Local Plan Summary 2011-2031
A guide to the Exmoor National Park Local Plan 2011-2031 and summary of the policies.
This information is also available to download as a PDF.
The adopted Exmoor National Park Local Plan2011-2031 (including Minerals and Waste policies) was adopted on 5th July 2017. It is a statutory document that contains policies for the development and use of land and indicates the kind of development which will be permitted in Exmoor National Park to 2031.
The Plan was prepared in accordance with national policy and guidance, and informed by evidence, including through public engagement.
Planning legislation states that any application for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the 'development plan' unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The development plan is the local development plan adopted by the local planning authority (i.e. the Local Plan) and any neighbourhood development plans adopted for that area.
Exmoor National Park Authority encourages early pre-application discussions and the Authority will endeavour to work positively and proactively with applicants to address relevant planning considerations and to work towards a positive outcome.
This document is a summary of policies in the adopted Exmoor National Park Local Plan andis intended only as a guide to the policies in the Plan. If you are considering submitting a planning application please refer to the detailed policies and criteria, which are set out in full in the Local Plan.
The Local Plan enables the delivery of housing that meets the needs of local communities, improves prospects for businesses and provides more opportunities for entrepreneurship, whilst continuing to conserve and enhance the National Park.
There are two types of policies in the Plan – strategic policies that provide a framework for future development on Exmoor, and development management policies that set out more detailed policy requirements for specific areas or development types.
The policies are preceded by two letters which refer to the section of the plan e.g. policies starting with ‘CE’ are in the Conserving and Enhancing Exmoor section. These letters are then followed by S1, S2 (e.g. CE-S1) and so on for strategic policies, or D1, D2 (e.g. CE-D1) and so on, for more detailed development management policies. General Policies are denoted by the letters GP in Section 3 of the Plan.
SUMMARY OF LOCAL PLAN POLICIES
The Local Plan contains policies for a wide range of development types and land uses including housing, business and communities, responding to the challenges of climate change, encouraging access to broadband and telecommunications, as well as the continued conservation and enhancement of Exmoor. The Plan contains the following sections:
SECTION 3 - GENERAL POLICIES: There are five General Policies which apply to all development proposals within Exmoor National Park. They should be read in conjunction with the other policies in the Plan. All the General Policies are strategic policies – this means they are high-level policies which aim to achieve the vision, objectives and strategic priorities of the Plan (Pages 19-36).
SECTION 4 - CONSERVING AND ENHANCING EXMOOR: These policies ensure development proposals conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Park, including through the design of new buildings and the small-scale extraction of building stone (pages 37-86).
SECTION 5 - RESPONDING TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND MANAGING RESOURCES: These policies address adaptation to climate change including flood risk, water conservation, and coastal change; whilst mitigating the effects of climate change through appropriate low carbon and renewable energy technologies. Policies also ensure that the management of resources such as waste protects the National Park and avoids the impacts of pollution (Pages 87-132).
SECTION 6 - ACHIEVING A THRIVING COMMUNITY: A range of policies that aims to address the housing needs of local communities within the National Park, with a focus on local affordable housing. Other types of housing include accessible and adaptable homes for Exmoor’s communities, extended family dwellings and housing for rural workers and succession farm dwellings, and to sustain rural land-based businesses over the longer term. This section also enables the provision of local community services and facilities and safeguards against their loss (Pages 133-200).
SECTION 7 - ACHIEVING A SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY: These policies ensure that new businesses can develop in sustainable locations and existing businesses are able to grow. An innovative and flexible policy also provides for home-based businesses and encourages entrepreneurship. This section also sets the policy requirements for new agricultural and forestry development (Pages 201-218).
SECTION 8 - ACHIEVING ENJOYMENT FOR ALL: These policies underpin opportunities for understanding and enjoying the National Park and its special qualities by providing for a range of visitor accommodation and recreation facilities. This section also includes policies to safeguard the route of former railways, and sets out tests for the reinstatement of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway (Pages 219-250)
SECTION 9 - ACHIEVING ACCESSIBILITY FOR ALL: Policies that ensure development proposals incorporate the requirements for sustainable transport, road safety, traffic management and parking provision while conserving the National Park. Policies encourage electricity and telecommunication networks (e.g. mobile phone and broadband coverage), whilst ensuring that the high-quality landscapes of the National Park are conserved and enhanced (Pages 251-274)
SECTION 10 - EXMOOR’S SETTLEMENTS: This section contains a description of the named settlements where new development can take place. Policies support local communities to achieve priorities and plans for appropriate development to sustain their settlements and safeguard areas for community facilities (Pages 275-342)
SECTION 11 - MONITORING AND IMPLEMENTATION: This section explains the monitoring of the Plan and its policies through a series of indicators. The Authority Monitoring Report (AMR) provides data on the monitoring indicators on an annual basis. The Local Plan also contains a policy that sets out the monitoring and review process for the provision of affordable housing in the National Park (Pages 343-358)
The Local Plan housing policies include strategic policies that provide the overarching approach to housing development within Exmoor National Park. Detailed development management policies underpin the strategic policies and apply to a range of housing types, tenures and locations in settlements and the open countryside. There are also policies on replacing / changing occupancy ties, residential extensions, outbuildings and replacement dwellings.
