Monday, January 06, 2014

South Somerset Local Plan - Last few days of consultation

The latest consultation on the South Somerset local plan closes on Friday, details are here, and you can sign up here to comment online. There are getting on for 200 comments at time of writing.

The two main issues in the modifications are:
a) a revised plan for greenfield housing in Yeovil, splitting the original larger site to the south of the town in two, one to the south on the A37, and one to the NE - it would have a lovely view of the floods in Mudford at the bottom of the hill.
b) revisions of a new housing site in Ilminster.

I've commented on 'a', my main concern being the quality of life of people living in the new housing areas. There seem to be plenty of people willing to speak up for the quality of life of existing residents, but my concern is that the space and facilities available in newer estates will get squeezed in response to the protests of the current generation of residents. That's already happened - a larger single estate came with the possibility of a range of facilities, including a potential secondary school and new place of worship. That is now off the table, with two smaller estates instead, and even plans for one of them to make up for the planning failures and poor facilities on an estate that's currently under construction.

We shouldn't be a town that's only prepared to build shoeboxes and give them a bare minimum of local facilities. If that means some sacrifices, then fair enough, other people made sacrifices for the homes that most of us are living in now.

After the consultation, we then have to see if the Planning Inspector is satisfied. If not, then we are into uncharted waters - no Local Plan at all. Whatever people are objecting to, this alternative could be far worse: no limits on development except the vague National Planning Policy Framework, plenty of work for lawyers, and much less local control over what gets the nod and what doesn't. Be careful what you wish for.

Update: neighbouring Mendip council has no local plan, and that's causing problems.

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