"Village Design Statements" are a form of local planning guidance that the Countryside Agency (formerly Countryside Commission) has been actively encouraging for a number of years.
Purpose of Village Design Statements
The intended product is an illustrated local design statement which identifies features which are important in creating sense of place, character and "local distinctiveness" and can be used as "Supplementary Planning Guidance" (i.e. supplementary to the design policies in the adopted Local Plan).
Recognising that local authorities have limited resources the Countryside Agency has encouraged local communities (parish councils or other appropriate community groups) to become directly involved in such projects. Please click on the link above to view the Community Council for Somerset's web pages relating to village design statements.
Village Design Statements are prepared by local communities. They offer a framework for engaging local people in constructive debate about ensuring that new development in their area fits its surroundings and is in keeping with local character. They can help developers to understand local views and perceptions at the outset of the design and development process, and thus enable them to promote new buildings that are likely to gain local support rather than generate uninformed opposition. Village Design Statements provide a tool to help manage long-term change, not prevent it.
A District Council Planning Officer has been available to make presentations to interested local groups and provide other assistance at the initial stages, but our most significant inputs have tended to come when suggesting revisions of draft documents.
To date there have been eleven Village Design Statements adopted in this District, these are:
NB. The Cossington VDS was adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) by SDC on 24th October 2012 and all the other VDS above were adopted as SPDs on 27th March 2013.
Scanned versions of the documents are available above for download. Should you wish to obtain a printed copy the above village design statements these can be obtained from the relevant Parish Council direct. Please refer to the Town and Parish Councils link below for contact details. Please note there may be a charge.
Further Guidance and Information
The former Countryside Commission (now Countryside Agency) published two advisory booklets on preparing Village Design Statements. These booklets are available for download from the bottom of this page.
In 2003 the Council published a revised edition of the Sedgemoor Landscape Assessment and Countryside Design Summary. This 129 page illustrated document sets out a local context for Village Design Statements. Please see the link below for more information.