Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

Previously Developed Land

8.11 Previously developed land (PDL), often called brownfield land, is land that was developed but is now vacant or derelict, or currently in use with known potential for redevelopment [1].

8.12 National guidance [2] promotes the effective use of land by re-using land that has been previously developed and establishes a national target of at least 60% of new housing being provided on PDL. However, PPS3 does not presume that all PDL will necessarily be suitable for housing, in particular, due to sustainability issues. The now revoked Regional Spatial Strategy[3] (RSS) sought to achieve at least 50% of new housing development on PDL, lower than the national target, in recognition of the rural nature of the region. This target has been exceeded in the South West in recent years in spite of the lack of well located, PDL in the region.

8.13 The South Somerset Local Plan[4] (SSLP) set an indicative target of 45% of housing to be built on PDL. This was an objective not a policy, and is no longer extant but it clearly has some relevance as the most recent stated target for the District.

Figure 15: Percentage of New Homes Built on Previously Developed Land in South Somerset
Percentage of New Homes Built on Previously Developed Land

8.14 The graph above (Figure 15) illustrates that this target of 45% for the Local Plan period, to 2011, has been well exceeded over the past few years, partly due to the application of the PDL policies advocated by PPG3/PPS3, and partly due to delays in the delivery of Local Plan housing allocations that are mainly greenfield sites. However, this percentage of brownfield build is anticipated to decrease substantially in South Somerset due to a reduction in housing commitments on brownfield land (22% in 2008/9 as opposed to 48% in 2007/8) and as the Local Plan allocations on greenfield land come forward. The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) 2009 also provides evidence of a reduction in PDL sites with potential for housing development. Of the sites identified as being suitable for housing only 14% are considered to be existing brownfield land and this reduces to 10% when availability and deliverability are taken into account. It is therefore considered unlikely that the current national target over the period to 2026 can be achieved within South Somerset.

8.15 The District has achieved an average of 79% of housing on PDL between 2006-2009 and would need to achieve about 45% each year for the 17 years remaining for the Core Strategy to provide a 20-year average of 50% (the target in the now revoked Regional Spatial Strategy).

8.16 The table below (Figure 16) collates monitoring information to give existing housing supply/ commitments/allocations as at April 2009 and shows that approximately 33% of these are on PDL. This illustrates the significant effect of the greenfield Local Plan allocations as the percentage on PDL is halved when they are taken into account.

Figure 16: Existing housing completions and commitments 2006-2009 (April 2009)
Net Completions 2006-2009
Under Construction at 31/03/2009
Commitments with Permission at 31/03/2009
Allocations awaiting S106 Agreements
Allocated without permission
Housing Supply as at April 2009

8.17 Following the revocation of the RSS and the decision to revert to the figure of 16,600 for the housing requirement for the District between 2006 and 2026 the residual housing required is detailed below. It is known that the 3719 dwelling urban extension will be 100% greenfield. However it is proposed to seek a minimum of 50% of the additional 934 dwellings required in Yeovil and 2282 dwellings required in other settlements, but not already committed by April 2009, to be on PDL in accordance with the former RSS target.

Figure 17: Residual housing requirement 2009 (April) - 2026
Greenfield urban extension for Yeovil
Requirement within Yeovil


Allocations to be made in Market Towns and Rural Centres
Additional Supply required as at April 2009

8.18 The above table (Figure 17) therefore shows total additional dwelling supply based on the 50% PDL target. These figures would result in a total of 4785 new dwellings on PDL over the whole period of the RSS, 29% of the total dwellings to be provided. However, if the greenfield urban extension for Yeovil is omitted from the figures this percentage rises to 37%.

8.19 From the above results it is considered that a target of 30% over the period of the Core Strategy for the use of PDL should be set.

8.20 Although a target of 30% of new dwellings on PDL is lower than both the national and revoked regional targets it is considered to be challenging for the remaining years of the Core Strategy period but can be justified for a number of reasons:

  • The predominantly rural nature of the District; (60% rural)[5]
  • The over-achievement of PDL development over the past few years, due to delays in allocated sites being developed;
  • The 3719 dwelling greenfield urban extension for Yeovil will account for 22% of the District’s 16,600 growth up to 2026.
Policy HG3 The use of Previously Developed Land (PDL) for new housing development

South Somerset District Council will seek to provide a minimum of 30% of new dwellings on previously developed land over the period of the Core Strategy. This will be monitored through the Annual Monitoring Report and reviewed as necessary.

1. Previously-developed land that may be available for development: England 2007 – CLG August 2008 [back]
2. Planning Policy Statement 3 – CLG November 2006 [back]
3. Draft Revised Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West incorporating the Secretary of States Proposed Changes – July 2008 [back]
4. South Somerset Local Plan adopted April 2006 [back]
5. Taunton and South Somerset Housing Market Areas Strategic Housing Market Assessments (SHMA) 2008 [back]