Question 13

Showing comments and forms 1 to 3 of 3

Object

Examination Consultation Provision for Gypsies and Travellers

Representation ID: 9358

Received: 04/02/2019

Respondent: Mrs Glynis McLaughlin

Representation:

How can the site selection at Dark Lane have been informed by Sustainability Appraisal when the first knowledge of these 2 proposed pitches was by way of letter dated 4th January 2019, which did not state clear intentions of the 2 further pitches being proposed. I firmly believe that NEDDC should have contacted the residents of Jubilee Cottages( nearby residents) with their proposal to identify the site. Correspondence from the NEDDC has been very vague and underhand, 6 households received the original letter from the NEDDC and unfortunately not all understood the contents clearly.

Full text:

How can the site selection at Dark Lane have been informed by Sustainability Appraisal when the first knowledge of these 2 proposed pitches was by way of letter dated 4th January 2019, which did not state clear intentions of the 2 further pitches being proposed. I firmly believe that NEDDC should have contacted the residents of Jubilee Cottages( nearby residents) with their proposal to identify the site. Correspondence from the NEDDC has been very vague and underhand, 6 households received the original letter from the NEDDC and unfortunately not all understood the contents clearly.

Object

Examination Consultation Provision for Gypsies and Travellers

Representation ID: 9611

Received: 14/02/2019

Respondent: Stretton Parish Council

Agent: Charlotte Stainton

Representation:

Summary by Officer.

The SA has been prepared to support the intended allocations rather than as part of considering whether sites should be potential allocations.
The Council's evidence is not consistent in respect of public transport services for Woolley Moor. It cannot be correct for GT/09 to score '-' for transport when GT/06, situated on the A61, also scored '-'.
GT/09 should have scored '--' for health in the same way as GT/08 (which has a GP nearer than GT/09).
It is not consistent for GT/09 to be awarded '-' similar to GT/08, which would result in a small area of woodland, but is not in an area of primary sensitivity.
It is not clear how the Sustainability Appraisal has informed the Site Selection process particularly as this was not undertaken until November 2018.

Full text:

See Attachment.

Object

Examination Consultation Provision for Gypsies and Travellers

Representation ID: 9670

Received: 15/02/2019

Respondent: Sheelagh Judge

Representation:

Summary by Officer.

Significant errors in the screening and sustainability appraisal of GT/09.

The suitability conclusion is flawed as it is based upon errors regarding local services and visibility splays. The identified site size is inaccurate. The site is smaller than 1500 square metres and will not accommodate 3 pitches. The impact upon nature conservation has been inadequately assessed.

ED44d, appendix 5; the conclusion as to scale is disputed. This hamlet consists of some 12 houses. 3 pitches would be disproportionate in scale to the adjoining hamlet representing a 25% increase.

Site Selection Approach (ED44b); Paragraphs: 3.17.5, 3.17.6, 3.17.8 are in correct, not supported by evidence and misleading respectively.

ED44c, the Technical Note, The appraisal fails to give recognition that this site is an open piece of land essential to maintain the setting and the historic environment and character of the village. Adequate mitigation cannot be achieved, recommendation is insufficient.

Full text:

Please find below my comments in relation to NEDDC's proposed traveller site GT/09, Temperance Hill, Woolley Moor. These are set out in response to the Examination Consultation MIQs.
Main Matter 15
Issue - Whether the plan is based on a robust assessment of need for gypsies and travellers
Question 2:
The GTAA is not in line with planning policy as set out in the PPTS 2015. It pre-dates the changes set out in PPTS 2015 and the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
The GTAA uses an outdated definition of traveller which includes those who have 'permanently ceased' to travel.
Two thirds of the 21 respondents surveyed in NEDDC (i.e. 91.3% of the traveller population households - para 6.3 and 6.4 page 81 of GTAA) stated that they did not intend to move suggesting that these respondents did not themselves fall within the 2015 definition. In addition the GTAA identifies a requirement for 1.9 pitches to be allocated to travellers currently in housed accommodation who may have ceased to travel.
The methodology used in the GTAA is therefore outdated and not robustly based. The results of the GTAA assessment does not provide an indication of current need.
This issue is raised by the Inspector in her letter to the Council dated 28/7/2018. In the Council's reply dated 3/8/2018, Helen Fairfax stated that the council will not commission further assessment but will await a refresh of the GTAA due in 2019/2020. Helen Fairfax concludes that the impact of the new definition may be to reduce the requirement slightly, if at all.
This assumption is not based upon evidence and, given the proportion of respondents who would be excluded from the revised definition, it is likely that the reduction in the requirement will be more than slight.
Further, there were no unauthorised encampments (suggesting limited need) in the NEDDC area in 2014 (GTAA table 9.2 page 143). The purpose of the new definition is to prevent unauthorised encampment. It could be concluded that the requirement for pitches may be low.
Since the rules changed in 2015, many councils have found that they need fewer pitches. Tewkesbury, for instance, cut its assessment from 147 caravan spaces to only eight. Four London boroughs, which at the last count said they needed around 50 new pitches between them, now say they require none. Friends, Families and Travellers, a charity, compiled a list of such changes in south-east England. Of the 27 authorities with comparable data, 21 plan to provide less space than before.

