Staff at Sedgemoor District Council were celebrating this week after scooping a top national planning award at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) annual awards ceremony in London.

The District Council, plus West Somerset Council and Somerset County Council, were short-listed from more than 120 entries to win the RTPI’s ‘Planning Process’ award in recognition of their joint work on the proposed development at Hinkley Point C.

The councils were presented with the award for their work on drawing up a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA), which enables the councils to engage effectively with local communities whilst providing constructive and challenging feedback to developer EDF Energy.

It ensures there is transparency in the process and enables the councils to work with local communities to help them understand the very complex processes of this major development project, and to ensure they are fully consulted.

The PPA also means that EDF pays for the councils to carry out this work – rather than the bill having to be picked up by the taxpayer.

Councillor Anne Fraser, Portfolio Holder at Sedgemoor for Strategy and Business Services, said: “This is wonderful news and we are very pleased that the RTPI has acknowledged the hard work and innovation put into this planning process by the three Somerset councils involved.”

“This is a timely award in that we hope the PPA we have used will now allow other local authorities to adapt this national first to support any NNB work they are engaged in.”

Pictured are, from left to right, back row: Cllr Chris Morgan, Alyn Jones, Doug Bamsey, Cllr David Hall, Andrew Goodchild. Front row: Paula Hewitt, Claire Pearce, Cllr Anne Fraser

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