Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)


7.11 Ilchester (see Inset Map 5) lies at the eastern fringe of the Somerset Levels and Moors where the Roman road, the Fosse Way, crosses the River Yeo, a tributary of the River Parrett. By virtue of its natural setting and history, both ancient and more recent, the town is significantly constrained in terms of its capacity to expand and this has resulted in a settlement form of two distinct nodes of growth, one to the south of the river and the other some way to its north, linked by linear development along the Fosse Way.

7.12 The town is located within a significant flood risk area, as identified by the Environment Agency. The southern node, which includes the historic and commercial core of the town, is virtually completely surrounded by land within Flood Zone 3B, the functional floodplain of the River Yeo, with certain parts of the built up area itself, including the linear development along Fosse Way being within Flood Zone 3A, an area of high probability of flooding.

7.13 During Roman times Ilchester grew to be an important town and this legacy is apparent by the concentration of scheduled Ancient Monuments and archaeological sites that surround the southern node. Much of this historic core has also been designated as a Conservation Area.

7.14 The northern growth node has developed over the past 50 years or so on gently rising ground not subject to flooding or known archaeological constraints. This area includes the infant and junior schools (split site), a factory, a shop and residential development, including housing for service personnel and their families stationed at nearby RNAS Yeovilton.

7.15 Since its commissioning in 1940 the Royal Naval Air Station has grown to become one of the busiest military airfields in the UK, with both helicopters and jet aircraft operating out of the Station. The noise generated from these aircraft can have a significant impact on the environment and the quality of life for communities within the surrounding area with military jet aircraft capable of generating very high noise levels, particularly during take off. Helicopter noise, having different characteristics from that of fixed wing aircraft, also needs to be taken into account.

7.16 In order to avoid adding to the number of people subject to noise disturbance, development in the vicinity of RNAS Yeovilton, including at Ilchester, is controlled in accordance with PPG24: ‘Planning and Noise’ which restricts the nature of development that might be permissible within defined noise exposure zones. The extent of the noise exposure zones have been subject to review as noise emissions may vary over time as a result of operational changes at the Air Station and the last survey was held in 1998. A recent review has been undertaken by Consultants Bureau Veritas on behalf of the District Council and with the knowledge and assistance of the M.O.D. and has informed proposals for the town.

7.17 The population of the village at ONS Mid Year Estimates (2007) was around 2036, however the presence of RNAS Yeovilton, together with outlying villages including Mudford and Limington, nearly doubles the population figure for Ivelchester Ward to some 4050.

7.18 Ilchester is identified as having a strong employment function together with a good range of retail and community facilities. At 2006 Ilchester/RNAS Yeovilton, provided 2700 jobs, accounting for 4.3% of all employment across the District; this figure closely comparing to those for Wincanton (4.6%) and Crewkerne (3.9%). At 2001, 81% of the population were economically active, which was significantly greater than the District average of 69%. The ward of Ivelchester has the third highest level of employment self-containment in the District with 58.6% of the population living and working in the Ward at 2001. It has both regular and demand responsive bus services to Yeovil, Taunton and Street.

7.19 Ilchester Parish Council has identified that the volume of traffic travelling through the settlement is an issue, together with parking and have indicated concern in relation to the continuing viability of shops and commercial businesses in the town centre.