Shepton’s Neighbourhood Plan
Your chance to influence how the town develops

Minutes from our meetings are available at the bottom of this page.

Latest News

14th February

Summary of Consultation Phase

A summary of the consultation phase of the Plan is now available, see documents at the bottom of this page.

5th February

Town Centre workshop

A good number of businesses, mostly from the town centre, took part in this workshop, which looked at the issues raised about the town centre at our consultation events last summer. 

If the Town Council continue to support the Neighbourhood Plan, the points raised will inform the planning policies in the Plan and also a Town Strategy for the Town Council. 

The notes can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Please share the notes with other businesses and landlords in the town. If you want to comment, the best way is via our Facebook page -

19th December

Plan progressing to Options

We may have appeared to be quiet recently, but a lot of detailed work has been taking place, looking at what are the best options to deliver our objectives. This has included planning two workshops in January;

14th January - Town Centre issues - town centre businesses, shoppers and other users of the town centre will be meeting in a workshop (by invite only due to limited capacity).

21st January - Young People drop-in event - free pizza and soft drinks from 3.30pm-7.30pm for 11-18 year olds. We want to hear what you think about the town and how it should change in the future. Free prize draw if you take part. At the Salvation Army Hall on Commercial Road.

16th December

Our Plan awarded Government grant

We recently successfully applied for £5,400 towards the cost of producing the Plan from Locality, the body administering Government funding to support Neighbourhood Planning. This will be used on the next stage of our Plan - strengthening our evidence base, working up options to deliver our objectives and starting to draft the Plan policies.

24th October

We have today published the main aims of our Neighbourhood Plan.

The 11 Objectives have been developed from the community events that took place over the summer.

The main focus is on providing the community and leisure facilities that the town needs, protecting the town’s historic and natural environment and revitalising the town centre.

The list includes;

Protect open spaces that are used for informal recreation – specifically the northern end of the Showground, the Meadows and land north of the Cemetery

Make the most of the town’s historic or key buildings – try to ensure that the town’s key buildings contribute positively to the social, cultural or economic life of the town.

Develop the sports facilities the town needs

To give young people more to do, develop youth facilities and services

Make the town centre a lively, safe and attractive place to meet and shop

Improve cycling access across the town and to neighbouring towns 

To improve design quality of all developments (including in-fill), develop a Town Design Guide

You can view the full list by clicking the attachment 'Draft Objectives' at the bottom of this page.

People are clearly passionate about protecting what’s best about the town but also want to see more made of the town’s heritage and making the town centre useful and attractive to today’s consumers.

There are some issues in the Cowl Street area regarding control of poor quality infill development and a desire to see an extension of the Conservation area. We are looking at the options to determine the best way to solve these issues.

Identifying options is the next step for the Plan – we have visited the Anglo building, spoken with the owners of the Amulet/Academy and the Telephone Exchange and have explained to the Ministry of Justice’s planning consultants what people have said they want to see happen with the prison.

Our Neighbourhood Plan is different to most – there is no mention of additional housing and little mention of jobs and skills. This reflects the fact that there has been virtually no interest from the community in discussing additional housing. This is a missed opportunity but understandable, given the Shepton Mallets campaign against the Showground allocated site and the coming Local Plan inquiry. Neighbourhood Plans cannot argue against allocated sites in district-wide Local Plans (though they can add detail such as what types of housing are needed or what they should look like).

There is a gap in numbers between the Local Plan target and what the allocated site will deliver (if it goes ahead) – meaning other sites will have to be identified. This process could have done that, but seemingly there is no appetite to do this.

We are asking for people interested in a number of the objectives to attend workshops to be held in November or December.

There were many issues raised and good suggestions offered on how to revitalise the town centre – mainly from shoppers and other users and a few businesses - however we need more consensus on what should happen before we proceed to the Draft Plan.

Therefore we’d like to invite town centre shopkeepers, other town centre businesspeople and commercial property owners to a workshop, so that we can agree what is feasible - we already have a good number of shoppers and other users of the town centre who have expressed an interest earlier in the process. Some of the actions we agree may be planning-related and some won’t be – getting consensus on the way forwards is what matters.

We also need a workshop on cycling provision - we have some suggested routes but need to check these with a wider group of cyclists. 

Finally, we have struggled to engage with young people, partly because the schools have all been unwilling to take part. We need to host a workshop or similar with young people, any youth workers and interested parents to agree on what youth facilities are needed and where. 

