Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

Jobs and Employment Land Provision

4.55 Despite the recession and recent job losses, the District is in a strong position to recover and return to peak 2008 employment levels by 2015[1]. Local growth projections undertaken by Baker Associates as part of their report on 'Housing Requirement for South Somerset and Yeovil' illustrate the robust nature of the District's employment structure, which is based on a resilient high technology manufacturing sector and prolonged growth in business services. They also demonstrate that indigenous companies are confident that they can grow over the longer-term.

4.56 The 'Housing Requirement for South Somerset and Yeovil' report presents two scenarios for future growth. The first scenario is for private sector led economic recovery and presents a more robust view of future growth, whilst the second scenario assumes a slower recovery in private sector investment and job creation. The first scenario is promoted by the Council because it is more optimistic, more reflecting South Somerset's approach to economic development and more appropriate to enable the potential the economy has for growth. The implication of this is that a total net employment growth provision of 9,200 jobs should be provided for South Somerset and provide the context for determining job growth for individual settlements.

4.57 Yeovil is the prime employment location in the District and its positive and strong economy has consistently supported almost half of the District's jobs (over the period 2003-2010, it has averaged 49% of the District's jobs). Based on these historic trends and the Council's aspirations for growth in Yeovil, it is anticipated that 49% of new jobs that will be generated over the plan period (approximately 4,500) will be based in Yeovil.

4.58 The Market Towns (both Primary Market Towns and Local Market Towns) and Rural Centres will also perform a strong employment function, which is based on an individual settlement's past performance (based on an analysis of jobs growth and its distribution from the Annual Business Inquiry (ABI) and Business Register Employment Survey (BRES) data between 2003-2010) and is commensurate with its role in the settlement hierarchy. Job creation in Rural Settlements is supported, and the growth and expansion of businesses and enterprises in rural areas should be focused on the most sustainable, accessible locations, re-using existing buildings where possible. Approximately 31% of new jobs (2,900 jobs) will be spread across the Market Towns, 9% (850 jobs) across the Rural Centres and 11% (950 jobs) across the Rural Settlements.

4.59 Of the 9,200 new jobs anticipated in the District by 2028, Baker Associates identified in their analysis of growth sectors that approximately two-thirds (6,100) will be in 'traditional' sectors, i.e. those that fall within planning 'B' Use Classes (B1-offices/ light industry, B2-manufacturing and B8-warehousing and distribution), which is reflective of the District's strong and resilient manufacturing base.

4.60 To support the growth of these new 'traditional' jobs, there is a requirement for 162 hectares of employment land (Use Classes B1, B2 and B8). This requirement stems from a combination of quantitative and qualitative need and Table 1: Employment Land Justifications illustrates the case for each settlement.

4.61 As there is an existing supply of employment land in many of the settlements either from Saved Local Plan allocations, outstanding commitments (sites that either have planning permission or are currently under construction) or vacant land (land that has obtained planning permission for an employment use but the planning permission has lapsed/expired, yet the land is still suitable and available for an employment use), the amount of land to be identified through the Local Plan in reality it is much smaller in net terms - 42.5 hectares of new employment land.

4.62 Clearly land will be required for the ‘non’ traditional jobs that will come about over the plan period (approximately 3,100 of the 9,200 jobs), but the diverse nature of non B Use Class activities makes it difficult to generate a figure for the amount of land required to accommodate them. The Local Plan recognises that there is a need for land for activities such as main town centre uses, health, social services, education and other commercial uses, but no land is formally identified for these sectors of the economy, because the focus for such uses should be in and around the District's Town Centres, and it is felt that through the application of the sequential approach to development and other policies contained in the Local Plan and at a national level, the Development Management process can adequately deliver the required land.

4.63 The Local Plan does not make employment land allocations because the scale of additional land in each settlement is not of a significant level to be strategic in terms of the District wide Local Plan. The approach taken allows flexibility amongst both developers and the local community to bring forward sites.

