Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028


Spatial Portrait


7.15 Ilchester is situated 5 miles north of Yeovil, on the eastern fringe of the Somerset Levels and Moors, concentrated at the point at which the River Yeo crosses the Fosse Way. It is a Rural Centre with Iron Age origins and an important history, including serving as a small Roman fort settled by the Fosse Way and briefly serving as the county town of Somerset in the 12th Century, due to the presence of the county gaol. This settlement’s historic legacy is apparent in the concentration of Scheduled Ancient Monuments, archaeological sites, and historic buildings that are present in the settlement, and which include the 13th century St Mary Major and the Church of St Andrews, both Grade II* Listed Buildings.

7.16 In 1940 the Royal Naval Air Station was commissioned at Yeovilton, and since then it has grown to become one of the busiest military airfields in the UK, with both helicopters and jet aircraft operating out of the Station. Ilchester, being in close proximity to RNAS Yeovilton has accommodated development over recent years to provide housing for many service personnel and their families stationed at the air base.

7.17 As a result of its natural and historic constraints, and recent growth, the settlement is formed around two distinct points of growth.  At the southern end the main commercial area is formed around the historic core and, to the north, Northover is a recent growth area.  Both are linked by linear development along the Fosse Way. The Historic Core is virtually completely surrounded by land within Flood Zone 3B, the functional floodplain of the River Yeo, with certain parts of the built up area itself, including the linear development along Fosse Way being within Flood Zone 3A, an area of high probability of flooding. The northern growth area has developed over the past 50 years or so, on gently rising ground, is not subject to flooding or known archaeological constraints. This area includes the infant and junior schools (split site), a factory, a shop and residential development, including housing for service personnel and their families stationed at nearby RNAS Yeovilton.


7.18 Today Ilchester has a population of 1,994 people[1] however the presence of RNAS Yeovilton, which currently has approximately 2,500 personnel on base nearly doubles the population. Given the presence of RNAS Yeovilton, Ilchester is a strong location for employment. As a result of the number of personnel living in Ilchester, the level of self containment is good with approximately 59% of people living and working in the same ward.

7.19 The settlement also provides a retail and community service role - there are a few convenience stores, a post office, infant and junior schools and a doctor's surgery. There are both regular and demand responsive bus services to Yeovil, Taunton and Street.

7.20 Key environmental issues affecting potential new development include flooding (the town is located within a significant flood risk area, as identified by the Environment Agency), presence of archaeological remains (much of the southern half of the town is an Area of High Archaeological Potential) and noise constraints from the airbase.

1. ONS Mid Year estimates 2010 - Urban Area [back]