Infrastructure Delivery Plan
Consultation Draft (February 2017)
Representation ID: 5902
Respondent: Mr Eric Singleton
The Infrastructure Delivery Plan must be part of the consultation process, not published after the local plan is adopted. Consequently, the current consultation process is flawed.
Comment Scope As a resident of Unstone, my comments are primarily regarding the plan for the Dronfield area; I have not reviewed sections that deal specifically with other areas.
Overall Summary The plan does not make a case that there are exceptional circumstances to justify the removal of land from the Green Belt around Dronfield. The council concedes it has not considered alternative options in the area. The plan is a developer's charter to maximise profit by building on easy to develop green field sites. It will be especially beneficial to developers who have purchased green belt land at agricultural prices in the expectation that the council would eventually capitulate in the face of their lobbying.
The plan does not cite any evidence of changes in local circumstances to justify the increase from the 285 additional dwellings in the Dronfield settlement in the plan issued for consultation between 12/02/2015 and 26/03/15 and the 860 proposed in this plan. The settlement targets in this plan appear to be a distribution of an overall target based on existing settlement size: that is not planning, it is quota allocation of the crudest form. Whilst the council suggests there is a need for 6,000 additional dwellings in the NE Derbyshire area, developers do not appear to agree. If there was significant unmet demand developments such as the Waterside scheme in Chesterfield would have been nearing completion by now, not still open land.
The council acknowledge the green space, outdoor sports and children's play space in Dronfield falls below current standards, yet proposes to make matters worse by planning to build on a golf course in Dronfield and sports ground in Coal Aston whilst making no commitment to provide further outdoor facilities. This is contrary to one of the requirements of sustainable development: to protect and enhance the environment.
The council acknowledges that there is currently no agreed plan nor any binding commitments or safeguards to ensure improvement of the infrastructure necessary to accommodate the additional demand from the planned 860 additional dwellings in Dronfield. The plan must be as unambiguous in its commitment to implementing infrastructure improvements as it is with respect to the number of dwellings proposed. Anything less than this is a plan to inflict environmental damage and congestion blight on the community.
The plan contains multiple contradictions and inconsistencies and includes statements in breach of the policies contained therein.
The plan contains numerous statements with meaningless verbs e.g. the council will encourage, support (without quantification); seek. The use of this language renders what, at first sight, appears to be council commitments to implement controls and safeguards, completely impotent. The persistent use of this language renders the plan misleading.
Consequently, the plan is unsound.
The whole document The quality of the English and the arguments within the plan fall way below that which should be produced by competent and qualified professionals. In particular, the use of the word 'sustainability' ad-nausea is an example of how the plan is full of bland 'planning speak' with little consideration as to the purpose of the statement or point being made. Significant portions of the plan look suspiciously like a copy and paste of boilerplate text.
The council's planning department should review the plan issued by Chesterfield Borough Council and its own plan issued for consultation two years ago; both are significantly better than the current plan.
1.5 Statement "the Council has produced this document for public consultation"
As a core document for a public consultation it is woefully inappropriate. The text is full of planning jargon; acronyms and references to a significant number of related documents.
For example, section 6 makes repeated references to B1, B2 and B8 usage of employment land. Not until 6 pages into section 6 are these terms defined in policy WC2, below paragraph 6.26. Non-B8 classes (paragraph 6.16) are not elaborated.
At least one referenced document (Derbyshire Infrastructure Plan) is not included on the evidence page on the council's website, nor does a search on its name return a link.
To comment effectively on this document requires critical reading and analytical skills associated with a degree level education.
The FAQ leaflet available at the public consultation is equally challenging to comprehend. Paragraph 2 comprises one 56-word long sentence of 'planning speak' punctuated by one semi-colon and one comma.
Whilst the Local Plan and FAQ leaflet is offered in 5 alternative languages and large print, it is also written without consideration for anyone without higher educational level comprehension skills.
Consequently, the consultation is not an inclusive process. The consultation process is therefore fundamentally flawed.
1.14 Statement "The NPPF states that Local Plans must be prepared with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development".
There is no such thing as the sustainable use of a non-renewable resource, such as the proposed building on land that is currently Green Belt around the Dronfield settlement. The land at Hallowes in Dronfield particularly is currently used for recreational activity; the land adjacent to Shakespeare Crescent in Dronfield is actively farmed. These resources are irreplaceable; once lost, neither will ever be recovered.
The NPPF paragraph 7 states there are three dimensions to sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. The latter includes a requirement to minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.
The proposal to build 860 more dwellings (an increase in 10%) without a commensurate increase in local employment will drive up commuting, CO2 emissions and pollution; that is not sustainable and is contrary to the above NPPF requirement.
1.16 Duty to Co-operate. The only evidence in the plan of the council discharging this duty is co-operation with Bolsover District Council with respect to the Coalite Regeneration Area (paragraph 4.58). There is no evidence of any co-operation with either Chesterfield or Sheffield Councils. This is a major oversight, particularly with respect to the plan for Dronfield.
2.15 The statement "Just under a quarter of households cannot afford market housing" i.e. just over 75% of households can afford market housing. A recent Shelter report suggests on average 80% of families across England are unable to afford newly built homes in their local area. This statement demonstrates that affordability in North East Derbyshire is dramatically better than the national average.
2.17 Statement "The town centres of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh are all in need of continued support and investment to build upon their strengths, and to help sustain and regenerate them into the future."
However, the plan contains no commitments on investment. A plan to build 860 additional dwellings in Dronfield without a commitment to invest in the infrastructure will negatively impact the quality of life of existing residents; driving up congestion, pollution and CO2 emissions. This is contrary to the council's stated objective D1 Sustainable Growth; D8 Addressing Climate Change
2.20 The council notes that Dronfield is the only town with a railway station. However, there are no connecting public transport links from the outer reaches of the town. Consequently, train users who live more than a few minutes' walk from the station use their car to reach the station creating a serious problem with on-street parking. A failure to commit to addressing this issue whilst proposing a circa 10% increase in households is contrary to the council's stated objective D12 Sustainable Transport and in breach of policy SS1 clause C.
3.5 Statement "much needed affordable homes". The data provided in paragraph 2.15 indicates affordability is not an issue in NE Derbyshire.
3.5 Statement "and regenerate and renew their [Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh] towns' centres". The plan contains no binding commitments or obligations that will ensure the delivery of this vision.
3.5 Statement "In planning for growth new high quality housing will have successfully integrated itself into these settlements minimising its impact upon the strategic functions of the Green Belt, and creating strong defensible boundaries for the future."
The council will be aware that a developer owns Green Belt land adjacent to Shakespeare Crescent that is beyond the proposed development boundaries. Any removal of land from the Green Belt will set a precedent. Strong defensible boundaries will only be established with a clear policy of making no changes to the Green Belt.
3.9 Statement "seeking to narrow the gap between the more deprived areas and the more affluent areas". Why is this an objective of the plan? It smacks of left wing social engineering.
3.9 Objective D7 Settlement Identity
The proposal to remove land from the Green Belt adjacent to Shakespeare Crescent is contradictory to this objective. From significant areas in Apperknowle and Hundall Dronfield and Unstone will appear to merge if this land is developed.
The council's planning policies have historically failed to meet this objective; within this plan Coal Aston is shown as within the Dronfield settlement boundary. The plan does not provide evidence as to how it will meet this objective in the future.
3.9 Objectives D8 Addressing Climate Change, D13 Local Amenity
4.5 Policy SS1, Sustainable Development, clauses c and g
Policy SS3 The plan issued for consultation between 12/02/2015 and 26/03/15 stated there was a need for 285 dwellings in the Dronfield settlement between 2011 and 2031, with a residual requirement for 181 after accounting for those built or planned. This plan now states 860 dwellings are required, but provides no justifiable change in local circumstances (i.e. additional employment in the area).
Policy SS3 states that employment growth will be on four strategic sites to the South and East of Chesterfield. It therefore follows that the plan for 860 additional dwellings in Dronfield is environmentally unsustainable; will increase commuting to Sheffield, Chesterfield, and through Chesterfield to the strategic development sites, resulting in increased congestion, pollution affecting large numbers of North Derbyshire residents and increased CO2 emissions. This is inconsistent with objectives 3.9 D8 and D13, and in breach of policy SS1 clauses c and g.
3.9 Objectives N1 Statement "To ensure the vitality and viability of Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh town centres by supporting improvements compatible with their local employment, retail and service functions". Explain what the council will do to ensure these improvements are implemented. The plan contains no binding commitments or obligations that will ensure the delivery of this objective.
3.9 Objectives N3 Statement "To improve the quality of employment land in the north of the District and address infrastructure deficiencies to allow for the expansion of existing sites, such as at Callywhite Lane, Dronfield". Explain what the council will do to ensure these deficiencies are addressed. The plan contains no binding commitments or obligations that will ensure the delivery of this objective. The deficiencies at Callywhite Lane are decades old; the council has demonstrably failed to address them to date.
4.4 Statement "The Local Plan's vision and objectives are centred on .... supporting the health and wellbeing of the District's communities".
The planned addition of 860 dwellings in Dronfield without major investment in infrastructure (e.g. an additional exit and access to the A61 dual carriageway) will blight Unstone which is centred around the major routes from the south into Dronfield. This is contrary to the stated vision and objectives.
4.5 Policy SS1, Sustainable Development, clause a: "key business sectors" is meaningless; define "key".
4.12 The statement "The Local Plan aims to provide new jobs" is both false and misleading. The most this plan can potentially achieve is to ensure the development of an environment sufficiently appealing to attract additional employment. The additional congestion in the Dronfield area is likely to do the opposite.
