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Decisions published

15/02/2023 - Local Labour Agreement Policy ref: 1428    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: SWT Executive

Made at meeting: 15/02/2023 - SWT Executive

Decision published: 09/03/2023

Effective from: 15/02/2023


This matter was the responsibility of Executive Member for Planning, Transportation and Economic Development, Councillor Mike Rigby, who introduced the item.


The report presented a proposal for the adoption of a new corporate policy that stated the Council’s position in relation to increasing local skills and employment opportunities generated by new developments for people within the district. 


During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       Councillors queried what the effect of this would be and how it would be monitored from any baseline and also influence providers of training?

·       There were no baselines at the moment. It was considered difficult to baseline when looking at statistics and the number of external factors which could influence this. The Council would be counting the number of jobs and tracking this over time, which would build a year on year picture going forward. The Council would be brokering relationships with local training providers and businesses.

·       It was commented that there was felt to not be a shortage of work but that there was a need for skills pool improvement locally e.g. in the Construction area bringing in local apprentices. There was considered to be a skills shortage in the carbon neutral/environmentally friendly building sector.

RESOLVED that the Executive:

i)                 Approved the adoption of the SWT Local Labour Agreement Policy and Technical Guidance Note (attached as Appendices 1 and 2 to this report) as a material planning consideration in the preparation of masterplans, pre-application advice and the assessment of major planning applications and any other development management purposes.

ii)               Delegated the approval of any future changes to the Technical Guidance Note (Appendix 2), including thresholds and target levels to the Portfolio Holder Economic Development, Planning and Transportation and the Director of Place and Climate Change.


15/02/2023 - Taunton Garden Town - Delivering our Vision, the Planning Context ref: 1427    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: SWT Executive

Made at meeting: 15/02/2023 - SWT Executive

Decision published: 09/03/2023

Effective from: 15/02/2023


This matter was the responsibility of Executive for Planning, Transportation and Economic Development, Councillor Mike Rigby, who introduced the item.


This report set out the contents and therefore the direction of travel of the proposed document for ‘A Vision for our Garden Town’ and sought agreement over its scope.


During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       It was considered that this was another tool in the armoury in ensuring that planning development was as we aspired, with green infrastructure prioritised.

·       The recent developments highlighted in the report such as the Climate and Ecological emergency declarations, phosphates and bio-diversity net gain showcased the changes happening which the Council needed to guide developers and ensure the Garden Town was as green as it possibly could be.

·       Further explanation was sought on how this documentation would feed into the new Local Plan development and the effect on those in the process of making applications or about to.

·       This was not setting policy but signposting, bringing together all the different documents on the Garden Town in one place to make it easier for everyone to understand the current picture. It would eventually feed into the Somerset Wide Local Plan.


RESOLVED that the Executive:

i)                 Agreed the scope of the document.

ii)               Agreed the green infrastructure checklist document for consultation with agents/applicants within the Garden Town

iii)              Granted delegated authority to the Assistant Director Strategic Place and Planning in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning, Transportation and Economic Development for the finalisation of the document and associated green infrastructure checklist.


15/02/2023 - Executive Forward Plan ref: 1425    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: SWT Executive

Made at meeting: 15/02/2023 - SWT Executive

Decision published: 09/03/2023

Effective from: 15/02/2023


(Copy of the Executive Forward Plan, circulated with the agenda).


Councillors were reminded that if they had an item they wanted to add to the agenda, that they should send their requests to the Governance Team.


RESOLVED that the Executive Forward Plan be noted.



15/02/2023 - Scrutiny Recommendations ref: 1429    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: SWT Executive

Made at meeting: 15/02/2023 - SWT Executive

Decision published: 09/03/2023

Effective from: 15/02/2023


The Leader introduced the item which, at the meeting Corporate Scrutiny Committee held on 1 February 2023, that committee in considering the report of the Public Transport Task and Finish Group had recommended that before Somerset West and Taunton Council ceased to exist, the Executive considered the report of the Public Transport Task and Finish Group with a view to forwarding it to the new Somerset Council for their appropriate consideration, if so minded.

Councillor Loretta Whetlor, as Chair of the Task and Finish Group, was invited to make remarks and summarised that it was felt important by Scrutiny that this report  was considered by the new Council when in being. She thanked Officers and fellow Task and Finish Group members for their work on the Group.