HC-S1 - HOUSING: This policy is the over-arching policy for housing in the Local Plan The key purpose is to address the housing needs of the National Park’s local communities and the principal housing need on Exmoor is affordable homes for local people who live and work in the area. These homes will be delivered through an exceptions site approach, which means sites within and adjoining settlements can only come forward for local affordable homes if there is an identified need. Where there is no proven need, permission will not be granted. Parish housing need surveys will generally indicate a local housing need, or a need can be established through individuals completing a survey form.
The policy also provides for other proven housing needs for Exmoor’s communities, including homes for rural workers and succession farming; extended family dwellings and for accessible and adaptable homes.
There is no provision for open market housing in the National Park. The only exception is for market housing with a Principal Residence condition to help to deliver two or more new build local affordable homes or local affordable homes through a conversion or, exceptionally, if requirements in the ‘Vacant Buildings in Settlements’ policy are met.
HC-D1 - VACANT BUILDINGS IN SETTLEMENTS: This policy specifies the circumstances for permitting Principal Residence market dwellings through the conversion or redevelopment of a vacant building. It only applies to buildings in a Local Service Centre or Village where it is proven that there can be no affordable housing provision for reasons of viability. However, there may be opportunities for a commuted sum to contribute to affordable housing elsewhere.
Before a proposal may be considered, it must be demonstrated that the building is not abandoned and that reasonable attempts have been made to market the building for at least three years.
For conversions/changes of use of an existing vacant building, the policy requires that the building can accommodate two or more dwellings and the existing building is worthy of conservation.
The redevelopment of a vacant building will only be considered where the existing building has an adverse impact on local character/visual amenity and proposals will achieve environmental enhancement. Proposals will not be permitted if the existing building is a traditional or listed building or it is of architectural or historic importance. The floorspace of the Principal Residence housing must be no greater than the floorspace of the vacant building.
HC-S2 - A BALANCED LOCAL HOUSING STOCK: This aims to meet the housing needs of all sections of the local community by securing a mix of housing in terms of size, type and tenure. ‘Type’ means whether housing is a flat, terraced, semi-detached or detached and ‘tenure’ refers to how dwellings are occupied such as owned or rented.
The provision of homes that meet an accessible and adaptable standard to help meet the needs of occupants over their lifetime will be encouraged. In schemes of more than five homes, 20% should meet this standard. Wheelchair accessible or adaptable dwellings may come forward in response to identified needs.
This policy also requires that affordable housing will remain affordable by size and type to local people now and in the future. Local affordable, extended family and accessible and adaptable housing should be no greater than 93m2 (gross internal area). The only exceptions to this are for affordable housing controlled by a Registered Housing Provider (such as a housing association) which may be larger where evidence shows this is needed. Permitted development rights for extensions will be removed; this may also apply to new dwellings created through the subdivision of existing dwellings.
HC-S3 - LOCAL OCCUPANCY CRITERIA FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING: This policy sets out the local occupancy criteria that occupants must meet in order to live in new affordable housing in the National Park. Compliance with the policy will be achieved through a planning obligation (legal agreement) on the local affordable dwelling to ensure they are affordable to local people now and in the future. The criteria require occupants of local need affordable housing to meet three ‘tests’: they are in housing need, unable to afford to access housing on the open market and they meet one of the local connection criteria below:
- a 10-year local connection to the parish or parishes adjoining the parish where the dwelling is located.
- for those who have moved away, a continuous 10-year period of living locally during the last 30 years.
- a 10-year connection anywhere in the National Park where a person has a strong connection to the parish where the dwelling is located;
- a need to provide care and assistance because of age or medical reasons, where those who need the care or those providing the care can demonstrate that they are in housing need and have a 10-year local connection; or
- a need to live in the parish or adjoining parish to carry out paid work, which is of value to the National Park and its communities.
If there is no one in housing need with a 10-year local connection, the local connection can reduce to 5 years for the parish and adjoining parish to ensure occupancy of affordable homes by local people. Where no one meeting the above criteria can be found, the policy also allows for people living in wider areas to be considered.
HC-S4 - PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE HOUSING: This requires that new market housing in Exmoor National Park must be Principal Residence housing. A Principal Residence condition attached to a planning permission ensures that the market housing is a person’s sole or principal residence and it is not occupied as a holiday or second home. The policy states that Principal Residence housing will only be permitted where it is needed to cross-subsidise the provision of local affordable housing for either new build or conversion schemes (i.e. where it is proven that value achieved from the sale of Principal Residence market dwellings is needed to help fund the delivery of the local affordable homes that otherwise could not happen). New dwellings created through the sub-division of existing dwellings will also have a Principal Residence condition.
HC-D2 - CONVERSIONS TO DWELLINGS IN SETTLEMENTS: The policy sets out requirements for the conversion of existing buildings to housing in the named settlements. All housing should be affordable to meet local housing needs. Where the building can accommodate more than one dwelling, and where it can also be proven through a viability assessment that it is not viable to deliver only local need affordable housing some Principal Residence market housing may be permitted to fund affordable housing. The market dwellings must be the minimum number needed to help deliver needed affordable homes and the Principal Residence and affordable housing should be indistinguishable. Calculations will be set out in a viability assessment through an ‘open book’ process, which will be publicly available. The conversion of a building to one dwelling must be for a local need affordable home and there can be no cross subsidy through principal residence dwellings.