4.64 The figures cited in Policy SS3 are not prescriptive or inflexible, but in general terms, provision of these levels of employment land will ensure that the economic potential of the District's economy and of the individual settlements within it can be enabled and potentially achieved. The gross land requirements are identified in the policy, as is an overall District equivalent floorspace figure (in net terms). This figure, which is derived from converting land into floorspace using English Partnerships Density Ratios, is given as a guide to what the land means in floorspace terms. It is only a guide as it is based on averages and past growth.

4.65 The preferred approach does not restrict the type (Use Class) of employment land in any of the settlements identified. There may be sound Development Management or highways reasons that will limit the use of land on certain sites and this will be established at pre-application stage.

4.66 The following saved South Somerset Local Plan 1991-2011 employment allocations are contained within Policy SS3 and therefore form part of this plan's employment provision:

  • Proposal KS/BRYM/1: Land at Lufton
  • Proposal ME/WECO/1: Land off Bunford Lane
  • Proposal ME/WINC/3: Land between Lawrence Hill and A303
  • Proposal ME/CACA/3(I): Torbay Road
  • Proposal ME/MART/2: West of Ringwell Hill
  • Proposal ME/LOPE/1: Lopen Head Nursery
  • Proposal ME/YEOV/4: Land south of Yeovil Airfield, Yeovil
  • Proposal ME/CHAR/6: Land North of Millfield
  • Proposal ME/CREW/4: Land North of Fire Station, Blacknell Lane

4.67 These are also set out in Appendix 2 which also shows the South Somerset Local Plan 1991-2011 employment allocations that are no longer to be saved.

4.68 The floorspace figure cited in Policy SS3 gives an indication of what the employment land would equate to in floorspace terms. This figure has been derived by using average floorspace densities and plot ratios. The detailed calculations are contained in the evidence base.

1. Oxford Economics, March 2011 [back]
Table 1: Employment Land Justifications
Table 1: Employment Land Justifications
Table 1: Employment Land Justifications
Policy SS3: Delivering New Employment Land
The Local Plan will assist the delivery of 9,200 jobs as a minimum, and approximately 600,850 sq metres net/162 hectares gross of traditional employment land (Use Class B1, B2 and B8) to be directed to the following settlements for the period April 2006 to March 2028.
Local Plan 2006-2028 Total Employment Land Requirement
Existing Employment Land Commitments
Additional Employment Land Provision Required (total employment land less existing commitments)
(As at April 2011)
Total Jobs to be encouraged 2006-2028 (numbers in brackets indicates jobs in traditional ‘B’ Uses as defined by the Use Classes Order)
Strategic Town
Yeovil Town*
2,943 (1,942)
Yeovil Urban Extension
1,565 (1,033)
Market Towns
886 (585)
472 (312)
343 (226)
490 (323)
251 (166)
Ansford/Castle Cary
223 (147)
Langport/Huish Episcopi
233 (154)
Rural Centres
828 (546)
Martock/Bower Hinton
Milborne Port
South Petherton
Stoke sub Hamdon
Rural Settlements
966 (638)
9,200 (6,072)[2]
* Yeovil, Crewkerne and Ilminster have strategic employment sites which are saved from the previous South Somerset Local Plan and Chard's strategic allocation based around Chard Regeneration Plan also includes employment provision. These sites combined equate to a total of 46.35 hectares, and this figure has been included in the overall floorspace figure cited in Policy SS3 above.
** This figure relates to Lopen Head Nursery.
*** Yeovil and Chard will deliver additional employment land beyond the plan period.  Chard will deliver 6 hectares and Yeovil will deliver 4 hectares beyond 2028, in association with their strategic residential growth.

4.69 The following delivery bodies will be key in implementing Policy SS3:

  • South Somerset District Council;
  • Town and Parish Councils;
  • Developers and Landowners.
Monitoring Indicators    Target   
Completed employment land in the District (B1, B2 and B8 uses). 162 hectares of employment land built in the District between 2006 and 2028.
Number of new jobs in the District. 9,200 new jobs between 2006 and 2028.
2. Due to rounding of numbers they may not add up [back]