Pre Application Engagement

Fivehead Parish Council encourages anyone considering applying to develop in the Parish to engage with us before submitting their application, as encouraged by the National Planning Policy Framework (Para 40 NPPF).

We are very proud of our beautiful, historic Parish and want to ensure its character and environment remain for generations to come. Our Housing Needs Assessment (June 2021) supports this desire to protect our character while ensuring our housing and development needs are met.

We would encourage you to read the following information about our community in order to understand what we would hope to see included in any applications.

Local Plan

Somerset Council is reviewing our Local Plan 2020-2040, which is due for completion in 2023/4. Click here for our current Local Plan.

Rural Settlement

Under the Settlement Strategy, Fivehead is classed as a Rural Settlement (SS2). Click here for the District Council guidance on SS2 to understand what this means.


Fivehead sits below a ridge in the Vale of Isles on the Somerset Levels & Moors. We are surrounded by protected landscape (SSSI, RAMSAR, RSPB Reserve) and have many protected species and plants throughout the Parish. For certain applications, you will be required to submit an up-to-date Protected Species check via Somerset Environmental records Check (SERC) – this is a report from 2020 to give an idea of our species-rich environment. You will also need to submit a Biodiversity checklist and/or Ecology Report. See the Somerset Council Planning web pages for advice.

Legislation to protect wildlife is comprehensive.  To help with compliance in this complicated area, the Parish Council has summarised this into five key areas: Bat, Hazel Dormice, Hedgerow, Japanese Knotweed and Wild Bird.

Climate emergency has been declared by most Councils in Somerset. The consumption and territorial carbon footprint per household in our Parish are above the national average. We expect all new housing to achieve the highest standards of energy conservation, ideally being carbon neutral both in construction materials/methods and function.

Phosphates pollution on the Somerset Levels

Somerset Council has temporarily suspended approvals for most applications until the impact that development would have on phosphate levels has been addressed. See the latest updates here.

Flooding & Drainage

Being on the Somerset Levels, we experience local flooding on a regular basis. The flood risk map shows we have areas within Zones 2 and 3 for flooding and properties at High Risk of surface water flooding. The majority of the built areas within the Parish sit on blue and white lias bedrock. Most drainage reports class the permeability of this bedrock as unsuitable for infiltration to deal with surface water and we experience regular issues with blockages of roadside drains.

Highways & Parking

Our narrow lanes throughout the Parish were not designed for today’s volume, speed, and type of traffic. We also have the A378 going through the Village, which carries an average of 1400 vehicles per day. We have ongoing problems with accidents, speeding, and damage to our road network.

Footpaths & Bridle Ways

The rural countryside of our Parish is crisscrossed with footpaths, bridleways, and droves. These tracks are well used by walkers and horse riders, creating a large amount of pedestrian traffic that must be protected.

Heritage Assets & Archeology

We have 3 historic manor houses, 2 ancient churches, a 16th century Inn, and many other heritage buildings. Fivehead Village is centered around an ancient crossroads, the A378 was a turnpike road, and the hamlet of Swell lies separately to the east of the Parish; 3 areas of distinctive character.

The majority of older houses are constructed of blue lias stone which was quarried in the Village, with old lime kilns remaining. There are Roman features in the landscape yet to be examined. The housing mix in Fivehead includes a small number of more modern designs giving it a varied style.

Planning Constraints

The additional planning constraints in the Parish, alongside the standard ones such as parking and drainage, etc., relate to the impact risk zones relating to protected land (SSSI & RAMSAR). We are also within the Airfield Flight Safety Zone for Merryfield Airfield, 1.5km away.

Pre-Application Advice

We strongly recommend discussing your application with Somerset Council before submission. Their Pre-Application advice is without prejudice and will clearly explain what is required.

Come and talk to us

The information we have provided does not include all requirements for submitting planning applications but explains some elements that are very important to our community. Please do come and talk to the Parish Council, we usually meet at the Village Hall every Monday evening at the start of the month. Check the meeting dates to be sure and please let our Clerk, Jayne Parsons know if you are coming about 2 weeks before, so we can add you to the agenda.

Thank you.