HC-D3 - NEW BUILD DWELLINGS IN SETTLEMENTS: The focus of this policy is to ensure that new build housing development within the named settlements will meet the affordable housing needs of the local community. All housing should be affordable to meet local housing needs. In Local Service Centres and Villages, Principal Residence market housing may only be considered within a scheme where it is proven through a viability assessment that it is not viable to deliver only local need affordable housing. The Principal Residence housing must be the minimum number required to help deliver two or more affordable homes and the Principal Residence and affordable housing should be indistinguishable. Calculations will be set out in a viability assessment through an ‘open book’ process, which will be publicly available. Single new build dwellings will only be considered for affordable homes and there can be no cross subsidy through principal residence dwellings.
HC-D4 - ACCESSIBLE AND ADAPTABLEHOUSING FOR EXMOOR’S COMMUNITIES: This sets out the criteria for accessible and adaptable housing to meet the needs of households over their lifetime. It responds to the need for such housing for older and more vulnerable people with a 10-year local connection. These local accessible and adaptable homes must meet the M4(2) building regulations standard. There must be evidence of a local need for this type of housing and it can only come forward where it contributes to the delivery of affordable housing. The size of accessible and adaptable housing should accord with Policy HC-S2 ‘A Balanced Local Housing Stock’.
HC-D5 - EXTENDED FAMILY DWELLINGS CRITERIA: This policy enables the provision of homes for close family through the conversion of existing traditional buildings, either on farmsteads (within a group of buildings where there is already a dwelling) or within the curtilage of existing dwellings in the named settlements. Either the occupants of the existing dwelling or those of the new extended family dwelling must have a 10-year local connection and they must be immediate family or a dependent relative with an essential need because of age, family or medical reasons.
HC-D6 - CUSTOM/SELF BUILD LOCAL NEED HOUSING: This encourages custom and/or self-build housing ( a builder contracted by a homeowner to create a ‘custom built’ home or self-build where private individuals build their own home) where this meets a local affordable housing need. The policy allows for custom/self-build housing:
- in the named settlements as a new build or conversion,
- in the open countryside as conversions of existing buildings in hamlets or on farmsteads, or
- in rural communities as a new build or conversion.
Rural communities are defined in the Local Plan as having a shop, pub or community meeting place/hall. They are not named settlements and cross-subsidy from Principal Residence market housing cannot facilitate the delivery of local affordable custom/self-build homes.
HC-D7 - CONVERSIONS TO DWELLINGS IN THE OPEN COUNTRYSIDE: This policy enables the change of use and conversion of buildings in the open countryside to dwellings, where the need cannot be met through existing dwellings, from sites/buildings which have planning permission or through the extension and/or subdivision of an existing dwelling; and in the following circumstances:
- For local affordable housing, through the conversion of an existing building on a farmstead (that is, within a group of buildings where there is already a dwelling), or in a hamlet.
- For extended family dwellings, (See policy HC-D5) through the conversion of an existing traditional building on a farmstead, that is within a group of buildings close to an existing dwelling.
- For rural worker or succession farm dwellings where the building closely relates to existing buildings on the farm holding (see policies HC-D9 and HC-D10).
RURAL WORKER DWELLINGS AND SUCCESSION FARM DWELLINGS
HC-D8 - NEW BUILD DWELLINGS IN THE OPEN COUNTRYSIDE: National planning policy is that new homes in the countryside should be exceptional. New build homes in the open countryside must therefore meet a proven essential need for rural workers in land-based businesses such as agriculture and forestry (See policy HC-D9). It also enables a second dwelling on established farms to enable the farm to pass from one generation to the next (See policy HC-D10).
HC-D9 - RURAL WORKERS AND HC-D10 - SUCCESSION FARMING – SECOND DWELLINGS ON ESTABLISHED FARMS: These two policies ensure that the requirement for a new dwelling in the open countryside is justified by an essential need for a worker in a rural land based business such as agriculture and forestry to live at or near their workplace. It also requires that the need cannot be met in another way. For example, through the conversion or extension of an existing building or by purchasing an existing home nearby. The business should be extensive in nature and farming activity should contribute to the conservation or enhancement of the National Park The size of new dwellings should be no greater than 93m2; larger dwellings can only be justified by the needs of the holding/farm. Both policies require demonstration of the long-term financial viability of the business. Policy HC-D9 requires a functional need for a full-time worker on the holding and Policy HC-D10 enables a second dwelling on a farm where there is a functional need for half of a full-time worker. Legally binding evidence should demonstrate succession to the next generation.
HC-D11 - RESIDENTIAL CARAVANS: This allows for residential caravans or other temporary dwellings only where they relate to new rural land-based businesses; this would only be for a temporary period to enable the establishment of a viable business. Consideration of siting is important to minimise harmful impacts. Any permission granted will be subject to a condition to ensure the occupancy is only for persons with a proven essential need for the accommodation.