During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       The Task and Finish Group were thanked for their work by Executive Members and the conclusions would be taken close note of.

·       The evening bus strategy which had linked towns across the District were enabling shift workers to get to and from work at all hours and to boost the night time economy, which had been hit by the pandemic.

·       There was a plan to re-open Taunton Bus Station next year and there was a £1 fare scheme in Taunton.

·       Significant early progress had been made since the Task and Finish Group had met.

·       There were plans for talks about the linking up of the West Somerset Rail line with Taunton.

·       The closure of the Bus Station was a decision by the private bus company at the time and the Councils had stepped in at the time to secure the site’s future. The Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) funds would create a mobility hub at the site and would be an opportunity for a terminus with a proper waiting room, but these would be designed and consulted on later in the year.

·       The hard work of the Task and Finish Group was recognised and it was felt valuable that the Group had engaged with stakeholders such as the Colleges.

·       A query was raised as to whether any of the suggestions had been actioned e.g. writing of letters?

·       None of the conclusions had been actioned and the proposal is that the new Council actions these if so minded, rather than try to rush these out before the end of March.

RESOLVED that the Executive agreed to forward the conclusions of the Public Transport Task and Finish Group to the relevant Lead Member at the County Council and the rest of the Somerset County Council Executive to consider and decide if any proposed conclusions can be taken forward.


15/02/2023 - Public Participation ref: 1426    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: SWT Executive

Made at meeting: 15/02/2023 - SWT Executive

Decision published: 09/03/2023

Effective from: 15/02/2023


Mr Martin Pakes spoke to present his petition, which requested the withdrawal of the proposal to construct a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the River Tone between Morrison’s Bandstand and Coal Orchard, Taunton (Planning Application 38/22/0347). He spoke for five minutes and made the following points (summarised):

·       The response from the public had been horrified.

·       The Council should have run a consultation exercise on site and the public was unaware of this forthcoming bridge.

·       They had referred people to the Council’s report on the reasoning for the bridge but people had not seen the need, with the existing Morrison’s bridge in situ.

·       The new bridge was considered to be uglier/industrial and trashed the landscaping either side of the river, which was an asset to the Town.

·       This bridge was solely for the benefit of the Firepool development and not the Town Centre, which is felt to be what the Future High Street Funds was for.

·       The Town Centre was not in a good state and was one of the main drivers for people coming into spend money.

·       Concerns were raised around the process of hearing this petition.

·       The Council was asked to reconsider the proposal and to visit the site.

Cllr Mike Rigby, as the relevant Portfolio Holder, responded and thanked Mr Pakes for his attendance and the petition. The plan to revitalise the High Street was to create an Active Travel Corridor all the way through from the Railway Station to Vivary Park. The existing Morrisons Bridge was considered quite inadequate as a footbridge and was short of the government guidance on active travel crossings. Adaptation of the existing bridge was considered cost prohibitive and would remove access at all for a period. The Bandstand was not considered to be used for a beneficial purpose. He agreed that the paving in the Town Centre was not good enough and projects were underway to rectify this. Officers had been keen to ensure that the role of developer and Local Planning Authority were kept separate.

During the discussion, the following points were raised:-

·       Councils had invested in its roads, and Councils now needed to invest in walking and cycling routes.

·       A query was raised as to whether there was any scope to remove the Morrison’s bridge and just have the one bridge.

·       Officers confirmed that the structure of the ramps and steps on the Morrisons bridge were part of the flood defence work. The ramps would also need to be widened and the civil engineering aspect was considered to be very difficult. The options appraisal could be added to the Planning application to add narrative to the decision-making.

·       The Morrison’s Footbridge was considered crucial to the cultural offering in that area e.g. Brewhouse.

·       Councillors urged that the bridge was made to look as pleasing to the eye as possible and to address concerns over its visual impact.

·       A maximum of 5 trees would be removed but the Council policies of a three for one replacement would apply. The Bandstand could be moved and re-used elsewhere. Officers stated that the bridge was designed to be minimalist in appearance and function. The base structure could be improved upon and officers would work with the Planning team on design questions.

·       It was confirmed that there was a funding deadline associated with this fund of use by the end of March 2024. A whole new scheme from scratch would be difficult to deliver in the timescales. The fund was specified to deliver infrastructure rather than beautification.

