Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028


5.26 The preferred direction of growth of East Coker, Keyford and Barwick from the draft Core Strategy has been affirmed albeit in modified form with more limited development to the east of the A37 Dorchester road and elements of the Brympton and Coker option to the immediate west of the preferred option being incorporated into the new direction of growth including land at the junction of the A30 and Watercombe Lane (see Yeovil inset map). This has emerged following consideration of representations, new evidence base relating to highways impact and infrastructure and further work on constraints mapping, sustainable appraisal and location scoping.

5.27 The main issues relating to location emerging from the consultation were:

  • Disagreement with Sustainability Appraisal of Southern option especially in relation to:
    • Access to town centre / employment sites / train stations;
    • Impact on landscape / historic environment;
    • Loss of grade 1 agricultural land / biodiversity;
    • Topographical barriers;
    • Floodplain.
  • Capacity on existing brownfield sites to accommodate all required growth;
  • Insufficient infrastructure to accommodate the Urban Extension especially:
    • Hospitals / primary schools / sewage / parking.
  • Insufficient transport evidence;
  • Highways Agency support southern option subject to detailed Cartgate testing;
  • Northwest option has not been accurately appraised;
  • A single direction for growth restricts build rates.

5.28 In response to these concerns the Council undertook a constraints mapping exercise and review of the initial sustainability appraisal that established the preferred option but incorporating the north west option in greater detail. The merits of a single location established and the scale of growth deliverable within the urban framework (see above) the focus of further work was a constraints mapping exercise and revised sustainability appraisal.

5.29 The Constraints mapping analysis had five stages of site identification. The first stage considered all constraints and gave them equal weighting but failed to identify sufficient land to accommodate development due to the high level of constraints around Yeovil. The constraints considered were:

  • Protection of Agricultural Land (Grade 1, 2 & 3);
  • Protection against Flooding (Flood Zones 2 & 3);
  • Protection of the Historic Environment (Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas, Scheduled Ancient Monuments and Historic Parks & Gardens);
  • Protection of Village Identity (East Coker, West Coker, Barwick & Stoford or Bradford Abbas, Chilthorne Domer, Thorne Coffin, Yeovil Marsh, Mudford, Over Compton & Odcombe);
  • Protection of the Agusta Westlands Flight Path;
  • Protection of Environmental Designations (Local Wildlife Sites, SSSIs);
  • Protection of Landscape Character (Northern and Southern Escarpments).

5.30 A second stage was therefore required to prioritise constraints to deliver strategic land for development on the basis of the primacy of securing development for Yeovil. Agricultural land and landscape constraints were given lower priority to deliver sufficient land for the urban extension.

5.31 Three emerging options from the constraints assessment (northwest, south and west and a multi site option) were re appraised in terms of the sustainability criteria the Council had derived from the Sustainable Community Strategy. The outcome of this re appraisal presented a clear case for determining a preferred location for growth. Key determining factors related to accessibility to services, effects of traffic (traffic congestion) and reducing the contribution to climate change (renewable energy opportunities). Additional considerations related to infrastructure and development costs of options, market capacity and ability to deliver the required dwellings on the urban extension up to 2028 and land availability in terms of landowner and developer intent.

5.32 The outcome of the Sustainability Appraisal was a location for development to the South and West of Yeovil because it:

  • is more accessible and gives better opportunities for sustainable transport;
  • presents opportunities to rationalise education facilities across the town;
  • is accessible to employment opportunities;
  • provides the opportunity for more walking and cycling compared with car use and the cost of known traffic infrastructure is less (although the disbenefits of the Option to the northwest are less than previously thought following a re working of the Parson Brinckerhoff traffic modelling);
  • has better environmental impact than the north west option (but only if impacts on neighbouring villages are seriously mitigated and the large-scale open space proposals on the site are used to beneficial effect in this regard);
  • provides better opportunity to introduce combined heat and power technology and contribute to CO2 minimisation;
  • has substantive landowner and developer interest in developing in the South and West (and more so than in a North West option).

5.33 To assure the Council that the key developmental aspects of the urban extension can be achieved in the emergent location and to refine the area to ensure that it is appropriate for the revised scale of development a scoping exercise (initial masterplanning) was undertaken. This served to refine the location for growth as shown on the proposals map incorporating part of the Brympton and Coker option for growth. The identified location enables accommodation of the required development without impinging on key local landmarks and constraints and without adversely affecting the overall setting of East Coker. There is an expectation that net residential density will be 45 dwellings per hectare over the extension to reflect economic use of the land and flexibility to adjust densities to reflect opportunities and constraints in the Direction of growth. The overall and specific densities of the urban extension will be a matter for the masterplan process to determine in the context of all relevant site related matters. On this basis sufficient land is identified in the Direction of growth to accommodate the scale of development proposed.

5.34 In undertaking this work it became clear that a buffer zone for East Coker and North Coker would be required (see below).