HC-D12 - REPLACEMENT OF RURAL WORKERS OCCUPANCY CONDITIONS: If there is no long-term need for a rural worker dwelling in the locality, this policy enables the replacement of an occupancy tie for a rural worker with a legal agreement limiting the occupancy to a local person in affordable housing need. There are also measures to alter an existing condition or vary a planning obligation for the occupancy of an agricultural or forestry worker dwelling to include the occupancy of a rural worker (as defined in the Local Plan).
HC-D13 - REPLACEMENT OF HOLIDAY OCCUPANCY CONDITIONS AND EXTENDED FAMILY OCCUPANCY TIES: This provides flexibility to change the occupancy of some types of holiday lets and extended family dwellings. Properties that have a holiday let condition can change their occupancy to extended family dwellings or local needs affordable housing. There are also opportunities for extended family dwellings to change occupancy to local needs affordable housing or holiday lets and to revert to the original occupancy of the property.
HC-D14 - SUBDIVISION OF EXISTING DWELLINGS: The policy provides flexibility to enable the subdivision of existing dwellings and help address Exmoor’s long-term housing needs by providing for smaller homes within the National Park. It can also provide a solution for families to support each other and to enable downsizing. Any additional home created through subdivision will be a Principal Residence dwelling.
HC-D15 - RESIDENTIAL EXTENSIONS AND HC-D16 - OUTBUILDINGS: Extensions or outbuildings should be proportionate to the size of the dwelling they are associated with, they are well sited and designed; and do not reduce the level of amenity space (garden and/or parking areas) around the dwelling to an unacceptable level. Extensions should not increase the floorspace of the existing dwelling by more than 35%.
Extensions to the residential curtilage (garden) should not harm the local landscape, wildlife or settlement character.
HC-D17 - REPLACEMENT DWELLINGS: This permits replacement dwellings. It requires that the existing building to be replaced adversely affects the landscape or built character of the area and it cannot be listed or historically or architecturally important or worthy of conservation. The residential use must not have been abandoned. The replacement dwelling should be sited on or close to the existing dwelling unless alternative siting would have landscape, wildlife or heritage benefits. The replacement dwelling should be no larger than the original dwelling or 93m2 – whichever is the larger.
HC-S5 - TRAVELLING COMMUNITIES: Evidence shows there is no demonstrable need within the National Park for transit/permanent traveller pitches or sites. In planning for traveller accommodation in the National Park, the approach is to work with neighbouring local housing authorities to seek to establish and positively address the accommodation needs of traveller communities at sites outside the National Park. The policy includes criteria in case a need should arise during the Plan period.
SUMMARY OF HOUSING POLICIES BASED ON LOCATION AND TYPE OF DEVELOPMENT
CONVERSION/CHANGE OF USE
Local Service Centres and Villages
In the area outside the CCMA, the conversion of buildings in the settlement for:
Open Countryside: Farmsteads and small rural communities, including hamlets
Conversions of buildings within a group of buildings on a farmstead to a:
Conversions of buildings in a hamlet or rural community to a local affordable dwelling.
COMMUNITY SERVICES AND FACILITIES
HC-S6 - LOCAL COMMERCIAL SERVICES & COMMUNITY FACILITIES: This aims to help communities across the National Park continue to thrive and to benefit visitors by enabling the provision of local commercial services and community facilities. These include a range of uses; local commercial services such as shops, post offices, pubs, restaurants, and banks; and community facilities such as schools, libraries, public open spaces, community halls and places of worship. The focus of the policy is the improvement of existing services and facilities and encouraging new provision using existing buildings. The policy also makes provision for new build services and facilities in the named settlements (See policy GP3).
HC-D18 - LOCAL COMMERCIAL SERVICE PROVISION: The policy enables the provision of local commercial services such as shops, cafes, pubs and takeaways in the named settlements through conversions of existing buildings; the extension of existing premises or as new build development. In the open countryside, there are opportunities for small scale and ancillary service provision through reusing existing buildings for the sale of goods produced at the premises. Additionally, ancillary shops and cafes can be permitted on farms, at visitor facilities or on camping/caravan sites. Some permitted development rights apply including for the change of use of agricultural buildings to local commercial services. Applicants should contact the Authority to check whether a planning application is required.
HC-D19 - SAFEGUARDING LOCAL COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND COMMUNITY FACILITIES: In a rural area such as Exmoor, it is important to retain existing local services and facilities for those who live, work or visit the National Park. For this reason, a change of use of a community facility will not be permitted unless it can be shown that the service or facility is no longer needed, a replacement service has been provided or a local commercial service cannot be continued and made viable over the longer term.
Proposals for the change of use of commercial services should include evidence to show that they cannot be continued and made viable over the longer term – through effective marketing and evidence that all available opportunities for diversification, grant funding or community interest in the service on a volunteer/not-for-profit basis have been explored.
Some permitted development rights apply. Applicants should contact the Authority to check whether a planning application is required.
HC-D20 - IMPORTANT VISUAL AMENITY SPACE: Land of visual amenity value in and adjoining settlements is protected in recognition of the significance of these green areas for the setting of buildings and the character of settlements. Development proposals should not harm their visual amenity value. The settlement inset maps and for Allerford and Luccombe, Annex 3 of the Local Plan identify important visual amenity spaces.
