SSDC Local Plan Review (2016-2036)

What can you do?
Look at the comments and discussion notes below and, based on what's important to you:
What is the Local Plan Review?
South Somerset District Council (SSDC) is reviewing the Local Plan (2006-2028) that was adopted for the area in 2015. It is consulting on its Local Plan Review (2016-2036) Options document (LPR). (
A Local Plan supports the Council’s long-term vision for managing and accommodating residential and economic growth across South Somerset. The LPR sets out for consultation SSDC's proposed strategy for delivering new homes and employment over the period 2016 to 2036, including site allocations and policies against which planning applications will be assessed. Bruton is designated in the LPR as a rural centre with challenges regarding loss of employment land and providing a range of opportunities to live and work locally. One challenge with Local Plans is that the focus is on new housing and new economic growth rather than setting out a vision for the area as a whole and identifying positive changes that could be made within an area.
There is a lot of information in the LPR Options document so what follows is a summary.
For Bruton, the LPR includes the following:
  • 152 new homes (net) required
    • of which 87 are completed or committed (as at 31 March 2018)
    • 65 to be delivered
  • Sites identified (see p41 Figure 5.5 of South Somerset Local Plan Review accessed via
    • Land north of Brewham Road
      • 60 homes, including 29% 'affordable housing' (Within any affordable housing provision, 80% should be Social Rent or Affordable Rent and 20% should be starter homes, discounted market sales and other routes to affordable home ownership)
      • Play space and public open spaces
      • Access from Brue Avenue
    • Land west of Frome Road
      • 5 homes
  • 1 hectare of employment land is required
[Note that the South of Brewham Road proposed development is additional to this]
The Infrastructure Delivery Plan:
  • States no need for any 'critical' infrastructure as a result of proposed new development.
  • Identifies 'necessary' infrastructure such as open space and sports facilities.
  • Notes capacity issues in medical facilities around Bruton, a priority area to review but, no solution identified yet.
  • States that risk of flooding locally means that the Environment Agency will prepare a surface water management scheme.
  • States that flood defences at Bruton may need to be raised in the future to provide an increased standard of protection, funded through development.
The LPR includes a range of policies covering housing (mix, type, affordable), employment, tourism, retail, transport and accessibility, health and wellbeing, environmental quality (climate change, renewable & low carbon energy, sustainable construction, flood risk, biodiversity, design, historic environment, landscape, woodlands & forest, pollution control).
What would we like to see?
In most of these areas, the LPR could go further, for example:
  • Climate Change / Carbon emissions:
    • The LPR commits the Climate Change Acts 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This doesn't go far enough given that SSDC and Bruton Town Council, along with many others, have declared a climate and ecological emergency and committed to a 2030 carbon neutral target. The Local Plan needs to reflect the changes that will be required within our district in order to achieve this target.
    • The goal should be that all buildings and processes are energy-efficient compared to a stated local or national benchmark and energy demands should be met by renewables by 2030.
    • Somerset Climate Action Network has produced a report 'The Somerset 2030 Carbon Neutral Target - Local Authority Actions' which identifies actions that are needed to reach the carbon neutral target. Those that are relevant for planning should be reflected in the Local Plan.
  • New development:
    • The built environment is responsible for around 40% of carbon emissions.
    • The goals for the Built environment should include:
      • Requiring all new development to be exemplary in terms of construction materials and waste, water consumption, zero carbon, future-proofed and designed to cope with increased summer temperatures without overheating.
      • Upgrading the existing housing stock.
      • New developments designed to foster a sense of community and have good connections to existing communities
    • Require a target of zero carbon and BREEAM Outstanding or equivalent Home Quality Mark. ( and
    • Support use of alternative methods of construction, especially those that 'lock up' or sequester carbon, e.g. straw bale, hempcrete, to minimise the lifecycle carbon emissions of any new development.
    • Support Community Land Trust approaches ( and self- or custom-build
    • Require futureproofing for a changing climate, e.g. avoid overheating through orientation of buildings, location of windows and shade through tree planting; SUDS and increased size of guttering for increased rainfall; fittings attaching roofs and facades able to withstand higher winds.
    • Opportunities for food-growing and edible landscaping should be included in all new developments.
    • See the Bicester Eco Town: NW Bicester, for examples of exemplary development and the targets that were set. This is the only one of the Eco Towns to be built to the original standards.
    • SSDC should use the Local Plan and the planning process to push the boundaries as far as you are legally allowed. Local authorities can require standards higher than building regulations (
  • Transport
    • The LPR has some good measures required of major developments but these should be provided across the district, not just pockets of good practice where there has been new development.