4.12 Statement "[The Local Plan] acknowledges the 61% of people who commute out of the District to work".
Consequently, the Local Plan also acknowledges that providing an additional 860 dwellings in Dronfield without a commensurate increase in local employment will increase commuting, congestion and CO2 emissions. This is inconsistent with objective 3.9 D8 and in breach of policy SS1 clause (c).
4.18 The Plan notes that all the larger employment development sites are to the East or South of Chesterfield. On what basis does the Council justify a 200% increase in the planned dwellings for Dronfield since the plan issued for consultation between 12/02/2015 and 26/03/15?
4.21 Statement "The Council's Growth Strategy has the intention of raising job densities (jobs/worker) within the District"
The plan to build 860 homes in Dronfield will significantly reduce the job density within the settlement.
4.26 The statement in paragraph 4.26: "the Local Plan aims to direct new growth to the district's most sustainable settlements based on the Settlement Hierarchy" and repeated in paragraph 7.4 conflates settlement size with 'sustainability'. This plan offers no evidence to demonstrate that enlarging an already large settlement by building on land currently designated as Green Belt is more 'sustainable' than other options. As noted in the response to paragraph 1.14, there is no such thing as a sustainable use of a non-renewable resource, such as the proposed building on land that is currently Green Belt.
4.28 Statement "Level 1 Settlements ... are considered to be the most sustainable locations for new development ... because they generate the greatest needs for new housing, jobs, services and facilities."
This statement is misleading: the size of a community does not necessarily correlate to job volume creation. The plan does not provide evidence that Dronfield will generate the number of jobs commensurate with 860 additional dwellings. The chronic underutilisation of the Callywhite Lane employment area in Dronfield is evidence of the councils' past failure to provide an environment attractive to new businesses.
Policy SS9 As noted in 4.59: "The essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence..." and in paragraph 4.62: "National Guidance is clear that Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances."
The evidence base referenced in policy SS3 does not fulfil the requirement for "exceptional circumstances" that are necessary to take land out of the Green Belt.
As acknowledged in Policy SS9 "The NPPF tells us that inappropriate development is harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances. LPAs should respect the permanence of the Green Belt."
The proposal to take land out of the Green Belt around Dronfield is in breach of policy SS9 and the exceptional circumstances stated therein.
Policy SS9 does not implement Local Plan Objective D6 as claimed. The proposed removal of land from the Green Belt adjacent to Shakespeare Crescent in Dronfield breaches the permanent nature of the Green Belt, rendering any Green Belt land adjacent to existing settlements at risk to further encroachment. The council will be aware that a developer owns land adjacent to Shakespeare Crescent which extends beyond that being proposed for removal from the Green Belt. Once development is permitted on part of this land, the developer will inevitably seek to develop the remaining land in their ownership in the future. The council's policy is encouraging and rewarding developers who speculatively purchase prime Green Belt land, at agricultural land prices, in the expectation that councils will eventually capitulate to pressure to develop these sites.
4.64 Statement "This evidence led the Council to undertake a review of the Green Belt during 2016 and provides the exceptional circumstances necessary to justify alteration of the Green Belt boundaries."
This statement is nonsense. A review does not "provide exceptional circumstances". Exceptional circumstances either exist or they do not. This statement is overt evidence of the council's flawed logic in proposing land be removed from the Green Belt. This plan does not make the case that there are exceptional circumstances.
4.65 The statement "This means that if we wish to achieve a more sustainable pattern of development and provide a sufficient level of development in the North of the District to meet needs, we must accept that this will have an impact on the Green Belt." is further flawed logic. As argued in the comments above, the planned 860 dwellings in Dronfield is unsustainable. There is no inevitability to the loss of Green Belt land. The Local Plan contains no evidence that alternatives have been explored.
4.66 Contrary to the assertion in this paragraph, the land adjacent to Shakespeare Crescent in Dronfield does perform a valid Green Belt function. From significant areas in Apperknowle and Hundall Dronfield and Unstone will appear to merge if this land is developed. This land is also currently actively farmed; one of the fields proposed to be removed from the Green Belt has recently been ploughed.
Policy SS11 Statement in 4.73 "the Local Plan seeks to protect settlement identity and avoid further settlement coalescence". Definition of Local Settlement Gap functionality in 4.74.
As noted above, the proposed removal of land from the Green Belt adjacent to Shakespeare Crescent in Dronfield will lead to Dronfield and Unstone appearing to merge. It will also provide a separation of no more than circa 200 metres along the B6057 between Dronfield and Unstone.
The council has patently failed to protect historic settlement identities: Coal Aston is shown as within the Dronfield settlement boundary within the plan; paragraph 4.70 acknowledges loss of settlement separation in the south of the District. The plan is repeating this mistake on the southern boundary of Dronfield.
The council acknowledges in 4.75 that it has been incompetent at preserving settlement gaps. Consequently, policy SS11 is worthless.
Given the council's inability to maintain settlement gaps, the land adjacent to Shakespeare Crescent must remain in the Green Belt to protect the settlement gap between Dronfield and Unstone.
4.78 Statement "Outside Settlement Development Limits, countryside and/or Green Belt policies apply and all proposals for development will be considered against these requirements set out [sic] in Policies SS14".
Taking land out of the Green Belt outside the current Dronfield settlement limit is the exact opposite of this statement.
4.79 The plan states "Further land outside Settlement Development Limits is therefore not required to meet this [housing provision] need." Consequently, there is no need to take land out of the Green Belt around Dronfield.
4.80 Statement "The Settlement Development Limits identified on the Policies Map have been carried forward from the 2005 Adopted Local Plan. However, this only applies to settlements that fall within categories 1, 2 and 3 as set out in table 4.1." Dronfield falls into category 1. Consequently, the plan states the council does not intend to change the settlement development limit of Dronfield. Therefore, on what basis does the council justify the proposal to take land out of the Green Belt?
5.6 The council's figures show that windfall developments between 2011 and 2016 account for 5% of the proposed needs, but windfalls have not been factored into the plan. The council also states minor sites have not been relied upon nor have "major sites with planning permission which do not accord with the spatial strategy." This latter statement is clearly a reference to sites such as Callywhite Lane in Dronfield where there is little prospect of attracting new businesses and land has remained undeveloped for 10 years or more despite developers submitting planning applications for housing.
The NPPF states that ""Very special circumstances" will not exist unless the potential harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, is clearly outweighed by other considerations." Contrary to this guidance, the council has opted to target Green Belt land for development without a rigorous assessment of other contributions to meeting its targets.
5.7 The plan states "There are also a number of sites across the District that have planning permission where there are deliverability concerns and / or a history of unimplemented permissions." The council offer no evidence of actions to understand and resolve the issues leading to this situation, further evidence of inadequate consideration of other options before targeting Green Belt land.
5.8 There is no sound evidence offered for only considering sites capable of accommodating 10 or more dwellings. This indicates the council has been unable or unwilling to fully assess all options before proposing to take land out of the Green Belt.
5.65 Statement "Many households in North East Derbyshire who lack their own housing or live in unsuitable housing cannot afford to buy or rent housing at market rates." is ambiguous without defining "many". It is misleading and, by any reasonable interpretation, contrary to paragraph 2.15 where the council states that just over 75% of households can afford market housing.
Policy LC3 As the council notes, the NPPF states the construction of new buildings in the Green Belt should be regarded as inappropriate apart from a small number of specific exceptions. The scale of development proposed is way beyond that covered by the "limited infilling in villages" exceptional condition in the NPPF. The proposal to develop Green Belt land around Dronfield does not meet the remaining exceptions and is therefore in breach of the NPPF.
5.85 The statements "The Council will seek to ensure that the housing needs of older people and people with disabilities are met" and "It will encourage developers and other agencies to provide dwellings which will enable more people to remain in their homes" are meaningless.
State exactly how the council will ensure this housing need will be met.
It is notable that Rykneld Homes are building four family-sized market value homes on the former Manor Farm site in Dronfield. The site is in close proximity to shops, a medical centre and public transport links. As such, the site is an ideal location for housing for older people, people with disabilities, or affordable housing; yet the council, through its partner Rykneld Homes, chooses to build larger market value properties. Council leader Graham Baxter has said of this scheme: "The key strategic approach to this project is to create a high quality scheme of housing for open market sale, to provide a significant financial surplus". When presented with an excellent opportunity to provide housing for older people or those with disabilities, the council chooses instead to maximise its income from the site. This is indicative of what can be expected to happen if development is permitted on land which is currently Green Belt.
5.86 Statement "The SHMA indicates that there is a particular shortage of market housing and intermediate housing which is suitable for older people". The council is responsible for contributing to this situation. The council has permitted a significant number of bungalows adjacent to Frith Wood and in other areas of Dronfield to be converted to two storey dwellings; more recently bungalows have been demolished to be replaced by family houses (e.g. Carr lane near Stubley Lane). The plan should incorporate an unambiguous commitment by the council to mandate developers to provide a specified proportion of dwellings suitable for older people of the types listed.
5.86 Statement "Access to high speed broadband will allow access to emerging online healthcare initiatives". State what the council proposes to do to ensure this access is provided. If the council do not intend to implement measures to ensure this access, the statement is irrelevant.
5.87 The statement "the Council encourages all new dwellings to be made accessible and adaptable." is a further example of the meaningless statements peppering this plan. I suspect the council meant to say it will encourage developers; it is impossible to encourage a dwelling to do anything.