HC-S7 - RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS: The policy relates to the conversion and change of use of existing buildings to residential institutions. In response to the increase in the proportion of Exmoor’s population over retirement age, it includes residential care homes and nursing homes, which could help address a local need for specialist accommodation, but it also applies to residential educational facilities to promote the understanding and enjoyment of the National Park and its special qualities. The location should be sustainable in relation to the level of services and facilities that may be required to support the proposed use; and impacts on amenity, the character of the area and the level of traffic generation should be acceptable.
SE-S1 - A SUSTAINABLE EXMOOR ECONOMY: Business and employment development is encouraged tostrengthen and diversify the Exmoor economy. New employment development, or the extension, growth/intensification of existing businesses (and their operations, activity and scale) should not have an unacceptable adverse impact on local amenity, landscape, heritage, habitats and wildlife.
SE-S2 - BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN SETTLEMENTS: Business development should be located in named settlements or, where there are no suitable sites/buildings they should be well related to existing buildings in the settlement. Consideration should first be given to the reuse of existing traditional buildings, then the reuse of non-traditional buildings or previously developed sites. If these opportunities are not available, a new site/building may be permitted.
In Porlock Weir, new build development should be small-scale and compatible with industries associated with the settlement.
SE-S3 - BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN THE OPEN COUNTRYSIDE: This includes criteria for assessing opportunities for business development in the open countryside. In farmsteads or hamlets where there is an existing dwelling this can be through the extension of existing employment sites or buildings. and the reuse of existing traditional buildings.
There is additional flexibility to support an existing agricultural or other primary rural land-based business to diversify through the change of use of ‘non-traditional’ buildings, such as agricultural buildings, to business use where this will not conflict with the existing farming or land management activity. The buildings need to be structurally suitable for the intended use. The Plan explains the type of business that would qualify as a rural land-based business.
The erection of new business premises in the open countryside will only be permitted for the redevelopment of existing employment sites. There should be no significant increase in size and enhancements of the site may be necessary to achieve an acceptable scheme.
Business use in buildings which stand alone or are not part of a farm group or hamlet are not permitted.
SE-D1 - HOME BASED BUSINESSES: There isa flexible approach to the provision of home-based business space. This can be achieved through:
- using an existing area of a home,
- a small extension in accordance with policy HC-D15 Residential Extensions;
- the use of existing buildings that are well-related to the dwelling; or
- new small-scale outbuildings within the curtilage.
If the business space is no longer required, it can revert to residential use, or in the case of an outbuilding, a use incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling.
To ensure the long-term viability of the unit, proposals for live-work units should ensure that the business space could be used independently of the dwelling. The dwelling component will need to comply with the housing policies in the Plan.
SE-D2 - SAFEGUARDING EXISTING EMPLOYMENT LAND AND BUILDINGS: There is a finite supply of employment land in the National Park and limited greenfield land for development in and adjoining settlements. This policy therefore aims to safeguard existing employment sites and premises from a change of use. Proposals that seek to change the use of buildings or sites used for business uses will need to demonstrate that they have explored all opportunities for grant funding and financial support, have marketed the property for at least 12 months and that the employment site/buildings cannot be continued or made viable.
Where it can be proven that a site/building are no longer viable, in the first instance, an employment use will either be maintained on the remaining part of the site or provided on an alternative site. If this is not possible, then other community uses on the site will be favoured. If these are not possible, then residential development (in accordance with housing policies in the Plan) will be considered.
New Build Development/ Extensions
Change of Use/Conversions
Local Service Centres and Villages
Where the conversion of an existing traditional building, or non-traditional building is not achievable, then within or well related to existing buildings in the settlement, new build will be considered for:
As above, but any new business development should be small scale and compatible with industries in Porlock Weir outside the Coastal Change Management Area (CCMA) - see Inset Map for Porlock Weir in the Local Plan.
As above, and temporary uses may be considered in the CCMA where buildings are identified as at risk from coastal change.
New build business development is permitted in the countryside for the redevelopment of existing employment sites
The change of use and conversion of existing traditional buildings well related to an existing building group where there is an existing dwelling – e.g. on a farmstead or in a hamlet.
Farms / Rural land-based businesses
As above, for the open countryside.
As above (for the open countryside) and, in the case of diversification proposals, the conversion and change of use of non-traditional buildings where they are well related to existing buildings on the holding.
SE-S4 - AGRICULTURAL AND FORESTRY DEVELOPMENT: The use of land and existing buildings for agricultural or forestry purposes does not require planning permission. For certain buildings or structures, it may be necessary to obtain prior approval from the Authority, relating to the siting, design and external appearance.
Proposals for a new or replacement building, extension, track or structure requiring planning permission, will need to show that they are designed for the purposes of agriculture or forestry, demonstrate a functional need and that their size and scale are relative to that need. Siting, design, size, scale, massing, layout, appearance and materials should reflect local landscape character. Proposals / associated activity should avoid adverse impacts on landscape, wildlife, heritage and the amenity of neighbouring properties and occupiers.
Proposals for new buildings in isolated locations in the open countryside will only be considered in exceptional circumstances relating to an overriding functional need. They should not replace existing buildings that have been subdivided away from the holding. Additionally, the requirement for the building(s) should not result from a change of farming practice that could harm the National Park’s traditional landscape character.
