Comment ID 1399
Document Section Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028 Yeovil - Vision and Proposals What should the Local Plan deliver? Yeovil Sustainable Urban Extension Future Masterplanning Future Masterplanning and Policy YV2 View all on this section
Respondent Rob Boyden View all by this respondent
Response Date 10 Aug 2012
Do you consider the DPD is Legally Compliant?
Do you consider the DPD is Sound?
If you have responded that the DPD is unsound, Do you consider the DPD is unsound because it is:

I object to the proposed Local plan, in particular the Yeovil Urban Extension, for the following reasons:

Objection 1. The figures used in the evidence base are out of date and based on 2008 figures. Documents in the evidence base such as the Economic Profile of Yeovil March 2010 cast doubt on the growth figures and the scale and depth of the recession has become even clearer since then. More recent figures from the ONIS could have been used by SSDC if there had been the will, The NPPF states that plans should be realistic; this one is not,

Objection 2. However good the sustainability design criteria, the fact is that an extra 2500 houses plus associated employment growth will result in increased traffic. The evidence base states that there is already congestion in parts of Yeovil) and that accessibility is a key issue for the economic growth of Yeovil and yet the Local Plan does not provide for any significant improvement of the A37 junction at Hendford Hill, This will result in delays, additional pollution and the use of 'rat runs' through my village, East Coker.

The plan is therefore not sustainable and contradicts s its own strategic objectives for an integrated sustainable transport system and protection and enhancement of our natural environment.

Objection 3. The predicted employment growth, already based on old evidence as stated above, will falter due to the poor access to the A303 and the outlying regional centres of economic growth (Taunton, Bridgewater, Bristol, Exeter). There will be increased traffic and congestion across Yeovil as a result. The plan is neither realistic nor sustainable.

Objection 4. The evidence base and Local Plan recognize that a more highly skilled workforce would be need to be attracted to Yeovil to fulfil aspirations of growing a diversified high tech manufacturing or service industry. The principal source of such skills lies to the North West of Yeovil typified by professionals willing to move between jobs. Some will be willing to relocate but many will choose to live, as they do now, in an area to the north west of Yeovil within easy access to the main employment areas above. This is compounded by the numbers of professionals whose partners also work in similar industries often in different locations. Good examples of this are seen in the many partners of service and MOD personnel based at Yeovilton (the effect of Yeovilton's growth is largely silent in the plan). The proposed location of the urban extension is in conflict with the need for access to clusters of highly skilled professionals and the plan is therefore neither sound nor sustainable.

Objection 5. The consultation process was flawed. The feedback from the early December 2010 cluster workshops with representatives from Parish councils was ignored and the southern option for an urban exclusion zone was deliberately driven into the debate by artificially excluding the northern options.

Objection 6. The evidence base is inaccurate and flawed. By deliberately grouping together the categories of Grade 1, 2, 3 and 3a agricultural land the sustainability appraisal sidesteps the problem that the proposed urban extension is targeted at some of the best and highest rated agricultural land in the country. The statement in the Sustainability Appraisal "the loss of a significant amount of Best and Most Versatile agricultural land is a negative environmental effect that cannot be mitigated" is simply not true. For a start the policy of focussing all growth in a single urban extension could be discarded for one of growth in the outlying more rural centres, in particular those in close proximity to the A303. If this is not possible then the agricultural constraints should be applied Grade by Grade. This would show the north west option as more favourable.

Finally, the overall presentation of the strategy has been appalling at each stage of consultation. It has been made overly complicated and difficult for the layperson to comprehend. It has been secretive and disingenuous and the final timing of the consultation (timed to coincide with school holidays and distractions such as the Olympics) is one of the 'old planning tricks' of yesteryear that the Council should be ashamed to have adopted. Noticeably, the launch of the consultation on council tax this week has had prominent coverage on the SSDC website homepage whilst the consultation on the proposed biggest change to Yeovil's future is relatively hidden.

What changes do you suggest to make the DPD legally compliant or sound?
If your representation is seeking a change, do you consider it necessary to participate at the oral part of the examination?
If you wish to participate at the oral part of the examination, please outline why you consider this to be necessary: