Core Strategy Adopted
After a long period during which housing developments seemed to be permitted in and around Midsomer Norton and the Somer Valley, with little reasoned arguments to manage or shape them, the local Planning Authority, Bath and North East Somerset Council, adopted its Core Strategy on 10th July 2014.
The strategy puts a planning framework in place to guide change and development in the District over the next 20 years and beyond and looks at the broad locations for new developments. In considering locations, it focuses on a number of key areas, the Somer Valley being one. This covers the urban areas of Midsomer Norton, Westfield and Radstock, together with the wider rural area including the principal villages of Peasedown St John and Paulton. The area houses around 25% of the population of Bath and North East Somerset and Midsomer Norton, Westfield and Radstock together make up the second largest urban area in the District, with a combined population of about 21,000.
The current high level of existing housing commitments is estimated in the Strategy to be approximately 2,470 against a proposed policy target of 2,470, resulting in a clear statement that housing demand envisaged in the original strategy has already been met. Given that the Strategy sets out the “strategic planning framework to guide change and development in the District over the next 20 years and beyond”, it could be argued that no further housing should be permitted.
A complete lack of development, however, is unlikely to contribute to the economic regeneration envisaged in the Strategy and some targeted development remains an option. In order to shape and influence the location, nature and density of future development, Midsomer Norton Town Council is developing its own Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP), which, when read with the Core Strategy and the national planning polices, will effectively provide a blueprint for future development and will, through consultation with the community, be a locally owned plan that reflects what people in and around the town want and need.