Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

Crewkerne

Spatial Portrait

6.72 Crewkerne (see Inset Maps 4 and 4a: Crewkerne Town Centre), located in the south-west of the District close to the County boundary with Dorset, sits in a headwater valley of the River Parrett in an area of diverse landscape character that includes rolling hills and steep valleys.

6.73 The town lies at the intersection of the A30, London to Lands End road, and the A356 that links the town with the A303 trunk road some five miles to its north and Dorchester to its south-east. Crewkerne is served by the London Waterloo to Penzance railway line, the station being located on its south-eastern side just over a mile from the town centre.

6.74 The town has Saxon origins, with its strategic location for market trade having encouraged steady growth from the 11th century onwards. Cloth manufacture contributed to the local economy through the middle ages, which later grew to encompass sail-cloth and webbing.

6.75 From its medieval market place origins the town spread south, east and north, with residential growth spreading along the main arterial roads from the late C18, as reflected by the extensive Crewkerne Conservation Area. Local limestone buildings plus buildings in golden Hamstone are strong features of local character. The past 60 years, however, has seen the infill of land between these roads, primarily in the form of large housing estates to the north and south. The main employment area lies to the east of the town centre, concentrated to the north side of the A356 road to Dorchester.

6.76 Crewkerne had a population of 7,511 (ONS Mid Year Estimates 2007) making it South Somerset District’s 3rd largest town. The town acts as a strong functional and service centre for the surrounding area, providing some 2500 jobs, a busy town centre and a range of community services and facilities. In terms of employment self-containment the town is about average compared to the District as a whole with 48% of local residents working locally. Crewkerne does have a higher than average level of manufacturing, which could be subject to decline and undermine its employment role unless replaced by new industry.

6.77 Recent investment in shops in the town centre is helping to support its traditional retail town centre function.