The draft Local Plan outlines how future housing and employment needs will be catered for across Mendip up to 2029, as well as providing services, infrastructure and facilities such as schools, roads and green spaces.
Following the conclusion of April’s public hearings into Mendip’s plan, the council has now received a letter from the inspector outlining his initial recommendations.
The inspector has confirmed that the council can proceed to publish and consult on the modifications it had proposed as a result of the hearings, together with those modifications the council had previously published when it submitted the plan.
This means that, subject to the results of further public consultation, the inspector is satisfied the draft Local Plan can be made sound through proposed modifications.
The inspector has also said that an additional three modifications need to be made to the plan:
1) That the plan should avoid referring to precise housing numbers and instead express them as a minimum requirement.
2) That the plan should not seek to delay the release of the ‘Future Growth Area’ west of Wells (south of the railway line).
3) That the viaduct to the west of Kilver Street and north of Charlton Road in Shepton Mallet should not be reserved for future re-use as a multi-user path.
The council will now carry out a further six weeks of public consultation online and residents, parish, town and city councils and anyone with an interest in the plan is invited to make formal representations on the modifications.
Once the responses to the consultation are received, the inspector will then decide if any further public hearings are needed to consider any specific points raised.
Cllr Nigel Woollcombe-Adams, portfolio holder for Built Environment, said: “This is a positive response from the inspector and we are very pleased that he has broadly agreed with the draft plan, which has not been the case for a number of other councils across the country.
“We will shortly begin further public consultation on the modifications which have been proposed by both the council and the inspector. I would encourage people to have their say on these changes, but it is important to note that comments may only be made on the modifications themselves, not on any other matters contained within the local plan.
“The creation of a Local Plan is a long and very detailed process and I would like to once again thank the people of Mendip for their patience while we finalise this key document.”
Formal representations on the proposed ‘main’ modifications must be received by 5pm on Monday 4th August.
Further details, including forms for making representations, are available online at www.mendip.gov.uk/localplanexamination and are also available at Mendip District Council’s offices, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5BT and at the council’s five Customer Access Points.