Issue - Whether or not the proposed sites identified for gypsy and traveller accommodation would be soundly based in terms of their location and site specific impacts
Question 12 Is the site selection process soundly based and has it been informed by the relevant factors including site location, access to services and facilities, site size and other relevant constraint?
Question13 Has the site selection process been informed by Sustainability Appraisal and is it clear how this has informed the Identification of the sites proposed for gypsy and traveller accommodation?

The Sustainability Assessment of Site GT/09 is flawed
1. Site GT/09 is next to or within a level 4 settlement and should have been discounted for detailed site assessment as part of the updated LAA methodology
Woolley Moor has been designated as a level 4 settlement (see North East Derbyshire District Council Development Limits Review published January 2019).
The Gypsy and Travellers Topic Paper NEDDC May 2018 updated the Land Assessment Availability methodology so as to widen the scope of sources of available land to bring in new potential sites for travellers

Paragraph 4.19 states that:

'As a first step, these sites were screened through the use of criteria similar to Step 1& 2 of the site selection process. Sites are discounted if they:
* are located within the Green Belt or a Local Settlement Gap area; or
* are situated within or next to Level 4 settlements7;'
Site GT/09 was identified as a potentially available site very late in the process. It was not screened in accordance with this agreed criteria. The Site Selection Approach 2018 (ED44b) did not seek to amend this criteria but sought to identify publicly owned land for site screening and to focus upon family-sized sites. It is submitted that the council was erroneous in their late inclusion of site GT/09 for the detailed assessment stage and GT/09 should have been discounted as part of the initial screening process based on Step1 and Step 2.
Para 2.8 of ED44b clarifies adjustments made to the criteria in order to avoid excluding potentially suitable sites too early. Document ED44b does not amend the criteria in respect of proximity to Level 4 settlements.
The reason that all identified sites situated within or next to Level 4 settlements were automatically excluded is because level 4 settlements are defined as having very limited sustainability and sites in these areas will be unsuitable in terms of location.
I would ask the Inspector to examine whether the stated policies of the NEDDC have been applied consistently and in accordance with their legal duty to do so and in particular whether the decision to include GT/09 for further detailed assessment is contrary to their own policy - SS1.

