Unique LDO for small scale employment gains approval

LHC Design, working with Stantec, have secured approval for a Local Development Order (LDO) for Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) Council to support the development of small scale employment space across the district.

The LDO, which received full council approval in September, will make it easier for small businesses in the region to set up or expand. Owners will no longer need to obtain full planning permission, allowing them to make savings in costs and time during this uncertain climate. The LDO will also allow small businesses to expand away from established centres so they can benefit from lower running costs and bring employment back into the community.

The LDO, which is the first of its kind, was developed in response to demand from small businesses to set up or expand their existing operations but it has become increasingly significant as the Council works to promote economic recovery from Covid-19.

Amy Sanders, Associate and Project Lead for LHC Design commented:

This LDO will ensure that a high and consistent standard of design is delivered and allow small businesses to thrive in sustainable and safe working environments. It will give rise to great opportunities in the South West and is a model other local authorities could easily follow.

Mary Crew, Associate Planner, Stantec said:

This is great news for local businesses in Somerset West and Taunton. Not only does the LDO free small businesses from the traditional planning application process, it also gives them the opportunity to be responsive to the current situation.

Stantec and LHC Design have a strong relationship with Somerset West and Taunton Council and  a track record in the promotion and delivery of LDO’s which has included the LDO for Nexus at Junction 25. 

Cllr Mike Rigby, Executive Member for Planning and Transportation, said:

The LDO is a positive planning tool which will make it easier and faster to progress the appropriate development of small-scale employment space. It will help businesses to start up and expand according to the principles of sustainability – in the methods proposed for construction and landscaping of the buildings, and by encouraging employment uses close to where people live.

The need for us to support business and encourage employment opportunities has never been more important.