RT-S1 - RECREATION AND TOURISM: This policy encourages a diversity of recreation and tourism facilities that actively enhance the understanding and enjoyment of Exmoor National Park.
Developments should be compatible with the quiet enjoyment of the National Park and not adversely affect its natural and historic environment including from cumulative impacts. Scale should be compatible with their location and setting and accessibility should be considered. They should contribute to the local economy and communities and support health and wellbeing.
The policy also encourages opportunities to improve the quality and viability of existing recreation and tourism facilities through appropriate restoration, extension, expansion or diversification.
RT-D1 - SERVICED ACCOMMODATION: Serviced accommodation, such as hotels and guesthouses, can be provided through the change of use and conversion of existing traditional buildings as long as the traditional character of the building(s) is conserved or enhanced and significant alteration or extension are not needed. Proposals should ensure there will be no adverse effects on road safety and local amenity. For the change of use of residential properties to a hotel or guesthouse, there is flexibility for the property to operate either as a hotel/guesthouse or to be occupied as a dwelling house.
RT-D2 - STAFF ACCOMMODATION: Where accommodation for staff is needed and none exists in the locality or it cannot be provided within the existing hotel, guesthouse or hostel, it can be provided through the conversion of a building within the curtilage of the premises or, where this is not possible, a small-scale extension to the existing hotel. If the staff accommodation is no longer needed it can change use to guest accommodation, or the occupancy can change to a holiday let or a local affordable dwelling.
RT-D3 - SAFEGUARDING SERVICED ACCOMMODATION: Hotels and guesthouses on Exmoor are important to the local economy and some hotels also provide social and community facilities such as a public bar. This Policy enables existing hotels to change to another employment use, including residential institutions (such as nursing homes). Where there is sufficient evidence that the hotel was originally a single dwelling, it can revert to a residential Principal Residence dwelling if policy tests are met.
In all other circumstances, before the change of use of a part or an entire hotel can be considered, proposals will need to show that it cannot be made viable over the longer term and it has been marketed at a reasonable value for a minimum of 12 months.
There is a range of uses the hotel can change to including self-catering apartments, community facilities or to a mixed-use including employment. A change to a residential dwelling will only be considered acceptable if these uses cannot be achieved and the requirements of Policy HC-D2 (Conversions to Dwellings in Settlements) are met.
RT-D4 - NON-SERVICED ACCOMMODATION: Self-catering holiday lets are a popular form of visitor accommodation in the National Park. The policy enables the change of use and sensitive conversion of existing buildings to self-catering accommodation in the following circumstances:
- to create additional units on an existing self-catering complex (where there are already two or more holiday lets);
- through the change of use of a hotel that is no longer viable;
- by reusing a redundant building associated with a hotel/guesthouse; or
- converting a building within/well-related to an existing building group on a farmstead that is associated with the diversification of a rural land-based business.
The policy also enables small-scale extensions to existing holiday lets where this would not harm the historic character of the existing building. No new-build holiday lets will be permitted. Where a holiday let is no longer needed or viable, the holiday occupancy condition may be replaced with local affordable or extended family occupancy ties.
RT-D5 - TENTED CAMPSITES: Small-scale campsites are supported where they are sensitively sited near a named settlement, hamlet or farmstead, there is safe access and they are not in an area at risk of flooding. The site should not adversely affect the landscape, wildlife or amenity. Any on-site facilities, such as showers or WCs, should be provided through the conversion of existing buildings or as an extension to an existing building. The policy also enables small extensions to existing campsites where environmental benefits can be achieved.
RT-D6 - CAMPING BARNS: This enables the provision of camping barns through the sensitive conversion of traditional buildings. They must be in a named settlement or in a farmstead or hamlet close to an existing dwelling
Camping barns may also be provided, through the conversion of isolated traditional barns or buildings that are well related to public rights of way and/or access land and no new access or alterations to the outside / surroundings of the building are required. In such isolated locations only basic facilities should be provided (e.g. a ‘stone tent’) to avoid harm to the historic character of the building and its landscape setting.
RT-D7 - CERTIFICATED AND TOURING CARAVAN SITES: Small-scale certificated caravan sites (up to 5 touring caravans) are certificated by certain camping and caravan organisations and will be supported where they are close to farmsteads, hamlets or settlements in well-screened locations with good access and not in areas of flood risk or where they will harm landscape or wildlife.
New touring caravan sites, outdoor caravan storage sites or extensions to existing touring caravan sites will not be permitted due to their adverse landscape impacts these sites can have because of uniform layout, siting and the colour/materials of caravans and motorhomes.
RT-D8 - STATIC CARAVAN SITES: New static caravan sites, chalet developments, the conversion of existing touring caravan sites to static caravan sites / chalets, or an extension/increase in pitches to existing sites are not permitted in the National Park because their colour and materials, siting, and uniform layout cause landscape impacts. Existing static caravan accommodation may be replaced by more appropriately designed alternative types of accommodation such as camping pods (see below). Timber chalets or log cabin holiday accommodation will only be permitted where they replace units on existing static caravan sites or chalet developments.
