Reasoned Justification for Policy One

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1 Mendip District Council's Local Plan states that Shepton Mallet should provide at least 1,300 dwellings between 2014 and 2029. With the housing requirement being a ‘floor’ not a ‘ceiling’ it is important to balance the competing issues that will shape the quantum of housing that should be delivered over the plan period: 

o The Neighbourhood Plan must plan positively for growth and must make its contribution towards addressing Shepton Mallet’s, and the District’s, ‘full and objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing’ as required by the NPPF. 

o There are already a large number of dwellings in the planning pipeline, either within or immediately adjacent to the neighbourhood area that will address a significant proportion of housing needs, particularly for affordable housing. 

o The overall quantum of development must not compromise the sustainability of Shepton Mallet and its infrastructure, particularly its education and health services, and no additional development should take place until the appropriate infrastructure is in place and functioning . 

2 By providing a site allocation in the Neighbourhood Plan, residents, developers, and service providers, will have a greater degree of certainty about what sites are likely to come forward in the future, in what order and for what purpose. In short, by identifying specific sites within Shepton Mallet, decisions on planning applications can be a given a clear steer immediately, and the community is more likely to see the development it wants take place. 

3 Unlike many other areas in the District, Shepton Mallet has a younger population, many of whom wish to get onto the property ladder in Shepton Mallet, so the Neighbourhood Plan seeks to address their needs where these needs are not already met. 

4 The needs of these first-time buyers – young people and families – are currently finding it very difficult to access properties on the open market. 

5 The new strategic developments proposed within the Mendip Local Plan will go some way towards addressing this need, however recent HNA information* indicates there is insufficient planned growth within the Mendip Local Plan. 

6 As a “principal town” within the Mendip District Council area, Shepton Mallet will be required to provide for a significant proportion of this unmet need. Therefore, it is correct to consider the most appropriate site for this future development. 

7 Development has the opportunity to provide for the community’s wider infrastructure needs, particularly in respect of education, green open spaces and biodiversity. 

8 Without a clear strategy for directing growth, Shepton Mallet could be subject to a quantum of additional development that would fundamentally change the nature of a parish that is centred on a single small town. 

9 In establishing the level of new development that should be planned for in Shepton Mallet it is necessary to balance needs with the supply of sites. 

10 The Neighbourhood Plan must deliver the housing requirement set by the Mendip Local Plan of a minimum of 1300 dwellings and this will be achieved predominantly through the allocation of sites in the Local Plan, at Cannards Grave and Shepton Mallet Prison site plus those already delivered. This will serve the needs of Shepton Mallet; however, it will only go some way towards addressing the requirements of local people with housing needs. This is a significant consideration in determining whether additional housing should be brought forward in Shepton Mallet. 

11 Shepton Mallet also has more jobs than the available workforce can supply resulting in a net flow of people into the town for employment, with no available opportunity to live in the town due to the lack of housing supply. 

12 With the creation of additional employment to be delivered through the development at the Mid Somerset Showground site, job growth over the whole plan period is projected to be in the order of 1,300 – 1,500. 

13 In addition, Shepton Mallet currently has the second largest concentration of employment land and premises in the district, leading to further increase in jobs available. 

14 This growth in employment alone will require additional homes to provide for a workforce who currently cannot live in the place of their employment due to a lack of housing available. 

15 This increase in need will bring with it the additional need for affordable housing. Although the strategic allocations at both the Prison and Cannards Grave will deliver a proportion of the identified need, there will still be a shortfall. 

16 The allocation of the site in Policy 2 provides for a buffer of +25% which is considered to be sufficient given the scale of development already allocated to Shepton Mallet through the Mendip Local Plan. 

Settlement Boundary and Site Allocation 

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