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Community Needs

In October 2023, council members updated a list of what are considered to be priority needs and projects for the village in the new few months and years. To see a copy of the current document (it will evolve over time), please click here.

This monograph is written to clarify the Parish Council’s responsibility with regards to planning applications in the Parish as there is often confusion within the village as to “who does what”.

Parish Council responsibilities with regard to planning applications.

Somerset Council is the Planning Authority (not the Parish Council) and so is the responsible authority for the approval or rejection of planning applications.  This is effected through the Planning team at Somerset Council (South) based in Yeovil.

The Parish Council are consulted on (nearly) all planning applications within the Parish on the same basis as individual neighbours to any single application are consulted.  There are limited occasions upon which we do not receive a formal consultation, particularly with regard to trees on Somerset Council land, but we try and keep an eye on those as well.

The Parish Council has no power/authority to reject or approve applications.

If the Parish Council wishes to object to any application, it must consider whether its objection is based upon “material” or “non-material” considerations. If the Parish Council makes objections that are non-material or because residents are attempting to sway the council outside material considerations, it risks its comments being ignored for individual applications and its viewpoint not being taken seriously in the long term.

The Council has, therefore, to consider what it believes to be in the best interests of the Parish as a whole, recognising that change is part of the fabric of life and the concept of a rural idyll is unsustainable in the same way that living without telephone, internet and modern transportation systems is not practical. By the same token, it must recognise that many residents have chosen to live here because of its character as a village, not a town, and noting that the Parish does not have the economic amenities (employment, social, retail and leisure) that a genuine Market Town would be expected to have, which sometimes makes it less suitable as a location for additional development.

The Parish Council will, however, always try to acknowledge in its response to planning applications, any strong feelings represented to it by village residents, even where these are not viewed as material.

It should also be noted that more sizeable developments are generally required to make provision for the social impact upon the community, typically through the granting of s.106 monies (for example for Youth; Play Area; Sports Fields; and Public Buildings) and CIL monies (Community Investment Levy).  These funds can make sizeable projects within the community possible and should not be ignored.

Material considerations

These are stated below. It is clear that most of these contain an element of judgement for consideration and only a few can be determined scientifically or absolutely. Material considerations are:

  • Design and appearance of the structure being considered
  • Visual Impact
  • Conservation impact
  • Access to the structure and parking arrangements
  • Privacy
  • Flood risk to the structure or created by it, together with issues such as sewer capacity
  • Environmental Impact including protected species (bats etc.), and requirement for development to be environmentally neutral
  • Social Impact including primary and secondary school capacity; health facilities; public transport and similar.
The Local Plan and Five-year housing supply

Most contention with regards to planning comes from planning applications to build new houses. Somerset Council is charged by central government to provide a forward plan for housing needs in the area and to try to ensure that this supply is met. The most recent approved Local Plan was developed by South Somerset District Council and dates back to 2016, covering the period through to 2028. 

A review of the Local Plan was conducted in 2019 covering the period out to 2040, but this was never adopted because of the Local Government reform that migrated Somerset to a single unitary council. The level of approved additional residences in Milborne Port exceeds the guideline minimums in both the adopted Local Plan through 2028, and the review through to 2040.  Of itself, this does not mean that additional development cannot take place.  These are minimum guideline numbers.

Further, over the past six or seven years, South Somerset as a whole has been unable to demonstrate a 5 year housing supply, and this meant that the District Council was required to allow applications unless there were strong material considerations against individual proposals, with limited weight being given to issues in the adopted Local Plan, such as the minimum guideline numbers.

Phosphates on the Somerset Levels

An additional complication arose in 2021, when Natural England stated that the levels of phosphates in the river systems that run through the Somerset Levels were far too high and that all material new development would be required to demonstrate that they were phosphate neutral (extremely difficult) or that any negative phosphate impact had been offset.  However, the methodology for this offset has been difficult to determine, and in effect this means that most sizeable development applications across Somerset, including Milborne Port, cannot receive formal approval.  This does not mean that nothing is happening on those applications – components other than phosphate impact will still tend to be being addressed.

Online planning enforcement tool

If you are concerned that there has been a breach of planning regulations, you can submit a report via Somerset Council’s online form; you need a Somerset Council Online Account which is easy to set up and once set up, the account allows the complaint and any further complaints to be pre-populated with appropriate details and verified so that interactions with the Council can be tracked.  Any complaint remains confidential. Further information and the link to the form can be found here: Report a planning breach (

Parish Plan 2010:

A copy of the 2010 Parish Plan

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