1. The detailed sustainability appraisal of site GT/09 is inaccurate.
Notwithstanding the issues outlined above I would ask the Inspector to consider the following significant errors in the screening and sustainability appraisal of GT/09.
In document ED44d appendix 5
POLICY ASSESSMENT 28. The suitability conclusion is flawed as it is based upon errors regarding local services and visibility splays as detailed below.
POLICY ASSESSMENT 1. The identified site size is inaccurate. The site is smaller than 1500 square metres and will not accommodate 3 pitches of 500 sq metres. The area will be further reduced if the principals of DCLG Good Practice Guidance on Designing Gypsy and Traveller Sites (May 2008) are followed.
POLICY ASSESSMENT 11. The visibility splays have not been calculated with reference to the mitigation recommendations for the eastern boundary.
POLICY ASSESSMENT 25. There is not a post office less than 500 metres away from the site. The nearest post office is in Ashover 2.2miles away. The shop referred to at Stretton is a garage and to describe this as a shop is misleading.
POLICY ASSESSMENT 18. The impact upon nature conservation has been inadequately assessed. The conclusion that 'ecological impacts are not considered likely to be significant' lacks robust investigation and evidence. (see further comment below under Question 28.)
POLICY ASSESSMENT 22. The conclusion as to scale is disputed. This site is near to the remains of old Woolley which forms a separate hamlet and is of significance to the historic environment. It consists of some 12 houses. 3 pitches would be disproportionate in scale to the adjoining hamlet representing a 25% increase.
In document ED44b
Para 3.17.5 GT/09 is not within the target distance of a NHS hospital that provides A&E and mainstream treatment. Clay Cross hospital is an appointment based clinic for orthopaedic and related services. The nearest hospital is Chesterfield Royal Hospital 8.4 miles away.
Para 3.17.6 This conclusion is not supported by evidence. It disregards the stream in the valley below which could become polluted by surface water or other effluent draining away from the site. This stream feeds into Ogston Reservoir which is an SSI. The paragraph makes no mention of noise pollution that may emanate from the site. This part of Woolley Moor is divided by a valley and the undulating topography means that even low level noise, such as conversation, travels and reverberates from one hill to the other with surprising clarity. Further assessment should be carried out regarding possible noise pollution and possible lack of privacy for site occupants. Caravans do not insulate noise efficiently, business may be carried out from the site and animals will most likely be present.
Para 3.17.8: GT/09 the description of the site is misleading. The existing screening around the site is on the part of the site that slopes downhill from the area of level ground where the proposed pitches will be sited. The wooded area will not shield the site sufficiently from view or prevent it from altering the landscape, which is within an area of primary sensitivity according to the Areas of Multiple Environmental Sensitivity Study. The undulating topography provides opportunities for views across the landscape. Much of the surrounding countryside is at a higher level and will look down on site GT/09 and it will be not be possible to shield it from view.
In document ED44c Landscape Appraisal Technical Note for Site GT/09
The Appraisal The appraisal rightly gives weight to the fact that the sensitivity of the area is recognised in the assessment carried out as part of the Areas of Multiple Sensitivity Assessment (Derbyshire County Council, November 2010) which identifies the site as lying within an area of 'Primary Significance' in relation to ecological features, the historic environment and visual unity.

The appraisal fails to give recognition that this site is an open piece of land essential to maintain the setting and the historic environment and character of the village. The history of this open ground is that old cottages were demolished some 50 years ago. The demolition resulted in 'exceptional change' and created an open space on the edge of the village. The NEDDC review of SDL's 2019 recognises 'exceptional change' and states that 'exclusion of a created open space from further development may be desirable to maintain the new setting and the character of a town or village'. In the case of Woolley Moor there are compelling arguments to retain this piece of open land not only to protect the landscape character type (LCT) but to preserve the historical integrity of the area. The cottages and buildings to the south of this land are the remaining properties of the old village of Woolley. This piece of land provides an open view of what remains of old Woolley and acts as a demarcation between these old and traditionally styled properties and the more diverse character of what became new Woolley Moor.


The Conclusion: 'Proposals such as Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation are unlikely to be able to be brought forward without adverse effects on the landscape character of this LCT and the visual amenity of receptors within the local context.' This conclusion is accepted and it is submitted that the issues identified in this response would strengthen this conclusion.

The Mitigation Recommendations:

The first recommendation is to retain the existing natural planting and to respect its root system.

The second recommendation is stated as follows:

'The eastern boundary to the site is open and lacks a physical boundary. Any future proposal for the site should include boundary treatments that respect the character of the local context and help to filter potential views towards the site from the local context, for example, a native, mixed hedgerow with hedgerow trees.'

This recommendation is flawed for the following reasons:
i. The suggested boundary treatments cannot be achieved as envisaged because of the visibility splays that will be required to access the site by vehicles. The mitigation of the boundary treatments would be defeated by on road parking.
ii. Any planting will have to be set back into the site as any overhang would impede pedestrians. This combined with an area to protect the root system would impinge significantly into the site area which is conceded by the council to be smaller than the 1500 sq metres stated.
iii. The planting suggested would not be effective during the winter months and would take many years to establish
iv. The planting suggested would only shield the site from the view of the highway as the surrounding land to the east is at a higher level and looks down upon the site.
v. As GT/09 is approached by car or foot, the openness of the piece of land affords views to the west, southwest and north. It provides an opportunity for a view of the village and to lose the open character of this land would be detrimental to the visual unity of the landscape area.
vi. There are no steps that could mitigate the loss of this open space created by 'Exceptional change' and which is central to the new setting and character of Woolley Moor


Even if the mitigation recommendations were achievable in full they would not prevent the adverse effects that the proposed site would have on the landscape character of this LCT.

The conclusion of the report ED44c recognises the limitations of the mitigation recommendations and continues to conclude:
' .....Proposals which do not respect or enhance the local context, such as Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation, are likely to have an adverse effect on the character of this sensitive landscape.'


I would ask the Inspector to consider that adequate mitigation cannot be achieved nor would it address the issue raised at point vi) regarding the historical character of the village. The benefit to be gained from the provision of a small number of Gypsy and Traveller pitches (less than 3) would not outweigh the irretrievable detriment to the local landscape.



Question 28
Would the proposed allocation be justified and appropriate in terms of its location including access to services and facilities and the site size?
This question has been addressed in part by my comments in relation to the Sustainability Appraisal.
Location and Access to services and facilities
* Location - Woolley Moor is not on an established travelling route for gypsies and travellers.
* The size and location of the site is inadequate and would not provide space to run a business. There are no identifiable sites in close proximity suitable for a business purpose. See para 2.3 of EB G&T2 and page 5 Planning Policy for Travellers Sites, Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) August 2015.
* Para 3.1 DCLG Good Practice Guidance on Designing Gypsy and Traveller Sites (May 2008) refers - there is poor access on foot to the primary school in Woolley Moor. From Temperance hill the road is narrow with no pavement and has a dangerous blind bend. There is no street lighting. In the interests of safety it is likely that primary school children will be transported the short distance by car as are other children from within the village.
* There are no other services available within 2.2 miles of Temperance Hill and these are not accessible by foot due to narrow roads without continuous pavements or street lighting.
* Public transport is very limited. It does not serve the nearest shop identified in ED44b. Accessing employment and amenities/ health care would be very difficult because of the restricted service and inadequate times of the service bus.

Site Size
* The size of the site is too small to accommodate 3 pitches. The available space is less than the stated 1500 square metres which will be reduced further by the mitigation recommendations and required access roads. The GTAA page 175 sets out required 'on pitch' facilities. There is no provision for grazing of animals.
* The site is of insufficient size to provide off road parking for both private and business vehicles and for visitors. On road parking would restrict movement of vehicles on Temperance Hill (a narrow lane) and would reduce the visibility towards the junction of Beresford Lane and to the south of Temperance Hill. There is restricted visibility in both directions because of the natural lay of the road. Parking across the pavement would put pedestrians at risk. On road parking would also counteract the mitigation recommendations.


1. Question 29
Can a satisfactory form of development be achieved having regard to:
* The local environment including the impact on landscape quality
The comments made above in relation to the Sustainability Appraisal are relevant to this question. It is submitted that a satisfactory development cannot be achieved for the following reasons:
Loss of village amenity space and green open space - this parcel of open land has been used for the general benefit of villagers for in excess of 50 years.
The close proximity to an SSI and the close proximity to an area of woodland on the National Forest inventory.
Adverse impact upon the natural habitat. The site supports an abundance of wildlife including badgers.
GT/09 is a parcel of land that has not been farmed. It has remained unimproved for in excess of 50 years. It is mown once per year following the flowering season. It is likely to represent valuable grassland and may contain many species. It is unimproved, species-rich grassland. This is grassland that hasn't been reseeded, fertilised or drained and as such it tends to be full of flowers and wildlife. Loss of unimproved grassland impacts upon the numbers of butterflies and breeding birds, such as curlew and lapwing which continue to decline. The NEDDC have a responsibility to preserve valuable natural resources and I would ask the Inspector to conclude that this site should not be included as available until a full evidence based assessment has been undertaken by environmental conservation specialists.

* Access onto the local highway network
It is argued that there will be an adverse impact on highway safety. It is not accepted visibility splays can be achieved.
The road is relatively narrow with bad junctions at each end of Temperance Hill. The exit from Beresford lane onto Temperance Hill is a junction with very poor visibility. The poor visibility at all these junctions makes it particularly difficult for larger vehicles and for towing vehicles to turn safely for themselves and for safety of the oncoming traffic.

Conclusion

The benefit of providing a maximum of 2 pitches in an area with only very limited sustainability cannot outweigh the harm that would be caused to the landscape character and local environment nor would it be proportionate. This is especially the case when the identified need for pitches is not consistent with current policy.