Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

What will the Local Plan Deliver?

Settlement Status

6.110 The South Somerset Role and Function Study (April 2009) identifies Ansford/Castle Cary as performing an employment function and identified retail and community role for the town and surrounding area. Ansford/Castle Cary is designated as a Local Market Town in this Local Plan and such a designation will enable the settlement to grow and continue to expand its identified role. In recognition of its small scale and nature, along with Somerton and Langport/Huish Episcopi is identified as a Local Market Town with a reduced scale of growth to match.


6.111 To maintain the town’s service role, Ansford/Castle Cary is expected to deliver 400 new dwellings over the plan period. Existing commitments of 127 dwellings (April 2011), leaves a further 273 dwellings to be accommodated over the plan period. It should be noted however that the Planning permission for the BMI site, Cumnock Lane has recently lapsed and although it can't be considered a commitment at this present time there is an expectation that this important brownfield site will be developed within the Plan period and thereby reduce the future housing target by a further 89 dwellings. The phasing policy SS7 would be a key mechanism in addressing early delivery of this brownfield site prior to the greenfield direction for growth.

6.112 The additional level of growth reflects the town's role and function within the District's settlement hierarchy. This level of provision will support the town centre business role and help support community facilities such as the local secondary school and health centre.


6.113 To support the provision of an anticipated 223 jobs, with 147 of these being traditional B use industrial jobs, there is a need for approximately 3 hectares (147 jobs) of employment land in Ansford/Castle Cary. Since the start of the plan period in 2006, there has been approximately 9ha of employment land already delivered in the town through the building of the Royal Canin pet food factory in 2008 on a saved allocation from the previous Local Plan. This is not something that would readily be repeated, and artificially 'inflates' the employment land figures. Therefore to aid the self-containment of the settlement and provide employment opportunities for inhabitants of Ansford/Castle Cary in the later part of the Plan period the Local Plan should deliver approximately an additional 3 hectares of employment land outside the expansion of the Royal Canin site.


6.114 The South Somerset Retail Capacity Study update (2010) indicates that the ability to significantly increase the amount of comparison goods floorspace for Ansford/Castle Cary will be constrained by its size, natural catchment area and level of commercial market interest. Orientated towards a top-up food shopping function, in principle, it would be beneficial to increase the level of retention of main/bulk-food shopping trips. However like the comparison retail sector, the natural catchment and expenditure capacity of the centre will limit the potential for large-scale additional provision and there will also be concerns over the impact on existing retail provision. Therefore, for both convenience and comparison retailing, a general strategic approach for Ansford/Castle Cary is recommended which acknowledges the need to retain shopping trips within the town and supports proposals that increase retention via the promotion of realistic proposals.

6.115 The town centre is considered vulnerable to potential out of centre retail development by virtue of the fact that it does not possess an anchor store and contains many small size outlets. It is considered appropriate to have a local retail impact threshold of 250 sq meters above which any retail proposal would be required to provide an impact assessment.


6.116 The Council's Infrastructure Plan[1] demonstrates that these proposals are deliverable and that the necessary social, physical and green infrastructure is provided to support the proposed development. A road link between Station Road and Torbay Road has been identified as appropriate and necessary for the implementation development in the strategic direction of growth. Submissions to the Council have indicated that it is viable and deliverable.


6.117 Castle Cary Primary School has an estimated capacity of 206 places and is currently operating at full capacity. Future growth would result in an infrastructure need for further 2 to 3 classes. There are no opportunities for expansion at the current site and a new primary school would therefore be required to accommodate future substantial growth.

Flood Risk

6.118 The South Somerset Strategic Flood Risk Assessment identifies the town centre as a location liable to flood due to surface water run off from nearby hills. Planning applications will be expected to avoid contributing to the existing flooding issue by including adequate drainage measures and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS). The Environment Agency has noted that there is delineated groundwater source protection zones in the vicinity of Castle Cary. This is not considered an issue by virtue of the distance between the strategic direction for growth and the delineated groundwater source protection zones.

Direction of growth

6.119 A North West direction of growth has been found to be the most sustainable location for Ansford/Castle Cary's future expansion of housing, employment and education proposals. A North West direction for growth has the advantages of being well related to existing employment opportunities, the town centre, the town's Schools and is located on land that will have the least impact in respect of periphery landscape[2]. A road link between Station Road and Torbay Road will be required to improve access and egress to new and existing employment and better integration of the development within the town.

Policy LMT1: Ansford/Castle Cary Direction of Growth and Link Road

The direction of strategic growth (for housing, employment & education) will be north of Torbay Road and East and West of Station Road. As part of any expansion within the direction for growth, a road will be expected to be provided between Station Road & Torbay Road prior to completion of the expansion.


6.120 The following delivery bodies will be key in implementing the proposed development at Ansford/Castle Cary:

  • South Somerset District Council
  • Somerset County Council
  • Town and Parish Councils
  • Developers and Landowners
Monitoring Indicators    Target
The total number of dwellings and amount of employment land built, under construction and committed at Ansford/Castle Cary within the Urban Area and in the preferred direction for growth Delivery of 400 dwellings and 3 ha employment land between 2006 and 2028
The provision of appropriate road improvements Delivery of a link road between Torbay Road and Station Road before completion of development proposal
The provision of a new Primary School at Ansford / Castle Cary Deliver one new primary school
1. Infrastructure Plan (2012) [back]
2. Sustainability Appraisal Report (March 2012) [back]