THE president of a national planning group has been in Bridgwater as part of a tour of the region.

Members of the Sedgemoor District Council (SDC) Planning Team welcomed Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) President Stephen Wilkinson to Bridgwater House.

During his visit, Mr Wilkinson met the planning leadership team as well as trainees who are engaged on a bespoke career development programme in conjunction with Bridgwater and Taunton College.

The programme is part of Sedgemoor’s investment in training and development aimed at building capacity, ensuring succession and improving services for customers.

Stephen Wilkinson heard SDC was joint first nationally in terms of its handling of major applications and 15th overall.

It tops the table of the South West in terms of planning performance having shown sustained improvement since 2013.

He was told Sedgemoor had an enviable track-record in delivery having seen 3,000 more homes built and 4,000 more jobs created in the last five years.

A spokesman for SDC said: "Sedgemoor was pleased to be able to showcase our success and track record of improvement and outcomes on the ground.

"We were also able to highlight the challenges of helping to manage the Hinkley Point C development in our area."

These figures, alongside high levels of inward investment and development of employment space, made the area one of the fastest growing in the South West, outstripping Exeter last year.

Mr Wilkinson said: "I was delighted to visit Sedgemoor District to meet the trainees and the planning leadership team.

"Clearly, the district is high performing and successful in delivery.

"It is well placed to respond to the challenge of managing local growth and impacts from the Hinkley Point C project."