Extra week to have your say on the draft Economic Development Strategy

The consultation deadline on the exciting draft Economic Development Strategy has been extended by an extra week to allow more businesses, residents and stakeholders to have their say.

The consultation is now open until Friday 1February 2019, with all feedback submitted helping to tailor and refine the final strategy so that it takes in all relevant views and is fit to take the District Council forward economically over the next ten years. 

The draft Economic Development Strategy sets out the vision, key outcomes, priority themes and action plan for South Somerset District Council, enabling the authority to achieve a clear direction for the economic future of South Somerset.

What does the District Council want to know?

Whilst we are looking for any feedback on the draft Economic Development Strategy, there are three key areas we particularly want to know your views on:

1. The Economic Vision is based on the themes of Ideas, People, Business Environment, Infrastructure, Places and the related Golden Opportunities. What do you think of these areas and the overall Economic Vision.

2. Our approach has six Priority Themes that complement each other and build on our existing strengths while facing our key challenges. Do you agree with the six Priority Themes and if not, why not and what would you change?

  • PT1: Business Support, Retention, Innovation and Inward Investment
  • PT2: Transport and Communications Infrastructure
  • PT3: Economic Inclusion - Skills, Careers and Training
  • PT4: Land, Sites and Workspaces
  • PT5: Supporting Urban Economies
  • PT6: Supporting Rural Economies

3. What do you think of the Action Plan, including the Year 1 Milestones and related Key Outcomes?

How to submit consultation feedback

You can view the draft EDS document at www.southsomerset.gov.uk/eds. All comments can be emailed to econdev@southsomerset.gov.uk.

Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, portfolio holder for Economic Development at South Somerset District Council, said: "Having a defined Economic Development Strategy will help us to achieve a clear direction for our economic future in South Somerset and the feedback obtained through public consultation will enable us to adapt the draft Strategy. The Economic Development Strategy will ensure that we are ready for opportunities that may come up and prepare us to tackle threats to our economy."

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.

Benefits of having a clear defined EDS include having a set and clear direction of economic work, with a framework to work within which will increase South Somerset's chances of obtaining funding from Central Government and regional bodies such as the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, who recently helped to part-fund the extension of the Yeovil Innovation Centre.

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.

Following consultation and necessary amendments the draft strategy will be presented to full council for approval.