Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

Local Market Towns - Langport/Huish Episcopi

Spatial Portrait

Langport 1

6.121 Langport/Huish Episcopi is a small town in the north of the District, located on the banks of the River Parrett by the intersection of major roads that link the town with Taunton, Bridgwater and the A303. The town has a long history that dates back to Roman times, and was established as a royal Saxon borough by the 10th century. Langport/Huish Episcopi prospered from its strategic location for river based trade from Saxon times onward, which lasted until the arrival of the railway in the 1850s.

6.122 There has been steady growth at Langport/Huish Episcopi throughout its history, which has accelerated over the last 60 years to a population of 2,699 people[1] today. Residential growth initially spread along the main roads from the early 18th century, with the residential infill of land between these roads with large housing estates occurring in the 20th century, primarily to the north of the original settlement. The main employment area is to the west of the town at Westover Trading Estate. A large part of the town, including the whole town centre is designated as a Conservation Area.

6.123 Langport/Huish Episcopi is located within a sensitive and rural landscape, largely defined by its proximity to the Somerset Levels and Moors. Much of the town is surrounded by areas of high flood risk due to its proximity to the River Parrett and its flood plain, much of which forms the Somerset Levels and Moors. The Somerset Levels and Moors are highly valued both in terms of wildlife, with parts being internationally recognised for its wildlife presence as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar, and cultural and recreation opportunities. Tourism is important for the town with many small businesses being linked to providing facilities and attractions for visitors attracted by the opportunities to walk, cycle and ride horses in the Somerset Levels and Moors and particularly along the Parrett trail.[2]

6.124 As the wider area around the town is relatively sparsely populated, Langport/Huish Episcopi functions as an important settlement that serves the surrounding rural area. Some of the key services and community facilities include primary and secondary schools, sports hall, supermarket, library and bank. Langport/Huish Episcopi has a small town centre that provides a range of service goods to cater for the day-to-day needs of the residents; convenience retailing in the town is dominated by a single supermarket, whilst the comparison sector is mainly limited to independent and specialist stores.[3] There is a regular bus service to Yeovil and Taunton, and a national cycle passes through the town.

6.125 Langport/Huish Episcopi has a relatively elderly population with 24% of residents being 65 or older (compared to 20% average in the District, and 19% nationally),[4] which could have potential implications for health care needs and the type of housing provision that is required to meet the needs of the town.

6.126 Langport/Huish Episcopi has a good balance of jobs (1,200) to workers (1,250), a ratio of around 1:1, but roughly 60% of residents travel elsewhere to work, principally to Yeovil, Taunton, and Somerton.

1. ONS mid 2010 urban area population estimate [back]
2. Langport 2020 [back]
3. South Somerset Retail Capacity Study update, 2010 [back]
4. Census 2001 [back]