Policy LC4 Statements "The Council will support the provision of housing for older people" and "The Council will also support the provision of specialist housing"
Quantify what the council means by "support". In the context used support means "give assistance to", requiring a commitment of resources; outside the voluntary sector resources cost money. Define the budget the council intends to set aside for this support and the governance that will determine how funds are accessed and best value is ensured.
Statement "development proposals of 10 or more dwellings should provide 20% accessible and adaptable dwellings". "Should" means this is an optional requirement and therefore not to be relied upon. This statement is of no value unless "should" is replaced with "shall".
To summarise; within policy LC4 the council has not made any quantifiable commitment to ensure the housing needs of older people or those with special needs will be met.
6.2 & 6.8,
Policy WC2 Statement "Existing employment sites will be protected for employment uses". There is no point in protecting land which has remained unused for extended periods and where there is little or no prospect of it being used for employment. The old Padley and Venables site on Callywhite Lane in Dronfield has not been used for employment purposes for at least 10 years and has been the subject of a planning application for housing development. The council acknowledges the challenges of this site in paragraph 6.8 and notes the need for significant investment.
Within the evidence base for policy WC2 the council acknowledges that the NPPF states planning policies should avoid the long term protection of sites allocated for employment use where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for that purpose. It also notes public feedback that "considerations should be made over whether a site should be protected where it is clear that employment uses cannot / will not come forward."
The plan currently states the council's intention to continue protecting Callywhite Lane for employment use but does not include a commitment to the investment it acknowledges is necessary to resolve the issues causing the chronic underutilisation of the site. This is in breach of the NPPF guidance quoted in policy WC2 and completely disregards the public feedback acknowledged in this policy.
The council should therefore release this land for housing to reduce the pressure on prime Green Belt land.
3.9 Objectives D8 Addressing Climate Change, D13 Local Amenity
4.5 Policy SS1, Sustainable Development, clauses c and g Statement "Furthermore the low job density figure reflects that resident jobs relate strongly to nearby employment centres such as Sheffield, Chesterfield and the M1 corridor." Confirms that building 860 new dwellings in Dronfield is environmentally unsustainable; will increase commuting to Sheffield, Chesterfield, and through Chesterfield to the strategic development sites, resulting in increased congestion, pollution affecting large numbers of North Derbyshire residents and increased CO2 emissions. This is inconsistent with objectives 3.9 D8 and D13, and in breach of policy SS1 clauses c and g.
6.7 & 6.8 Statement "...and principal employment growth locations at:
* Callywhite Lane, Dronfield"
This assertion is false. Callywhite Lane has been underutilised for many years because it is not attractive to new businesses.
The council is clearly aware of the challenges at Callywhite Lane and acknowledges in paragraph 6.8 "the need for significant remediation and investment of these large scale previously developed sites". However, he plan includes no infrastructure investment commitment to resolve this situation. The current underutilisation will therefore continue.
The council will be aware of a proposal to build a new office block on the corner of Wreakes Lane (reference 17/00283/FL). It is notable that this employment development is not on Callywhite Lane.
Table 6.1 Statement "Dronfield and Killamarsh are the main focus for employment (B1 & B2) in the North". Therefore the council should state the investment it is planning to make to resolve the difficulties with Callywhite Lane (ref. paragraph 6.8). Without such a commitment, the statement is disingenuous as is including it in table 6.1.
6.20 Statement "the allocation at Callywhite Lane in particular will provide a significant improvement to the quality of the employment land portfolio of the District."
Provide the evidence to support the assertion that Callywhite Lane provides this improvement. This statement contradicts the statement in paragraph 6.8 acknowledging the challenges of the site.
6.22 Statement "Policy WC1 allocates 6 hectares (net) of land for B1, B2 and B8 uses at Callywhite Lane".
To propose storage and distribution development (B8) at Callywhite Lane defies belief. The junction of Green Lane, Callywhite Lane and Chesterfield Road in Dronfield bottom is wholly unsuitable for large vehicle movements. Owing to the narrowness of the road along Dronfield bottom these vehicles also represent a significant hazard to other road users and the large number of pedestrians who frequent the area, in particular the children of Dronfield Henry Fanshaw School. If the proposed link road between the eastern end of Callywhite Lane and Chesterfield Road ever materialises, much of this traffic will then be routed past Unstone Junior School and through the residential area of Unstone Green; an equally unsatisfactory solution.
6.23 The council acknowledges the lack of progress since 2005 on the Callywhite Lane Extension yet the plan contains no infrastructure investment commitment (as it notes is necessary in paragraph 6.8) to resolve these issues.
6.23 Statement "Issues over access in particular need to be resolved but there is a likelihood that with the anticipated electrification of the East Midlands Main Line and (in the longer term) HS2, such issues will be resolved."
How on earth does HS2 have an impact on the access to Callywhite Lane when the planned route is several miles to the East of the site? Provide evidence to justify this implausible assertion. The council will also be aware that the electrification of the East Midland Main Line has been postponed.
7.2 What is the purpose of a historical description of Dronfield which appears to pre-date the development the large areas of housing off Snape Hill Lane and Stonelow Road, and also Gosforth Valley? This reads suspiciously like thoughtless copying and pasting as do other areas of the document.
The Green Belt to the south is to prevent Dronfield from merging with Unstone, a separate settlement dating back to the Domesday Book, not Chesterfield as stated - or do the council's planners now intend Unstone to be absorbed into Dronfield as it has allowed to happen with Coal Aston, now showing this once independent settlement as falling within the Dronfield settlement boundary?
The reference to passing trade on the B6158 (Green Lane) does not make sense; I suspect the author means the B6057, the old Chesterfield to Sheffield Road. Whilst the council may consider this a trivial error to note, it is indicative of the lack of rigour and poor quality of the document.
Policy ID6 The council notes the presence of a train station in Dronfield, but it fails to acknowledge that there are no public transport links between the main housing areas and the station and the problems this causes.
Train users who live more than a few minutes' walk from the station drive to the station and park nearby. There is limited parking at the train station. FODS (Friends of Dronfield Station) have advised that the current free of charge car parking area is to return to the control of Northern Rail, who intend to implement charges and stop parking along the middle of the car park, thereby reducing its capacity. Therefore, the streets near to the station are choked with the cars of train users; this is a safety hazard for both pedestrians, including pupils of Dronfield Junior School and their parents, and other road users.
Whilst the station is "highly valued" and provides "excellent links to Sheffield and Chesterfield as well as locations further afield" as stated in paragraph 7.3, its usefulness is limited by the lack of an integrated public transport policy and plan. This plan does not address this issue and, in proposing the development of 860 additional dwellings without doing so will result in further exacerbating current problems and damage to the environment.
The plan does not "provide the framework for more sustainable transport choices" for Dronfield as stated in paragraph 9.36, fails to meet objective D12, and is in breach of policy ID6, paragraphs c and d
7.4 Statement "The tight constraints of the Green Belt have restricted development in recent years leading to rising house prices and unmet housing needs. The lack of available land within the existing settlement means that meaningful levels of housing growth can only be accommodated by looking around the edge of the town within the Green Belt."
The council's proposal to develop on the Green Belt is in breach of the Government's Housing and economic land availability assessment guidance (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/housing-and-economic-land-availability-assessment) which states: "Unmet housing need (including for traveller sites) is unlikely to outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and other harm to constitute the "very special circumstances" justifying inappropriate development on a site within the Green Belt".
The council has not demonstrated it has sufficiently considered all other options before proposing to remove land from the Green Belt. The council concedes in paragraph 5.6 that it has not considered windfall and it has dismissed the contribution of smaller sites as stated in paragraph 5.8. The continued protection of land at Callywhite Lane for employment when there is little or no prospect of it being used for this purpose, particularly when a developer has previously sought permission to build dwellings on part of the site, is in breach of NPPF guidelines.
The council's proposal to develop on the Green Belt is also in breach of the Housing White Paper 2017 which states:
"1.39 Therefore we propose to amend and add to national policy to make clear that:
* Authorities should amend Green Belt boundaries only when they can demonstrate that they have examined fully all other reasonable options for meeting their identified development requirements, including:
o making effective use of suitable brownfield sites and the opportunities offered by estate regeneration;
o the potential offered by land which is currently underused, including surplus public sector land where appropriate;
o optimising the proposed density of development; and
o exploring whether other authorities can help to meet some of the identified development requirement.
* and where land is removed from the Green Belt, local policies should require the impact to be offset by compensatory improvements to the environmental quality or accessibility of remaining Green Belt land. We will also explore whether higher contributions can be collected from development as a consequence of land being released from the Green Belt."
7.4 Statement "These [parcels of land selected for removal from the Green Belt] have been selected on the basis that they would cause least harm to the strategic functions of the Green Belt".
The council concedes this plan will harm the Green Belt, yet the plan shows the council has not considered alternative options: see comments against paragraph 7.4.
7.6 Statement "Dronfield is significantly lacking in green space, outdoor sports and children's play space."
The statement indicates the council is fully aware that the Dronfield area is already over-developed. Consequently, any further development is not sustainable as claimed. This plan proposes further environmental and well-being damage with the planned building on sports fields at Coal Aston and a golf course. This is the exact opposite of one of the requirements of sustainable development: "protecting and enhancing the environment".
Moreover, whilst proposing yet more development in Dronfield, the council make no commitment to rectify a situation it notes falls below current standards.
7.7 Statement "Overall, the town centre is performing well."
This statement does not reflect the situation in the civic centre where there are currently three empty units, three charity shops and a betting shop which make up 50% of the units.
