Somerset West & Taunton Council is consulting on a draft Local Development Order (LDO) designed to support small businesses in rural areas. The Employment LDO is a proactive planning tool to enable increased delivery of small-scale industrial space in rural parts of Somerset West & Taunton, and was developed in response to demand from small businesses to set up or expand their existing operations.
LHC Design’s senior urban designer, Amy Sanders and architect, Kate Sammons have prepared the draft Design Guide together with the team at Stantec (formerly Peter Brett Associates).
The LDO and accompanying Design Code will provide clarity on how to deliver high quality, small-scale space appropriate to the site. It will ensure that a high and consistent standard of design is delivered, providing sustainable and stimulating working environments whilst at the same time enabling the diverse requirements of individual occupiers to be met.
If adopted, the Employment LDO could grant planning permission for small scale office, research and light industrial space across the Council area removing the need for a planning application to be made. Development must accord with all aspects of the Design Code in order to benefit from the permitted development rights confirmed by the LDO
Cllr Mike Rigby, Executive Member for Planning and Transportation, said:
“The Employment LDO was partly motivated by a desire to bring forward sufficient small sites to replace employment land lost to housing over the last decade.
“It is designed to help make the process of bringing forward appropriate development of small-scale employment space easier and faster, and is an incentive to businesses to start up and expand.It is underpinned by the principles of sustainability – both in encouraging employment uses close to where people live; and in the methods proposed for construction and landscaping of the buildings.
“There is a clear rationale for the use of an LDO to promote minor freehold employment units while reducing the administrative costs and burdens involved in a full planning application.”
The LDO and accompanying Design Code is subject to consultation prior to its potential adoption.
Following the consultation exercise, Somerset West & Taunton will consider what modifications need to be made and whether the order should be adopted.
The consultation will begin on 13 January and run until 16 March. Full details can be found on the LDO page on the Council’s website.