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PROPOSED SUBMISSION LOCAL PLAN 2006-2028 - Aug 12

Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

Location of Main Town Centre Uses (the Sequential Approach)

8.88 Town Centre[1] boundaries and Primary Shopping Areas[2] have been identified for Yeovil, Chard, Crewkerne, Ilminster, Wincanton, Ansford/Castle Cary, Somerton, Langport/Huish, Bruton, Ilchester, Martock, Milborne Port, South Petherton and Stoke Sub Hamdon, where it is expected that new town centre uses will be accommodated. Whilst the retail study broadly confirms these boundaries an early review of them is proposed to ensure they provide sufficient opportunities to support town centre vitality and viability.

8.89 The Local Plan does not allocate land for retailing as evidence in the retail study suggests there is sufficient land available in existing town centres to meet short-term needs. The Council may wish to consider identifying sites or extending the boundary of Town Centres through the review to accommodate the medium to long term need.

8.90 National guidance requires local planning authorities to apply the sequential approach to planning applications for main town centre uses that are not in an existing centre and not in accordance with an up to date Local Plan. Paragraph 25 of the NPPF[3] is clear however that the sequential test should not be applied to applications for small-scale rural offices or other small-scale rural development; applicants are urged to partake in pre-application discussions with the Local Authority in relation to such schemes.

8.91 The preferred locations for town centre uses are clearly set out in Policy EP11. The retail study clearly states future proposals for out-of-centre retail development should be carefully considered and prevented if it can be demonstrated that it could soak up significant amounts of identified capacity and/or harm opportunities for Town Centre redevelopment/expansion (to be demonstrated through an Impact Assessment - see Policy EP12).

8.92 In order to achieve the Government's aspirations for a strong 'High Street', retail proposals will be encouraged within town centres, subject to, their being of an appropriate scale for the role of the centre concerned, and their impact on other centres in meeting their communities' needs. Parking provision required in association with retail development should take into account the town centre context and its role for the wider community and be sufficient for the development itself and support additional provision so that the town centre's accessibility and viability is enhanced.

8.93 Applications for town centre uses that are not in an existing centre or in accordance with an up to date Development Plan should be refused planning permission where the applicant has not demonstrated compliance with the sequential approach to site selection or there is clear evidence that the proposal would seriously affect the vitality and viability of a nearby Town Centre.

Policy EP11: Location of Main Town Centre Uses (the Sequential Approach)

In order to sustain and enhance the vitality and viability of town centres, new proposals for town centre uses will be permitted firstly within Yeovil Town Centre Shopping Area and the defined Town Centres of Market Towns, District Centres and Local Centres, followed by Edge-of-Centre locations, then Out-of-Centre sites that are, or will be well served by a choice of sustainable modes of transport, and are close to the centre or in relation to bulky goods retailing, are located immediately adjacent to existing retail warehousing.

Proposals should be of a scale appropriate to the size and function of the town centre and would help to sustain and enhance the vitality and viability of the centre.

Applications for town centre uses which are not in an existing Town Centre and not in accordance with an up to date Development Plan should be refused planning permission where the applicant has not demonstrated compliance with the sequential approach to site selection, or there is clear evidence that the proposal, either alone or combined with other recent and outstanding planning permissions would seriously affect the vitality and viability of a nearby Town Centre.

Parking will serve the centre as a whole.

 
Delivery

8.94 The delivery of retail schemes will be private sector led, but the Council will work in partnership to promote the District's Town Centres as the first preferred location for town centre uses.

8.95 The following delivery bodies will be key in implementing Policy EP11:

  • South Somerset District Council;
  • Town and Parish Councils;
  • Developers and Landowners;
  • Infrastructure Providers.
Monitoring Indicators Target
Amount of retail floorspace developed both within and outside defined Town Centres
Focus new retail development in the defined Town Centre.
100% compliance with the sequential test for all relevant applications.
1. See Glossary for definition [back]
2. See Glossary for definition [back]
3. NPPF March 2012 [back]