7.7 The council acknowledges "the condition of the civic centre needs addressing" and should therefore state what level of funding it will provide to do so or how it will mandate developers, who will profit from building the proposed dwellings, to fund the necessary regeneration. The plan contains no commitment to address this issue. The plan completely fails to address the need to improve the infrastructure to accommodate the additional demand from the planned 860 additional dwellings.
7.8 Statement "but the spread out form of the town ... needs addressing in order to maintain the vitality and viability of the town centre".
Then state the council's plans to address the spread-out form of the town centre. Surely development outside the settlement development limits will increase the spread out form of the town?
Table 7.1 Item 1, first bullet: "review of bus services" without a stated commitment to act on the output does not result in the "Improvement of public transport"
Item 1, second bullet: is the council funding the proposed new link road to Callywhite Lane? If it is not, how will it be funded?
Item 1, fourth bullet: what does "Improved public realm" mean?
Item 1, fifth bullet: Explain how an "audit of vehicle speeds" improves balance between car and pedestrian space.
Item 3, bullet 1: "Improvement of the market offer" - how does the council propose to do this?
Item 4, bullet 1: Explain how "review and consolidation of previous audits" will result in making more of existing heritage assets.
Item 4, bullet 2: and what follow-up action will be implemented to secure new uses of historic buildings and spaces?
Policy SP1 Paragraph e(i) where does the council expect "proposals that maximise the benefits from, and protect and improve access to, the railway station" to come from if they are not included in the plan? This plan should include appropriate proposals, not rely on them coming from other sources. Define how the council will support these proposals. As it stands this statement is meaningless - there is no guarantee any proposals will be put forward and no quantification of the support the council will provide.
Paragraph e(iii): statement "Encourage proposals that facilitate the provision of new green space" is meaningless. The council will be fully aware that developers will seek to maximise profit by building as many dwellings as possible within regulatory constraints; they should be obligated to provide new green spaces.
Paragraph e(iv): State how the council will "Encourage uses within the town centre that enhance the offer of the town as an evening destination, particularly leisure facilities" i.e. what types of business will the council attract and how will this be done?
Paragraph f: How does the council intend to ensure developers that profit from building new accommodation will also "contribute to the successful delivery of the Dronfield Regeneration Framework's key themes and proposals" as stated?
8.11 Statement "National policy states that valued landscapes should be protected and enhanced, and requires Local Plans to include criteria based policies against which proposals for any development on or affecting local landscape areas will be judged."
The Drone valley landscape is highly valued by a large proportion of its residents. The council has not fulfilled this National Policy obligation with respect to the proposed development on Green Belt which will have a significant impact on the visual appearance and perception of the landscape.
8.23 It is difficult to discern the different grey shaded areas, however it appears the area around Dronfield is classified as "Coalfield Village Farmlands". This is a grossly misleading classification of the Drone Valley - all the settlements pre-date the development of the coal fields: both Dronfield and Unstone appear in the Domesday Book. The field boundaries visible on both sides of the valley can be traced back to medieval times. The council's proposal to take land out of the Green Belt around Dronfield will destroy portions of this historic landscape. This is in breach of the National planning guidance referenced in paragraph 8.23: "National planning guidance advises that local planning authorities should set out a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment"
Policy SDC11 Figure 8.2 shows that 'use less energy' as the largest opportunity to reduce carbon emissions.
Paragraph 8.53 states "The Local Plan can make a major contribution to mitigating and adapting to climate change by shaping new and existing development across North East Derbyshire in ways that reduce carbon emissions". Whilst the local plan can make a major contribution to reducing carbon emissions, the current plan for the Dronfield settlement will do the exact opposite.
The current Green Belt land on which the council proposes housing developments will currently be a net CO2 sink. The council's proposal to build an additional 860 dwellings on the outskirts of the Dronfield settlement without a commensurate increase in local employment and no binding commitments to provide public transport from the outer reaches of the settlement to the railway station and existing bus services to Chesterfield and Sheffield will increase commuting, CO2 emissions and pollution.
Consequently, this proposal is not sustainable development and is in breach of policy SDC11.
Policy SDC12 The plan notes there is a flood risk in the Dronfield area, however, paragraph 8.59 appears to be a NE Derbyshire Council statement of abdication on this matter, noting that the County Council and Environment Agencies hold the associated flood risk management responsibilities.
Policy SDC12 paragraph (d) states "There is no net increase in surface water runoff for the lifetime of the development on all new development. Run off rates for development on greenfield sites should not be exceeded, and where possible should be reduced from existing."
The proposed building of 860 dwellings on current Green Belt land will inevitably result in significant areas of hard surfaces replacing absorbent land. Consequently, it seems completely unrealistic that current run off rates will not be exceeded. However, the council appears to be relying on this flawed policy; the plan makes no provision for managing the additional run off that will result.
Policy SDC13 The proposal to build 860 dwellings on Green Belt land around Dronfield is in breach of clause (k) of this policy - a requirement to conserve historic landscapes.
Paragraph 8.65 reference to "A Guide to Sustainable Housing Layout and Design"; paragraph 9.9 reference to "Green Infrastructure Study"; paragraph 9.37 (and others) reference to "Derbyshire Infrastructure Plan"; paragraph 9.45 reference to "Local Transport Plan"; paragraph 9.57 reference to "Local Transport Plan 3".
None of these documents are included on the local plan evidence page of the council's website, nor does a search on their name return a link to the document. How does the council expect the public to comment on a plan referencing multiple documents that cannot be found on the council's web site?
This is further evidence that the consultation process is fundamentally flawed.
Why has the council not included a list of references to external documents, including links to where they can be found on the council's web site? A list of references is basic practice when citing external sources within a document.
8.70 Statement "The existing, and likely future, air quality in an area should be considered through Local Plans".
The council's proposal to build an additional 860 dwellings on the outskirts of the Dronfield settlement without a commensurate increase in local employment and no binding commitments to provide public transport from the outer reaches of the settlement to the railway station and existing bus services to Chesterfield and Sheffield will increase commuting and therefore degrade local air quality. The above statement infers the council's plan will seek to improve air quality, not reduce it as it currently plans to do in the Dronfield area.
8.73 Statement "the NPPF acknowledges that good planning should aim to prevent the adverse effects of noise from being unacceptable".
The increased commuting that the current plan will cause in the Dronfield area will have a significant negative noise impact on the residents in Unstone who live along the B6057. The plan contains no evidence to demonstrate that this has been considered or assessed.
Policy SDC14 Statement "Where adverse effects are identified, development will only be approved where suitable mitigation can be achieved which would bring emissions or impacts within acceptable levels".
This policy can only be fulfilled in relation to the proposed additional dwellings in Dronfield through binding commitments to interventions that prevent a significant increase in road traffic through Unstone.
9.5 Statement "The Council is continuing to work with statutory undertakers, utility companies and other agencies to prepare an Infrastructure Delivery Plan which will support the proposed development identified in the Local Plan."
In other words, there is currently no agreed plan nor any binding commitments to provide the infrastructure necessary to support the proposed expansion in housing. Consequently, the plan presented is incomplete, unsound and should be withdrawn and re-issued for further consultation when appropriate commitments on infrastructure provision have been secured.
9.6 Statement "Potential sources of funding for strategic infrastructure could include Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Regional Growth Fund and Growing Places Fund, central government, ..."
In other words, the council has no idea how strategic infrastructure needs arising from the proposed increase in dwellings will be funded.
Consequently, the plan presented is incomplete, unsound and should be withdrawn and re-issued for further consultation when appropriate commitments on infrastructure provision have been secured.
Policy ID1 Statement "Development proposals that would result in the loss or isolation of
existing green infrastructure will not be permitted unless ... a compensatory amount of green infrastructure of an equivalent or better quality can be provided in the local area"
The council's plan contains no such provision with respect to the green infrastructure it is proposing to destroy on the outskirts of the Dronfield settlement. The proposed development at Dronfield is in breach of this policy.
Policy ID1 Statement: "The NPPF tells us that ... policies should be based on up to date assessments of the need for open space, sports and recreation facilities, and opportunities for new provision. LPAs should protect and enhance public rights of way and access, and should not permit development on existing open space except where it is surplus to requirements, or will be replace [sic] by equivalent of superior facilities"
The plan contains no assessment of the need for open space, sports and recreation facilities; it actually proposes destroying both existing sports and recreation facilities at Coal Aston, Hallowes golf course and Green Belt open spaces, none of which are 'surplus to requirements'.
Consequently, the plan for Dronfield is in breach of this NPPF requirement and fails to meet objectives D6, D9, D13 as claimed in this policy.
Objective D16 referenced in this policy does not appear anywhere in the document!!
9.19 Statement "The Council is committed to the protection and enhancement of open space, sports and recreation facilities".
This statement is blatant hypocrisy when the council plans to destroy existing sports and recreational facilities at Coal Aston and Hallowes golf course.
9.22 Statement "The Council has commissioned a Playing Pitch Strategy and an Indoor Sports Facilities Strategy to assess current levels and quality of provision in relation to demand."
In other words, these 'strategies' have not completed the commissioned assessments
Statement "The Council is also in the process of reviewing open spaces, recreation sites and facilities. The outcome of this work will inform the next iteration of the Local Plan."
Further evidence that the current plan is incomplete, contains no binding commitment to providing these facilities, and is therefore unsound.
Policy ID3 The statement "The Council will seek to protect and enhance existing open spaces" is meaningless. State exactly what is meant by "seek" i.e. binding commitments on the council and mandated obligations on developers.
