Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

Primary Market Towns - Crewkerne

Spatial Portrait

6.51 Crewkerne is a market town with Saxon origins. Its strategic location on the intersection of the A30 (London to Exeter) and A356 (Martock to Dorchester) encouraged steady and prosperous commercial growth from the 11th century onwards. Over time its commercial strength grew from an agricultural base to a successful cloth-manufacturing base by the 19th century.


6.52 Today Crewkerne is the third largest settlement in South Somerset with a population of approximately 7406 people[1]. From its medieval market place origins the town spread south, east and north, with residential growth spreading along the main arterial roads from the late 18th Century. The past 60 years, however, has seen the infill of the land between these roads, primarily in the form of large housing estates to the north (Wadham Park) and south east (Kithill and Park View). The main employment area (Blacknell Industrial Estate) lies to the east of the town centre, concentrated to the north side of the A356 road to Dorchester.

6.53 Crewkerne is located in the south west of the District close to the county boundary with Dorset, 9 miles south west of Yeovil and 7 miles east of Chard. The town acts as a strong functional and service centre for the surrounding area, providing some 2950 jobs[2]. In retail terms, the centre is healthy and includes a variety of national retailers. There are a variety of community services and facilities, including for example a library, doctor's surgery, banks, a range of education facilities, a hospital and swimming pool.

6.54 In addition to a regular bus service, residents in Crewkerne have access to rail services. The railway station, located in the parish of Misterton, just over a mile from Crewkerne town centre is served by South West Trains on the main south western railway line, and trains operate regularly to Yeovil, London and Exeter. A national cycle route passes through the town. The level of self-containment is satisfactory compared to the District as a whole with 49% of local residents working locally (District average 51%)[3]. Crewkerne is one of the few settlements in the District that acts as a destination for work.  Analysis of Travel to Work data illustrates that 3.7% of people who work in the town, commute in from other settlements, this is the forth largest figure for the District (for comparison - Yeovil's figure is 33% and Chard 5.9%).

6.55 Key environmental issues include Crewkerne's attractive historic environment (the majority of the town centre is covered by Conservation Area status, and includes over 140 Listed Buildings), rich natural environment (there are numerous designated wildlife sites in close proximity to the centre, including Bincombe Hill Local Nature Reserve, on the northern outskirts of the town and Millwater Site of Special Scientific Interest by Westover Lane) and the presence of protected species in the town. There are delineated groundwater source protection zones in Crewkerne and a potential flood risk from the River Parrett and its tributaries, particularly in the Goulds Brook vicinity.

1. ONS Mid Year estimates 2010 - Urban Area [back]
2. BRES Employment Data 2010 [back]
3. Settlement Role and Function Study 2009 [back]