Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

10 Transport and Accessibility

10.1 South Somerset is a predominantly rural district with subsequent diverse travel patterns meaning the car will remain an essential mode of travel. However, considerable benefits can be delivered by enabling travel by other means than the car. These include improved health through increased walking and cycling, reductions in carbon emissions, enabling social inclusion and reducing the impact of congestion. The latter is particularly relevant for Yeovil and Chard in light of highway capacity issues arising from the projected growth.

10.2 Other measures such as home working (with the significant increases in broadband speed predicted by 2015)[1], encouraging the use of low emission, alternative fuel, electric vehicles, demand responsive public transport (using alternative fuel/hybrid/electric vehicles) and car share schemes should therefore be considered on a scale and degree appropriate to the site proposed for development.

10.3 Whilst new technologies will, in time, play an important part in reducing CO2, they are unlikely to be sufficient in isolation and will not address health (particularly in tackling obesity) and congestion issues. Additional dwellings in and around Yeovil will have an adverse effect on the highway network. Consequently substantial investment in measures to promote sustainable travel will be needed.

10.4 There is potential to achieve this in Yeovil particularly in the Urban Extension Development. District wide achieving modal shift (see paragraph 10.8 for a definition) will be more challenging, although new technologies, improved design, and greater awareness of choice through more robust travel planning will reduce the need to travel and achieve an increase in more sustainable modes where travel is necessary. A reasonable aim for the modal shift policy in Chard and Yeovil would therefore be to reduce the number of cars being used for short journeys to local shops and facilities, the town centre and travelling to work and maintain car use at current levels in our Market Towns, Rural Centres and Rural Settlements. For the Yeovil Sustainable Urban Extension the aim is to ensure that at least 50% of travel is by sustainable means.

10.5 There has been a significant growth in rail travel in recent years. Infrequent and unsuitable timings for commuting on the Bristol to Weymouth and London (Paddington) to Penzance Line and the actual location of the stations on these and the London (Waterloo) to Exeter line means that achieving modal shift to rail for short journeys will be challenging to achieve. However, there are opportunities to improve sustainable links to rail stations and in particular the Yeovil stations, especially if more appropriate arrival and departure times are provided at Yeovil Pen Mill[2].

10.6 Modern rail freight can be effective at reducing HGV traffic on the strategic road network and there should be a general presumption for the promotion of the rail network for future freight use. However facilities for rail transfer are needed at or near the point of origin of the goods and at the destination. Subsequently the locations of stations in South Somerset are not always conducive to modern freight operation as the likely consequence would be additional lorry journeys on rural roads. Rail freight is therefore much better targeted where suitable rail freight hubs can easily be constructed to minimise the need for road transport or enable easy road/rail interchange. The District Council will encourage and promote the development of both passenger rail facilities and rail freight hubs if a suitable business case is presented.

10.7 The needs of people with disabilities should be considered for all modes of transport.

1. 'Connecting Somerset and Devon Programme'- SCC May 2011 [back]
2. The Heart of Wessex Line - Case for Service Improvement - Image Rail November 2011 [back]