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.

The 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.

LOCAL PLAN 2011-2031


Guidance for domestic solar PV

Exmoor National Park Authority recognises the importance of reducing carbon emissions and supporting renewable energy developments which are appropriate to Exmoor National Park and do not detract from delivering the statutory National Park purposes. This Authority has prepared a basic introduction to the planning process for installing domestic solar PV devices, and offers advice you could consider if you are interested in installing this type of development.

Further information is available on the guidance for domestic solar pv page

Exmoor National Park Self Build Register

From the 26th October 2018 the Exmoor National Park Self Build Register has been formally split into two parts following agreement by the Authority earlier in the year. This will distinguish those individuals and/or associations who meet the eligibility criteria including local connection test from those individuals/associations that otherwise meet the eligibility criteria but do not satisfy any of the conditions set by the local connection test. Parts 1 and 2 of the register will give an overall indication of the interest in self-build in the National Park, although only Part 1 will indicate the level of demand for self build that has to be met by the planning authority.
To find out about registering your interest in self build please click here.

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.

Rural Worker and Succession Farm Dwellings Guidance SPD

The Rural Worker and Succession Farm Dwellings Guidance Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) has been adopted. The guidance is designed to assist those who are seeking to provide a rural worker or succession farm worker’s dwelling  and provides detailed guidance on policies HC-D9 relating to Rural Workers’ housing and HC-D10 which relates to Succession Farming from the adopted Local Plan 2011-2031.
The SPD was formally adopted by the Authority on the 4th February 2020 and is available here.

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  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

Contact the Policy & Community Team via email: