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Planning Reform – Local Case Studies

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1 Planning Reform – Local Case Studies
CPRE / ChALC Michael Stallard MRTPI MIEMA CEnv 8th April 2014

2 The current reaction to the reforms
People feel they are being 'clobbered' by the NPPF, the presumption in favour of SD and, in particular, the dominance afforded to the five year housing supply (or lack thereof). They feel that they / LPAs are being bulldozed into accepting what they see as speculative and inappropriate development, and want to know how they can defend their communities against this, while also promoting and guiding development that is seen as sustainable and appropriate. With a plan-led system, the Local Plan is key…..

3 The current Local Plan situation (1)
Both Cheshire Local Plans well advanced…………. Stage of consultation CWAC CEC Core Strategy Core Issues Paper Nov 2009 Nov 2010 Draft Core Strategy (Policy Principles/Development Strategy) March 2011 Jan 2013 Pre-Submission Version of Core Strategy ie Local Plan Part 1 July 2013 Nov 2013 Submission Version of Core Strategy ie Local Plan Part 1 Sept 2013 Feb 2014 Site Allocations DPD/Local Plan Part 2 Dec 2014 Spring 2015

4 The current Local Plan situation (2)
How and when PCs can now feed in….. A good plan is a ‘sound plan’….DCLG tests of soundness are: Positively prepared – the plan should be prepared based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements, including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development Justified – the plan should be the most appropriate strategy, when considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence Effective – the plan should be deliverable over its period and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities; and Consistent with national policy – the plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework. So, PCs/TCs should be responding to the various stages of consultation on draft Local Plans with the above in mind. A settlement’s place in the LP Settlement Hierarchy is crucial for development…… IF representations are made, PC/TC can appear and give oral evidence at LP EiPs

5 Parish (Town) Council involvement
BUT, engagement with Local Plan is just one (albeit key) way to manage development. The other ways are via…. Representations on planning applications Representations/oral evidence planning appeals (JRs?) Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDPs) and Neighbourhood Development Orders (NDOs) Delivery of organic, small scale development by (with the support of the) parish council Designation of Assets of Community Value (ACVs) Designation of Village (Town) Greens Local Development Orders (LDOs)

6 Refused planning applications (1a)
12/04687/OUT (Appeal Ref: APP/A0665/A/13/ ) – 140 dwellings at Chester Road and Well Street, Malpas, Cheshire CWAC refused (27/02/13) – Council cited 5 policies from the Chester District Adopted Local Plan 2006 but of these, Policies ENV2 and ENV24 are broadly consistent with the Framework PINS allowed appeal (23/01/14): The village’s sustainability credentials are limited, as it contains little employment and opportunity for travel by means other than the car are poor and generally not sufficient to allow access to jobs elsewhere. As a result, any future residents would almost certainly have to drive to employment in other centres. Larger shopping generally require trips to Wrexham, Chester or Whitchurch. However, sustainability is not an absolute matter and it is unrealistic to consider a settlement as being sustainable only if it complies strongly with every aspect of sustainability. If it were absolute, such an approach would prevent new housing from occurring outside the relatively few major centres in CWAC. Overall, I am therefore of the view that the village is suitably sustainable to accommodate this additional housing. Taking these factors together, and mindful of the housing already approved in the village, on balance I conclude this location to be sufficiently sustainable to support the extra houses now proposed.

7 Refused planning applications (1b)
12/04687/OUT (Appeal Ref: APP/A0665/A/13/ ) – 140 dwellings at Chester Road and Well Street, Malpas, Cheshire PINS allowed appeal (23/01/14): The site is not within or near the designated Green Belt or in an area designated as being of outstanding landscape importance. Paragraph 17 the Framework seeks to protect the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside. While the landscape might not be identified as having any particular value, to my mind that does not diminish that test in the Framework. Indeed, the Framework offers specific advice for designated landscapes over and above that in paragraph 17, and so it can be assumed that paragraph 17 can be applied to undesignated landscapes.….Once matured, the proposal would not be an attractive and pleasing residential development in its own right. When seen in the wider landscape, the development would have a limited zone of visual influence. In distant views the proposal would be substantially concealed in a valley. Therefore, from these points the scheme would not notably harm the intrinsic character or beauty of the countryside However, despite those matters the loss of these fields and this rural landscape would cause some harm to the countryside in the immediate vicinity of the site, even after the proposed planting became established. Moreover, the sense of rural isolation that is currently experienced on the southern part of Greenway Lane would be diminished. I conclude the scheme would cause some limited harm to the character and beauty of the countryside around Malpas, in conflict with Policies ENV2 and ENV24 in the Local Plan and paragraph 17 in the Framework.

