Challenges for Shepton Mallet

The Neighbourhood Plan seeks to address, as far as is possible, the challenges that face the community of Shepton Mallet. In summary these challenges are:

  1. Ensuring strategic developments identified in the Mendip Local Plan are integrated into the existing community of Shepton Mallet so they do not function as separate from the existing communities.
  2. Ensuring the strategic developments do not look and feel like ‘bolt-ons’ to the existing community by embracing the best examples of local design and layout.
  3. Recognising that alternatives to the private car as a means of travel, need to be provided for and their use encouraged, particularly in relation to walking and cycling.
  4. Ensuring the growth in population arising from new development does not put an unacceptable strain on existing community infrastructure; Instead, new development should, where necessary, contribute to the expansion of community infrastructure to address needs.
  5. Protecting the significant green spaces, views and biodiversity assets in the neighbourhood area, provide new green and blue infrastructure and provide new accessible green space for the growing population.

Community Aspirations

As part of the consultation process for this plan, a number of issues were highlighted by the community as being necessary to maintain the competitiveness and governance of Shepton Mallet in the future. It is recognised these are outside the scope of the Neighbourhood Plan; however, they have been mentioned many times by the community and inform some of the key objectives, particularly in relation to transport and traffic.

Given that they clearly have such an importance, it is felt they should be documented for the community to see as well as to ensure these issues are highlighted to the relevant bodies. Therefore, as well as being mentioned in the relevant policies section, these actions are identified in more detail in an Appendix - Community Aspirations

Vision for Shepton Mallet

In consultation with the community, the Vision for Shepton Mallet in 14 years’ time has sought to capture the community’s views and aspirations for the Neighbourhood Area. It therefore forms the basis on which the strategic objectives and proposed policies have been formulated.

In 2036, Shepton Mallet is still a pleasant place to live.

It has grown considerably in size, but good planning, which has taken account of the concerns and policies included in the Neighbourhood Plan, has meant that its character as one of Somerset’s historic small market towns has been firmly established.

Shepton Mallet has effectively addressed its key issue of the town centre. It has successfully regenerated the town centre which now boasts a range of independent shops and businesses, and Shepton Mallet has become the “Food and Drink” destination of this area of the Southwest. In particular, the area of the High Street North and Market Place has been developed and has become the retail centre of the town with tourism as its main attraction.

Secondly, there have been great improvements in traffic management and pedestrian safety. The improvements to bus service infrastructure and the development of walkways and cycle paths into and around the town centre have encouraged people to leave their cars at home. This has reduced congestion and the pressure on the town’s car parks, and so has improved the town centre as a place to stop and walk around, and its shops and businesses are thriving in both daytime and evening. This has led to increasing job opportunities for local people.

The protection of the character of the town centre, including the actions taken with regard to former derelict and empty shops and buildings, has led to an increase in the number of visitors and tourists coming to the town.

Access to the countryside and its many walking and cycling routes is easy, and visitors and residents are enjoying the high-quality environment and leisure activities. The environment has been protected with a number of Local Green Spaces being allocated, and our biodiversity has been enhanced.

Better health and leisure facilities have been developed, and those green spaces listed in the Neighbourhood Plan because of their recreational and informal leisure value, have been retained and improved to meet the needs of all sections of the population. In addition, new green spaces have been provided as part of recent housing developments.

Some small-scale housing development has taken place on infill sites, but in accordance with the policies in the Plan it has matched the size, scale and character of the existing built environment and has met local housing needs. This has meant that neither younger nor older people need now to move away to find affordable or suitable housing

A strong community spirit continues to exist, and new residents have successfully integrated into the town, and this has given everyone the opportunity to participate in and live a healthy, safe, and satisfying life.’