Proposed Submission South Somerset Local Plan (2006 - 2028): Main Modifications - August 2014

4. Policy SS3: Delivering New Employment Land

Main Modification 11: Amendment to Policy SS3 to improve clarity on employment land delivery in Rural Centres and Rural Settlements

4.1. There are three parts to the proposed Main Modification 11 (MM11), which affect Local Plan Policy SS3 and its supporting text (Table 1). These clarify the Council’s approach to delivering new employment land across the District.

4.2. The first two elements of MM11 relate to the figure for employment land in Rural Settlements included in Policy SS3 and Table 1.

4.3. In June 2014, concerns were raised during the resumed Examination Hearing Session for Issue 5 (Delivering New Employment Land) that having a target figure for the amount of employment land in the Rural Settlements could potentially result in large-scale, speculative development in the countryside.  The Inspector requested the Council explain the reasons for the employment land figure. This work is set out in Hearing Document HD016[1].

4.4. The Inspector’s note to the Council (14 July 2014) regarding Policy SS3 states that following consideration of the Council’s response: “the situation remains unclear”. As a result, the Inspector’s Preliminary Findings letter (16 July 2014)[2] invited the Council to make a further Main Modification to Policy SS3 to ensure that the plan is sound.

4.5. The Council proposes to remove the specific figure for the number of hectares of employment land in Rural Settlements. Together with a new reference to the policy framework provided by the NPPF and other Local Plan policies SS2, EP4, and EP5, this will continue to support the economic role and function of Rural Settlements. The Main Modification still allows for appropriate, sustainable employment opportunities in Rural Settlements to come forward.

4.6. The third part of MM11 relates to a text change required to give greater clarity for applicants and decision makers. This change makes it clear that development in Rural Centres needs to be adjacent to the existing development area of the settlement.

4.7. The Inspector also requested that the Council provide a stronger commitment to an early review of the policy framework for delivering growth in Wincanton. As a result, Policy SS5 is subject to a Main Modification (see Section 5 below). To ensure consistency and allow direct read-across between sections of the Local Plan a footnote has also been added to Policy SS3. The Council does not see this as a separate Main Modification, but a consequential change as a result of more detailed changes set out under Main Modification 12.

Implication for Policy



PSSSLP Page and Policy

Main Modification


Page 40-41, Table 1, Policy SS3































Table 1 (Page 40)

Delete reference to specific employment land requirement for Rural Settlements, and amend justification in Table 1 as follows:

Location Local Plan jobs growth (B Use jobs in brackets) Employment Land Required (for B Use jobs growth (ha) Existing Employment Land Commitments (ha) Quantitative and Qualitative justification for employment land Local Plan Additional Employment Land Requirement (ha)

Rural Settlements

966 1,181 (638) (720)



The additional employment land requirement will provide for the job growth (B Uses) identified for the Rural Settlements and given that the Rural Settlements are spread over a wide geographical area, the figure allows for some choice. Most development will be very small scale

Any additional employment land required to support the jobs expected to come forward in the Rural Settlements will be small-scale and will be expected to accord with Local Plan Policies SS2, EP4 and EP5.




2. Note to Council from Inspector, Policy SS3: Delivering New Employment Land – Rural Settlements (July 2014): [back]



PSSSLP Page and Policy

Main Modification


Page 41, Policy SS3

Policy SS3 (Page 41)

Reference to a specific employment land requirement for Rural Settlements is deleted. Additional text clarifying the policy position in Rural Settlements is added. Subsequent amendments to the accompanying table showing employment land requirement figures (and totals) are also made. 

Policy SS3 is updated as follows: 

The Local Plan will assist the delivery of 11,250 jobs as a minimum, and 149.51 hectares of land for economic development between April 2006 and March 2028.

The identification of B Use jobs and non B Use jobs for settlements establishes targets for growth in line with the Council’s forecast growth for the District and its settlements over the plan period. Economic development of a main town centre type will be expected to comply with Policy EP11.

Prior to the adoption of the Site Allocations Development Plan Document, a permissive approach will be taken when considering employment land proposals in Yeovil (via the SUEs), and ‘directions of growth’ at the Market Towns. The overall scale of growth (set out below) and the wider policy will be key considerations in taking this approach, with the emphasis upon maintaining the established settlement hierarchy and ensuring sustainable levels of growth for all settlements. The same key considerations should also apply when considering traditional employment land proposals (wherever located) adjacent to the development area at the Rural Centres

The jobs target for Rural Settlements will be achieved through sustainable development, likely to be small-scale, which supports a prosperous rural economy and accords with Local Plan policies SS2, EP4 and EP5; and the NPPF.


Local Plan 2006-2028 Total Employment Land Requirement

Existing Employment Land Commitments (as at April 2011)

Additional Employment Land Provision Required (total employment land less existing commitments)

Total Jobs to be encouraged 2006-2028

B use jobs

Rural Settlements







161.85 149.51

119.35 96.54

42.5 52.97