South Somerset Economic Development Strategy given approval at District Executive

South Somerset District Council has economic development and growth at the heart of its agenda and this commitment has been further strengthened by the approval of the draft Economic Development Strategy by District Executive.

The approval of the draft Economic Development Strategy (EDS) means that the document can now go out for public consultation, ahead of the final version going before Full Council once the consultation period has ended.

The EDS 2019-28 sets out the vision, key outcomes, priority themes and action plan to deliver economic development over the next ten years in South Somerset.

The purpose of the strategy is to:

  • Provide a consistent vision with clear objectives and priorities for our District's economy through the whole Council approach;
  • Set out how the priorities will be translated into a framework for change together with the actions needed;
  • Identify mechanisms for delivery, including SSDC's own role and responsibilities alongside the responsibilities of public partners and the business community;
  • Establish how we will measure and evaluate outcomes.

The EDS also highlights priorities for economic development and growth established by Elected Members through the District Council's four Area Committees. The priorities set out by Members are to:

  • have active, positive partnerships with key businesses to support a resilient business landscape;
  • encourage small and artisan businesses;
  • bring forward suitable land for small business units;
  • promote and develop tourism;
  • support local food and drink producers;
  • provide employment land and business units of appropriate sizes readily available for uptake by businesses and residents;
  • attract tourists and increase spend in and visits to the District; and
  • support businesses across all sectors.

South Somerset has a thriving and diverse economy, which is home to world leading, high-tech, aerospace, engineering and manufacturing businesses. A strong agricultural sector drives food and drink production and tourism to the area.

Plans are already underway to regenerate Chard and Yeovil town centres, with a draft action plan to boost the town centre of Wincanton also to be unveiled later this year. Other economic benefits have been delivered to the area already, including the extension of the Yeovil Innovation Centre.

Speaking about the draft Economic Development Strategy, Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, portfolio holder for Economic Development at South Somerset District Council, said: "We start from a very strong position with our strategy, but we cannot afford to be complacent about the challenges ahead. We need to ensure that we are ready for opportunities that may come up and are prepared to tackle threats to our economy. The Economic Development Strategy will aid all of this and guide the District Council's work for the next few years and give the flexibility to react to our changing world."

Public consultation on the draft EDS document will commence shortly and details of how you can have your say will be released soon. You can however take a look at the document now by visiting the District Executive Committee agenda at http://modgov.southsomerset.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=136&MId=2295&Ver=4.