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Somer Valley Enterprise Zone: Revised statutory consultation on modifications to Local Development Order (Planning Reference: 23/00076/LDO)

This is a revised statutory consultation, on a current planning application, 23/00076/LDO . For further information, please see the Somer Valley Enterprise Zone Local Development Order consultation, which ran in January and February 2023.

We are asking for your views on our proposal for a Local Development Order (LDO), and supporting documents, for the Somer Valley Enterprise Zone (SVEZ), a commercial mixed-use development on the edge of Midsomer Norton. Use this page to support you to access the documentation we are submitting, and to understand the context, history and wider aims of the project.

The process of applying for an LDO takes place via our local Planning Register, and you can comment on the proposal and associated documents, like any other planning application. The LDO is now on the B&NES Planning Register, with a reference number of 23/00076/LDO.

The initial statutory consultation for the LDO concluded on 23rd February 2023. Since then, workshops and meetings have taken place, to reflect on the comments received from the public and Statutory Consultees. We are now running a revised consultation, to consult on the changes we have made to the LDO, in response to the comments received

Find out more about LDOs, and why they are used

LDOs are used by Local Planning Authorities to help set the planning framework for an area and to bring forward development. They provide 'permitted development rights' for specified types of development in defined locations. They are essentially a type of planning policy ‘zoning’, which grants planning permission for specific development proposals, or classes of development, within a defined area.

How an LDO works

LDOs are flexible tools which cover a range of uses, scales of projects, and size of buildings. LDOs streamline the planning process, by removing the need for developers to make a planning application to a Local Planning Authority (LPA).

The SVEZ LDO will include a design code, setting out what buildings and spaces should look like in the final development, and how they should function.

The purpose of an LDO

LDOs can accommodate changes in market conditions and accelerate the delivery of development. 

Creating an LDO for a large-scale development provides more certainty about the progress of the project. Investment becomes more attractive, because the LDO simplifies the planning process, making it easier to deliver the project on time and in budget. Creating an LDO for the SVEZ project will help provide greater flexibility for potential developers, and greater certainty for local people. This allows development to come forward more quickly and with greater ease. 

How an LDO is implemented

Once an application for an LDO is submitted, there is a formal public consultation process (this process), which must run for at least 28 days. This allows for local input, guiding development in the right direction, in terms of demand and local aspirations.

Read more about LDOs, where and why they already exist in England 

Project context, and progress so far

This is the second statutory consultation on this project. Our Statement of Clarification addresses the comments we received during the initial statutory consultation. This report includes a number of clarifications on the project detail, and you should read this report first, if you wish to comment on this second statutory consultation.

The development of the LDO and this round of statutory consultations follow on from an informal first public engagement in May and June 2022. To find out more about the project in context, including how we incorporated feedback from that engagement process into our plans, please see the Somer Valley Enterprise Zone: Project overview webpages

What we are consulting on

The original planning application included the Local Development Order document and supporting documents. For this supplementary consultation, we are inviting comments on the modifications we have made to the LDO. To focus on what has changed, you can study these documents in particular:

Select any document and use the guidance below, to help you to understand the detail of the project.

How to view the LDO documentation

The documents list will help you to get a clearer idea of the proposals that form the LDO, and the evidence we are using to base them on. These documents form the supporting reports that are being consulted on by the Local Planning Authority. Select any document title in the list below, to read in more detail about its function, what it contains, and how the information is represented in the documents list on the planning application itself.

Most documents are split into sections, and many have appendices, so you may need to view several entries to get the information you need. Use the document list below to guide you on how many documents, or parts, you will need to find.

Finding the documents on the LDO planning application

You can only view the plans, drawings and reports submitted with a planning application by visiting the entry on our online Planning Register. Select the Plans and Documents tab on the right of the data dashboard and scroll down the list of Associated Documents below, to view or download the document you need.

Landing page for the Local Development Order planning application, showing a dashboard of data, including the plans and documents submitted with the application, in the tab on the right of the dashboard
Use the tab on the right to search for plans and documents submitted with the LDO application. Scroll down the list and use the View column to read or download any document. Most of the documents consist of 2 or more parts. 

The development we are proposing, and how we plan to progress

These are core documents which outline in principle what we expect the development to look like, and to achieve. They include what we expect the LDO to cover, and why, and how we are consulting people who may be affected by the development.

Local Development Order

This document provides permitted development rights, for specified types of development, in defined locations. This document provides the following core features:

  • A description of the development which the order will permit
  • An Illustrative Masterplan, identifying the land to which the order will relate
  • Relevant planning policy considerations and rationale

All of the following documents form part of the core information about the LDO:

  • Local Development Order and Statement of Reasons
  • Illustrative Masterplan and Masterplan Fixes
  • Site Location and 3 Red Line Boundaries plans
  • Site Sheet Plan, and 6 subsheets, showing the general arrangement of the site
  • Plot Boundaries and Land Use Plans
  • Strategic Landscape Plan
  • Building Heights Plan
  • Project Phasing Plan
Design Code
This document sets the design rules for the LDO. It is more regulatory than ‘guidance’ documents and states simple, concise, illustrated design requirements which set out criteria and parameters for development. It will provide clarity to developers at the start, allowing for development to come forward in a manner which we have pre-determined to be appropriate for the project. This document consists of 2 parts.
Design and Access Statement
This, like the Design Code, is a concise document that illustrates the process that led to the development proposal, and explains the design. It is essentially the story behind the Design Code. This document consists of 2 parts.
Statement of Community Involvement
This statement sets out the methods of engagement with the local community. It explains how local residents and other stakeholders were engaged throughout the evolution of the proposed development. It also sets out any changes resulting from the engagement, and provides responses to queries which were raised, where appropriate.