RT-D9 - ALTERNATIVE CAMPING ACCOMMODATION: This policy supports a diversity of high quality, well-designed visitor accommodation where they support the diversification of hotel/guesthouse businesses, self-catering complexes, camping/caravan sites or rural land-based businesses close to a farmstead. It applies to structures such as timber camping pods, micro-lodges, traditional Romany caravans, shepherd huts, tree houses, yurts, wigwams and tepees.
Proposals for this type of accommodation should be small-scale (in terms of the area and number of units) and each unit should be no larger than 25m2. They should be sensitively sited, and preferably well screened. Structures should be low impact and have limited physical connection to the ground so that they can be easily moved or dismantled. This type of accommodation is also supported where it replaces existing static caravan units.
RT-D10 - RECREATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: This policy enables recreational development that supports a sustainable local economy. Proposals are encouraged to reuse existing buildings where possible and be located in or adjoining the named settlements. The location, scale and intensity of the use and its activity should be appropriate to their location with adequate access and parking which should be accommodated unobtrusively.
Where recreational development cannot be accommodated in a named settlement, a clear justification will be needed to demonstrate that the location of the recreational development is essential, and the proposal will enhance the understanding and enjoyment of the National Park.
RT-D11- EQUESTRIAN DEVELOPMENT: Owning and riding horses are traditional and popular activities on Exmoor. The policy applies to a wide range of horse-related development including stables, exercise arenas, indoor riding schools, and the change of use of agricultural land to equestrian/recreational use.
The reuse of existing buildings is encouraged and development, in terms of visual impact, landscape setting and the intensity of use or activity, should be sensitively sited and well related to existing buildings. Proposals for stabling and shelters should also be close to the existing dwelling.
Proposals should be well-related to suitable networks of equestrian routes. They should not adversely affect the natural environment including because of pollution or effects on amenity or neighbouring properties. A land management plan is required for the proposed development-and activity arising from it to address factors including the management of waste and/or pollution, grazing land, impacts on rights of way, and management of trees, hedges and means of enclosure.
RT-D12 - ACCESS LAND AND RIGHTS OF WAY: The policy safeguards the ‘access network’ which consists of access land and public rights of way to ensure that it will not be harmed by development proposals. If a proposal will cause harm to the network, the need for and benefit of the proposal must outweigh the harm and there is no alternative location. In such cases, adverse impacts should be minimised, and the network improved and enhanced including by providing additional links, acceptable diversions and/or compensatory land of equal or better quality.
RT-D13 - SAFEGUARDING LAND ALONG FORMER RAILWAYS: This policy safeguards the historic former railway routes of the West Somerset Mineral Line and the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway from development that would prevent their use as an expansion of the rights of way network (rights of way), or would prevent the reinstatement of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway. It also safeguards any partial deviation that proposals may make from the original route.
AC-S1 - SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT: Due to the rural nature of Exmoor, the majority of people rely on a car to access jobs, services and facilities. A key priority is to locate most development within the named settlements to help maintain a level of self-sufficiency without leading to a severe increase in traffic movements. This Policy states that the National Park Authority will work with the Highways and Transport Authorities and transport providers to encourage sustainable transport for residents and visitors, such as public and community transport services, and provision for walking, cycling and horse riding in addition to other forms of low carbon travel.
AC-S2 - TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE: Many of Exmoor’s roads, bridges and fords are historic and attractive features in their own right. Hedgerows, trees, fingerposts, traditional bus shelters and other roadside features add to the character of Exmoor’s road network. This Policy sets out how the National Park Authority will work with others. This is to ensure that works to roads and associated infrastructure reflect local character by using appropriate materials and finishes, retain existing roadside features - street furniture and highway signs such as fingerposts, milestones and cast-iron signs and minimise lighting, signage and clutter.
New roads are considered inappropriate in the National Park except where they would result in substantial environmental gain or community benefit.
AC-D1 - TRANSPORT AND ACCESSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR DEVELOPMENT: The policyensures that pedestrians and cyclists can access nearby services and facilities from new developments and that all opportunities have been taken to encourage sustainable transport through infrastructure such as foot and cycle paths, cycle parking / storage, rights of way improvements / linkages, electric charging points and, where appropriate, the provision of car clubs/car sharing facilities.
The scale, design and details of highway works should be appropriate to the development and conserve or enhance the area.
If significant levels of traffic are likely to be generated, then a Transport Assessment or Statement and a Travel Plan to deliver sustainable transport will need to be prepared; and, where necessary, an air quality assessment.
AC-D2 - TRAFFIC AND ROAD SAFETY CONSIDERATIONSFOR DEVELOPMENT: This ensures that development proposals will not generate unacceptable levels of traffic on the local road network or cause road safety issues.
AC-S3 - TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT AND PARKING: The Exmoor Route Network provides the framework for traffic and freight management to ensure that traffic uses the roads most suited to the purpose of the journey. The Exmoor Route Network consists of A Roads, B Roads and other key access roads. The Local Plan Policies Map shows the routes that make up the Exmoor Route Network. For freight movements, a small section of the A399 that passes through the North Devon part of the National Park is identified as a County Freight Route, whilst other roads across Exmoor are identified as Local Freight Routes.
