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

Comment ID 508
Document Section South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18) Rural Centres Milborne Port Text Block View all on this section
Respondent Milborne Port Parish Council View all by this respondent
Response Date 07 Oct 2019
  1. B Conservation Area

B1.1 An extension to the existing Conservation Area has been proposed and was in principle approved by SSDC in the spring of 2018.  There was a minor technical point which held up the formal approval, which we understand was cleared by summer 2018, and yet the final sign off on the extension has not, at the time of responding, occurred.  We would like to see this finalised as soon as is practicably possible.

  • Poor Self-Containment; high levels of Out-Commuting; low Employment

B2.1The Parish Council agrees strongly with the points made in 8.55.

B2.2 From a nadir in circa 2015-16, recent Employment development has been positive, with the Queen’s Head site re-opening; the fish & chip shop opening a restaurant; the new, larger Co-Op under construction; and the Old Village School site being redeveloped into a restaurant opening October 2019. These are in part offset by the relocation of the Remous printing facility to Sherborne.  However, Milborne Port will likely, by the end of 2019, have achieved its 2016-2036 target (0.1 hectares – see Fig.5.6 Employment Land Justifications) for net employment land increase.

B2.3 We believe that, despite this, the village should continue vigorously to pursue further appropriate, commercially viable, self-contained employment land development.

B2.4 We recommend that SSDC consider the undertaking of a more detailed study process, consulting with local (and indeed other) businesses, landowners, our elected representatives at both South Somerset and Somerset levels, and the Parish Council to determine whether there is a case for nominating further sites for Employment Land.

B2.5 The land at the site of Remous Printing should continue to be designated as Employment Land. This is consistent with point 8.62 regarding the vital status of the limited commercial units.We would recommend that SSDC undertake, with the co-operation of the landowner, a study to determine whether there is any limitation on that use due, for example, to the prior use of chemicals.  We note its proximity to the school, and, if safe to do so, suggest it may be considered as a solution to capacity problems.

B2.6 Nonetheless, we anticipate that a sizeable amount of employment and business development in Milborne Port over the next 20 years will come from home-based businesses.  To facilitate this further, we recommend that, for any housing development in excess of 10 dwellings, at least 20 percent of these should be constructed with the functionality to be used in-part as a business.  The exact definition of this would need to be developed, but could include open-plan ground floors to accommodate work-rooms; offices; salons and similar.

B2.7 With regard to point 8.62 The Queen’s Head is now once more in use. The Co-op on Cold Harbour is likely to close once the new site on Gainsborough currently under construction is completed and  opened.  The library has now closed.  It is to be replaced by a temporary facility, which will initially be parked in the East Street Car Park.  It is planned that it will then relocate to the Community Hub once the first part of MIPO1 has been constructed.  It is also envisaged that the Village Museum will use the Community Hub for specific exhibitions.

B3. Roads

B3.1 The Road infrastructure of Milborne Port is not good. It is frequently mentioned as being “unsafe” by local residents, and though there is rarely a technical analysis of why this is so, the point is nonetheless widely felt.

At its’ pinch points, especially where the village roads connect with the A30, it is affected by a layout of both roads and houses from the 18th century and prior, which is scarcely fit for purpose in the early 21st century. In most cases our view is that these access points cannot be improved materially.

The Plan notes that an unusually high percentage of the working community are dependent upon cars for commuting or for home based service businesses.  It is the perception within the village that traffic levels have been increasing materially over recent years.  Hence, the addition of housing or employment development in locations served by Gainsborough, or Goathill Lane, are likely to be less problematic than those served by North Street.  In turn North Street is better than other smaller access points.

There is particular concern regarding the use of Rosemary Street, East Street/London Road to the A30, and the use of Lower Kingsbury to access Station Road out towards Charlton Horethorn.

B3.2 We believe the policy should state that future developments should demonstrate a reasonable dependence for access into and out of Milborne Port via the better roads such as Gainsborough, Goathill Lane (and therefrom, into Goldings Lane), or subject to further survey, and the actual implementation of such improvements as are determined,  the North Street/Station Road axis

B3.3 There should be specific provision against multiple unit developments likely to be dependent upon Rosemary Street and Lower Kingsbury, and East Street/London Road. This may alternatively be achieved via a nominated hierarchy of access preferences/dispreferences.

