

Parish Councillors in Stogumber have scored a first for West Somerset by submitting a draft Neighbourhood Development Plan to the district council.

The parish was the first to apply to West Somerset Council to create its own plan which would give local people power to shape the future growth and development in the place where they live. The area for the proposed plan is the part of Stogumber parish lying outside Exmoor National Park’s boundary.

Over 18 months the group has developed and refined its plan, talking to residents compiling factual evidence. The plan sets out a vision for the future of the parish and policies which will be used to determine planning applications in the Neighbourhood Plan area.  Regulations require these proposals to be consulted on before the plan can progress to Independent Examination.

Ward member and Leader of the council, Cllr Anthony Trollope-Bellew, said: “This is a tremendous achievement for the parish whose members have worked hard to reach this stage.

“I would particularly like to congratulate the Chairman of the parish council, Cllr Julian Spicer, for without his tenacity the plan would not have reached this stage

“Shaping your own area by developing a neighbourhood plan is a significant undertaking that is to be encouraged and congratulated.”

The consultation runs from Friday 18 November 2016 to Friday 13 January 2017. Responses must be made during this time to: the Planning Policy team, West Somerset Council, West Somerset House, Killick Way, Williton, Somerset TA4 4QA; via e-mail to ldf@westsomerset.gov.uk or through the Council’s online consultation portal www.westsomersetsays.com where the consultation document can also be downloaded.

The consultation papers are also available to view on the council’s website or at the Council’s offices in Williton and Minehead and at Williton Library, and at Stogumber Central Stores and Post Office.

Following the consultation all representations received, along with the Stogumber Neighborhood Development Plan documents, will be passed to an Independent Examiner. If successful the plan is subject to a local referendum. Plans approved by the public poll are adopted and would then form part of the development plan for West Somerset carrying real legal weight in planning decisions.

PHOTO: credit – the ledlightingcompany

Opportunity for Self-builders on Dartmoor and Exmoor

A new project aimed at encouraging local people to get involved in building their own homes on Dartmoor and Exmoor was officially launched last week.

Local people interested in building their own home in the community where they live or work are being invited to register their interest.  This will enable a better understanding of the interest in self-build, and may lead to more sites coming forward to meet local needs.

The National Park Authorities are also interested in what land may be available to meet this need and are inviting landowners to submit sites within or adjoining towns and villages, which may be suitable for self-build.  Some potential self-builders may have ideas of where they want to build, and may have land or redundant buildings that could be converted into a home. If this is the case they should also register their site.

Despite the gap between house prices and incomes, both National Park Authorities have a strong track record in delivering affordable housing on small sites, and see self-build housing as potentially playing an important role in meeting local need for housing in the National Parks in the future. Any proposals for self-build housing will be subject to the relevant planning policies for each National Park.

People are encouraged to get in touch as soon as possible to express an interest. For more information on the project, and to apply to register please visit
www.dartmoor.gov.uk/planning/pl-forwardplanning/self-build-project and www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/selfbuild.

The project is part of a ‘vanguard’ pilot for potential new national policy around self-build.  Speaking in the House of Commons, Planning and Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said,
“Perhaps the most welcome bid was a joint bid for vanguard status from the Dartmoor and Exmoor national park authorities. I am delighted that the national park authorities are actively engaging with our proposals. We have no intention of using the right to build as a means of encouraging unacceptable development in our most precious landscapes. However, the National Park Authorities are keen to explore how the register could be used to identify and address local housing demand from long-standing residents who work and live in their national parks.”

Andrea Davis, Chairman of Exmoor National Park Authority, said:
“We are pleased to have been successful in getting agreement to pilot self-build together with Dartmoor National Park, the Rural Housing Project and our housing authorities. We are keen to help local people to meet their own housing needs.”

Peter Harper, Chairman of Dartmoor National Park Authority said:
“We are proud to be part of this exciting pilot.  National Parks are living working landscapes but the gap between house prices and incomes is a significant challenge for us.  We are keen work with government to explore new opportunities for local people to build their own homes in their own communities”.

Local people wanting to express an interest in a self-build project, or suggest possible sites, should contact:
Colin Savage Rural Housing Enabler – North Devon and West Somerset  Rural Housing Project or
Sue Southwell Rural Housing Enabler – Devon Communities Together
cbsavage@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk  sue@devonrcommunities.org.uk