Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

Retail Study Update 2010 and Development Implications for Main Centres

9.90 The Spatial Strategy in respect of town centre development is informed by the South Somerset Retail Study Update 2010[1], commissioned to assess the quantitative and qualitative needs for retail development across the District and affirm the retail hierarchy for the District. This has been informed by a household telephone survey plus an analysis of retail trends and town centre health of the District's key town centres. The key town centres are those of Yeovil, the Market Towns and Langport:- 

Yeovil     Crewkerne     Wincanton     Castle Cary/Ansford    
Chard Ilminster     Somerton     (Langport/Huish Episcopi)[2]    

9.91 The Study has assessed two policy options for Yeovil, Chard and for the towns (both Market Towns and Rural Centres) and applied them to the main initial findings from its component surveys. The assessment undertaken considers separately convenience and comparison goods (including bulky goods) retailing in the individual settlements:[3]

  • Option 1 - The ‘constant market share’ approach, which assumes that existing shopping patterns (and market share) will continue at the same level over the lifetime of the LDF.
  • Option 2 - The ‘revised market share’ approach which looks at rising and falling market share for the settlements and identifies the implications that this may have.

9.92 For Yeovil a policy to enhance market share in convenience goods expenditure serves to further polarise retailing in the District to the detriment of the smaller towns whilst a reduced share has no basis in policy terms and does not yield major re adjustments in the towns. For comparison goods expenditure a raised share of growth for Yeovil would cause problems related to scale, accessibility and impact and adversely affect the ability of the other towns to retain their own viability.

9.93 For Chard there is no strong reason to increase the convenience goods market share given the level of current provision whereas for comparison expenditure a pre-requisite is the identification of a town centre site properly integrated to take growth to the benefit of the centre overall.

9.94 For the Market Towns of Crewkerne, Ilminster and Wincanton the assessment again indicates sufficient convenience goods provision to make any increase in share unlikely through increased floorspace provision (there is sufficient in the centre of these towns already and any increase would be at the expense of unrealistic sales loadings). Comparison goods provision could be pursued but again only where realistic site availability is identified.

9.95 For the smaller centres of Castle Cary/Ansford and Somerton the ability to increase expenditure levels in convenience and comparison spending is not realistic due to their size, natural catchment and levels of commercial market interest and more than likely would be at the expense of existing floorspace in the towns in question.

9.96 An upper limit on the future convenience and comparison goods floorspace in Yeovil which corresponds to the constant market share approach is therefore recommended and the figures articulated in the policy below derive from the detailed assessment in the Retail Study Update. The Retail Study Update indicates that the sites it has assessed within and around the town centre are able to meet the short to medium term level of need.

Policy EP14 Comparison Floorspace in Yeovil

The cumulative net increase in convenience goods retail floorspace to be completed in Yeovil is limited to a figure of 900sq m by 2014, 2,200 sq m by 2021 (i.e. an increase of 1,300 sq m since 2014) and 3,100 sq m by 2026.  The overall net increase in comparison goods should be limited to a figure of 10,000 sq m by 2026. The floorspace provision is to be regularly monitored to take account of changing circumstances.

9.97 PPS4 requires that an appropriate range of sites are identified through a sequential approach that are suitable, viable and available to meet at least the first five years of identified need. The Retail Study Update considers a number of sites within the key town centres and the opportunities offered by these sites were taken forward into the assessment of the broad policy options for retailing in the District. The sites are:

1. Cattle Market
2. Quedam Shopping Centre extension area
3. Glovers Walk
4. Stars Lane North
5. Stars Lane South
6. Petters Way
7. Ambulance/Fire Station area
8. East End
9. Land between Boden Street and Silver Street
10. Area around Football Club
11. Carrington Way car park
12. Memorial car park
13. Gooch & Housego building, Silver Street

9.98 These sites have been identified as having potential for retail use to a greater or lesser extent (or intensification of use in the case of Glovers Walk and with High Street frontage in the case of Memorial Car Park, Wincanton) and for either sole retail use or as a mixed use within the site in question. Petters Way, Yeovil is the one site identified that is viewed as not having potential due to its dislocation from the main shopping area of Yeovil, and opportunities for the Stars Lane site will be assessed within the context of the proposals for the Urban Village strategic location (see Yeovil Section).

9.99 Those sites with retail potential would be expected to come forward in the course of the plan period and would be expected to be part of any sequential assessment in the event of a non town centre site being proposed for development for retailing.

9.100 The preferred retail strategy options for main settlements are set out in the respective settlement profiles above. Based on these preferred retail options for main centres it is felt that there is no need to establish allocations to provide sufficient sites in the Core Strategy to meet at least the first 5 years of identified need. The scale of growth identified, with the exception of Yeovil, is not sufficiently large in either convenience or comparison goods floorspace terms to justify a strategic allocation and opportunities for development will come forward to accommodate need. Yeovil’s strategic need is accounted for in the proposed Quedam extension. Should this not come forward a number of other sites have been put forward and these would need to be actively pursued either on their own or together, either as part of retail developments or mixed use developments. The mixed use development allocation at the eastern end of Chard town centre will serve to promote retail uses as part of the wider proposal for that area and as appropriate for an edge of town location.

1. Prepared by GVA Grimley Ltd to update the South Somerset Retail Study 2006 (DPDS Consulting) [back]
2. Langport/Huish Episcopi is now identified as a Rural Centre but was previously identified in the Role and Function Study as a Policy B Settlement (see Settlement Strategy section) [back]
3. In undertaking the quantitative assessment two scenarios were tested in respect of the distribution of housing development; one assumed that all housing development outside Yeovil would be provided within Chard and the other that it would be divided between Market Towns and Rural Centres. [back]