8 Refused planning applications (2)
12/05143/OUT (Appeal Ref: APP/A0665/A/13/ ) – 100 dwellings at land bounded by Kennel Lane, Chester Road and Dalefords Lane, Sandiway, Cheshire CWAC refused (18/02/13) Proposal encroaches into the open countryside creating urban area of scale and size considered unacceptable and of detrimental impact on landscape character of locality. The benefits of delivering housing are not considered to outweigh the negative impact on the open character of the application site and village. The proposal would not respect the prevailing layout or character of the local landscape or built form. PINS refused appeal(12/12/13) Scheme would result in severe and irrevocable damage to the landscape, the countryside and the character of this clear edge to the settlement. By extending so far into the rural surroundings, the proposal would result in an intrusive and incongruous outlier entailing adverse visual impacts of ‘major’ significance. In balancing that damage against the benefits identified, I find that the housing land shortfall is District-wide and that the damage due to the proposal would be irrevocable and irreversible. In the particular circumstances of this case, I consider such damage significantly and demonstrably outweighs the presumption in favour of sustainable development that would otherwise pertain. Hence, and in spite of considering all the other matters raised, I find nothing sufficiently compelling to alter my conclusion that this appeal should be dismissed.

9 Refused planning applications (3)
Appeal Ref: APP/R0660/A/13/ – 155 dwellings at land off Sandbach Road North, Alsager CEC refused (14/03/13) - Proposal unsustainable because it is located within the Open Countryside partly on Grade 2 Agricultural Land, contrary to Policies PS8 and H6 and would create harm to interests of acknowledged importance. The Local Planning Authority can demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing land supply in accordance with the NPPF and as such the application is also premature to the emerging Development Strategy. The proposed development would result in a harmful encroachment into the open countryside. The development would adversely impact upon the landscape character and does not respect or enhance the landscape. PINS refused (18/10/13) Council cannot yet demonstrate a 5 year supply of deliverable housing land and this would normally lead to a grant of planning permission unless significant and demonstrable impacts would outweigh the benefits of the scheme…..There would be serious harm resulting from the impact of the proposal on the character and appearance of the countryside which carry significant weight. This harm to character and appearance is significant and is demonstrable. Such harm is not to be taken lightly and has, in my judgement, been underestimated by the Appellant. The lack of a 5 year supply of deliverable housing land does not provide an automatic ‘green light’ to planning permission….the harm to character and appearance of the countryside is so significant that it outweighs the lack of housing land supply and other identified benefits….I consider that the harm in this case is such that the appeal must fail.

10 Refused planning applications (4a)
CWAC 13/04826/OUT - 8 dwellings at ‘Hillside’, Huxley Lane, Huxley, Chester, Cheshire HPC objected on 7 grounds: major change within the village - would represent an increase of 33% in total dwellings in Huxley Lane, a significant increase contrary to the provisions of the 2011 Localism Act in ignoring the wishes of local residents and does not satisfy the expressed CWAC development strategy not appropriate in scale and design and conserve a settlement’s character and setting (conversion/infilling of 2 dwellings only) clustering together 8 No dwellings in a cul-de-sac - an urban design concept totally alien to a rural village ie linear form of dev Loss of agricultural land and not linked to any local drainage and school is already over- subscribed. at least 3 miles from key service centres (Tarporley, Tattenhall) and is not sustainable loss of a minimum of 60 metres of hedgerow trees and natural habitat and will have a negative impact on local wildlife