32 people have already said earlier in the process that they’d like to attend workshops– numbers will be limited and we’d like a good mix of different ‘stakeholders’.

You can contact me by email at 

Matt Day

11th September

Since our stall at the Mid Somerset Show on 18th August, the Steering Group and I have been busy developing a list of Objectives that reflect the key issues that people told us about at our three events to date. We hope to get this out soon, and want to hear what you think of it.

We then need to have a few workshops to refine the thinking on some objectives - especially on making the town centre more vibrant (we need businesses, landlords and users in that). The workshops will be another opportunity to get involved.

At the bottom of this page, you will find the Steering Group Minutes. Draft Minutes are approved at the next meeting, hence the delay until they are published. The latest news re the membership of the Steering Group is that Peter Hillman (Shepton Mallets) stood down, and Tanya Griffiths and Robert Stonor (both Residents rep) have joined. We hope that Sarah Thomas, another resident, will join us soon.

Thanks for all your input to date and please keep communicating and taking part. Contact me by email at 

Matt Day 

16th July

We've collated all the responses from our first two events, the feedback forms and comments made by email and via our Facebook page into an Issues List. 170 residents and businesspeople have taken part so far.

You can view the results here.

We welcome your comments on the contents, and any other suggestions you have to address the issues raised.

You can email me by clicking this link.

We are hoping to arrange workshops in September on themes that require more detailed discussion.

1st July

We will be at the Mid Somerset Show on Sunday 18th August, where we will be discussing solutions to some of the bigger or more difficult issues.

We are currently collating all the Feedback Forms (thanks if you took part).

More updates coming in August.

Report on our second event on 8th June at Collett Day

It was great to speak with so many people at Collett Day - around 80. Thanks to Gretal and John and new volunteer Scott Coombs for their help.

Concerns raised were predominantly about the town centre and the lack of leisure and community facilities, as well as the Show Field site and the Redrow proposal.

I'm collating the responses and will feed back to you in due course.

Matt Day

Report from our first event on 18th May at The Club, High Street

Our first event was a great start for the Neighbourhood Plan.

Safeguarding valued green spaces and views were among the priorities identified at the event, held on Saturday 18th May at The Club, High Street.

Fifty-four residents, shoppers and business-owners attended this drop-in session, and priorities discussed included:

  • The need to improve cycle routes – both in the town and connecting to the Strawberry Line multi-user path - and town centre cycle parking.

  • Safeguarding Gold Hill Wood and the field behind the cemetery for recreation and for the views.

  • Better facilities and activities for young people.

  • Protecting Hillmead and all of Cowl Street from poor quality infill development.

  • The Prison – a key part of the town’s history that also contains important listed buildings - should have a community use when redeveloped.The town centre in places looks run-down.

  • Current bus services are poor, especially to some parts of the town, in the evenings and on Sundays.

  • The lack of cultural opportunities.

  • Shepton has great heritage but it could be marketed better to potential visitors.

It’s understandable that the biggest issue for many people is the prospect of a large housing development on the Showground site, but it was good that they came along and took part in explaining what the other issues for the town are, and gave lots of ideas of how to solve these.

It was obvious how proud people are of the town, and they listed the features of the town that make it distinctive. Several people asked how they could get more involved in making the Plan.

People are clearly frustrated at the infighting and negativity by a small minority in the town, as well as a lack of leadership and progress over the years. All I can ask is that people approach the Neighbourhood Plan with an open mind and see it as an opportunity to solve some of the issues for the town.

I would like to thank everyone who took part in Saturday’s event. I now have a large amount of information to review, but there are other opportunities to have your say before the Plan moves onto the next stage. The Neighbourhood Plan team will be at Collett Day on 8th June, and you can download a form from this page to give us your views.

There is a Facebook page where updates will also be posted, just search for ‘Shepton Mallet Neighbourhood Plan’. Anyone can contact Matt by email on

Matt Day
Coordinator, Neighbourhood Plan

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

What Neighbourhood Plans can and cannot do

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is involved in delivering the Plan?

How to get involved

DownloadConsultation Summary
DownloadTown Centre workshop - Notes
DownloadDraft Objectives
DownloadIssues List
DownloadMinutes - Dec 2013
DownloadMinutes - Nov 2013
DownloadMinutes - Oct 2013
DownloadMinutes August 2013
DownloadSteering Group Terms of Reference
DownloadMinutes July 2013
DownloadMinutes June 2013
DownloadMinutes May 2013
DownloadMinutes March 2013