Planning Policy

The Policy & Community Team is responsible for preparing and monitoring planning policy documents to guide future development and use of land within Exmoor National Park. These documents are also used for making decisions on planning applications and appeals.

New Local Plan to 2031

Exmoor National Park Authority formally adopted the Exmoor National Park Local Plan to 2031 on 4th July 2017. Now adopted, the Plan is the statutory development plan and forms the basis for decisions on land use planning affecting Exmoor National Park.

Copies of the documents listed above are available at the following locations for inspection during normal office hours:

  • Exmoor National Park Authority reception, Exmoor House, Dulverton, TA22 9HL
  • North Devon Council reception, Lynton House, Commercial Road, Barnstaple EX31 1DG
  • West Somerset Council reception, West Somerset House, Killick Way, Williton TA4 4QA

The Authority received the Inspector's Report on 15th June 2017. The report concluded that the Local Plan is 'sound' subject to a number of Main Modifications suggested by the Authority. It also sets out the Inspector's findings on matters which were discussed during the examination hearing sessions held in July 2016.

Inspector's Report (including the schedule of main modifications)

Further details relating to the examination process are available on the Local Plan Examination page and the Local Plan Examination Library page


Exmoor Rural Housing Network - Survey of Businesses on Exmoor

The Exmoor Rural Housing Network would like to hear the views of businesses on Exmoor about whether the supply of local housing may be affecting businesses and their ability to function optimally.  The results will provide much needed information for Exmoor communities to continue to survive over the longer term.  The information collected from this survey will supplement the evidence of housing need (such as parish housing need surveys) used to assess the need for local affordable homes in settlements across Exmoor and the potential for future housing schemes.

Enter the survey here

The closing date for the survey is 3rd August 2018

If you would like to discuss the survey please contact Sue Southwell - Exmoor Rural Housing Coordinator on 01392 248919 or email

Draft Revised National Planning Policy Framework and Revised Planning Practice Guidance consultation

The draft revised version of the NPPF was published for consultation on 9 March. The proposed changes take forward and consolidate the results of previous policy consultations, principally February 2017’s Housing White Paper ‘Fixing Our Broken Housing Market’ and September 2017’s ‘Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places’, as well as numerous Ministerial Written Statements.

A number of planning policy or guidance documents were also released by Government including revised guidance on development contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy, and guidance on assessing viability of new development.

The Authority report highlighting the main areas where changes are proposed that are relevant to Exmoor National Park was approved on 1st May 2018 and forms the Authority's consultation response and input to a co-ordinated response from National Parks England.

Draft Somerset Strategic Housing Framework Consultation

The Somerset Strategic Housing Framework 2018- 2022 has a vision that seeks to achieve the following:

  • Strong and effective strategic Leadership
  • A local Economy that provides opportunity for all
  • Homes in Somerset that are good for your Health
  • A Society that supports the vulnerable  

It is proposed that the Vision will be delivered by a range of supporting Priorities and Ambitions. The Draft Framework consultation ended on April 30th 2018.  

The Authority agreed to provide ‘in principle support’ to the draft Somerset Strategic Housing Framework vision, priorities and ambitions, as a local response to the national housing crisis for Somerset Local Housing Authorities (see the report here).

Draft Landscape Character Assessment SPD

A draft Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) has been produced that provides a comprehensive update to the 2007 Exmoor National Park LCA, and also provides more detailed guidance on the policies relating to landscape character in the adopted Local Plan 2011-2031.The draft LCA SPD is a detailed and purposeful document that is both a celebration and an analysis of the diverse and distinctive landscapes of Exmoor.

The LCA SPD was formally adopted by the Authority on the 1st May 2018 and will be made publicly available shortly. See the report here

Historic England Guidance on Adaptive Re-Use of Traditional Farm Buildings

Historic England have recently published new advice on pre-application assessment, conversion and maintenance of traditional and historic farm buildings and has developed new ways of understanding the historic character, survival and use of farmsteads. This guidance will help applicants and agents understand the significance of these important buildings and how to retain their significance and character when submitting proposals for conversion and/or structural alterations, in accordance with policies in the new Local Plan.

Link to Historic England Guidance

Exmoor National Park Brownfield Register

Brownfield land registers will provide up-to-date and consistent information on sites that local authorities consider to be appropriate for residential development having regard to the criteria set out in regulation 4 of the Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017.

To find out more about the Exmoor National Park Brownfield Land Register, please click here

Exmoor National Park Self Build Register

To find out about registering your interest in self build please click here

Contact the Policy & Community Team via email: