North East Derbyshire Publication Draft Local Plan (Reg 19)

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Object

North East Derbyshire Publication Draft Local Plan (Reg 19)

Policy LC1: Housing Allocations

Representation ID: 7838

Received: 04/04/2018

Respondent: Gill Lane Plots Owners Association LLP

Agent: Emery Planning

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

Duty to Co-operate test interpreted by Council officer.

Please see the attached representation:
In summary we raise objections to the proposed publication Draft Plan for the
grounds set out below we consider that in its current form the Plan does not meet
the tests of soundness.

We consider that the plan in its current form is neither effective nor positively
prepared. We disagree with the reduced housing requirement for Grassmoor and
consider that it should accommodate a greater proportion of NE Derbyshire's
housing requirement. Our client's site at Gills Lane, Grassmoor is located in a
sustainable location and should be allocated for residential development.

Change suggested by respondent:

The attached representation set out our objections and the changes we propose.
In summary, we suggest that the following are changes are made to the plan to
make it sound:
* It is suggested that Table 4.2 is altered to provide for additional housing to be
accommodated in Grassmoor.
* Our client's site at Gill's Lane, Grassmoor should be allocated for residential
development.

Full text:

Please see the attached representation:
In summary we raise objections to the proposed publication Draft Plan for the
grounds set out below we consider that in its current form the Plan does not meet
the tests of soundness.

We consider that the plan in its current form is neither effective nor positively
prepared. We disagree with the reduced housing requirement for Grassmoor and
consider that it should accommodate a greater proportion of NE Derbyshire's
housing requirement. Our client's site at Gills Lane, Grassmoor is located in a
sustainable location and should be allocated for residential development.


Additional Sheet:
1.1 Emery Planning is instructed by Adrian Jones of the Gill Lane Plot Owners LLP to submit representations to the North East Derbyshire Local Plan (Publication Draft) 2014-2034. This statement sets out our client's response to the consultation.

1.2 We raise objections to the proposed publication Draft Plan. For the reasons set out below we consider that in its current form the Plan does not meet the test of soundness set out within paragraph 182 of the Framework as it is not consistent with national planning policy, justified, effective or positively prepared.

Policy LC1 (Housing Allocations)
1.3 In terms of the distribution of development set out at Table 4.2, we consider that Grassmoor should accommodate a greater proportion of the proposed housing requirement. The settlement is a sustainable location for growth, offering good access to jobs, services and amenities. This is accepted through the identification of Grassmoor as a Level 2 Settlement (large village).

1.4 The Council's decision to reduce the requirement in Grassmoor (and other Level 2, sustainable settlements) from that put forward in the initial draft of the plan has not been justified and would result in the development needs for Grassmoor not being met.

1.5 There are potential significant benefits that could be achieved through promoting further growth within the settlement, including the social benefits of delivering housing to meet the housing requirement, and also the economic and regeneration benefits associated with providing additional housing. There is significant potential for increased inward investment from new residents in Grassmoor, potentially enhancing the centre of the settlement and its amentiies.
Furthermore, Grassmoor is capable of accommodating significant growth, with few constraints.

1.6 As we set out below, our client is promoting a site in Grassmoor which we consider to be suitable for allocation in the emerging Local Plan, and as a deliverable site it can contribute to addressing housing needs in the short term.

1.7 Our client is promoting the land south of Gill's Lane, Grassmoor (see attached site location plan) for residential development (Schedule of Sites Consultation reference: GRA/1901). The site was identified in the 2015 Schedule of Sites Consultation as having potential for long term housing development post 2022. However following assessment through the 2017 Housing Site Assessment Report (Land Availability Assessment (LAA)) the site has been discounted as 'not developable'. We disagree with the conclusions of the LAA and support the site's allocation for residential use in the plan.

1.8 The site comprises two fields currently used for agricultural purposes (pasture and grazing). It is approximately 4.1ha in size, and is capable of accommodating around 120 dwellings.

1.9 The site is greenfield and is free of any significant constraints. There are no TPO's present on the site are there are not known to be any protected species.
1.10 Contrary to the assessment in the LAA commercially viable access to the site is achievable via the Council owned land to the rear of Broom Drive. However, alternative access can be taken via Council owned land without the loss of any existing houses.