B3.4 We recommend that a formal Road Safety Audit be commissioned by SSDC, or Somerset County Council on each of the junctions to the A30 within the village, to the junction between Lower Kingsbury and Station Road, to the various junctions off Wyke Lane, including in particular Manor Road and Court Lane.  This list of locations is not exhaustive, and there may be others which would benefit from such an Audit.  The purpose of the Audit would be two fold

  • To determine which junctions are currently viewed as not satisfying the appropriate safety standards (we note this may well be for historic reasons when such standards were either different or not in place at all). Any achievable improvements should be set out as recommended actions .
  • To determine the likely impact, subject to detailed analysis at an Outline Approval stage of any particular application, of an increase in traffic flow through the Audited junction, and likely areas for consideration that will need to be satisfied before any planning approval can be

B3.5 We would recommend that SSDC/SCC seeks to improve the flow of traffic around the centre of Milborne Port by assessing whether an improvement or enlargement of existing one-way systems might help.

B3.6 We recommend that SSDC/SCC evaluate by formal assessment whether the network of pavements along the lines of the roads could be improved and made safer (for example by widening one sub- standard pavement, and removing the other and realigning the given road).  It might be helpful to list these in terms of urgency and achievability, and place time lines by which such improvements should be undertaken.

B3.7 We recommend that SSDC/SCC evaluate by formal assessment whether road widths within Milborne Port are adequate for the traffic utilising them, and in particular for larger vehicles including agricultural vehicles (often with towed machinery); delivery vehicles; waste management vehicles and emergency services.

B4. Parking

B4.1  The layout of the housing of Milborne Port, especially in the older parts of the village, means that road side parking is inevitable, as no provision for parking off-road was made at the time of construction.

B4.2 The high reliance on vehicles for commuting, or for home based service businesses, means that Milborne Port is more than usually vehicle heavy compared to average settlements.

B4.3 Hence, in addition to the normal regulation and guidelines that would be used for any settlement, we believe Milborne Port may benefit from a stricter parking environment. We have three recommendations in this regard.

B4.4 The first is that a review is undertaken to establish whether the establishment (and then enforcement) of a more comprehensive parking infrastructure be introduced.  This may include the formal introduction of double yellow lines in areas where, by village convention, parking only takes place on one side of the road already (e.g. North Street).

B4.5 The second is that the level of parking provision required per dwelling in any new residential development be raised to reflect a likely two-three vehicles per dwelling.  Further given that very few if any of the dwellings within the village actively utilise their garage for parking, we would recommend that garage space (though highly desirable in terms of the design and functionality of a dwelling) not be considered in determining the provided number of parking spaces for that dwelling.

B4.6 The third is that any new development should not infringe upon the existing habitual use of roads for on street parking, or should be required to provide adequate and proximate alternative parking facility at the expense of the developer for those already enjoying habitual use

B5 Utilities

B5.1 Sewage – We note point 8.67, that the ability of the village to manage sewage with existing foul water and treatment infrastructure may be nearing capacity.  We concur that more precise assessment of this is needed, but would seek to see a formal time frame for this, and the execution of any recommendations arising from it, articulated more clearly either within the policy itself or by separate order.

B5.2 Water Pressure – In recent development applications there have been conflicting messages regarding the water pressure applicable around the village.  In particular the experience on site at the fire on Bazzleways, and the analysis of the functionality of the water provision since then, do not correlate.  We would wish to see SSDC manage a formal assessment of water pressure at all points within the village (and wider parish including Milborne Wick and Goathill) involving both the fire service and Wessex Water to determine and publicise formally what the water pressure is for each area, and how that compares to requirements.  If this elicits recommended improvements a time defined plan should be put in place to execute upon these.