Policy ID3 The Green Belt open spaces around the Dronfield settlement and the playing fields at Coal Aston which the council proposes to destroy are not 'surplus to requirements' nor does the plan contain any obligations for them to be "replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location". Consequently, the plans for the Dronfield settlement are in breach of this policy.
9.29 Statement "The Local Plan does not designate Local Green Spaces, but any forthcoming Neighbourhood Plans may do so."
The plan does not contain any commitment to respect these designations. The council must make its position clear on this matter.
9.30 Statement "Where new Green Infrastructure is proposed, clear funding and delivery mechanisms must be in place for its long term management and maintenance".
Then state how the council expects the funding and delivery mechanisms to be provided.
9.36 Statement "The relationship between planning, transport and infrastructure is acknowledged as crucial in creating successful and sustainable places that work for everyone. Whilst the planning system cannot directly change people's travel behaviour, it can provide the framework for more sustainable transport choices.
The plan for 860 additional dwellings on the outskirts of Dronfield without a binding commitment to provide public transport links to the development areas does not provide a framework for more sustainable transport choices.
9.37 Statement "but there is an acknowledgment that this understanding will need to be developed further through Local Plans and also through detailed assessments such as modelling and Transport Assessments".
In other words, the council has inadequate data on how the plan for additional dwellings and therefore there is no basis for planning needed improvements to existing highway and public transport networks, services and facilities.
Consequently, the plan presented is incomplete and therefore unsound.
9.38 Statements "Derbyshire County Council is responsible for transportation, which includes producing the Local Transport Plan." and "the District Council has only limited control over highways or transport matters".
In other words, the council has no obligation to assess transport requirements arising from the planned increase in dwellings.
As a local resident, I have no interest in the division of planning responsibilities between the different council bodies; I expect them to work together to produce a coherent and complete plan. The current local plan is evidence that this is not happening. This paragraph makes a strong case to merge the current bodies into a single council with responsibility for all aspects of planning.
9.39 Statement "Sustainable modes of travel such as walking, cycling, public transport, car sharing, and alternative fuel vehicles can be provided through good planning and design".
However, the current local plan contains no commitment to provide public transport links to the proposed development areas on the outskirts of Dronfield. This is bad planning. The paragraph reveals that a Transport Assessment will only evidence the damage these plans are doing to the environment.
9.40 Travel Plans appear to be equally toothless; there is no commitment in the plan to ensure the infrastructure is upgraded to meet the increased demand arising from the additional dwellings planned, to the detriment of current residents and the environment.
9.41 Statement "Access to sustainable forms of transport must be integrated into the design of new development".
Therefore, the council must commit to providing public transport links from the proposed development areas on the outskirts of Dronfield to the existing transport hubs in the centre. This plan contains no such commitment and is therefore flawed.
9.44 Statements "Where possible, bus routes should penetrate new development sites through permeable routes" and "Where appropriate, developers will be asked for a financial contribution so the Council and bus operators can work together to improve bus provision for a particular site."
The plan should be as unambiguous about these commitments as it is for the number of dwellings proposed. The council has access to national statistics that will enable it to quantify the requirements for public transport and other infrastructure facilities, but it has failed to address these matters in the plan.
9.45 Statement "Where applicable, proximity and access to rail services should also form part of planning applications"
9.51 Statement "The future focus will therefore be on limiting parking supply at destination."
This policy is myopic and, as acknowledged with limiting parking on residential estates, will result in difficulties as is already the case in Dronfield in the proximity of the Railway Station. The focus should be on providing viable alternatives to car use i.e. frequent and affordable public transport services linking the outer reaches of settlements such as Dronfield with existing transport hubs.
Policy ID6 The council has acknowledged it does not have authority of the strategic highway network; it therefore cannot implement clause (f) of this policy. Therefore this clause is misleading and should be removed or re-written.
Policy ID6 Statement "You told us that ... The Plan should aim to reduce the use of the car and encourage walking, cycling the use of public transport."
Yet the plan contains no binding commitments to encourage any of these. The council appears to be relying on encouraging developers and other authorities to achieve this aim.
9.53 Statement "Funding or developers [sic] contributions will be sought, as appropriate, to support the delivery of key transport infrastructure improvements."
This statement lacks substance and shows no binding commitment to deliver infrastructure improvements. The plan must be as unambiguous in its implementation of infrastructure improvements as it is with respect to the number of dwellings required. Anything less than this offers no assurance against the environmental damage and congestion blight that would be result from a significant increase in dwelling numbers with no commensurate improvements to infrastructure. Consequently, the plan is incomplete and unsound.
9.54 Statement "Proposals for improvements to transport infrastructure will be supported where it can be demonstrated to be necessary".
Define 'supported' i.e. the level of funding the council will commit to these improvements.
Define 'demonstrated to be necessary' i.e. what criteria will determine an improvement is necessary.
Statement "recognising that transport issues to not stop at administrative boundaries"
I suspect this should read "do not stop"
9.56 Statement "The legacy of coal mining has left a number of disused rail routes throughout the District, which have the potential to be returned to beneficial use to reduce the number of journeys made by road, increase the movement of freight by rail, or increase opportunities for recreation."
Like so many statements in the plan, the above fails the "so what" test. Does the council intend to implement measures to develop these rail routes for the purposes identified? If so, state what these measures are. If the council has no plans to develop disused routes, the statement is irrelevant.
This policy merely states the basis on which new transport infrastructure will be permitted. Despite proposing the development of 6,600 additional dwellings 50ha of employment land this plan contains no commitment to implement any new infrastructure or improve existing infrastructure. Consequently, this is a plan to increase pollution and congestion, adversely impacting the quality of life of the region's residents.
9.68 Statement "Where new development necessitates new or improved infrastructure ... the Council will require developers to contribute towards any necessary site specific infrastructure".
This does not address improving local infrastructure outside the proposed development sites to meet the increased demands arising from the planned developments.
9.71 The Infrastructure Delivery Plan must be part of the consultation process, not published after the local plan is adopted. With the IDP, the council is presenting a partial picture to the public and leaving many questions unanswered. Consequently, the current consultation process is flawed.
9.73 Provide details of the Community Infrastructure Levy: who pays this; on what basis are charges calculated?
The paragraph seems to suggest the developers pay the levy and, if it is set too high, it will deter development. However, the details requested can only be inferred; they should be explicit. The author assumes the public have prior knowledge of CILs.
Statement "the Council will therefore also carry out work to assess the viability of the Plan as a whole, and whether there would be enough economic incentive to provide new development with infrastructure requirements in place. This work will help to inform whether a levy will be introduced and what rates would be applied".
The first sentence is difficult to decipher, but the council appear to be suggesting that if developers object sufficiently strongly the council will not pursue infrastructure funding via CILs. The outcome of this policy is entirely predictable; developers will provide the minimum on-site infrastructure necessary to meet any applicable mandatory regulations.
9.76 Statement "Where a scheme is agreed to be unviable or marginal, the Council will review the policy arrangements"
Yet another statement rendering purported safeguards and policies in this plan ineffective. Developers must be required to deliver schemes meeting immutable requirements that ensure the provision of appropriate infrastructure. If these requirements result in schemes being unviable, then there is insufficient demand in the market to justify the schemes. The precedent for this approach is well established in many sectors where minimum standards are enforced through regulation, and products or services that do not meet these standards cannot be offered.
9.77 While paragraph 9.76 is retained, paragraph 9.77 does not provide sufficient protection: "essential" is not defined; paragraph 9.76 renders all the stated infrastructure policies mutable.
The paragraph also states "schemes will not be supported"; that does not mean they will not be permitted, rendering the paragraph ineffective.
Policy ID8 Paragraph (c) of this policy also limits a developer's obligation to on-site infrastructure in accordance with the limitations noted in paragraph 9.68 above.
Consultation Draft (February 2017)
Representation ID: 6115
Respondent: Derbyshire County Council
It is noted from paragraph 9.17 of the LPCD that the District Council will before the publication version of the Local Plan prepare an Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP).
Ideally the IDP should have been published at the same time as the LPCD so that it provided the necessary evidence to indicate what critical infrastructure will be required and where to support and deliver the scale and distribution of growth across the District being proposed in the LPCD.
DCC's Officers would welcome the opportunity to comment on the IDP when it is published in due course and ensure therefore that there is consistency of approach between the District Council's IDP and the Derbyshire Infrastructure Investment Plan (DIIP).
Thank you for consulting Derbyshire County Council (DCC) on the North East Derbyshire Local Plan Consultation Draft (LPCD). A report on the LPCD, including the comments below, will be considered at a forthcoming meeting of the County Council's Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure (date yet to be confirmed following County Council elections). In the meantime, in order to meet your statutory deadline, I should be grateful if you would accept these comments until I confirm the decision made on the report at the Cabinet Member Meeting following a five-day call-in period. I will, therefore, contact you again at that time to confirm DCC's formal comments.
Local County Councillors with electoral divisions in North East Derbyshire District were consulted on the CDLP. No comments have been received at the time of writing, however, I will forward any comments subsequently received.
1 Spatial Portrait
1.1 The sub-division of the District into four sub-areas (North, South, East and West) is well justified and fully supported as the basis to plan for the future spatial growth needs of the District. It is clear that each of the four sub-areas have their own close physical and functional relationships, their own characteristics and development needs to be addressed in the LPCD.
1.2 The analysis in the Spatial Portrait provides a thorough and comprehensive assessment of the issues and challenges facing the District. However, the Accessibility and Transport Section should make reference to the emerging proposals for HS2 and the Government's recent consultation proposals for the HS2 route refinement through Derbyshire, including proposals for HS2 services to stop at Chesterfield railway station via a new link that runs along the existing Erewash Valley line and then utilising the existing Midland Mainline in the vicinity of Clay Cross. Proposals are reaffirmed in the consultation for the proposed development of a new maintenance depot at Staveley. Although not located within North East Derbyshire District, the HS2 proposals are likely to have an impact on the District's economy.
