Axminster Neighbourhood Plan

Introduction to the Neighbourhood Plan

As an integral part of Axminster Town Council’s overall responsibilities, it is required to develop a robust Neighbourhood Plan.  Axminster does not currently have a Neighbourhood Plan, but we are in the process of creating one.

This plan should include consideration of all aspects of current and future land use (up until 2040) and the impacts of such across the whole Parish of Axminster.  Once adopted, it will help Axminster have more say over which planning applications are approved or declined by East Devon District Council (the planning authority). It will also help to identify what additional infrastructure the community would like to see delivered alongside any housing developments. 

Your input is crucial. We want to ensure that any plan we put forward is strategic and reflects how our community wants Axminster to grow and improve, and what it wants to protect. To do this, we need to make sure you remain part of the conversation throughout the development of this document.

The first stage was to understand the needs of all our residents as well as others who visit and work in Axminster. We have already conducted two consultation exercises to collect your views on a variety of subjects. This has informed our draft policy writing. We recently (7th Oct 2023 - 5th Nov 2023) undertook another consultation to check that we were still on the right track and collected your feedback on the draft policies that we had drawn up to date. We would like to thank everyone who participated by providing feedback online or in paper format. We are now analysing your responses, and we will share the results as soon as possible. This will likely be in the early part of 2024.


This web page will continue to contain information regarding the development of the Neighbourhood Plan and any relevant issues, results, comments and news.


Thank you for your support and keep an eye on the Plan development.


The Axminster Neighbourhood Plan Working Group 

 (This working group is comprised of elected Councillors from all three tiers of local government and community representatives who live or work in Axminster.)

Axminster Neighbourhood Plan Policies Consultation - NOW CLOSED

Dear residents of Axminster, we need your help!

Axminster does not have a Neighbourhood Plan, which means that, as a community, we have less control over which planning applications are approved or refused. We need to change that so that the people of Axminster are in a better position to determine our future.

Last year, we asked for your views to help us begin writing a Neighbourhood Plan for Axminster. Your valuable feedback has informed our approach to drafting the emerging plan's policies. However, we are committed to getting this right, so we need to ensure that we are still on the right track, and we would like to hear from you again!


But what is a Neighbourhood Plan, and why does it matter?

There are three pieces of legislation that a planning applicant must comply with (large developer or an individual homeowner):

  • The National Planning Policy Framework (set by the central government),
  • The district-wide Local Plan (East Devon District Council) and
  • The Neighbourhood Plan (developed by the community).

Each document serves its own purpose and must accord with those set by the authority above. Each cannot contradict those policies above it or stray into the remit of areas covered by other statutory bodies. However, each provides a new layer of influence over how house building and place-shaping are delivered and what associated infrastructure the community thinks should accompany it. The plan that is most specific to a town or parish area is the Neighbourhood Plan.

If a planning application is submitted to EDDC (the planning authority for our area) and it accords with all three of these planning documents, it will be considered favourably. However, failure to comply with these policies by the applicant could lead to a refusal of the planning application.

Having a strategic and well-written Neighbourhood Plan is crucial for Axminster's long-term future because it gives our community more say over which applications are successful, what we as a community need and how our town should grow in a sustainable way that works best for all of its existing and future residents and businesses.


How can you help?

You can help us by participating in our policies consultation, which is live until midnight on the 5th of November, 2023. CONSULTATION NOW CLOSED

We cannot consult on some parts of what might become the final plan right now. East Devon District Council and Axminster Town Council are currently waiting for Central Government to finalise any changes they want to make to the national planning legislation first. However, we can still do a lot of work in the meantime.

Your feedback is crucial. We ask that you take a few minutes to review the draft policies in our survey and let us know if you are happy with each.

As you consider each policy, we recommend that you refer to the following two documents, which will give you the context and background behind each of the draft policies:


Please provide feedback via our online consultation. Alternatively, you can pick up a hard copy of the survey, 'Our Vision, Aims & Objectives and Policies' and 'Analysis' documents from the Axminster Town Council office at the Axminster Guildhall, located on West Street. Office opening hours are: 9am - 4pm, Monday - Thursday.

Please accept our sincere thanks to those who do decide to participate. We could not do it without you!

This consultation will run between the 7th of October and midnight on the 5th of November 2023.

Please note. All responses must have been submitted and received by Axminster Town Council by the closing date to be considered by the working group as part of their ongoing work.

