Planning context

Central Government is committed to policies aimed at increasing the supply of new housing. Therefore, every Council is required by the Government to significantly boost the supply of housing and to make planning decisions in light of a presumption in favour of sustainable development. West Somerset is a key area for growth due to the location and proposed expansion of Hinkley Point nuclear power station, which in peaks times will provide over 5,600 jobs and allow significant investment to come forward in the District.

The delivery of housing is a key priority as it is widely acknowledged that there is a shortage across the UK. This is especially true in West Somerset where issues of housing affordability are particularly acute.

Until the West Somerset Local Plan is adopted, proposals will be considered against the 'saved policies' of the Saved West Somerset District Local Plan adopted in 2006.

As a sustainable settlement, Watchet is an ideal location for housing growth to address this identified need. It has a good range of facilities, services and public transport to the surrounding areas. The site lies adjacent to the settlement boundary of Watchet and development here can help address housing need in a sustainable manner. West Somerset Council have acknowledged the housing affordability issues that exist in the District and have recently proposed to allocate further sites in Watchet to meet this need within their emerging Local Plan.

National planning policy states that new housing developments should:

  • Be well related to existing settlements
  • Have access to public transport and everyday facilities
  • Avoid ecologically sensitive areas
  • Minimise any impact on protected landscapes or designated Green Belt land
  • Avoid areas at risk of flooding

We believe that this proposed development site can meet these criteria.

After this public consultation exercise, it is intended to submit a planning application for the proposed development in Spring 2016 and there will be a further opportunity to comment directly to the Council on the development proposals at the time.

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