Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

Development within Town Centres

9.87 In order to achieve the government and local communities’ aspirations within town centres, retail proposals will be encouraged subject to, their being of an appropriate scale for the role of the centre concerned, and their impact on other centres in meeting their communities' needs. Parking provision required in association with retail development should take into account the town centre context and its role for the wider community and be sufficient for the development itself and support additional provision so that the town centre’s accessibility and viability is enhanced.

Policy EP12 Retail Vitality and Viability

In order to sustain and enhance the vitality and viability of town centres, new shopping proposals will be permitted within Yeovil town centre shopping area and the town centres of Market Towns and Rural Centres provided that:

  • The proposals are of a scale appropriate to the size and function of the town centres and would help to sustain and enhance the vitality and viability of the centre;
  • The proposals, either alone or combined with other recent and outstanding planning permissions, would not seriously affect the viability of the town centre of another nearby settlement; and
  • Parking will serve the centre as a whole.

9.88 In Yeovil and some of the identified Market Towns for South Somerset, and for Langport, primary shopping frontages have been identified encompassing streets dominated by shops, having the greatest pedestrian footfall and forming the heart of the town centre. It is considered important to retain the compactness of these areas in order to maintain the centre’s attractiveness and convenience to shoppers. There is evidence that non retail uses fragment, and thus make less attractive and convenient, the core shopping streets. It is necessary therefore to protect these frontages. Protected frontages are shown on the Proposals Map (insert relevant Inset Map reference). An early review of these frontages is proposed to reflect the importance of maintaining a core retail area both functionally and spatially as is the identification of those in Rural Centres where appropriate.

9.89 PPS4 seeks to encourage the use of upper floor floorspace in town centres for residential or office use to minimise vacant and underused space and to encourage a night time economy within town centres.

Policy EP13 Protection of Retail Frontages

Development proposals resulting in the change of use from retail (class A1 of the use classes order) to non retail on ground floors within the defined primary shopping frontages will be permitted, except where the number or coalescence of such uses would undermine the dominant retail function.

In order to guide decisions relating to actual numbers and/or coalescence and the impact resulting the following criteria will be taken into account:

  • The location and prominence of the premises within the shopping frontage;
  • The floorspace and length of frontage of the premises;
  • The number, distribution and proximity to other non A1 use class premises (or with consent for such use) within the frontage in question and throughout the town centre;
  • The character and nature of the use proposed, including the level of pedestrian activity associated with it;
  • The level of vacancies; and
  • Whether the proposed use would give rise to noise, smell or other environmental problem.