TTL response to SSDC Core Strategy to 2026

PLAN FOR SOUTH SOMERSET TO 2026

A Response from Transition Town Langport (TTL)

The following are observations regarding the above plan from Transition Town Langport which is a non-profit organisation that aims to improve the living standards for all residents of Langport and the surrounding area by addressing the major environmental issues facing the local population.  

Transport

There is clearly a need to maintain and extend the current services including consideration of the following:

  • Inter-Somerset railway including a railway station in Langport
  • To investigate the water transport opportunities particularly on the River Parrett and the River Yeo
  • To encourage the use of pool cars and car sharing schemes as well as to provide an affordable community bus service
  • To provide secure and covered cycle racks in Langport and the surrounding area
  • To develop the cycle routes between the towns and villages in our surrounding area

Housing

TTL prefers the term “Homes”.  It is noted that there is limited potential to develop lands for homes due to the risk of flooding and therefore we would like the following to be considered:

  • Floating house-boats on the River Parrett and River Yeo
  • The possibility of using stilts on floodplain
  • The renovation of existing buildings e.g. Hurds Hill and Downside
  • Multiple occupancy homes - co housing rather than separate bed sits/flats
  • Encourage self-building

·         Modular and extendable homes

  • No change to shop fronts which would remove separate access to flats above shops
  • To consider the impact of new homes on the existing sewage works and infrastructure

 

Economy

TTL recognises the need to utilise the unique character of the Langport area, in particular the following:

  • Make best use of cycling, walking and rivers
  • Encourage the arts and crafts in the area, e.g. music
  • Develop rural skills
  • Develop market gardening opportunities
  • Promote environmental tourism
  • Diversification of land for agriculture, smallholders and allotments, and production of foods, orchards etc.
  • Balance of types of shops encouraging sole traders rather than multi-nationals
  • Encourage home working through improved broadband speed and other communications
  • To develop a community hub which could be a pub, village hall or other venue to promote activities within the town and surrounding area

Energy

Given that we are facing the challenges of peak oil and climate change, TTL believes that the following should be taken into consideration:

  • Make grants available for PV and solar panels
  • Lift restrictions on renewable energy installations on listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas
  • Look at feasibility of community scale wind turbines in the local area
  • Look at feasibility of an Anaerobic Digester from local abattoir, farms etc
  • Look at feasibility of bio-gas production from sewage facilities
  • Look at feasibility of district heating scheme similar to those schemes that are quite common in Central Europe

Safe, Inclusive, Sustainable Communities

Since being established in 2007, TTL has worked hard to make Langport a more inclusive community and we have arranged several events aimed at attaining this particular goal.  In order to move forward we feel that any plan should consider the following points:

  • Ensure adequate health services for the population needs, particularly in terms of the demographics for Langport and the surrounding area
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles through local resources including walking, cycling, canoeing and the possibility of a “green gym”
  • Promoting community areas for family activities, e.g. within the town garden and on Cocklemoor
  • Consideration of “low carbon death” e.g. green burial site

Summary

In any plan for South Somerset to 2026, TTL would wish to see the encouragement of community resilience, in particular promoting the use of local resources and expertise to create a long term sustainable future for the community.  This would include local affordable homes, rewarding employment, local food growing opportunities, an efficient public transport network not reliant on own car usage and consideration of local renewable energy sources.  Any plan should also address the main threat to the development of the Langport area, namely the risk of severe flooding.

Cllr Cara Naden

On behalf of TTL December 2010