A few issues and thoughts from reading hundreds of pages of council documents for this weeks meeting. All references below can be found at this link.
- The plan period now goes to 2028, not 2026
- SSDC are aiming to build almost 16,000 new homes in that time. Half of these will be in Yeovil, and some are the sites we already know about (Brimsmore, Lufton, Lyde Rd).
- 2500 will be an 'eco town' to the south of Yeovil, including a primary and secondary school, employment land, and according to the Infrastructure plan, space for a place of worship.
- housing density creeps ever upwards, there's now a standard of 45 dwellings per hectare. Or 'crowded' if you prefer adjectives.
- SSDC want to provide land to support 5750 new jobs in the Yeovil area.
- Next step is a report to full concil in April, followed by more consultations and a planning inspectors report, which will all happen this year.
- SSDC has withdrawn the idea of 'thresholds' for new developments, above which certain facilities (e.g. play space, school, meeting space) have to be provided. There is some guidance on what should be provided ('PPG17') which the council will follow instead. I'm concerned that this weakens the commitment to community facilities. Following the Wyndham Park fiasco (nothing for the community at all) and a downgrade at Lufton (from a freestanding community hall to one tacked onto the new school), the lack of a concrete trigger point weakens the situation still further.
- A new map of protected flight paths for Westlands rules out any development in the direction of Brympton House/West Coker.
- Though the initial thoughts for the eco town involve a 'local centre', possible health centre, and other vague commitments to communit facilities, there is a massive funding gap between the desired and the actual. What will get chopped if the funding doesn't appear?
- According to the Infrastructure Development Plan ('IDP', appendix H, a key document), Yeovil Hospital won't be expanding, but the Trust will be aiming to deliver out of hours services through local health centres, including minor surgery.
- "It is recommended that the need for new religious infrastructure is met by the provision of a 0.5 ha land allocation in the masterplanning for the Urban Extension in Yeovil" (IDP p29). Good to hear, it'll be interesting to see how this progresses.
- The IDP has some interesting stuff in its own appendix, on the phasing of various infrastructure projects. For example, that each of the primary schools on the current key sites will be 2 form entry (that's a new one!), the Lyde Rd one scheduled for 2010-15 (really? There are currently 200 surplus school places on that side of town), and various new community halls with no specified location.
anyway, should be a fun meeting tomorrow.....