    • The goals for travel and transport should be:
      • Reduce car dependence and the need for daily travel
      • Make it easy and attractive for people to walk and cycle
      • Promote car-sharing ( and public tranpsort
      • Promote low / zero carbon vehicles including electric cars, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure
      • Raise awareness of the impacts of, and promote alternatives to, air travel (
  • Biodiversity:
  • Woodland and forest: 
    • The LPR states that SSDC has 5% coverage vs Somerset's 9% overall coverage. The Woodland Trust sets out a recommended target for towns and cities to achieve 20% tree canopy cover in an agreed, achievable timescale. (
    • Need to identify where trees can be planted in the district without impacting on valuable grassland habitats; perhaps field and park edges.
One Planet Bruton ( is a local community response to Bruton Town Council's declaration of a climate emergency. We are working with Bioregional's One Planet Living framework which consists of ten principles and has been used by organisations large and small, developers, London 2012, cities and local authorities in the UK and around the world. Bioregional ( came up with the concept of One Planet Living ( i.e. leading happy lives within a fair share of the earth’s resources) in response to the fact that if everyone in the world lived as we do in the UK, we’d need 3 planets to support us!
The ten principles are:
  • Health and happiness - Encouraging active, social, meaningful lives to promote good health and wellbeing
  • Equity and local economy - Creating safe, equitable places to live and work which support local prosperity and international fair trade
  • Culture and community - Nurturing local identity and heritage, empowering communities and promoting a culture of sustainable living
  • Land and nature - Protecting and restoring land for the benefit of people and wildlife
  • Sustainable water - Using water efficiently, protecting local water resources and reducing flooding and drought
  • Local and sustainable food - Promoting sustainable humane farming and healthy diets high in local, seasonal organic food and vegetable protein
  • Travel and transport - Reducing the need to travel, encouraging walking, cycling and low carbon transport
  • Materials and products - Using materials from sustainable sources and promoting products which help people reduce consumption
  • Zero waste - Reducing consumption, reusing and recycling to achieve zero waste and zero pollution
  • Zero carbon energy - Making buildings and manufacturing energy efficient and supplying all energy with renewables
We have set up One Planet Bruton CIC. It is a Community Interest Company limited by guarantee. Its objects are to carry on activities which benefit the community and, in particular, to work with Bruton's residents, businesses and other organisations to enable current and future residents to live happy, healthy lives within the limits of the planet, using Bioregional's One Planet Living framework. Our specific objects are to support, develop, initiate and manage community projects and interactions in line with the ten One Planet Living principles. 
South Somerset District Council could follow other local authorities lead, such as Brighton & Hove District Council and the London Borough of Sutton, in adopting One Planet Living and using the framework to structure its approach to the environment and sustainability and resilience. Oxfordshire Council is also using it as part of a global initiative linking with other cities (see and for more examples).
Discussion notes from One Planet Bruton meeting on 29 July 2019
  • Housing
    • Is the weight of regulation strong enough? e.g. materials, zero carbon
    • Alternative methods of building: hemp, straw, cork
    • Need truly 'affordable' housing
    • Self-build
    • Buy land & do something innovative
    • Biodiversity in buildings
    • Greywater recycling
    • Rainwater harvesting
    • Solar hot water
    • Transport connections
    • Link to One Planet Living principles
    • Opportunities for food growing in housing
    • Community spaces
  • Transport
    • Still need to have cars in Bruton
    • Switch to electric cars
    • Install electric vehicle charging points
    • Intelligent carsharing - need to make it socially acceptable
    • Need to reverse priority:
      • pedestrians first
      • then cycling
      • finally cars
    • Opportunity for biodiesel business
    • Existing traffic situation needs to be taken into account when planning new development
    • Better coordination of roadworks
    • Bus - need smaller buses & more intelligent routing / access to users (along the lines of uber, i.e. when & where needed)
  • Biodiversity
    • Need an impactful and visible project
    • Rewilding by bigger landowners & smaller landowners
    • Ash dieback - need a tree planting plan, tree nursery
    • Identify space for tree planting
    • Pesticides / glyphosate should be restricted / banned
  • Health & wellbeing
    • Make more use of existing facilities, e.g. Unionist Club Hall & garden, Bruton Community Hall
    • Food growing - need land allocated for this / community garden
    • Other initiatives, e.g. spiral of light, how long can you go buying stuff only in Bruton?
    • Borrow not buy
    • Gardening club as part of food growing
    • Copy Sturminster Newton's volunteer corps - Stur Stars - with our own Brue Stars?
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