1.11 Discussions have been ongoing for some time with the Council in regard to the possible purchase of Council owned land to facilitate access to the development site. The Council has stated that the land could be made available depending upon the outcome of the Local Plan. Indeed if the site were to be allocated for development then there would be no good reason not to sell the land to our client.

1.12 It is of note that alternative site access is achievable via demolition of existing affordable houses on Broom Lane which are in a poor state of repair. Were this option to be taken alternative, much higher quality, modern specification replacement affordable housing could be provided within the site.


1.1 The provision of such affordable housing in this location could enable further regeneration of the housing stock on Broom Lane through the re-allocation of residents. Alternatively Section 106 contributions could be used to improve the existing affordable housing stock in the area. Other potential benefits that could be achieved through the proposed development include new open space provision, planning contributions for community facilities, and economic benefits such as increased spend to local shops and services, and provision of the New Homes Bonus.

1.2 Initial pre-application discussions have been held between our client's highway consultants (Steer Davies Gleave) and the Local Highways Authority and there is no evidence to suggest that the costs of highway works to create a safe and suitable access is in anyway economically prohibitive. As such it is considered that site access is achievable.

1.3 The Council's key objection to the site is identified as the fact the site lies on the edge of Grassmoor, and it would extend into countryside which in the emerging plan is covered by the Local Settlement Gap designation.

1.4 As we set out in our response to Policy SS11, we consider that the proposed Local Settlement Gap designation is not justified, and therefore should not prohibit the allocation of this sustainably located site adjacent to the settlement boundary of Grassmoor. The site represents a logical extension to it which would be in no way detrimental to the landscape character of the area or result in any coalescence between settlements.

1.5 To inform the previous pre-application discussions, architects were instructed to consider the development opportunities to the site. The attached "Base Line Assessment, Urban Design Framework and Draft Masterplan Proposals" demonstrates how the site could be developed to achieve high quality sustainable development.

CHANGE: It is proposed that Table 4.2 is altered to allow further housing numbers to be accommodated with Grassmoor which is identified as a sustainable location. Our client's site at Gill's Lane is considered to be suitable for accommodating a portion of the future housing needs of Grassmoor within the plan period. It should therefore be included as a housing allocation to Policy LC1.

Object

North East Derbyshire Publication Draft Local Plan (Reg 19)

Policy SS11: Local Settlement Gaps

Representation ID: 7839

Received: 04/04/2018

Respondent: Gill Lane Plots Owners Association LLP

Agent: Emery Planning

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

Duty to Co-operate test interpreted by Council officer.

Please see the attached representation:
In summary we raise objections to the proposed publication Draft Plan for the
grounds set out below we consider that in its current form the Plan does not meet
the tests of soundness.

There is insufficient information with regards to the purposes and justification for
this blanket settlement gap policy. The policy fails to meet the guidance within the
Framework regarding landscape designations. The Plan in its current format fails
to adopt a flexible approach to allow future development to come forward in the
most sustainable locations. The plan is therefore not justified, effective, positively
prepared or compliant with national planning policy.

Change suggested by respondent:

The attached representation set out our objections and the changes we propose.
In summary, we suggest that the following are changes are made to the plan to
make it sound:
* The policy is deleted; or,
* The settlement gap boundaries at Grassmoor are amended to remove our
client's site (land at Gill's Lane, Grassmoor)

Full text:

Please see the attached representation:
In summary we raise objections to the proposed publication Draft Plan for the
grounds set out below we consider that in its current form the Plan does not meet
the tests of soundness.

There is insufficient information with regards to the purposes and justification for
this blanket settlement gap policy. The policy fails to meet the guidance within the
Framework regarding landscape designations. The Plan in its current format fails
to adopt a flexible approach to allow future development to come forward in the
most sustainable locations. The plan is therefore not justified, effective, positively
prepared or compliant with national planning policy.


Additional Sheet:
1.1 Emery Planning is instructed by Adrian Jones of the Gill Lane Plot Owners LLP to submit representations to the North East Derbyshire Local Plan (Publication Draft) 2014-2034. This statement sets out our client's response to the consultation.

1.2 We raise objections to the proposed publication Draft Plan. For the reasons set out below we consider that in its current form the Plan does not meet the test of soundness set out within paragraph 182 of the Framework as it is not consistent with national planning policy, justified, effective or positively prepared.