2 Vision and Objectives
2.1 The inclusion of a range of both district-wide and sub-area strategic objectives is fully supported and should ensure that the Local Plan provides for a sustainable pattern of development and meets the future growth needs of the District over the Plan period . In the context of the comments above, Objective D1 could be expanded to indicate that the Local Plan will seek to maximise the economic benefits for the District that are likely to be generated by HS2. It is welcomed that Objective E3 appropriately seeks to ensure that any environmental impacts arising from the development of HS2 are effectively mitigated. Objective D6 is fully supported, which seeks to ensure that the general area of the Green Belt is protected and that the purposes of including land within the Green Belt takes account of the need to promote sustainable patters of development across the District (see further comments below).
3 Spatial Strategy
3.1 The broad spatial strategy set out in Sections 4.1 and 4.2 is fully supported. This indicates that the Local Plan will direct the vast majority of the District's future employment growth to key locations including the M1 Growth Corridor; the A61 corridor; Callywhite Lane, Dronfield; former Biwaters site at Clay Cross; the Avenue site at Wingerworth; Markham Vale; and the former Coalite site. For housing, the Local Plan seeks to focus growth in the four main towns and on a number of the key strategic sites above, particularly the former Biwaters site; the former Avenue site; and former Coalite site. DCC has worked in partnership with, and has been fully supportive of, the District Council's aims to bring these major strategic sites forward for development, not least for their major economic, job creation and regeneration benefits that they are likely to deliver to the residents of the District.
3.2 Historically, DCC has been supportive of such a spatial distribution of growth based on the four main towns and key regeneration sites through the revoked Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan (DDJSP) and more recently the former East Midlands Regional Plan (EMRP) as providing for the most sustainable pattern of growth in the District, particularly as a large part of the District is covered by strategically important Green Belt, particularly to the north of the area.
4 Housing Matters
Housing Provision Requirement
4.1 The housing provision requirement for the District of 6,600 new homes (300 per annum) over the Plan period set out in Policy SS2: Scale of Development, is fully supported, as it would meet the full objectively assessed housing needs of the District based on extensive evidence in the North Derbyshire and Bassetlaw Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), which recommended that the OAHN for the HMA as a whole was between 1,180 - 1,350 homes per year and for North East Derbyshire District specifically at between 270 - 310 homes per year. DCC's Officers are familiar with the SHMA, particularly its methodology and conclusions and consider it to be a comprehensive and robust piece of evidence. The proposed housing requirement of 300 dwellings pa would meet the OAHN of the District in full, consistent with the requirements of paragraph 47 of the National Planning Policy Framework.
4.2 It is noted that paragraph 4.7 of the LPCD indicates that further 'sensitivity testing' was carried out on this recommended OAHN requirement, which subsequently recommended a revised OAHN figure for the District of between 268 - 285 new homes pa. This provides for a robust approach as sensitivity testing of a local authority's OAHN need is now a common requirement of Inspectors at Local Plan examinations. It is noted that the Local Plan's proposed housing provision requirement of 300 dwellings pa is at the higher end of the OAHN figure set out in the SHMA and exceeds the higher end of the OAHN range following sensitivity testing. However, the Local Plan's requirement of 300 dwellings is considered to be fully justified as this higher figure would be more likely to positively support the economic growth and regeneration needs of the District and would be more likely to deliver higher levels of much needed affordable housing.
4.3 It is noted that paragraph 4.10 of the LPCD, indicates that since the SHMA and sensitivity testing work was undertaken, the Government has published the 2014-Based Sub-National Population Projections and 2014-based Sub-National Household Projections. Consequently, NEDDC is currently working with its strategic partners in the HMA to commission an update of the SHMA. This approach is welcomed and supported, as the NPPF and National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) require local planning authorities (LPAs) to use the most up-to-date evidence to inform their housing targets, particularly the latest population and household projections.
4.4 DCC's Officers have previously undertaken an assessment of the 2014-based Sub National Household Projections in comparison with the 2012-based Sub-National Household Projections and their implications for future household growth across the County. The assessment for North East Derbyshire District indicates that over the Plan period of 2011 - 2033, household growth in the 2014-based projections was broadly the same at 5,000 additional households as in the 2012-based projections, so the most up-to-date set of projections may be likely to have limited implications for the District's future housing requirement in the Local Plan.
4.5 Since 2004/2005, North East Derbyshire District has been defined as falling within a North Derbyshire and Bassetlaw HMA together with the neighbouring local authority areas of Bolsover District, Chesterfield Borough and Bassetlaw District in Nottinghamshire, based on extensive evidence first commissioned by the (then) East Midlands Regional Assembly in 2004 and more recently in the SHMA referred to above. DCC's Officers are fully supportive of the continued approach to the assessment of housing requirement across the four local authorities being based on the North Derbyshire and Bassetlaw HMA because of the close functional and travel-to-work relationships that exist between the four local authority areas. This support has recently been reaffirmed in the County Council's consultation responses on the Bolsover District Draft Local Plan (December 2016) and Chesterfield Borough Local Plan Consultation Draft (February 2017).
Settlement Hierarchy and Distribution of Development
4.6 The definition of a Settlement Hierarchy for the District in Table 4.1 as the basis for the spatial distribution of the Local Plan's proposed housing growth set out in Policy SS3 and table 4.2, appears to be well conceived and justified and based on extensive evidence in the North Derbyshire Settlement Hierarchy Study (SHS) (December 2016). The SHS analysed the roles that the different settlements in the District performed for their communities and based the hierarchy on a range of criteria which included population levels, facilities and services, employment opportunities and public transport provision. The hierarchy sets out four levels of settlements including Level 1: Principal and Secondary Towns; Level 2: Settlements with a Good level of Sustainability; Level 3: Settlements with a Limited Sustainability; and Level 4: Very Small Villages and Hamlets with Limited Sustainability.
4.7 In the context of the above, Policy SS3 is fully supported which seeks to focus the majority of the District's housing growth in the Level 1 Principal and Secondary towns of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh; and level 2 settlements of Calow, Grassmoor, Holmewood, Morton, North Wingfield, Pilsley, Renishaw, Shirland, Stonebroom and Tupton. The remainder of the District's growth is proposed to be focussed on the key strategic sites of the former Biwaters site at Clay Cross and The Avenue site at Wingerworth. As noted above, historically, DCC has been supportive of such a spatial distribution of growth through the revoked DDJSP and more recently the former EMRP as providing for the most sustainable pattern of growth in the District. The broad distribution of growth, therefore, with 2,508 dwellings proposed in the four main towns; 1,270 dwellings on the strategic sites; and 1,962 dwellings in the Level 2 settlements, appears to be well conceived and should provide for a sustainable distribution of the District's housing growth.
4.8 The definition of settlement boundaries for the Level 1 Principal and Secondary Towns and Level 2 Larger Settlements identified on the relevant Policies Maps and the approach to development set out in Policy SS12, is fully supported. The use of settlement boundaries is an effective mechanism to ensure that new housing development is provided in sustainable locations within and well related to the District's settlements. It will provide clarity and certainty to the public and to developers as to which land is included within the built form of the settlements and which other land should be considered as open countryside for planning policy purposes relating to Policy SS14, where a more restrictive approach to development is to be applied.
Strategic Site Allocations
4.9 The identification of four key strategic housing and employment site allocations at The Avenue, Wingerworth; Former Biwaters site; and Markham Vale is fully supported, particularly the provision in the Plan for specific policies (SS4, SS5 and SS6) to guide the future development of these sites. DCC has worked in partnership with NEDDC over many years to secure the delivery of these large-scale, previously derelict and contaminated brownfield sites for large-scale housing and / or employment purposes. It is particularly important that NEDDC's Officers continue to work closely with DCC's Officers to secure the necessary infrastructure required to support the development of these sites, particularly highways improvements, school place provision, including new schools, and Green Infrastructure. It is particularly welcomed that Policy SS4 identifies the need for a new primary school to be provided as part of the development of The Avenue site and the need to ensure that development of the site does not prejudice the construction of a link road from the A61 to A617, which is identified in the Derbyshire Local Transport Plan 3 as a longer term strategic highway project.
Land South of Markham Vale
4.10 It is noted that Policy SS7: South of Markham Vale, proposes the allocation of a new strategic employment site to the south of the existing Markham Vale employment site off Junction 29a of the M1 and also in close proximity to the south of the Coalite site, which could provide up to 40 ha of new employment land. The background to the policy indicates that the site could be envisaged as a natural extension to the existing Markham Vale employment site and importantly makes reference to the need to ensure that the proposed allocation of the site does not undermine the delivery of the adjacent Coalite site, which is welcomed and supported. The existing Markham Vale employment site is expected to be fully built out over the next 2 - 3 years as much of the site has been developed and the remaining plots are either under construction or at the latter stages of legal agreement. DCC's Officers consider, therefore, that the proposed new allocation is unlikely to impact on the delivery of the remaining part of the existing Markham Vale site.
4.11 A key concern relating to the proposed development of the site is its impact on the setting of Bolsover Castle. Although the supporting policy makes reference to the need to protect the setting of heritage assets, in particular the Grade 1 Listed Bolsover Castle, DCC's Officers consider it to be important that this allocation needs to be supported by a Heritage Impact Assessment and Visual Appraisal to satisfy the Authority that the policy requirements can be delivered and that any allocation in this location would not impact adversely on the setting of Bolsover Castle or the sense of arrival that contributes to the visitor experience. Officers are concerned that this site could not be delivered in an acceptable form that would not be likely to impact on Bolsover Castle. NEDDC is requested to give further and more detailed consideration to this issue.
