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

Comment ID 102
Document Section Main Modifications Policy SS5: Delivering New Housing Growth Content View all on this section
Respondent Caroline Court View all by this respondent
Response Date 10 Oct 2014

The concerns expressed in our previous representations that Growth Levels in Wincanton are too low, were clearly accepted by the Inspector iven the request within The Preliminary Findings for ‘an early review of housing provision at Wincanton’.

With reference to the proposed modification at Page 53, Policy SS5, we support the ‘permissive approach’ to consideration of ‘directions of growth’ at the Market Towns. However, given that Wincanton does not have a residential based ‘Direction of Growth’ we believe that the text should be amended to confirm that the permissive approach to housing proposals extends to Wincanton.

We wholly endorse the amendment to reflect the approach to consideration of housing proposals adjacent to the development area at Wincanton. This shows an acknowledgement that development adjacent to existing settlement boundaries is likely to be the most sustainable.

Turning to the proposed amendments to Chapter 13 and at Page 54, policy SS5. The principle of the review of policy relating to housing delivery in Wincanton is supported. However, the timetable for this review (to commence within two years and as part of the Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD) process) is, in our view, flawed. 

Our understanding from attending the hearing sessions in June 2014 was that this review was expected to be undertaken within a matter of months, rather than years. There are a number of reasons why the current restriction in housing growth causes concern, all of which are set out in our previous representations to the main modifications, attached at Appendix A. In summary:

  • Wincanton is the 4th largest settlement in the District and the 3rd largest employment market making it one of the most sustainable settlements in the District.
  • It also is one of the few with high levels of self-containment.
  • Together, this makes Wincanton appropriate for increased housing provision.
  • Limiting housing numbers in Wincanton is likely to be detrimental to the future success of the town and without an immediate review; Policy SS5 will unsustainably constrain housing supply at this settlement.
  • Sound evidence has not been produced to justify limiting development in Wincanton.

All of the above, together with the comments from the Inspector, indicate that an immediate rather than delayed review must be undertaken if the approach to future housing provision in Wincanton is to be found sound.

We also have grave concerns over the proposal to undertake the housing review as part of the Site Allocations DPD process. In the event that this review concludes that more homes and therefore sites are needed, there is insufficient time to include further sites to accommodate this need within the Site Allocations Document. This will result in further uncertainty and delay to housing provision within Wincanton.