Somerset Council consults
It is always good when a council, indeed any body that spends public money consults. Especially when they consult with the public whose money they are spending.
Today Somerset Council have launched a consultation on the principles on which communities should be created. It is broadly about creating the background for the a new county-wide Local Plan. This will, in due course, replace the four existing district council Local Plans.
In short this is important.
It will determine what housing will be built, what considerations will be taken into account and how the housing will fit into the community.
The outline principle are as follows:
- The principles should offer substantial benefit to people in Somerset by improving air quality; reducing carbon footprints; creating safe and easy access to schools; and places that are more resilient to the impacts of climate change while protecting and enhancing nature and wildlife.
- Creating connected, safe and healthy places will also help to improve quality of life and wellbeing. The Council is proposing to prioritise active travel – cycling, walking and wheeling – along with public transport to reduce reliance on using private cars.
- Places should be designed to allow easy access to shops, services and facilities that meet residents’ needs, with streets linking to existing communities and services. Most new development comes forward in or on the edge of our towns, and for those there would be more emphasis on enabling active travel – bike and e-scooter hire, car clubs and public transport – with less on parking provision.
- While Somerset is a largely rural county, at present rural roads are the most hazardous for users, per mile travelled, so the principles would aim to provide safer streets and lanes for rural communities and the opportunity for sustainable travel.
- The principles are intended to make it easier for those able to walk, wheel, cycle or take public transport to do so, leaving space for those less able to make active travel trips or journeys by public transport, to continue to drive.
The consultation launches today and will run for six weeks until 16 October. People can take part via Citizen Space https://somersetcouncil.citizenspace.com/planning/creating-places-for-people
Paper copies containing further information and the online survey questions will also be available to the public at the following locations:
- Bridgwater House, Bridgwater, TA6 3AR (Monday – Friday 8.45am to 5.00pm)
- Council Offices, Cannard’s Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5BT (Monday – Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm
- Petters Way Council Offices, Yeovil, BA20 1AS (Monday – Tuesday and Thursday – Friday 9.00am to 4.00pm, first Wednesday of the month 11.00am to 4.00pm and every other Wednesday 9.00am to 4.00pm)
- Deane House, Belvedere Road, Taunton, TA1 1HE (Monday – Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm)
- West Somerset House, 20 Fore Street, Williton, TA4 4QA (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm)
- County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY (Monday – Friday 8.00am to 6.00pm, Saturday 09:00am to 4.00pm)
- Libraries including: Taunton, Minehead, Frome, Bridgwater, Yeovil and Glastonbury
The Leveller would like to offer up one obviously missing principle. Communities need affordable housing. There is no point to making nice planning noises about cycling and air quality if those who grow up here, can’t afford a house. The single most important principle that should inform development is that housing should be built that local people can afford.