Former Coalite Site
4.12 It is noted that the former Coalite site has not been identified in the LPCD as a strategic site allocation but instead has been identified a Priority Regeneration Area under Policy SS8 for approximately 660 dwellings and 70,000 of employment land. The latest route refinement proposals for HS2 that were recently subject to public consultation, includes a realignment on the HS2 line which has a direct impact on the Coalite site, so that the refined route proposals cut across the eastern part of the site compared to the original route proposals which cut across the western part of the site. In its recent consultation response to Government on the route refinement proposals, DCC expressed significant concern that the new route would cut across land that has been identified on the approved masterplan as forming the first phase of housing development on the eastern part of the site, which is seen to be crucial to kick starting the wider redevelopment of the whole site for housing and employment purposes and which could ultimately impact on the viability and delivery of the whole site.
4.13 It is noted that similar concerns have been expressed by NEDDC in the background text to Policy SS8 relating to the impact of the HS2 route on the deliverability of the masterplan proposals, which together with the need for extensive remediation of the site, mean that the District Council cannot be confident in relying on the housing land proposed on the site to contribute to the Local Plan's proposed housing target. Accordingly, NEDDC has identified the site as a Regeneration Priority Area. This is considered to be an appropriate and justified approach given that there can be no degree of certainty that the Coalite site will contribute to meeting the Local Plan's housing target, which would otherwise be likely to be required by an Inspector, if the land was identified as a Strategic Allocation Site.
4.14 However, this will require careful consideration by NEDDC together with Bolsover District Council, within whose administrative area much of the northern part of site falls to ensure consistency of approach. This is particularly important as the Bolsover District Consultation Draft Local Plan which was published in November 2016 by BDC, proposes to allocate the Coalite site as a Strategic Site Allocation.
Other Housing Allocations
4.15 It is noted that Policy LC1: Housing allocations, identifies a range of over 40 proposed housing allocations, which would contribute to meeting the housing requirement for the District over the Plan period of 6,600 dwellings. Each of these proposed allocations will raise a range of infrastructure requirements to support their development, particularly primary and secondary school place provision (potentially including new schools), highway and access improvements and Green Infrastructure. It is noted that a number of the proposed allocations already benefit from planning permission. DCC has previously provided Officer developer contributions and strategic planning policy comments on a number of these allocated sites, which remain largely relevant to their development. Under the Duty to Cooperate, NEDDC is requested to liaise with DCC on an ongoing basis to identify and secure the strategic infrastructure requirements that would be required to support the development of the proposed allocation sites in order to ensure that they provide for a sustainable form of development (see further comments below).
4.16 The proposed approach to affordable housing set out in Policy CS11 and the background text is fully supported and based on an extensive range of evidence. The background text indicates that the North Derbyshire and Bassetlaw SHMA estimated that there was a need for around 560 affordable homes pa in the District to fully meet affordable housing need. The North Derbyshire Housing Needs, Market and Affordability study (HNMA) (2011) included an economic viability assessment which recommended that 40% affordable housing could be delivered in the West Sub-Area and up to 30% across the remainder of the District. Policy LC2: Affordable Housing appropriately reflects the order of the Court of Appeal on 13 May 2016, which gave legal effect to the policy set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of 28 November 2014, that contributions should not be sought from developments of 10 units or less and which have a maximum combined gross floorspace of no more than 1,000 sq m. The recommendations of the HNMA study and order of the Court of Appeal decision are appropriately reflected in the policy approach in Policy LC2.
Gypsy and Traveller Issues
4.17 It is welcomed that paragraph 5.103 makes appropriate reference to the Derby, Derbyshire, Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) and East Staffordshire Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) (2014), which was commissioned by DCC on behalf of the nine city, district and borough councils in Derbyshire, the PDNPA, East Staffordshire District Council and the Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group.
4.18 The GTAA recommended that there was a requirement for 15 additional pitches in North East Derbyshire District between 2014 and 2034, of which 6 pitches would be required between 2014 - 2019, with 3 for each five year period thereafter up to 2034. This is appropriately set out in paragraph 5.103 of the LPCD, which is welcomed. The indication in paragraph 5.106 that although to date, no sites have come forward which allow the District Council to propose site allocation in the LPCD but that work on identifying potential allocations is continuing by the District Council, is welcomed and supported. By the time the Local Plan is submitted to the Secretary of State for examination in public, however, it is likely that the Local Plan Inspector will require the District Council to have identified land in the Local Plan for allocation for Traveller pitches, particularly to meet the five year requirement from 2014 to 2019.
4.19 In the context of this on-going work, the inclusion in the LPCD of Policy LC9 is fully supported, which indicates that sites will be allocated to meet the accommodation needs of Travellers based on independent assessment and which sets out a range of criteria for the assessment of any potential sites that come forward for Traveller pitches, in line with the recommendations of national policy guidance for Travellers in Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (March 2012).
5 Green Belt
5.1 Green Belt covers much of the northern and central parts of North East Derbyshire District. In the north of the District, the Green Belt is very narrow and strategically very important particularly in preventing the coalescence of the urban area of southern Sheffield with the towns of Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh in North East Derbyshire and in preventing the coalescence of the three settlements with each other. The Green Belt to the south of the three settlements plays and important role in preventing the coalescence of the settlements with the urban areas of Chesterfield and Staveley to the south.
5.2 In the context of the above, Strategic Objective D6 is fully supported which seeks to protect the general area of the Green Belt and the purposes of including land within it taking account of the need to meet the needs of all sectors of the District's communities.
5.3 However, whilst the North East Derbyshire Green Belt has been an effective planning policy tool which has assisted significantly in focussing development in the District on brownfield sites and undeveloped land within its settlements, as paragraph 4.61 appropriately points out, the Green belt has also had a range of unintended impacts such as impacting on housing need and the availability of land for new housing growth in some of the District's main settlements, particularly Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh, putting development pressure on green spaces and existing employment land for housing uses, and particularly impacting on increased house process and affordability in those villages constrained by Green Belt, particularly in the north of the District.
5.4 As a consequence of the impacts above, it is noted from paragraph 4.65 that NEDDC has undertaken a Green Belt Review, which provides an objective assessment of the role of individual parcels of Green Belt land in fulfilling the five main Green Belt purposes set out in the NPPF.
5.5 DCC's Officers were grateful to NEDDC's Officers for consulting them in March 2016 on the proposed methodology which was used for undertaking the Green Belt Review. DCC's Officers concluded that the overall methodology was robust and consistent with the agreed methodology for undertaking Green Belt Reviews that was developed by Officers of the Sheffield City Region local authorities, including DCC, in August 2014. Generally, the assessment criteria for Green Belt purposes 1 to 4 appeared to be appropriate and well-conceived as did the scoring mechanism. In the assessment of local landscape character in Stage 3 of the methodology, DCC's Officers recommended that the County Council's Landscape Character of Derbyshire assessment and work on Areas of Multiple Environmental Sensitivity (AMES) should be used for this stage of the assessment.
5.6 Government guidance set out in the NPPF is clear that the Government attaches great importance to Green Belts and that Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances. It is considered that the LPCD has set out an appropriate and well-reasoned justification in sections 4.62 to 4.65 for there to be exceptional circumstances within the District for undertaking a review of Green Belt boundaries. This is because extensive evidence has revealed that there is a significant mismatch between the Local Plan strategy and the proposed spatial distribution of housing and that land availability and demand, such that the level of growth being planned for to meet the full OAHN in the District, could not be accommodated in a sustainable way or where demand and viability were highest.
5.7 Appendix B of the LPCD identifies those areas of land which are proposed to be removed from the Green Belt to facilitate new housing development. Whilst the County Council's Officers would not wish to comment in detail on each individual area of land, it would appear in principle, that all the areas that have been identified for removal from the Green Belt are well related to and / or well contained by existing areas of built development and are those areas which would appear to be likely to have least harm on the main Green Belt purposes and overall strategic role of the North Derbyshire Green Belt.
6 Local Settlement Gaps
6.1 The identification of Local Settlement Gaps is supported in Policy SS11 Historically, DCC has been supportive of the definition of Strategic Gaps and Green Wedges in Local Plans being prepared across Derbyshire through Derbyshire Structure Plans (1980 and 1990), the DDJSP and the former EMRP. Strategic Gaps and Green Wedges can play an important and complementary role a local authority's Green Belt in providing a more localised function of preventing the coalescence of neighbouring settlements.
7.1 Policy ID6 discusses sustainable travel, and although DCC's Highways Officers do not disagree with the points covered in the policy, it is considered, however, that the Policy could be strengthened by the inclusion of a more hierarchical approach to the management of travel demand thereby providing a policy basis to strengthen delivery of sustainable transport networks. Possible wording that could be adopted, for example, that would seek to provide necessary interventions is set out below (in order of priority):
a) Site specific and area wide travel demand management (measures to reduce travel by private car and incentives to use walking, cycling and public transport for appropriate journeys, including intensive travel planning);
b) improvements to walking and cycling facilities and public transport services that are provided early in the build out period of new developments and that they are sufficient to encourage sustainable modes of transport;
c) optimisation of the existing highway network to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport that are provided early in the build out period of new developments, such as measures to prioritise the need of pedestrians above the car and improved or new cycle and bus lanes; and
d) Highway capacity enhancements to deal with residual car demand where the initiatives required under points (a) to (c) above are insufficient to avoid significant additional car journeys.
7.2 The LPCD, however, provides little understanding of the potential transportation implications of its land use proposals. As the Government's Transport evidence bases in plan making and decision taking advice, notes, it is important for local planning authorities to undertake an assessment of the transport implications in developing or reviewing their Local Plan so that a robust transport evidence base may be developed to support the preparation and/or review of that Plan.
7.3 The LPCD proposes housing provision through a strategy of allocating development according to settlement size, Level 1 settlements being the larger towns and Level 4, being hamlets. A 5th category provides for 'Strategic Sites'. As regards the strategic sites at the former Biwaters site in Clay Cross and the former Avenue Works, Wingerworth, both the strategic site allocations are consented and as such their impacts upon the District's transportation networks have been quantified and strategies developed principally in the form of mitigation works of both 'hard' and 'soft' infrastructure on the A61 corridor. A mechanism for developer contributions for their delivery has been agreed.
7.4 The LPCD, however, proposes further significant housing allocations in Clay Cross and in some of the Level 2 settlements. Traffic from these sites could also have additional impacts upon the A61 corridor and on routes between the A61 corridor south of Chesterfield and M1 principally the A6175. However, no information is provided in the transportation evidence base about this.
7.5 Similarly, a number of level 1 settlements are identified for housing growth north of Chesterfield in Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh. Cumulatively these sites could add a further 2,000+ dwellings, however, no information is provided either individually or cumulatively about their likely impacts for each town's transportation networks. Similarly, there are a number of sites within the Level 2 settlements which cumulatively together with the more strategic sites could have significant impacts upon the corridors and in areas discussed above.
7.6 The LPCD proposes a number of employment allocations including Callywhite Lane Industrial Estate Extension at Dronfield and Stubley Lane/Wreakes Lane Industrial Estate. Consideration will also need to be given to the transportation implications of these together with other proposed employment allocations. The LPCD proposes improvements to Callywhite Lane Industrial Estate through improvement of the junction at Callywhite Lane/Chesterfield Road and provision of a new link road between the eastern end of Callywhite Lane and Chesterfield Road, although this is not shown on the Dronfield Policies Map.
7.7 The LPCD identifies a further site at the former Coalite works, as a Priority Regeneration Area. It is noted that this is considered by the LPCD to be of a strategic scale and has planning permission for some 980 dwellings. This site is not, however, included in the LPCD as Strategic Site Allocation, on account of concerns over its ability to deliver housing within the plan period. This site has planning permission with an agreed highways mitigation strategy in place. Whilst Officers can undemand the District Council's reasoning behind the approach to this particular site, as set out above, nevertheless, it does however mean that other sites are now under consideration for housing allocations that have no transportation analysis underpinning them let alone any basis for providing a strategy to mitigate their effects upon the transportation network.
7.8 Section 9.48 discusses the Derbyshire Infrastructure Plan and A61 corridor and need for partnership working. The Highway Authority in response to future cumulative impacts arising from the proposed development on the A61 corridor south of Chesterfield is developing a strategy to both influence travel behaviour and mitigate its impacts. Consideration should be given to developing a similar strategic approach to other key transport corridors in the district, for example the A6175 Clay Cross - M1, and A632 corridor(s).
7.9 Finally, as part of Bolsover District Draft Local Plan consultation, its Evidence Base included an Interim Transport Evidence Information Note. This in turn provided a useful summary of transport conditions in the Local Plan area. DCC's Officers consider that the North East Derbyshire LPCD would benefit from a similar 'transportation paper' setting out a commentary on North East Derbyshire's transport issues.
7.10 The County Council would be happy to advise the District Council over the strengthening of the evidence base on highways and transport impacts and mitigation.
8.1 Policy ID8: Infrastructure Delivery and Developer Contributions is welcomed and fully supported. The policy indicates that
Proposals for development will only be permitted provided they can be made acceptable through:
* The provision of necessary physical, social and green infrastructure;
* Suitable measures to mitigate the impacts of development;
Where new development will necessitate the provision of new or improved infrastructure, and / or when suitable mitigation is required, the developer will be required to:
* Make direct provision of such infrastructure on site within the development; or
* Make a financial contribution to its funding through the use of a Planning Obligation, or the Community Infrastructure Levy, or any subsequent financial / levy based system that the local planning authority may adopt in the future.
8.2 The policy approach above is broadly consistent with the approach to developer contributions set out in the Derbyshire Developer Contributions Protocol Refresh (September 2016).
8.3 The indication in Policy ID8 that the District Council will use Section 106 Agreements, unilateral undertakings, planning conditions, and if and when adopted the District Council's CIL Charging Schedule to secure necessary infrastructure is broadly welcomed and supported.
Infrastructure Delivery Plan
8.4 National planning policy in the NPPF requires that Local Plans should be supported by evidence of what physical, social and green infrastructure is needed to support the overall quantum and distribution of growth proposed in the Plan. In this context it is noted from paragraph 9.17 of the LPCD that the District Council will before the publication version of the Local Plan prepare an Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP). Whilst the production of an IDP is welcomed, ideally the IDP should have been published at the same time as the LPCD so that it provided the necessary evidence to indicate what critical infrastructure will be required and where to support and deliver the scale and distribution of growth across the District being proposed in the LPCD. Notwithstanding the above, DCC's Officers would welcome the opportunity to comment on the IDP when it is published in due course. DCC is currently replacing the Derbyshire Infrastructure Plan with the Derbyshire Infrastructure Investment Plan (DIIP), particularly the identification of strategic priority infrastructure projects that are seen as crucial to the delivery of growth in each district and borough of the County. DCC''s Officers will be keen to ensure therefore that there is consistency of approach between the District Council's IDP and the DIIP.
Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)
8.5 It is noted from paragraphs 9.73 and 9.74 that the District Council sees the production of the IDP as a first step in determining whether the introduction of a CIL would be appropriate for the District; that the District Council intends to carry out work to assess viability of the Plan as a whole and whether there would be enough economic incentive to provide new development with infrastructure requirements in place; and that this work will help inform whether a CIL will be introduced and what rates would be applied.
8.6 The approach above is justified and supported. Should the District Council decide to introduce a CIL, DCC's Officers would request that the District Council consults the County Council early in the process of drafting its CIL Charging Schedule. The County Council would wish to consider what infrastructure provided by the County Council is included on the Regulation 123 list as the County Council needs to be satisfied that the proposed CIL income would be adequate to fund the provision of this strategic infrastructure, especially with regard to school place provision and that any projects to be funded are appropriately identified in the Regulation 123 list.
8.7 The main concern from an education point of view relates to the District Council's indication above that it is considering the potential to fund infrastructure through the implementation of a CIL. From an education point of view DCCs officers would wish to ensure that the CIL pot was adequate to fund the necessary developments in schools necessitated by the Plan's proposed housing growth and did not result in funding that was less than that which is achieved through Section 106 contributions. Should the County Council not wish to include certain items of infrastructure on the Regulation 123 list, DCC officers would wish to ensure that the level at which the CIL is charged would not preclude the development from also making contributions through S106 to these items.
8.8 As noted above, the LPCD has proposed the allocation of over 40 strategic and other housing allocation sites to meet the District's housing requirement of 6,600 dwellings over the Plan period. NEDDC's Officers are requested to continue to liaise with DCC's Children's Services Officers to consider the primary and secondary school place requirements generated by these proposed housing developments in the LPCD.
9 Landscape Comments
9.1 The LPCD's approach to landscape and landscape character is broadly welcomed and supported. It is particularly welcomed that many of the Plan's proposed housing allocations appear to accord with the landscape and visual impact recommendations DCC's Officers made as part of the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) process.
9.2 Policy SS8 identifies the former Coalite site as a Strategic Priority Area. The proposed collaborative working between NEDDC and BDC to address the comprehensive restoration of the former Coalite site is fully supported but DCC's Officers still have concerns about the potential scale of development as currently proposed with respect to its potential impact on landscape character and the setting/sense of arrival at Bolsover Castle (see comments above).
9.3 Policy SS11: Local Settlement Gaps and Policy SS13: Development in Small Villages and Hamlets, are both supported where they will assist in protecting landscape character in those areas defined by nucleated settlement patterns such as the Derbyshire coalfield, and also those areas with a more dispersed settlement pattern with small villages and hamlets, typical of the Peak Fringe. Overall this approach will assist in preventing urban sprawl and alongside other policies in the Plan, it should help to restrict development within the countryside.
10 Minerals Comments
10.1 It is welcomed that paragraphs 8.89 - 8.93 appropriately make reference to the fact that mineral resources are essential to support economic growth and are a finite resource; that there is an important need to ensure that minerals of national and local importance are not needlessly sterilised by non-minerals development; and that prior extraction of minerals is considered, if it is necessary for non-minerals development to take place.
10.2 It is particularly welcomed that reference is made to the emerging Derbyshire and Derby Minerals Local Plan (DDMLP), which is being progressed by DCC and Derby City Council which will review Mineral Safeguarding Areas (MSA) and Mineral Consultation Areas (MCA) to prevent the unnecessary sterilisation of the minerals resource across the County, which is likely to include minerals resources in North East Derbyshire District. In this context, paragraph 8.92 is fully supported which indicates that within MSAs and MCAs defined in the emerging DDMLP, the presence of the mineral resource will be considered by the District Council as part of the determination of planning applications and once confirmed in the DDMLP, MSAs and MCAs will be illustrated on the North East Derbyshire Local Plan's Policies Map.