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The Local Plan

Use this page to learn about the function and content of our Local Plan, how we will develop it, and where we are in the process.

Planning decisions in Bath and North East Somerset are guided by national and local planning policy. Our local planning policy is made up of a series of documents, which include the following:

All Plans are also supported by a substantial number of evidence base documents. These are relevant and up-to-date research reports on subjects such as economic and population data, housing need, and environmental information. We have a legal duty to regularly review and update these documents, and cannot adopt a new Local Plan if we cannot show the evidence we have used to inform our policy decisions.

Aims and content of the new Local Plan


We will review the Core Strategy, Placemaking Plan and Local Plan Partial Update through the preparation of a new Local Plan. This will establish the planning framework for Bath and North East Somerset up to 2042. It will contain a vision, strategy and policies to guide and manage how the district grows and changes over the next 20 years, and how planning applications for new development are decided.

Regional strategic planning

Because a Local Plan deals with very broad issues, such as housing, travel, business and the environment, there are important areas of policy where local councils need to work together at a regional level.

How our Local Plan sits within the regional strategic planning framework
The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) was preparing high level plans for our region, known as the Spatial Development Strategy (SDS). The SDS was intended to provide the strategic planning framework for our New Local Plan. However, the WECA Mayor decided in May 2022 to stop all work on the West of England Combined Authority Spatial Development Strategy. Therefore, the Local Plans for Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire will now provide the strategic planning framework for the West of England Combined Authority area.


The issue of housing need will now be addressed through individual Local Plans for each of the local councils. We will continue our longstanding history of joint working and co-operate with each other and with other key bodies on strategic, cross-boundary matters as we each prepare our Local Plans.

The evidence base prepared so far to inform the Spatial Development Strategy is available on the WECA website, and will be reviewed and used as appropriate to inform every council's Local Plans. 

How we develop the new Local Plan

What's involved

There are statutory regulations which cover how we develop a Local Plan.

View the Local Plan process timeline, from launch to adoption

Have your say

A central part of the regulations governing how a Local Plan is developed is the stakeholder engagement and public consultation that we must hold regularly during the process. 

View details of public engagement

Keep up to date with our progress

We have started work on the new Local Plan, and marked this with the publication of a launch document , which we consulted on in October 2022. We will also update the evidence base documents as we create them. 

View the latest Local Plan documents

You can view the timeline for our projects in our Local Development Scheme. If you would like to receive updates on the Local Plan and other planning policy news as it happens, please sign up to our planning policy mailing list