South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18)

3 Strategic Objectives and Vision

Current Approach

3.1 The current Council Plan 2016 - 2021[1]  provides a clear focus for the Council and what it will deliver during a period of major change. The Council’s Aims are to:

  • Protect and enhance the quality of our environment.
  • Increase the focus on jobs and economic development.
  • Protect Core services to the public by reducing costs and seeking income generation.
  • Enable housing to meet all needs.
  • Improve health and reduce health inequalities.

3.2 That Council is now in the process of updating that Council Plan and has already identified the Priority Projects for the year 2019 to 2020.

3.3 The Council’s Priority Projects for 2019 to 2020 are:

  1. To complete and fully realise the benefits of Transformation and implement the Commercial Strategy. 
  2. To finalise plans and progress implementation of the Chard regeneration project.
  3. To continue the refresh of Yeovil Town Centre.
  4. To implement the town centre action plan for Wincanton.
  5. To develop proposals to accelerate the delivery of key housing sites and associated infrastructure.
  6. To assess options for improving community transport links.
1. [back]

The Vision for 2036

3.4 The Vision to 2036 provides a positive basis for the future building upon the Council Plan :

South Somerset will be a thriving, attractive, healthy and socially inclusive place to live, work, study and visit. A place where businesses flourish and become more productive, communities are safe, vibrant and healthy, where residents enjoy good housing and cultural, leisure and sporting activities. It will have sustainable, low carbon towns with enhanced infrastructure of all types and improved public transport links. The District will have high quality distinctive, historic, urban and rural environments, with vital and vibrant town centres with regeneration plans in Yeovil, Chard and Wincanton successfully accomplished. It will have a prosperous and productive economy building on existing strengths and provide a choice of high quality housing options for all. Inequality between urban and rural areas will be reduced with improved digital accessibility. The role of South Somerset as a gateway to the South West will be enhanced.

Strategic Objectives

3.5 The objectives of the Local Plan Review are derived from the Council Plan and the NPPF. The Strategic Objectives form the overall strategic approach by which the Vision for South Somerset will be achieved and are as follows:

  1. Delivering a sufficient supply of homes: Promote sufficient high quality housing in sustainable locations, of a size, density and tenure required to meet the needs of the residents of South Somerset, delivered through a sustainable settlement strategy and hierarchy.
  2. Building a strong, competitive economy: To establish an environment where there is sustainable economic growth in South Somerset, where all new and existing businesses both urban and rural can invest, where they are supported, can flourish, be competitive and become more productive.
  3. Ensuring the vitality of town centres: Support and sustain a hierarchy of vital and vibrant town centres across the District to be the focus for commercial, retail and leisure uses and to deliver planned regeneration proposals in Yeovil, Chard and Wincanton town centres.
  4. Promoting healthy and safe communities: Create a health enhancing, socially interactive, safe environment through the promotion of walking, cycling and non-car based transport and design. This will enable access to leisure opportunities, sports facilities, local shops, health care facilities, meeting places, open spaces, green infrastructure and other local services with a clear legible and integrated approach to locating housing, economic uses, services and facilities.
  5. Promoting sustainable transport: Working with partners to address the impact of development on transport networks and maximising the opportunities from existing or proposed transport infrastructure such as the planned improvements to the A303 Sparkford to Ilchester and the A358 Taunton to Southfields. Supporting the use of non-carbon fuel cars and commercial vehicles.
  6. Supporting high quality communications: In both rural and urban areas, to support the expansion of electronic communications networks, including next generation mobile technology (such as 5G) and full fibre broadband connections.
  7. Making effective use of land: Promote an effective use of land in meeting the need for homes and other uses, while safeguarding and improving the environment and ensuring safe and healthy living conditions.
  8. Achieving well designed places: Support the creation of high quality buildings and places responding to local distinctive character and setting through the arrangement of streets, spaces, building types and materials.
  9. Meeting the challenge of climate change and flooding: Promote the reuse of resources, the principles of sustainable construction and the use of new technologies to combat and adapt to climate change to minimise impact of all new development on the environment. Help to achieve the national aim of reducing the carbon budget by 57% below 1990 levels by 2030[2].
  10. 10. Conserving and enhancing the natural environment: Protection and enhancement of our distinctive natural environment, valued landscapes and biodiversity, retaining the distinctiveness of settlements and taking account of known environmental constraints, including flood risk, and noise and air pollution in distributing growth.
  11. 11. Conserving and enhancing the historic environment: To sustain and enhance the significance of the District’s distinctive heritage assets, recognising the character they bring to places, and the wider social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits the conservation of the historic environment can bring.
2. Current Government Policy is to reduce the carbon budget to 57% below 1990 levels by 2030. This is based on update advice from the Climate Change Committee in June 2016 [back]

Strategic Polices

3.6 The strategic policies in this Local Plan Review deliver the strategic objectives set out above. Where policies allocate land for development, most are identified as being strategic, including brownfield sites, sites that are expected to deliver about 100 homes in Yeovil and the Market Towns, and about 50 homes in Rural Centres.

3.7 Neighbourhood Plans are expected to generally accord with the strategic policies of the Local Pan Review and are expected to meet the housing requirement identified.

3.8 As explained in the Introduction, the strategic polices in this Local Plan Review are shown in a green box whereas non-strategic polices are in a blue box. Additionally, to make it clear, Appendix One includes a list of all the policies within the Plan and shows whether they are considered to be strategic or not.