The policy also sets out requirements for the replacement of car parking lost through development or because of coastal change and for new small-scale car parks. The policy is not to meet peak parking demand but there may be local solutions including temporary overflow parking (see Policy AC-D4).
AC-D3 - PARKING PROVISION AND STANDARDS: The policy, and Table 9.1 of the Local Plan, guide parking provision for cars, motorcycles, cycles and disabled parking in new developments. The standards reflect the rural nature of the National Park. Parking provision should be well designed, integrated, and take account of environmental constraints. Lower levels or no parking provision may be considered appropriate for developments that are well served by public transport or have good walking and cycling links.
AC-D4 - TEMPORARY PARKING: This policy enables temporary overflow parking solutions to accommodate peak parking demand where there would be no adverse impact on the local environment or character of the area and/or the amenity of local communities. Their design should reflect the temporary nature of the provision and have no permanent features or tracks.
AC-S4 - ELECTRICITY AND COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS: Development to improve the accessibility and standard of the electricity and telecommunications networks is encouraged to contribute to thriving communities and businesses and to mitigate climate change. Improved and superfast broadband will help provide benefits across Exmoor for individuals to access services, opportunities to enhance existing businesses, enable new businesses to start up, reduce the need to travel by car and give greater flexibility for people to work from home.
Measures, such as mast sharing, use of existing buildings / structures, keeping sites and masts to the minimum for efficient operation and the sympathetic design and camouflage of new sites are required to ensure the location, siting, scale and design of this infrastructure will not have an unacceptable adverse impact on the National Park. Operators are encouraged to work together and share infrastructure. Once it becomes redundant, infrastructure is required to be removed.
AC-D5 - RADIO AND MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE: Proposals for telecommunication masts and associated equipment to extend the coverage of the mobile phone network across Exmoor are required to share existing infrastructure. Where this is not possible, apparatus should be sited on existing masts or on other features or structures, such as buildings, before other sites are considered. The policy includes safeguards to minimise impacts, including cumulative impacts, on landscape, wildlife, the historic environment, visual amenity, and the amenity of nearby residents and visitors through effective siting and design including camouflage.
Since the Local Plan was adopted, a permitted development right to install masts subject to a height limit has been introduced nationally.
AC-D6 - FIXED LINE TRANSMISSION INFRASTRUCTURE: The network of overhead transmission lines and poles is known as fixed electricity and telephone infrastructure. The policy ensures that all new transmission lines, including service lines to individual properties and developments, are routed underground except in cases where this could harm wildlife or important landscape and historic features. Where lines cannot be routed underground, other measures such as renewable energy (electricity generation) or satellite antennae (telecommunications) should be considered. Where these are not possible, then overhead lines may be permitted where the visual impact on the landscape is minimised. There is also provision to accommodate underground grid connections to offshore renewable technologies, where there will be no adverse impact on the National Park.
AC-D7 - SATELLITE ANTENNAE: Where planning permission is required for the installation of satellite antennae and fixed wireless access equipment (for broadband), equipment should avoid unacceptable harm, individually or cumulatively, to traditional / historic buildings, or to landscape or settlement character and streets through careful siting and its scale and design.
This section includes information on named settlements in the National Park. These are categorised as Local Service Centres, Villages and Porlock Weir. For each named settlement there is an inset map(forming part of the Local Plan Policies Map) and written statement. The written statement outlines the key aspects of each settlement in relation to its setting, built environment and local services. It also references relevant parish plans or other community-led plans including neighbourhood development plans. For some settlements, there are policies to safeguard land for community facilities.
The inset maps associated with each settlement identify particular areas or features, which interpret and apply Local Plan policies at a settlement level, including areas at risk of flooding, wildlife designations and Conservation Areas.
ES-S1 - SUPPORTING LOCAL COMMUNITIES:
Policy ES-S1 aims to support those local communities that have identified priorities and plans for the development they need in their settlements over the longer term. The National Park Authority will provide advice and support and help to ensure conformity with Local Plan strategic policies. .
ES-D1 -CUTCOMBE AND WHEDDON CROSS COMMUNITY SAFEGUARDING AREA: This policy safeguards land to the north of Cutcombe First School for an extension to the school site.
ES-D2 - DULVERTON COMMUNITY SAFEGUARDING AREA: This policy safeguards land for an extension to the existing cemetery.
M1-S1 - MONITORING AND REVIEW OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEED AND PROVISION: Using the latest available evidence, a review of the indicative affordable housing need figure in the Local Plan (238 dwellings) should be completed by the end of 2020 and at five-year intervals thereafter. An increase in the figure of more than 20% will trigger a full or partial review of the Local Plan.
The policy also requires monitoring of the number of affordable homes permitted in any continuous three-year period. If the number permitted is less than 10% of the indicative affordable housing need figure (24 dwellings), an analysis of affordable housing that is in the pipeline, parish housing need surveys and the existing affordable housing stock will be undertaken to show whether provision is sufficient. If it is not, a review of the reasons why planning permissions are less than 10% of the affordable housing need figure will be carried out with local stakeholders. If changes to the Local Plan are needed to increase local affordable housing delivery, then a full or partial review of the Plan will be carried out.
For further information
For any queries relating to the Local Plan please contact the Policy & Community Team email email@example.com or on 01398 323665
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