Category Archives: Housing and Planning


The newly formed West Somerset Community Land Trust has released a survey, which seeks to ascertain what people actually want and need from their houses, and what really constitutes affordable for the area. The survey can be found at:

The release of this survey follows the WSCLT’s highly successful launch event, which was held on Tuesday 1 November 2016 at the Beach Hotel, Minehead, where a full house demonstrated the need for a different approach to housing in the area.

The launch officially began a process of discussion with the community, which aims to identify the need for affordable housing in West Somerset, and is now being followed up by the survey, intended to reach a much wider audience.

At the launch, voices from the local community, local councils and social housing were all represented. A series of table workshops asked questions of the room, such as ‘What do I want from my home?’ and ‘Where will the money come from?’, with WSCLT Directors facilitating. This followed on from energising talks by architect and TV broadcaster, Piers Taylor, and WSCLT director, David Croxton, who both inspired people to think more broadly about housing and sustainability.

The group intends to engage further with people in need of housing and those that work to help them, including professionals in the field, to ensure that there is a solid understanding of the real housing needs of people in West Somerset before its AGM on 7 February 2017.

WSCLT received initial start-up funding from Forum 21, Somerset Community Foundation and the National CLT Network. It is working to provide homes that are genuinely affordable based on local wages not national averages. The organisation will be community controlled and any homes built or renovated will be owned for the benefit of the community to meet the needs and requirements of the community.

To take part in the survey, become a WSCLT member or supporter, or for more information, please go to: or contact Maureen Smith on 01643 709478.

Cullompton Residents to Have their Say on Changing Local Planning Controls

Mid Devon District Council is seeking local people’s views on plans to relax the current rules on what alterations house owners in the Cullompton Conservation Area can carry out without needing to apply for planning permission.

In 2009 additional planning controls over what house owners could do to their properties were introduced in Cullompton Conservation Area with an “Article 4 Direction”. The additional controls mean that planning permission must be gained before various alterations can be done. These include installing rooflights on front roof slopes, putting up porches or replacing windows and doors on elevations facing a highway including any footpath, waterway or open space, removing chimneys or boundary walls.

The additional controls were part of a package of measures in the Conservation Area Management Plan to regenerate the town centre and improve the appearance of the wider conservation area. The deteriorating quality of the conservation area was recognised in the Heritage at Risk Register published by English Heritage. While the town remains a Conservation Area at Risk the deterioration has been halted.

The proposed changes

After five years and following issues with enforcement of the additional controls Mid Devon District Council commissioned a review of the Article 4 Direction by an independent consultant. As a result a number of changes are proposed. These would result in significantly fewer properties requiring planning permission for replacing windows and doors, demolishing boundary walls or constructing porches. Most dwellings would still need planning permission for installing rooflights on front roof slopes or for demolition of chimneys. In addition it is proposed that most dwellings would need to have planning permission for installation of solar panels.

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