·       The Portfolio Holder accepted that there are things the Council could do differently with the application e.g. the Bandstand move and to expand on the rationale behind it. The Council would gauge responses from the statutory and non-statutory consultees.

RESOLVED that the Council continued with the Planning Application as developing authority.


15/02/2023 - Minutes of the previous meeting of the Executive ref: 1424    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: SWT Executive

Made at meeting: 15/02/2023 - SWT Executive

Decision published: 09/03/2023

Effective from: 15/02/2023


(Minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 21 December 2022 and 18 January 2023 were circulated with the agenda).


RESOLVED that the minutes of the Executive held on 21 December 2022 and 18 January 2023 be confirmed as a correct record.



27/02/2023 - Haines Hill and Trull Road Conservation Area Appraisal ref: 1423    Recommendations Approved

Decision Maker: Economic Development, Planning and Transportation Portfolio Holder

Decision published: 06/03/2023

Effective from: 14/03/2023


Details of decision:

Recommendation to approve:

·       The replacement of both the Haines Hill, and the Trull Road conservation areas with a single new extended Conservation Area: and

·       The new Haines Hill and Trull Road Conservation Area and Appraisal as local planning policy and, as such, a material consideration in planning decisions


Reasons for proposed decision:


Governance process


1.     The decision to make a conservation area and to conduct the review and changes is not placed in the hands of the executive under schedule one of the Local Authorities Functions and Responsibilities England Regulations 2000. The fallback position under the regulations is that that which is not designated, under the schedules to a specific decision category, is an executive decision.


2.     This decision is therefore a matter for the Leader who holds executive power. The Leader Cllr Smith-Roberts has authorised the portfolio holder Cllr Rigby to make the decision. This consent is attached at Appendix 1.


3.     The decision is not considered to be a key decision. The appraisal and boundary review will affect specific properties within three wards (Trull, Comeytrowe and Victoria) but it is not considered to be significant in its effects on those wards. The decision is most likely to affect owners who want to work on the outside of their building or any trees on their property because property within the area has extra planning controls and considerations placed upon it. This can include: the need to apply the conserve and enhance test as part of the decision-making process, control over demolition of unlisted buildings, control over works to trees, and limitation on the types of advertisements that can be displayed with deemed consent. An area’s status as a Conservation Area does not however prevent change from occurring but ensures that proposed alterations are sympathetic to the character of the Conservation Area.




4.     Section 72(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (“the Act”) states that special attention should be paid to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of Conservation Areas.


5.     The National Planning Policy Framework 2021 (NPPF) sets out the Government’s policies for conserving and enhancing the historic environment, making clear that in considering the designation of Conservation Areas, local planning authorities should ensure that an area justifies such status because of its special architectural or historic interest, ensuring that the concept of conservation is not devalued through the designation of areas that lack special interest (NPPF paragraph 191).


6.     The Council has a duty to review existing conservation area designations periodically to ensure they are up to date and relevant, and to determine if any further parts of the district should be designated as a Conservation Area.


7.     South West Heritage Trust are independent heritage experts who were engaged to review the boundaries and produce the appraisal on the Council’s behalf.


8.     The proposed Conservation Area boundary for Haines Hill and Trull Road is at Appendix 2. This would replace the current conservation areas of Haines Hill, and Trull Road. The appraisal documents are at Appendices 3-6.


9.     The impetus to complete the appraisal and boundary review for the Haines Hill and Trull Road conservation areas increased due to the development proposal to demolish Channon House, Wild Oak Lane, Trull (planning application no. 42/21/0040). The refusal notice included a reason that referred to Channon House being a notable positive building and a key component of the area between Trull Road and Haines Hill Conservation Areas and as such its demolition would be contrary to the Local Plan and NPPF.


10. An appeal was made against the Council’s decision to refuse the application (APP/W3330/W/22/3294120). The appeal was dismissed on 26/09/2022 where the Planning Inspector referenced the draft Conservation Area Appraisal noting:


“21. As set out in the CA [Conservation Area] Review, there are also proposals to extend the boundaries of the Trull Conservation Area and the Haines Hill Conservation. If these proposals are adopted, the appeal site would be included within the conservation area. Whilst these proposals are at an early stage, they do serve to heighten the importance of preserving the character and appearance of the area and any positive contributors to the area, and are therefore pertinent to the appeal.”[1]




11. South West Heritage trust has undertaken engagement during the development of the draft appraisal that has comprised of:


·       Contact with over 60 householders within the study area to assist with information on the history of their homes;

·       Fact-checking the draft appraisal with key bodies that included Trull Parish Council, Comeytrowe Parish Council, Belmont and Wheatleigh Residents Research Group, Queen’s College (applicant for Channon House planning application no. 42/21/0040);

·       Attendance at Trull Parish Council meeting on 18th July 2022. The minutes of this meeting noted that Trull Parish were minded to recommend that land owners are informed ahead of the area being considered as a conservation area.


