Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

Housing density

8.8 Over recent years planning policy at a national and regional level has sought to increase housing densities in order to make the best use of land and therefore minimise the amount of greenfield land lost to housing development. Recent publication of the amended Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing has now removed the national density guidance figure.  However, it remains appropriate to set a minimum density level to ensure efficient use is made of land.

8.9 The now revoked RSS suggested that a density of 40 dph should be achieved across the whole of the South Somerset Housing Market Area (HMA) and higher densities of 40-50 dph achieved in Yeovil and potentially higher in the planned urban extension(s). High density, high quality, sustainable places to live can be achieved in town centres and urban extension(s) through careful planning including the incorporation of public and private amenity space and access to public transport. The options of having one broad density across the whole District, or a range of densities depending on the function of the settlement have been considered. However, in a rural District such as South Somerset, which includes settlements ranging from Yeovil, a Strategically Significant Town within the region to a number of market towns, rural centres, villages and small rural settlements, a range of densities based on the settlement hierarchy is the preferred option. This should ensure that the general design of development is in sympathy with its locality, thus contributing towards overall design and sustainability objectives. It is recognised that there may be instances where particular environmental or historic issues may justify a lower density. It is suggested that densities should generally be set at between 30 (the former national indicative minimum[1] ) and 50 dwellings per hectare (dph)[2]

8.10 It will be necessary to do some further assessment work on this to ensure sites are viable and deliverable at such densities, and that they deliver well-designed and attractive places that people want to live in. This work will inform the Core Strategy Publication plan for submission for examination.

Policy HG2 Housing Density

To ensure the most efficient use of land, the Council shall seek (net) housing density of 30 dwellings per hectare (dph) on all new housing developments or on the residential element of a mixed use development. Housing densities of between 30-50 dph of the net developable area will be sought at (net) densities as set out below:

Density (dwellings per hectare)
Yeovil urban extension
50 or more
Market Towns
Rural Centres
Rural Settlements

Different densities may be justified where there are particular site circumstances which require consideration.

1. Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (2010) [back]
2. The Draft Revised Regional Spatial Strategy For The South West Incorporating The Secretary Of State's Proposed Changes - For Public Consultation July 2008 [back]