Neighbourhood Plan Working Group Composition and 2023 Consultation


At the FULL meeting of the Town Council held on the 19th June, the membership of the Axminster Neighbourhood Plan Working Group
(ANPWG) was approved as below (following recent changes to the Town Council and District Council membership as a result of the local elections
in May 2023):

Representing the Town Council:

Cllr. Bernie Steadman (elected as Chair of the Working Group)
Cllrs. Jill Farrow, Andy Bourne and Jeremy Walden

Representing East Devon District Council:

Cllrs. Paul Hayward, Sarah Jackson and Simon Smith

Representing Devon County Council:

Cllr. Ian Hall

Representing public participants:

Steve Holt, Alan Kennard, David Knapman

Third Draft Consultation exercise:

At the most recent meeting of the Town Council (the authority that oversees the ANPWG) it was agreed to proceed with a public consultation of the draft policies contained within the latest draft of the Axminster Neighbourhood Plan. A meeting of the ANPWG is due to be convened shortly (after 26/6/2023) at which time, the format and method of the latest consultation will be agreed.

Please continue to visit this page for updates and other news.

Newsflash: Neighbourhood Plan Update Meeting

Axminster's Neighbourhood Plan - an update meeting. 

6pm until 9pm - Tuesday 10th January 2023 at the Axminster Guildhall

In September 2021 the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group consulted with you to help inform the development of a draft Neighbourhood Plan for Axminster (not to be confused with the East Devon Local Plan - which is currently under consultation).

The results from this consultation can be found further down this page. Since then, work has continued on a first draft of the emerging Axminster Neighbourhood Plan.

As the Working Group are very keen to ensure this important strategic development plan works for all of those who live, work or visit Axminster, there will be further consultation events soon. This will allow you to help and guide the Working Group further refine this important document.

In the meantime, you are invited to join the members of the Working Group at their Neighbourhood Plan update event where you can learn about:

* What is a Neighbourhood Plan

* How the Neighbourhood Plan differs from the East Devon Local Plan (currently under consultation)

* The progress of the Neighbourhood Plan project

* What happens next.

* How you can contribute your thoughts and views.

We look forward to seeing you there.

EDDC Local Plan Public Consultation 2022

Dear residents of Axminster,

You may have seen a recent communication regarding EDDC's consultation event on their emerging Local Plan, to be held in the Guildhall on Thursday December 1st, from 3pm to 7pm.

The Local Plan is a document that sets out how EDDC considers that development including housing, business construction and infrastructure (roads, facilities, etc) can best benefit the area.

The consultation will be in the format of an informal drop-in, allowing you to see and discuss EDDC’s plans for the future to 2040, particularly as regards new residential developments.

In 2021, Axminster Town Council formed a working group, along with local residents, to develop a Neighbourhood Plan. Some of you will have responded to the initial consultation on this last year.

The hierarchy is that Local Plan sits above the Neighbourhood Plan.

Although the two plans are required to be fully aligned, for Axminster’s residents to have a direct say on future developments, we need a Neighbourhood Plan. Directly from the Government's website, we see that:

A Neighbourhood plan is a way for communities to have a say in the future of the places where they live and work. It gives you the power to produce a plan with real legal weight that directs development in your local area. It helps you:

• choose where you want new homes, shops and offices to be built
• have your say on what those new buildings should look like
• grant planning permission for the new buildings you want to see go ahead.

Although we will not be an integral part of the EDDC consultation, the Axminster Neighbourhood Plan Working Group will also be present in the Guildhall on December 1st to answer any specific questions you may have for us.

Our own Phase Two consultation will follow later in January so that you can respond specifically to us with more knowledge of the broader picture that EDDC will be presenting at their consultation event.

We hope to see as many residents as possible on December 1st.

Thinking of our future.
Axminster Neighbourhood Plan Working Group

Update: Following ratification by the FULL Town Council, the following Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group response was submitted to East Devon District Council (January 2023). Download HERE

Buggy & Mobility Survey (July 2022)

If you use a pushchair, buggy or pram, or you use a mobility scooter, wheelchair or any other mobility aid in and around Axminster, we would really like your feedback. Please complete this very short survey by the 1st of September 2022.

Newsflash: This consultation has now finished and comments/submissions will be collated and considered by the NHP panel.

Neighbourhood Plan Public Consultation Response 2021

Copy of the 2021 consultation response/answer report following the questionnaire activity in August / September 2021 > HERE

This was the first consultation exercise and the results of this will be used to help form the draft of the Neighbourhood Plan document - further consultations will follow as the plan progresses in conjunction with EDDC.