Proposed Submission South Somerset Local Plan (2006 - 2028): Main Modifications - August 2014

Comment ID 67
Document Section Main Modifications Policy YV2: North East Yeovil Sustainable Urban Extension (no name) View all on this section
Respondent BHartley View all by this respondent
Response Date 10 Oct 2014

The comments made at the hearing regarding views of the North East Yeovil SUE were related to short distance views from properties in the area of Trent and Over Compton (Dorset). The Planning Inspector sought changes to the Local Plan to detail mitigation measures in the form of landscaping.

Both the North Eastern (Upper Mudford) and Southern (Keyford) landscapes are highly valued and sensitive to skyline development as detailed in the PLS addendum. Developments that could be obtrusive due to their impact on the skyline will require structural landscape to soften the impact.  

The PLS addendum considered it justified to provide landscaping to the North Eastern SUE and the South SUE to mitigate the impact of skyline dominance and massing. It would be essential and wholly justified for a Main Modification to also provide detail of structural landscaping to the South YSUE as the location viewed from the South West and South/South East has significant skyline prominence.  

The PLS addendum clearly indicates similar concerns regarding both the Upper Mudford and Keyford areas.

In particular the addendum makes specific comment about the substantial visual effects of the shoulder of land to the west Key House and the open farmland west of Tarrat Lane and the impact of massing due to the fact the land is devoid of landscape features.  It also indicates the need for a robust planting framework.

The following comment is made in the PLS addendum for both locations ‘The selection of a single urban extension here would be dependent upon the 40% open space standard and structural landscape provision to be fully utilised, to ensure commensurate mitigation will convincingly assimilate the site into its wider context’.

It would be appropriate to indicate housing up to the figure proposed rather than using the term approximately which gives impression of the potential for further take of land thus impacting on the green space provision.  

Regarding employment land provision and considering the need to provide 40% green space provision and the nature of the SUE’s,  a figure of up to 2.58 hectares would be more appropriate as the term approximately indicates the potential for a greater take of land, impacting on the green space provision.   

For the Main Modification to be found sound it is recommended that it should read as follows:


PSSSLP Page and Policy

Main Modification


Page 76; Policy YV2    




















Page 76; Policy YV2                        

Amend the 2nd Paragraph of Policy YV2 to read the following:


The north east area:


Ø  Up to 2.58 hectares of land for economic development;


Ø  Up to 765 dwellings;


Ø  One primary school;


Ø  A health centre; and


Ø  A neighbourhood centre; and


Ø  Structural landscaping to mitigate skyline dominance of build form and the impact of massing.


The South area:


Ø  Up to 2.58 hectares of land for economic development;  


Ø  Up to 800 dwellings;


Ø  One primary school;


Ø  A health centre; and


Ø  A neighbourhood centre; and


Ø  Structural landscaping to mitigate skyline dominance of build form and the impact of massing.


Outstanding Issue relating to the Planning Inspector’s 1st preliminary findings letter dated 3rd July 2013.

Short Summary of the Issue

In the 1st preliminary findings letter the Inspector expressed concern regarding the lack of weight given to seeking the use of poorer quality agricultural land in preference to higher quality (bearing in mind that once lost such high quality land cannot be retrieved). He sighted the Council’s vision for 2028 for the retention of a viable agricultural base with high quality local food production.


During the period of suspension the Council documented that it had addressed this concern raised by the Inspector. The Council considered that the concern was addressed by the PLS Addendum and sought confirmation from their Landscape Architect in item 10 of the PMB meeting notes of 25th October 2013 in which the Landscape Architect is reported to confirm that he had fully addressed the issue within the PLS Addendum.

During the 2nd hearing in June 2014 confirmation was sought by myself (Mr Hartley) that the Landscape Architect had fully addressed the issue in the PLS Addendum. The Landscape Architect stated at the hearing that he HAD NOT addressed the issue (as he was not qualified to do so) and the text of the Addendum confirms that it was not addressed. Therefore the issue of concern raised by the Inspector HAD NOT been addressed by the Council. 

The Inspector asked the Council during the 2nd hearing to confirm this discrepancy in the evidence. I consider the Council’s response did not address the discrepancy considering they confirmed the text in the PMB Minutes but also the contradictory statement made by the Landscape Architect.

The Landscape Architect recommended to the Council in the PMB Summary of 30th October 2013 to allocated approximately 800 dwellings to the South Urban Extension but as the Landscape Architect confirmed at the hearing he had not consider agricultural land quality and therefore his recommendation was made without consideration to the Inspector’s concern regarding agricultural land quality.

For completeness extracts of the Inspector’s 1st Preliminary Findings Letter (13th July 2013). SSDC documents 25th October 2013 (PMB Meeting Notes) and 30th October 2013 (PMB Summary) are detailed below Referenced A, B and C and relevant text highlighted in yellow. 

This serious discrepancy indicates that the Inspector’s concern (raised in the 1st preliminary findings letter) had not been addressed by the Council as the Landscape Architect confirmed at the resumption hearing that HE HAD NOT considered agricultural land quality thus contradicting his previous statement to the PMB on 25th October 2013. Therefore the issue must remain extant.