Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

What will the Local Plan Deliver?

Settlement Status

6.144 As set out in Policy SS1, Somerton is classified as a 'Market Town' due to the settlement having a strong employment, retail and community role.[1] Given its relatively smaller scale and nature compared to some of the larger Market Towns, Somerton is identified as a Local Market Town (alongside Langport/Huish Episcopi and Ansford/Castle Cary) with a reduced scale of growth to match.


6.145 It is important to sustain and enhance Somerton's role as a Market Town in the rural north of the District, with a level of development that is relative to the size, accessibility, character and environmental constraints of the town. Therefore, around 400 dwellings should be built in the town over the Local Plan period 2006-28. The majority of these (235 dwellings) have already been built or committed in the first 5 years of the Local Plan period, leaving a residual additional housing requirement of 165 dwellings. A 'direction of growth' to identify a broad location to accommodate new development on the edge of the town is required, as explained below.


6.146 As set out in Policy SS3, a total of 4.91 ha of 'B' use class employment land should be delivered in Somerton over the Local Plan period. Just under half (1.91 ha) of this has already been provided, leaving 3 ha still to be found, primarily within the direction of growth. This should provide 166 'B' use jobs, as part of a total of 251 jobs that should be delivered at Somerton to provide the opportunity for residents to both live and work in the town.


6.147 Regarding new retail development, the ability to increase the amount of comparison goods floorspace at Somerton will be constrained by its size, natural catchment area, and level of commercial market interest.[2] Somerton is orientated towards a top-up food shopping function and, 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 town will limit the potential for large scale additional convenience goods provision; such proposals would also cause concerns over the impact on existing retail provision in the town. Therefore, for both convenience and comparison retailing, a general strategic approach is recommended for Somerton that acknowledges the need to retain shopping trips within the town and supports proposals that increase this retention.

6.148 The town centre has a delicate balance of shops, including a small supermarket, and is therefore considered vulnerable to potential out of centre retail development. It is considered appropriate to require a local retail impact assessment for retail proposals greater than a threshold of 250 sq m for Somerton given the scale and nature of the town.


6.149 The Infrastructure Delivery Plan identifies several infrastructure issues that are considered 'necessary' to provide as a result of new development at Somerton, which generally relate to open space and sports facilities. A replacement for the surgery is specifically identified, and this is being pursued with other development.

Direction of growth

6.150 To accommodate the proposed level of housing and employment development at Somerton, a 'direction of growth' has been identified to the west of the town. This direction of growth has been identified from evidence in the Sustainability Appraisal and the potential deliverability of sites for development.[3]

6.151 Development to the north west section of the Direction of Growth would potentially lead to flooding problems, which will need to be addressed through the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). The costs of this infrastructure are not considered to be 'showstoppers' to new development in the town.

Policy LMT3: Somerton Direction of Growth
The direction of growth at Somerton will be to the west of the town.

6.152 The following delivery bodies will be key in implementing the proposed development at Somerton:

  • South Somerset District Council;
  • Town and Parish Councils;
  • Developers and Landowners;
  • Primary Care Trust.
Monitoring Indicators    Target   
Net additional dwellings in Somerton 400 dwellings built at Somerton between 2006 and 2028
Additional employment ('B' uses) floor space in Somerton 4.9 ha of 'B' use employment land built in Somerton between 2006 and 2028
1. South Somerset Settlement Role and Function study, 2009 [back]
2. South Somerset Retail Capacity Study update, 2010 [back]
3. Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment 2009, 2010 [back]