Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

What will the Core Strategy Deliver?

6.90 The identification of Ilminster as a Market Town by virtue of its strong employment, retail and community role will enable the settlement to grow, increase levels of self-containment and continue to provide and enhance services to meet the needs of the existing and future population. This should be supported by the delivery of approximately 531 dwellings over the plan period; 191 already committed and an additional 340 dwellings to be accommodated. As an indication of the scale of growth, 340 dwellings at 40 dwellings per hectare (dph) would require 8.5 hectares of land.

6.91 Approximately 19.5 hectares of employment land is also required to be developed to 2026 (already identified through Saved Local Plan allocations ME/ILMI/3, ME/ILMI/4 & ME/ILMI/5). 16.7 hectares of land incorporating saved Local Plan allocation ME/ILMI/4 (which totals 12.9 hectares) has recently been granted planning permission for mixed use employment development, consisting of B1, B2 and B8 uses. The delivery of this housing and employment will contribute to increasing self-containment and delivering community facilities and infrastructure, and should be located to the south west of the settlement because this is the most sustainable location being closest to existing services and facilities, where growth would most likely result in reduced local car use. This direction is closest to employment land allocations and the town centre. The direction of growth is indicated on the Proposals Map (relevant inset), which shows the alternatives considered. The accompanying Sustainability Appraisal document presents the detail as to why the preferred direction is suggested.

6.92 The South Somerset Employment Land Review Stage 3 (ELR), 2010, identifies a requirement of 3 hectares of additional employment land to support self-contained population growth and create a more sustainable settlement. There is an existing gross supply of 23.59 hectares therefore there is currently a sufficient supply in Ilminster to cater for both the long-term and short-term need. 19.5 hectares of this supply comes from Saved Local Plan allocations ME/ILMI/3, ME/ILMI/4 & ME/ILMI/5 which provide employment land not only for Ilminster, but land which is strategically significant for the District. These allocations will continue to be saved through policy EP1: Strategic Employment Sites.

To be delivered through the Core Strategy 2006-2026 - 19.4 hectares
Gross Need - 6ha
Supply         - 23.59ha
Net Need     - 0ha

6.93 Located on the junction of the A303/A358, the existing saved Local Plan allocations provide a strategically important opportunity to secure major investment into the District. Whilst there is sufficient land to satisfy the identified strategic need in Ilminster, there is also sufficient land to cater for the ‘local’ market in the short-term.

6.94 The South Somerset Retail Study Update (2010) indicates that overall Ilminster is a healthy and attractive centre. The land use composition of the centre has stayed stable over the past few years and vacancy levels have been falling. The study identifies that there will be capacity for additional comparison goods floorspace by 2026 but there will be no capacity for additional convenience goods floorspace over the LDF period. Based on a continuation of the current market share, Ilminster will have capacity for an additional 700sq m of additional comparison goods floorspace by 2026, although there will be no capacity for additional convenience goods floorspace over the LDF period. The majority of convenience shopping trips from the local population are retained within Ilminster although there may be opportunities for small-scale improvements, which should benefit the health of the town centre. The same conclusion can be drawn in relation to the comparison floorspace on offer within the town. Further trips can also be retained within the town if appropriate new town centre development can be identified. The Housego building within the town centre offers the opportunity to provide a mixed use scheme which could include some retail uses at ground floor level.