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


Landscape Character Assessment SPD

The Exmoor National Park Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) has been adopted. This document 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 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 is available to download here

Revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2018

The revised version of the NPPF was published  on July 24th 2018 and replaces the previous National Planning Policy Framework published in March 2012.

The 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.

Somerset Strategic Housing Framework Consultation

The Somerset Strategic Housing Framework 2018 - 2023 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

The Vision will be delivered by a range of supporting Priorities and Ambitions

There was a public consultation during the Summer of 2018. This sought comment on the draft Vision, Priority and Ambitions. The responses to the consultation are currently being considered and amendments are being made to the Housing Framework. The final version of the SSHF will be published during January 2019

Background information

To support the review of the Framework, each Somerset district and the County Council has produced Housing Market Profiles to highlight key issues, achievements, opportunities and challenges.

A very successful and well attended Strategic Housing Framework conference was organised as part of the review on 12 July 2017 at Taunton Rugby Club, with over one hundred delegates attending.

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).

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 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: