Exmoor National Park Local Plan Adoption

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The Exmoor National Park Local Plan is now available.  It will guide development and the use of land on Exmoor until 2031 and indicates what will be permitted through planning applications.  Its adoption follows scrutiny by an independent Inspector who conducted a thorough examination into the Plan and held public hearing sessions into the key issues that it seeks to address.  

Many local households experience challenges finding suitable housing for themselves and their families and the new Local Plan gives priority to affordable housing for local people including through self-build. The previous 2005 Plan led to nearly 100 affordable homes for local people being built in many communities across Exmoor. As a result, over 200 local people have been assisted across the moor - some living in homes they have built themselves, some by private developers or landlords and others by Housing Associations. More still needs to be done, and the new Plan widens opportunities for local people to address their housing needs including for those needing accessible or adaptable homes.

A message which came through strongly in consultations on the Plan was the importance of keeping viable working communities on the moor including younger people and families. Together with the focus on local needs homes, the new Plan looks to safeguard community services and facilities such as shops and pubs.  There are also opportunities for businesses to extend, to re-use buildings or build new premises in settlements, as well as increased flexibility for some types of visitor accommodation. It is hoped that these measures will help make sure Exmoor’s communities can continue to thrive in the future.  As a National Park recognised nationally for its beauty, care has also been taken to ensure the Plan will conserve and enhance Exmoor’s natural beauty and wildlife as well as its towns, villages and buildings.

National Park Authority Chairman Robin Milton said: “This new Plan for Exmoor is the result of extensive consultation with local communities, businesses and stakeholders.  The starting point was the views and comments made by all those people who come along to one of the ‘Your Future Exmoor’ events and I am grateful to everyone who took the time then or who has contributed since. It is fantastic to have an up to date Local Plan which helps to give local communities and businesses opportunities to thrive, whilst conserving and enhancing the National Park and its special qualities.”


  • Exmoor National Park Authority, as the Planning Authority for the area, has a statutory duty to prepare, monitor and review a Local Plan for Exmoor National Park. The Adopted Local Plan, together with any Neighbourhood Plans form the statutory development plan for Exmoor National Park for 2011-2031, including for minerals and waste development.
  • The Local Plan contains both strategic planning policies and development management policies and takes forward the long term vision and objectives in the Exmoor National Park Partnership Plan (the Management Plan)
  • Consultation on the Publication Draft of the Local Plan was held in 2015. The Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State in May 2016 and was subject to examination by an independent Inspector which included hearing sessions in July 2016.  In June 2017 the Inspector produced a report to the Authority which included recommendations for modifications to the Local Plan. These have been incorporated in the Local Plan adopted in July 2017.
  • Copies of the plan and its accompanying documents are available during normal office hours at the:
  • Exmoor National Park Authority offices, Exmoor House, Dulverton, TA22 9HL; or
  • North Devon Council Offices, Lynton House, Commercial Road, Barnstaple; or
  • West Somerset Council Offices, West Somerset House, Killick Way, Williton; or
  • By visiting the Exmoor National Park web
  • In due course copies of the Local Plan will become available in different formats.  
  • Further information is available by telephoning 01398 323665 or emailing

Published: 23 October 2017

Contact the press office:

Ailsa Stevens
T: 01398 323665