Technical studies and assessments

These are expert reports on various aspects of the site, development and works to the highways network, which aim to measure impacts of the scheme. Typically, they cover both the period of construction, and once the development is completed. They lay out any concerns that will need to be taken into consideration, and how it is planned to address or minimise them.

Ecology Report
The Ecology Report demonstrates the results of all ecological surveys undertaken on site. It explains what ecological features are present, or potentially present, within a site and the surrounding area (where relevant). It also sets out whether there will be any harm as a result of proposed development and what (if any) mitigation is necessary. This information consists of an Ecology Baseline Assessment and a Biodiversity Net Gain Report.
Ecology-Habitat Management Report
This report sets out how natural habitats for plants and wildlife will be managed during and after the development process. It is a practical guide for developers to follow, to ensure biodiversity net gain is achieved, by protecting and enhancing existing habitat, in addition to creating new habitats. This information consists of a Habitat Management Plan and a Biodiversity Net Gain Report.
Landscape Visual Impact Assessment Main Report
This document assesses the effects of proposed development on the landscape as a resource. It is a tool to identify and assess changes that the proposed development will make to the character of the landscape, and to people’s visual appreciation of the landscape and views that they enjoy. It is divided into two distinct categories: a landscape effects assessment, and a visual effects assessment. This information consists of the following documents:
  • LVIA Assessment
  • 7 part LVIA appendices, mostly showing viewpoints of the site
  • Strategic Landscape Plan
  • Building Heights Plan
Heritage Assessment
This desk-based assessment outlines the historic or archaeological significance of any heritage assets*, within their wider setting, in association with the proposed development. It assesses whether proposed development will positively or negatively impact any heritage assets.
* A heritage asset is a building, monument or landscape which has value, as part of our cultural and historical heritage.
Transport Assessment
This assessment relates to any transport impacts resulting from a proposed development. It includes a description and analysis of existing transport conditions, details what is expected in terms of the impact of the proposed development on the local transport system and includes economic, environmental and social impacts. Is also sets out any mitigation required, to minimise impact on the highway network. This information consists of the following documents:
  • Framework Travel Plan
  • 4 Part plans, diagrams and appendices
  • Road Layout Plan
  • 12 Transport Assessment Appendices (showing various road plans and proposed highway changes, both inside and near the development site; some appendices duplicate information contained in the 4 part plan documents)
Lighting Strategy
This assessment investigates the potential impact of artificial lighting on users of the site, people who live nearby, local wildlife and anyone else affected by the site; it includes details of any external lights and how they may be used in the development. In this instance, the document will be more of a guide for future developers, to ensure that they put an appropriate lighting strategy in place.
Sustainability Statement
This statement details a proposed developers' commitment and strategy to meet the standards set out in local planning authority policy. It includes detail of particular sustainability features,  such as energy efficiency, climate change adaption, water resources and construction.
Flood Risk Assessment
A flood risk assessment (FRA) is a document that reviews a proposed development, to assess it against the risk of flooding. It considers a wide variety of potential sources of flooding: groundwater, river (fluvial), surface water (pluvial), estuary/coastal (tidal), or from sewer sources.
Drainage Strategy
A drainage strategy is a detailed document which analyses the existing drainage systems, identifies the risks and sensitivities which the site may present, and provides drainage solutions to safeguard the development and surrounding area. Drainage strategies also help to outline sustainable ways to dispose of waste water, reduce the pollution of water supplies and manage surface water flooding. This information is contained in the SUDS Drainage Strategy and Drainage Strategy Report.
Noise Assessment
A noise assessment is used to show the effect of existing noise levels on a proposed development, or the effect of the proposed development on noise levels. Any necessary mitigation is also set out where relevant.
This document will be available for comment from Monday 23 January.
Air Quality Assessment
An Air Quality Assessment establishes the baseline air quality of the development site. It is usually required for any development that has the potential to have an effect on the existing environment, or if the surrounding environment has the potential to affect the sensitive development.
This document will be available for comment from Monday 23 January.
Environmental Impact Assessment Screening  and B&NES Council Response
'Screening' is a procedure used to determine whether a proposed project is likely to have significant effects on the environment, which would require an Environment Impact Assessment. The response provided by B&NES states that the proposed development will not have a significant effect on the environment, sufficient to trigger the need to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment. This information consists of a Screening Request and Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Response.

Take part in the consultation

The consultation is open from 22 September 2023 and will close at 5pm on 20 October 2023. 

All of the information you need is on our Planning Applications portal, reference 23/00076/LDO

You can use this tool to do all of the following:

  • View all of the documents
  • Tell us if you support or object to the application
  • Leave your own comments
  • Read other people's comments

Respond to the consultation

What happens next

All comments made on a planning application are part of a statutory public process, and will remain available to view by the public, even after the Planning Application process is complete.

When the consultation closes, we will review and analyse all the responses. We will consider your feedback, and will include it in the final version of the Statement of Community Involvement. The Local Planning Authority will review the LDO and comments, and the Council Cabinet will then make a final decision on whether to approve the LDO.