Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

Local Market Towns - Somerton

Spatial Portrait

6.138 Somerton is a market town dating back over 1,000 years, with an important history including being the centre of a major royal estate in the 10th century and briefly serving as the county town of Somerset. The town has held a weekly market since the Middle Ages and long prospered as an agricultural centre and an attachment to local estates, reflected by the many fine 17th and 18th century houses in the town centre.

Somerton 1

6.139 Today, Somerton is one of the larger settlements in South Somerset with a population of 4,274 people.[1] It is a relatively compact settlement, set above the Cary valley with the core of the town concentrated upon the market place and church. The town centre and an area to the east of the town is designated as a Conservation Area. Recent residential growth has spread to the west of the town centre, and the main employment area is the Bancombe Road Trading Estate to the north west of the town.

6.140 Somerton is located in a rural setting and, alongside nearby Langport/Huish Episcopi and Street in Mendip District, is important in serving the needs of residents in the rural north of South Somerset. In terms of retail, Somerton has a reasonably healthy, well kept and attractive town centre with a range of independent stores including a small supermarket and specialist food stores that meet the day to day needs of local residents. Some of the other key services in Somerton are a library, doctor's surgery, banks, and primary and junior schools.

6.141 Public transport to the larger settlements of Yeovil, Taunton and Street is relatively good with a regular bus service, although links to other parts of the District are poor. A national cycle route passes through the town. However, self-containment is relatively low with over 60% of Somerton residents travelling to work elsewhere, mainly to locations in Mendip District and Yeovil.

6.142 Some of the key environmental issues at Somerton include areas of high flood risk to the north, east and south of the town; a high quality historic environment; and the presence of protected species near the town.

1. ONS mid 2010 urban area population estimates [back]