Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

Expansion of Existing Businesses in the Countryside

8.37 There are many businesses located in the countryside that provide a valuable source of local employment. These businesses have often made significant investments in existing sites and have limited relocation choices. Relocation may not be a desirable option for not only can it affect the individual business concerned in terms of its continuity and staff retention, but it can also result in the loss of jobs which may have been the most sustainable option for providing local employment in a particular rural area.

8.38 It is clear from the settlement strategy that away from Yeovil and the strategic employment sites located in the Market Towns, opportunities for significant job growth are likely to be generally more limited to a level of provision that supports the role and function of settlements. The development of employment generating activities throughout the countryside would be contrary to the strategy, as it would lead to unsustainable forms of development, but the expansion of existing, established rural businesses is supported as it is important not to jeopardise rural enterprise. Any proposed development must not adversely impact on the countryside, as national policy is clear that protection of the countryside is an overarching aim.

8.39 A business will need to demonstrate that it has operated successfully for a minimum of 3 years to ensure that it has an established presence in the particular area. The business will also need to demonstrate that it is viable and has reasonable prospects of remaining so. These requirements are to ensure that development does not lead to the proliferation of businesses and employment land in the countryside, when such development should be directed towards the Market Towns or Rural Centres.

8.40 It is essential to make efficient and effective use of land, which means prioritising previously developed land and reusing existing buildings where possible.

Policy EP4: Expansion of Existing Businesses in the Countryside

Proposals for the expansion of existing businesses in the countryside will be permitted where:

  • The business has been operating successfully for a minimum of 3 years, and is a viable business;
  • It is demonstrated that the proposal is needed in this location;
  • The proposal is of a scale appropriate in this location and appropriate to the existing development;
  • Existing buildings are reused where possible;
  • Firstly, use is made of land within the curtilage of the development where possible, and outside of the curtilage only where it is demonstrated that additional land is essential to the needs of the business;
  • There is no adverse impact on the countryside with regard to scale, character and appearance of new buildings and/or changes of use of land;
  • There is no adverse impact upon designations for wildlife and conservation reasons, at either local, national or international level; and
  • The proposed development ensures that the expected nature and volume of traffic generated by the development would not have a detrimental impact on the character or amenity of the area and would not compromise the safety and/or function of the road network in terms of both volume and type of traffic generated.

8.41 The Council is committed to supporting employment opportunities locally. Economic development and area development officers will seek to support local businesses to find suitable premises, but if there are no alternative options and the business complies with the criteria in Policy EP5, planning policy and development management officers will advise and support businesses to secure appropriately scaled expansions.

8.42 The following delivery bodies will be key in implementing Policy EP4:

  • South Somerset District Council;
  • Developers and Landowners.
Monitoring Indicators Target
Amount of employment land approved in Rural Settlements and countryside locations 100% approval for employment proposals in rural settlements and countryside locations where it is demonstrated that the proposed expansion is needed in such a location(s)