B5.3 Internet Connectivity – We note and approve of the points made by 12.11e within the draft plan. However, given the high reliance on home-based business in Milborne Port, and the reduction in services within the village since the turn of the century, we believe that there is potential for a heavier focus on this point specific to Milborne Port. We would therefore recommend that all new developments of more than 5 dwellings be required to provide fibreoptic connectivity, and that this should be done in a manner that enables other existing dwellings access to any hub that brings such connectivity closer to them.

B6. Flood Risk

B6.1 We note the comments in point 5.4 regarding areas of flood risk (mostly around the Gascoigne River) but would also link these to point 8.67 regarding sewage issues due to groundwater flooding during periods of heavy rain.  This elicits concern regarding the impact of new construction not only at the sites being developed but also lower down within the drainage topography.  At present, the requirement that there be no worsening of existing surface water run-off, at both the site and any destination points, as a result of new development is being observed in Planning approvals (primarily through conditions usually satisfied by attenuation features).  Given the specific issues already identified by Wessex Water, and SDSDC, as being experienced by Milborne Port, we would recommend that this general provision be expanded for Milborne Port and that any new development be required to demonstrate no deterioration to existing surface water run-off and to sewage infrastructure performance.

B6.2 A number of the most recently constructed or outline approved applications have drained into the unnamed watercourse which runs north to south on the eastern side of the settlement, along the bottom of the topography between East Hill and the village itself.  This includes the Solar Farm; the two developments to the south of Wheathill Lane; and the recently approved application on the western section of MIPO1 north of Wheathill Lane.  It would likely be the destination of any further development of MIPO1, and a number of other nearby sites identified in the most recent HELAA, but not nominated for preferred options status. It would be helpful to obtain a definitive assessment of the capacity of this drainage feature to cope with the resultant changes in its drainage profile, and its likely capacity to accommodate future development that might drain into it.  Any recommendations that arise from this could then be added into conditions applicable to any future successful applications.

B7. Neighbourhood Plan

B7.1 In August 2019, the Milborne Port Parish Council approved, in principle. a proposal to develop a Neighbourhood Plan. An application in this regard will be submitted in due course to SSDC.

B8 Environmental Issues

B8.1 Milborne Port has sought and achieved the status of a plastic free settlement.

B8.2 The Parish Council notes and approves the various aspirations articulated with regard to Low Carbon Travel articulated in point 12.11 and policy TA1.  In specific terms related to Milborne Port we would like to see point 12.11d be articulated via an aspirational commitment to the establishment of a safe cycle route, separate from the A30, between Milborne Port and Sherborne within the lifetime of the Plan.

B9 The School

B9.1 We have been advised that the village primary school has now reached capacity, subject to the construction of the housing developments at Gainsborough and the western half of the site north of Wheathill Lane.  There is, we are advised, no further capacity to develop the size of the school at its existing site, because the remaining outside area is required for safe monitored play.  This is already done in shifts, as the outside area does not have the space to accommodate all pupils at the same time.

B9.2 We note the comments of point 8.66 that there are no critical infrastructure needs, and this may well have been true at the time of drafting.  However, it would seem that the situation at the school hasnow become critical.  In dismissing the appeal of application 17/03964/OUT for 56 dwellings at the top of Station Road, the inspector specifically stated that he did not consider the issue of the school because the capacity issue had been identified only after the public hearing had been scheduled (the appeal was turned down based on access safety grounds).  However, he nonetheless raised significant concerns around whether material further housing development could be approved before the capacity issues at the school were solved.  He further stated that the idea of bussing primary school aged children to other villages by way of a ‘solution’ was undesirable in the extreme (“the antithesis of good planning”).

B9.3 We therefore recommend that point 8.66 be reworked to place a priority on solving the issue of school capacity.  The most sensible approach would appear to be utilisation of sites close to the existing site to establish facilities for a section of the student population (see also C2.4 and C2.5).  However, we do not prejudge this, and recommend that 8.66 states that SSDC will work with the Education Authorities, the school Governors, the School Executive, and Parents to determine options and then proceed on this basis.  It would also be helpful to set out clearly what the implications for any future residential applications would be prior to the agreed solution being put into effect.