Policy SS11: Local Settlement Gaps
1.3 We firstly have concerns with the overall purpose and justification for the policy, which seeks to impose an additional restrictive policy designation around a very substantial amount of land surrounding settlements. Our concerns are:
*The proposed policy would significantly constrain the district's ability to meet its housing and employment land requirements.
*In many instances it is possible that more suitable sites would be overlooked for allocation in favour of less suitable sites not located within a proposed Local Settlement Gap.
*The policy seeks to introduce quasi Green Belt policy (i.e. a restrictive policy to prevent the coalescence of settlements) into areas which would without question fail the test of exceptional circumstances required for designation as Green Belt.
*Far too many areas are identified for designation. It appears that a designation is proposed for virtually all settlements which neighbor another settlement. The circumstances cannot all be the same. For a strategic gap policy to be a success, it should be highly specific to the specific characteristics between the settlements that it is seeking to maintain, and should therefore be tailored (and justified) for each specific gap proposed.
*If a strategic gap is justified in very specific circumstances, then a more flexible approach should be applied and consideration should be given to land allocations, and the designation of 'white land', within areas proposed as local settlement gaps, to allow settlements to grow in a sustainable fashion.
*The evidence base lacks sufficient detail and clarity as to why each area is worthy of designation. In addition, a number of the criteria assessed within the study are simply general landscape issues, which could potentially be addressed through mitigation for development, and are not relevant to the actual purposes of the designation (i.e. the identification of gaps between settlements).

1.4 There is no support in the NPPF for secondary tiers of landscape protection. Paragraph 14 of the NPPF requires Local Plans to meet the needs of the area, and be sufficiently flexible in order to be able to do so. Furthermore, paragraph 14 (footnote 9) suggests that while designated land identified in specific policies in the NPPF should pose restriction on proposed development; including Local Green Space, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Heritage Coast or a National Park; development is not restricted by other designations applied at a local or neighbourhood level according to the NPPF.

1.5 This is supported by the NPPF Planning Practice Guidance: Natural Environment, published in June 2014. In its section 1, Landscape, it is stated that:
"One of the core principles in the [NPPF] is that planning should recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside. Local plans should include strategic policies for the conservation and enhancement of the natural environment, including landscape. This includes designated landscapes but also the wider countryside"

1.6 Whilst recognising its fundamental importance, it clearly separates designated landscapes from "the wider countryside". While Local Plans should include strategic policy that promotes the protection and enhancement of the landscape, including potentially areas that are critically important to the character of a settlement, this does not advocate targeted policy encapsulating and protecting specific areas.

1.7 In our view, the designation should only be proposed if there is actual risk of merger between settlements, which would demonstrably cause significant harm by severely diminishing the individual character of a settlement. Even under those circumstances, consideration would need to be given to the specific circumstances of the two settlements where merger may occur, and as to whether in fact such merger would actually result in any significant and demonstrable harm.


Proposed Local Settlement Gap: Grassmoor
1.8 Without prejudice to our overall objections to the policy, we object to the proposed designation of land to the south-west of Grassmoor as a Strategic Gap.

1.9 We disagree with the findings of the Local Settlement Gap Study (LSGS) in relation to Grassmoor. The study recognises that there is no threat of physical coalescence, but raises concerns over 'increased inter-visibility' due to local topograhy (paragraph A3.1).

1.10 We consider that the threat of actual merger between the two settlements is non-existent. We agree with the authors of the LSGS in this regard.

1.11 We also consider that the potential for visual merger has been significantly overstated in the LSGS. We have undertaken a site visit and viewed the area from both Grassmoor and New Tupton. There are very limited public vantage points, and any views across the settlements are limited. If some development were to occur in the area (for example our client's land south of Gill's Lane, Grassmoor), whilst physically bringing the edge of Grassmoor slightly closer to New Tupton, the undeveloped gap (both physically and perceived from vantage points) would still be substantial. There were would be no perception of coalesnce. Furthermore, the LSGS fails to take into account the potential for mitigation through any proposed development; for example landscape mitigation. We consider that it is possible to develop land within the candidate Local Settlement Gap with mitigation, to provide a strong and well defined settlement edge in Grassmoor.

Change: We would suggest that the Settlement Gap Policy is either deleted or that it is amended to remove our client's site at Gill's Lane.

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