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Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028


4.70 The RSS (Proposed Modifications) proposed 19,700 dwelling completions from 2006 - 2026 with a breakdown of 11,400 for Yeovil of which 6,400 were to be within the urban frame and 5,000 as an adjacent urban extension(s). Some 8,300 dwellings remained as the provision for the rest of the District.

4.71 Whilst the Government have firmly indicated their intent to withdraw the South West Regional Spatial Strategy which has been stalled for some time at the stage of the Secretary of State's Proposed Changes it remains a live consideration until such time as it is withdrawn. The Secretary of State's Proposed Changes indicate a figure of 19,700 dwellings for South Somerset from 2006 to 2026 (21,670 dwellings pro rata to 2028). It is considered that this figure is inappropriate for South Somerset by virtue of the considerable local evidence gathered specifically in the knowledge that the South West Regional Spatial Strategy would be withdrawn.

4.72 The most important determinant of District Growth should be the employment growth projections set out on Tables 2a and 2b of this report. Of the two scenarios prepared by Consultants (explained above in paragraph 4.56) the higher job figure, adjusted by figures relating to the recent period of recession, is to be used reflecting the Council's aspirations for growth and regeneration and the potential the economy has for growth. The resultant 14,000 dwelling figure however needs to be adjusted upwards to account for an anticipated 300 dwelling figure required in association with recently announced additional deployment to Yeovilton and a provision for non economically active in migrants who need to be accommodated to avoid new dwellings 'earmarked' for workers being occupied by more affluent older non economically active in migrants (potentially up to 5,000 dwellings - from data derived from the South Somerset Housing Market Assessment). Additionally an ageing population is likely to have the effect of reducing the future economic activity rate of the District's population requiring a higher population to provide the same number of workers.

Table 2a: Housing Requirement for South Somerset and Yeovil
a) Economically active 2006 (ONS Annual Population survey)
b) Population 2006 (ONS mid year estimates)
c) Households 2006 (ONS mid year estimates)
Table 2b: Housing Requirement for South Somerset and Yeovil
Scenario 1
Positive Private Sector Led Growth
Scenario 2
Slower Growth
d) Net gain of jobs 2006 - 2028
e) Net increase in unemployment 2006 - 2028
f) Economically active 2028 (f = a + d + e)
g) Total population 2028 (g = f x 2.02)
h) Private households population 2028 (h = g - 2.2%)
i) Total number of households 2028 (i = h ÷ 2.1 persons per household)
j) Number of additional homes 2028 (j = i – c)
k) Population change 2006 - 2028 (k = g - b)

4.73 The second determinant should be likely population growth projected for the Plan period. Table 3: Demographic Growth Projections presents 5 figures in a range from 17,285 to 12,243 dwellings. The most appropriate figure in terms of resilience of approach is the 2008 based household projection figure of 17,000. The figure of 17,285 reflects the estimation for dwellings from the 2008 based population estimates which is understandable similar. The 16,434 dwelling figure reflects the previous one but with known growth 2006-2010 (derived from the latest population estimates) taken into account.

4.74 In determining where the housing requirement should be set within the range given of 9,800 (from the economic projection scenario 2) to 17,300 dwellings (from the 2008 based population projections) it is suggested that the upper end of the range is to be preferred for the housing requirement provision choice because of the economic justification set out above and because it:

  • reflects more closely the Council’s economic aspirations to encourage economic growth;
  • maximises economic growth potential and avoids potential growth inhibition due to lack of workforce;
  • minimises increased congestion and in commuting;
  • maximises opportunities for affordable housing provision and CIL returns (given that the local building capacity appears in place following discussions with Developers and the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment identifies sufficient land);
  • minimises upward pressure on house prices other things being equal; and
  • avoids administrative issues and cost associated with early review of the Local Plan in the event of more rapid economic growth out of the recession than currently anticipated.

4.75 These advantages are principally at the expense, should a bottom end of the range be preferred of pre-committing levels of Greenfield growth prior to their requirement (in terms of the Local Plan this principally means the Yeovil Urban Extension and the Chard strategic allocation). In the event that growth doesn't materialise as assumed then housing provision will lay undeveloped but remain ready to take forward as and when events speed up.

4.76 It is clearly desirable to move on this basis towards the upper end of the projections, however, does one focus on the household projection of 17,300 dwellings or the economic projection of 14,000 dwellings with a supplement for additional dwellings for Yeovilton personnel and non economically active in migrants or some other figure? Furthermore whilst 17,300 dwellings growth represents the top of the range of household projections it is felt more appropriate to consider the middle column figure from table 3 of 16,434 as this has taken into account what has actually happened 2006-2010 (estimated from the Office of National Statistics) in the period 2006-2010. A judgement as to the appropriate level of provision around this resultant figure is now required and a figure of 15,950 dwellings is presented as a reasonable one within the upper range and taking into account the economic projections together with supplementary housing required.

4.77 The market capacity for housing growth and the availability of land are factors that could constrain growth below what would otherwise be the case. However, the Housing Requirement for South Somerset and Yeovil report presents clear evidence of market capacity for the higher provision figure of 15,950 dwellings, and the District Council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment presents evidence that there is sufficient land for development of this number.

Table 3: Demographic Growth Projections

4.78 The higher provision figure serves to maximise the opportunity to achieve affordable housing to meet need and serves to demonstrate that significant new community development can be achieved in Yeovil, Chard, Crewkerne and Ilminster, and environmental impact can be contained to an acceptable level.

4.79 A Sustainability Appraisal has been undertaken of three options for growth. The most sustainable option - the middle of the range at around 16,000 dwellings serves to vindicate the provision now advocated. There is the potential for the national policy objective of growing our way out of economic difficulties to be hindered by the adoption of local economic and housing targets based on low growth rates for both jobs and housing which will serve to deflate growth on a policy basis and produce a potentially self fulfilling prophesy of lower growth.

4.80 The re-appraisal of the housing growth figure saw and sought to emphasise the importance of the level of growth identified in order to meet communities’ aspirations and achieve the Vision for South Somerset. In this regard the level of provision being sufficiently high in order to achieve aspirations was seen as a key determinant of scale of growth. Growth levels need to be sufficient to serve the economic needs of Yeovil as the engine of growth for the wider sub economic area, to secure the Chard Regeneration Framework's Vision and aspirations, to allow for growth in the Market Towns and Rural Centres to retain their viability and vitality and to provide sufficient growth opportunity for the implementation of Policy SS2, and enable rural settlements to grow where it was possible to grow in a sustainable fashion.

Policy SS4: District Wide Housing Provision
Provision will be made for sufficient development to meet an overall District requirement of at least 15,950 dwellings in the plan period April 2006 to March 2028 inclusive.

4.81 The following delivery bodies will be key in implementing Policy SS4:

  • South Somerset District Council;
  • Developers and Landowners.
Monitoring Indicators    Target   
Development of dwellings   Completion of 15,950 dwellings between 2006 and 2028