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Local Plan launch document consultation

Warning This consultation is now closed. For transparency, we are presenting the materials in exactly the same form as the original consultation. Some details of the project may have changed since this consultation took place.

We are asking for your views on the approach we are taking in preparing a new Local Plan for Bath and North East Somerset, starting with the content of this launch document.

The Local Plan will establish the planning framework for the district 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.

It will also help to deliver our corporate priorities, including improving people’s lives, tackling the climate and ecological emergencies, and preparing for the future in terms of the economy and addressing inequalities.

Throughout its preparation, we’ll be asking for your thoughts and ideas on how the district can grow sustainably to help address the challenges we face, such as the climate and ecological emergencies and the housing crisis, whilst protecting and enhancing the things we value about Bath and North East Somerset.

Consultation overview

The launch document marks the formal start of the preparation of the new Local Plan. It sets out the following things:

  • Scope of the new Local Plan, including our primary ambitions and other important issues 
  • Various stages and timescales involved in preparing the Local Plan
  • Its relationship with other council strategies and plans

We would like your views on the approach we are taking in preparing the new Local Plan, including the content of this launch document.

Policy background

Planning decisions in Bath and North East Somerset are guided by national and local planning policy. You can view national policy in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and view our local planning policy in our Local Plan.

The two Local Plan documents which currently guide development in the district are the Core Strategy (2014) and Placemaking Plan (2017). Whilst some of these policies are being updated through the Local Plan Partial Update 2022, we now need a complete review of the existing Local Plan to make sure it is fit for purpose to address the challenges we are facing.

There is a legal framework that we have to follow to change the Local Plan. This involves rounds of public consultation, and finally an examination in public by the Secretary of State. 

The Plan area will be the whole administrative area of the council. As Local Plans must have at least a 15-year plan period from adoption, the proposed plan period is 2022 to 2042. Once adopted, the Local Plan will be reviewed every 5 years and updated where necessary.

The wider council policy context

As a council, we declared a Climate Emergency in March 2019, and an Ecological Emergency in July 2019, pledging to become carbon neutral by 2030. We agreed our current planning framework in 2014, and so are now in the process of updating our planning policies to reflect these environmental commitments.

Read more about our work on the Climate Emergency

The sub-regional planning policy context

We have to review the Local Plan every five years to determine whether it remains fit for purpose, or whether we need to update all or part of it. The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) mayor has a duty to prepare a Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) for the sub-region, covering Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire. However, work on the SDS has been halted, so the three WECA authorities are progressing their Local Plans in collaboration.

The primary purpose of this Local Plan is to address our priorities for the development and use of land in the district, and set out an overall strategy for the pattern, scale and design quality of places. 

What this means for you

We will work with our communities and stakeholders to identify the key challenges in Bath and North East Somerset, and the objectives and policies we need in place to address these. The starting point will be our One Shared Vision, as well as other key emerging strategies such as the Economic Strategy, the Cultural Strategy, and the Health and Wellbeing Strategy

We are asking for your views on the approach we are taking in preparing the new Local Plan from the very start.

We are planning further engagement with communities and stakeholders throughout the preparation process, with details set out in our Engagement Strategy, which you can download from this page. 

Why we are consulting

The new Local Plan is a valuable document that gives us the authority to deliver our ambitions. It needs to capture fresh thinking and innovative ideas if it is to provide the best possible planning framework for managing change, delivering the places that we want to live in and protecting what we value.

The launch document sets out the scope and purpose of the new Local Plan, and we are consulting on its content in order to ensure that communities and stakeholders are given a say from the very start of the Local Plan preparation process.

Who we are consulting

We are inviting residents, business owners, developers, built environment professionals and any other interested parties to give us their views on the launch document.

Local Plan launch document

View Local Plan launch document online

Other versions

Local Plan launch document (PDF)

Local Plan launch document (Easy read)

Other documents

Local Plan engagement and communication strategy

Statement of Community Involvement

Local Development Scheme

View Plan launch webinar

We also held an online meeting on 18 October, to launch the Local Plan and discuss the content of the launch document.  View the recording

Have your say

Warning This consultation is now closed.

View the consultation feedback report

If you would like to receive updates on the Local Plan and other planning policy news as it happens, sign up to our planning policy mailing list

Calling for development sites

We are also asking for sites which may be suitable for development. We will review submissions in our regular assessment of land supply for housing and economic development (HELAA) and a review of renewable energy development proposals, and these results will inform our Local Plan. Find more information and sign up via our web page