12.The Act does not require public consultation or notification of affected landowners for a conservation area appraisal or boundary change. Historic England’s Advice Note 1 (2nd Ed.) Conservation Area Appraisal, Designation and Management does not require the Council to undertake a public consultation. Historic England support engagement to gather local information to add depth and perspective to the appraisal.


13. The Council’s Statement of Community Involvement does not provide any direction relating to community engagement in relation to the review of conservation area boundaries or appraisals.


14. The engagement that has taken place to date is considered a proportionate level of engagement with key representatives of the community above and beyond the requirement of the Regulations.


Next steps


15.   Once approved, the Council will:

·       make the appraisal available on the Council’s website;

·       notify properties within the appraisal boundary of the implications of the boundary change;

·       add to the Land Charges Register as required by Section 69(4) of the Act;

·       place public notices in the press as required by Section 70(5) & (8) of the Act.




Appendix 1

Leader Cllr Smith-Roberts authorisation for the portfolio holder Cllr Rigby to make the decision

Appendix 2

Map of the proposed Haines Hill and Trull Road Conservation Area Boundary

Appendix 3

Haines Hill and Trull Road Conservation Area Appraisal Part 1

Appendix 4

Map 7 - Haines Hill and Trull Road Conservation Area Appraisal Part 1

Appendix 5

Map 8 - Haines Hill and Trull Road Conservation Area Appraisal Part 1

Appendix 6

Haines Hill and Trull Road Conservation Area Appraisal Part 2



Alternative funding options sourced:




The below has been completed:






Relevant ward councillor(s) consulted

Ward councillors for Trull, Comeytrowe and Victoria




The following are if appropriate / applicable:  Yes/No.  If yes the implications should be attached to this decision notice.


Finance implications

The costs associated with preparing Conservation Area Appraisals are met from existing budgetary resources within the service.

Unitary Council and S24 Direction Implications (Contracts and Land Disposals)


Legal implications

Section 69 (2) of the Act sets out that is the duty of a Local Planning Authority from time to time to review its Conservation Areas and to determine whether any new areas should be designated as such.


Section 69 (4) of the Act sets out that the designation of any Conservation Area is considered as a local land charge. The boundary change to the Conservation Area will be updated accordingly.


Section 70 (5) of the Act requires the Local Planning Authority to notify the Secretary of State in regard to the designation of any part of their area as Conservation Area under section 69 (1) or (2) and of any variation or cancellation.


Section 70 (8) requires that notification of any designation, variation or cancellation is published in a local newspaper circulating in the local authority area. This will be undertaken following agreement of the Appraisals for adoption.

Links to corporate aims

Corporate Strategy 2020-24: Our Environment and Economy. “2. Shape and protect our built and natural environment, supported by a refreshed Local Plan and develop our heritage, cultural and leisure offer including a clear vision and delivery plan for the Taunton Garden Town.”

Climate and Sustainability implications

Heritage helps achieve sustainable growth through its significant contribution to the economy through stimulating regeneration and growth in towns and heritage-led projects.

Regarding home adaptations to mitigate the effects of climate change, an area’s status as a Conservation Area does not prevent change from occurring provided it is sympathetic to the character of the Conservation Area.

Conservation Areas provide added protection for trees which would, in addition, contribute to carbon capture.

Community Safety Implications


Equalities Impact

Conservation Area Appraisals provide supporting evidence for the Council’s Local Plan review (to be the Somerset Local Plan). An equalities impact assessment will be produced for each iteration of the Plan.

Safeguarding Implications


Risk management


Partnership implications



Any conflicts of interest declared by Leader or Executive Members consulted on the proposed decision.  If Yes provide confirmation from Chief Executive to grant dispensation for the Leader’s / Executive Member’s views to be considered.





[1] APP/W3330/W/22/3294120, Planning Inspectorate