Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

8 Economic Prosperity

8.1 This section of the Local Plan deals with employment, town centres and tourism. The Government's overarching objective is sustainable economic growth, and the NPPF sees land-use planning as proactively driving and supporting sustainable economic development to deliver the homes, businesses and industrial units, infrastructure and thriving local places that the country needs. 'Shaping South Somerset', the District's Sustainable Community Strategy (2008) contains three long-term goals, which seek to deliver sustainable economic growth and these are reflected in the Local Plan's Strategic Objectives 5, 6 and 8.

8.2 The NPPF identifies that the economic role of the planning system in achieving sustainable growth is to ensure that there is sufficient available land of the right type in the right place, at the right time to support growth and innovation, ensuring the vitality, viability and health of town centres and enabling a strong rural economy[1].

8.3 The Council's Plan (2012-2015) makes a commitment to seeking to deliver a strong and diverse economy, through the retention of existing, and creation of new high value jobs, promoting business diversification and innovation, fostering the growth of small and medium enterprises, lowering barriers for start-up businesses and attracting inward investment in partnership.[2] Whilst there is a focus on the delivery of the Yeovil Vision, and Chard Regeneration Scheme, revitalising the economy of the other Market Towns and Rural Centres is equally as important, as is supporting the farming community and aiding diversification in this area where appropriate.

8.4 The South Somerset economy is highly reliant on manufacturing, in particular high tech engineering and aerospace. This reliance should be viewed as a strength, past performance demonstrates that South Somerset has out-performed the UK and South West in terms of jobs growth over the last two decades[3], and there are opportunities to build on the strong manufacturing base in the future. Current Government policy at a national level is to halt and even reverse the decline in the manufacturing sector, and the assumption is that the measures to achieve this will be focussed on high-technology sectors, low carbon technologies and advanced engineering, all of which are well represented in South Somerset's employment structure and make the District well placed to take advantage of this growth in the future too. In addition to manufacturing, high quality local food production, agriculture and tourism industries illustrate how the District's economy is directly and indirectly linked to its high quality natural and built environment, and this is also recognised in the Council's Plan. RNAS Yeovilton is an important employer (both on and off the base) and wealth generator locally - see Ilchester (Chapter 7).

1. NPPF March 2012 [back]
2. South Somerset District Council 'Our Plan - Your Future 2012 to 2015' [back]
3. Ekosgen, March 2010 [back]