Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

Protection of Retail Frontages

8.106 Primary Shopping Frontages are at the heart of the town centre, they contain streets that are dominated by shops and have the greatest pedestrian footfall. It is considered important to retain the function of Primary Shopping Frontages as dominant shopping areas, as large numbers of shops in close proximity to each other are important to the attractiveness of the centre and its convenience to shoppers.

8.107 There will be support for a diverse range of uses (such as residential or office space), particularly where it uses the upper floorspace in town centres or where it will benefit the vitality and viability of the Districts town centres at all times of the day, but in order to maintain a core shopping area within the town centre, Primary Shopping Frontages will be protected.

8.108 As required in the NPPF, Primary Shopping Frontages have been identified for Yeovil, Chard, Crewkerne, Ilminster, Langport and Somerton and these are shown on the Inset Maps. An early review of these existing frontages is proposed to reflect the importance of maintaining a core shopping area in these settlements and new Primary Shopping Frontages will be identified in the remaining Market Towns, District Centres and Local Centres where appropriate. There is also a requirement under the NPPF to identify Secondary Shopping Frontages and this too will be considered as part of the review.

Policy EP13: Protection of Retail Frontages

Development proposals resulting in the change of use from retail (class A1 of the use classes order) to non-retail on ground floors within the defined Primary Shopping Frontages will be permitted, except where the number or coalescence of such uses would undermine the dominant retail function.

In order to guide decisions relating to actual numbers and/or coalescence and the impact resulting the following criteria will be taken into account:

  • The location and prominence of the premises within the shopping frontage;
  • The floorspace and length of frontage of the premises;
  • The number, distribution and proximity to other non-A1 use class premises (or with consent for such use) within the frontage in question and throughout the town centre;
  • The character and nature of the use proposed, including the level of pedestrian activity associated with it;
  • The level of vacancies; and
  • Whether the proposed use would give rise to noise, smell or other environmental problem.

8.109 The delivery of retail schemes will be private sector led, but the Local Authority will assist in negotiating appropriate town centre shopping proposals and seek to focus retail activity in the Town Centre and resist losses from Primary Shopping Frontages. Annual Monitoring Report will look at the uses in the Primary Shopping Frontage to ensure policy is being applied effectively.

8.110 The following delivery bodies will be key in implementing Policy EP13:

  • South Somerset District Council;
  • Town and Parish Councils;
  • Developers and Landowners;
  • Infrastructure Providers.
Monitoring Indicators Target
Amount of non-A1 uses in Primary Shopping Frontages Increase and maintain the number and floorspace of A1 uses in Primary Shopping Frontages