Reasoned Justification for Policy Two 


17 The Mendip Spatial Strategy identifies the five principal settlements which includes Shepton Mallet, as suitable for development. 

18 Under the Mendip Local Plan, Shepton Mallet has been allocated its quota of development, with what has been built and what is in the planning pipeline. This will serve to provide new homes for the community as well as placing additional demands on the infrastructure of the Neighbourhood Plan area. As shown above, this amounts to around 600 houses at Cannards Grave and 134 dwellings from the redevelopment of Shepton Mallet Prison making a total of 734 new dwellings within the parish boundary 

19 A scheme for around 600 new dwellings, a primary school, a local centre, a new permanent home for the annual Mid Somerset Show and substantial parkland open space on a site close to the town centre is allocated in the Mendip Local Plan. Outline Planning Permission was expected by the end of 2021 due to delays in the planning system caused by phosphate run off to the Somerset Levels. This outline permission has still not been granted, a Phase 1 detailed application will be required, a site start is therefore a little way off. 

20 The Shepton Mallet Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group gathered evidence from a variety of sources to assess the expressed need for smaller homes, both for older people wishing to downsize and for younger families requiring homes they can afford. 

21 In order of need, the housing needs of existing residents are: 

• One- or two-bedroom bungalows. 

• Three- or four-bedroom houses. 

• Three- or four-bedroom bungalows. 

• One- or two-bedroom houses. 

• Larger family houses. 

• Flats. 

• Assisted living/sheltered accommodation. 

22 In summary, over the next 15 years Shepton Mallet will need: 

• A range of future-proofed bungalows, particularly with regard to accessibility issues, and houses suitable for those wishing to downsize, thereby releasing larger family homes onto the market. 

• Small, comparatively cheaper housing suitable for rent or purchase by young/first-time buyers. 

• Starter homes (which represent one type of affordable housing). 

• Accessibility should be at the forefront of design when considering development 

23 Master-planning of the strategic site at Cannard’s Grave Rd, has not ruled out the potential for further western expansion and provision has been made in development and highway layout terms to achieve connectivity to the Site SHEP092, which falls partially in the Plan boundary, the southern part of the site falling in Pilton Parish, and is allocated through this Neighbourhood Plan. It was part of the Future Growth Area (FGA) however, in the Main Modifications of Local Plan II this site was removed. 

24 The approach taken in the Shepton Mallet Neighbourhood Plan is to identify a location which achieves the objectives of the Plan whilst also providing a spatial strategy for contributing towards the delivery of the Mendip Local Plan housing requirement shortfall. Therefore, the site, SHEP092, proposed in Policy 2 is allocated. 

25 The proposed location has the main vehicular access onto Compton Road. Middleton Lane is the northern boundary and Compton Road forms the eastern boundary, where both of these are narrow single-track lanes. 

26 Vehicular access proposed onto Compton Rd is expected to cause difficulties. To the south of Middleton Lane, Compton Lane is a narrow largely single-track road, as shown on Fig and any development traffic would need to avoid this section of Compton Road. North of Middleton Lane, Compton Road is fairly wide and should be able to accommodate some traffic but is fronted by residential development on both sides of the road as shown on Fig. Adding significant generated traffic routing along this road will impact on many existing dwellings. 

27 It is therefore recommended that an alternative highway access is identified, such as via the Cannards Grave development and any impacts on Compton Road are carefully investigated with a view to provide mitigations as appropriate. 

28 The increase in population will be partly in response to the increase in employment opportunities in Shepton Mallet. This will increase the need for affordable housing for sale. 

29 Affordability of housing is the major issue in Mendip as it is across much of southern England. Between 2001 and 2006 Mendip District experienced some of the largest house price rises of any of the local authorities in the West of England area. The average price of a semi-detached house rose by 63%. By the end of this period the proportion of young households able to buy or rent in the market fell to 42%. 

30 Average property prices have followed a clear upward trajectory over the past 10 years, leaving the median value 56% higher in 2022 than 2013. The current median price is £245,000, and the lower quartile (entry-level) price stands at £180,000. There is a clear gap between the higher costs of detached housing and more affordable property types. Flats are the lowest cost option, and have also appreciated in price much more slowly than have detached homes. 

31 Comparing the costs of a range of different tenure options in Shepton Mallet to local household incomes suggests that market housing for purchase remains out of reach to all but the highest earners. The average household earns £41,000, but the average home requires an annual income of £63,000 to qualify for a 10% deposit mortgage (in addition to the savings for the deposit). Private renting is more affordable, especially as most rented homes have 1-2 bedrooms, but even the smallest options are beyond the financial capability of lower earning households. 

32 Affordable housing products designed to widen access to home ownership, such as First Homes and shared ownership, would significantly lower the barrier to ownership, providing access to those earning 25-40% below the average income (depending on the products available). More traditional affordable housing tenures that are rented from social landlords and housing associations are vital as the only option for people on lower incomes. 

33 Affordable housing is typically provided and made financially viable by its inclusion as a proportion of larger market developments, as guided by Local Plan policy. 

34 AECOM (Shepton Mallet HNA 2023) has estimated that an average of 6.3 Shepton Mallet households will fall into need of affordable rented housing per year after deducting those who could be accommodated if the current rate of turnover through vacancies in the existing stock persists. This equates to around 127 additional affordable rented homes during the Neighbourhood Plan period. 

35 In addition, AECOM has estimated that there could be potential demand from up to 38 households per year for affordable home ownership products. This estimate counts anyone who can afford to rent but not to buy. However, it is not possible to estimate whether everyone in this large group can afford the cost of a mortgage or deposit to purchase a property, nor whether they actually want to. As such, the total of 764 such households over the Neighbourhood Plan period should be viewed as a loose expression of the potential size of the market segment that such products are aimed at, and who might take advantage of them, but is not ‘need’ in the formal sense nor a target that must be met. 

36 It is therefore justifiable to request an increase in the delivery of affordable housing in order to achieve a more balanced and equitable distribution of home ownership. 

37 Development on this site will also be required to adhere to other policies within this plan which are designed to achieve a housing mix which delivers more affordable homes for sale. 


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Site Allocation Map 

Site Allocation Map



Affordability thresholds in Shepton Mallet (income required £ )

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