Call for more land to help bring jobs to Wincanton
THE former mayor of Wincanton has said the town’s desperate need for employment land must be addressed to help create jobs.
Town and district councillor Colin Winder said he planned to hit the point home “with a really big hammer” that jobs more than homes are needed in the town ahead of the redrafting of the Local Plan.
Mr Winder and town clerk Sam Atherton are to champion the town’s lack of employment land in an effort to guarantee assurances that Wincanton’s needs will be met in the future. He claims Wincanton has been “let down” in the past in favour of Yeovil.
An independent examination into South Somerset District Council’s Local Plan was suspended last month after parts of it were branded “unsound” by planning inspector David Hogger.
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Rather than abandoning the plan which has so far cost nearly £2.5 million, councillors voted to suspend the examination until March 2014 to address the concerns.
Cllr Winder said that this was the perfect opportunity to see that the redrafted plan addressed Wincanton’s needs for greater employment land, and a guarantee that the town would not see any further “mass-housing developments”.
Cllr Winder said: “Over the years we have talked about employment land in Wincanton, and got nowhere.
This is our chance to do something about that.
“The district council has been so busy trying to organise Yeovil that the rest of the district has been shelved. I honestly feel that Wincanton has been left out very badly.”
He and the town clerk will now resubmit evidence to the district council and the inspector in an effort to bang home the town’s needs.
Mr Winder said that the town’s proximity to the A303 and the A371 put it in an “ideal position” for attracting employers. An area to the south west of the town has been mooted as the preferred location for five hectares of employment land.
“We desperately need employment land in Wincanton,” he added. “We have highlighted the area that is most suitable and will put together a document for formal approval.
“It’s going to take a bit of time but we will bring it to the council for approval which will then be presented to the district council and inspector.”
Mr Winder added that 50 per cent of the town’s population currently drove to work. He said: “Half the population has to leave to go to work elsewhere.
Just building houses doesn’t make a town self contained, we need a balance of services, housing and employment. We are being badly dealt with so we have got to hit home with a big hammer what is required this time.”