11 Refused planning applications (4b)
CWAC 13/04826/OUT - 8 dwellings at ‘Hillside’, Huxley Lane, Huxley, Chester, Cheshire Planning Committee ( ) refused the application because: has a relatively remote location, with poor pedestrian and cyclist links, lack of local facilities, and involves the development of land which is not previously developed in the open countryside harm from the proposed development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposal, including the contribution toward the Council’s housing land supply proposal does not accord with the development plan and therefore the Framework’s presumption in favour of sustainable development does not apply to the proposed development. The proposal is therefore contrary to The Framework, Policies ENV1 and HO7 of the Chester District Local Plan, and the Council’s Sustainable Development SPD provision of eight dwellings on the site would appear incongruous with, and introduces development of an urban character into, the rural setting of the locality. The proposal would result in a detrimental impact on landscape character. The proposal is therefore contrary to the provisions of The Framework and Policy ENV24 of the Chester District Local Plan Not appealed to date……

12 Neighbourhood plan development (1a)
Update on the draft Tattenhall NDP situation PINS Examination (21/08/13) – house developers objected to the draft NDP partly on the grounds that could not conform, as it was required to do, with the strategic elements of the local plan, because the local plan did not yet exist (a prematurity issue). The inspector dismissed the issue as too "existentialist" in nature to be relevant!! Developers' challenge (via Judicial Review) to the draft NDP made reference to same issue. High Court (QBD) Hearing was scheduled for the end of March 2014 but no press reports as yet! Implications of a ruling that neighbourhood plans should not be finalised in advance of local plan adoption would be significant: More than half of the NDPs currently under preparation are in areas in which the District Local Plan has yet to pass examination and be adopted. Progressing those neighbourhood plans would seem pointless if the court decides that such documents are invalid without the context of an up to date local plan. Many commentators suggest that neighbourhood planners do not need to overly fret about the issue. Gov has clearly said that neighbourhood plan preparation can begin even if an approved up- to-date local plan is not in place

13 Neighbourhood plan development (1b)
Update on the draft Tattenhall NDP situation Some examiners clearly agree, with at least two neighbourhood plans that have recently passed examination being in areas that lack an adopted local plan. Other experts say that the key consideration is that the plans should be evidence-based, and that emerging plans or even long-adopted plans can provide solid ground on which to base neighbourhood policies. But there are also dissenting voices that suggest that a NDP that takes its strategic direction from anything other than a recently adopted local plan will be vulnerable to challenge, unless it is in clear conformity with an emerging plan. All the signs are that ministers want neighbourhood planners to be able to move forward in places without adopted local plans, as long as they do not unreasonably compromise local authorities' ability to meet wider needs…..until the government's intention is completely clear, community groups in areas without up-to-date plans may hold off working on neighbourhood plans for fear that their time could prove to be wasted. LATEST (04/04/14) - Llew Monger, chairman of the Winslow PC NDP Steering Group said the government’s National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG), published last month, "makes it clear that NDPs can be brought forward even where there is no up to date local plan in place".

14 Neighbourhood plan development (1c)
DCLG NPPG (March 2014) - Paragraph: 009 (Reference ID: ) Can a Neighbourhood Plan come forward before an up-to-date Local Plan is in place? NDPs can be developed before or at the same time as the local planning authority is producing its Local Plan. A draft neighbourhood plan or Order must be in general conformity with the strategic policies of the development plan in force if it is to meet the basic condition. A draft Neighbourhood Plan or Order is not tested against the policies in an emerging Local Plan although the reasoning and evidence informing the Local Plan process may be relevant to the consideration of the basic conditions against which a neighbourhood plan is tested. Where a neighbourhood plan is brought forward before an up-to-date Local Plan is in place, the qualifying body and the local planning authority should discuss and aim to agree the relationship between policies in the emerging NDP and the emerging Local Plan The LPA should take a proactive and positive approach, working collaboratively with a qualifying body particularly sharing evidence and seeking to resolve any issues to ensure the draft NDP has the greatest chance of success at independent examination. The LPA should work with the qualifying body to produce complementary NDPs and Local Plans. It is important to minimise any conflicts between policies in the neighbourhood plan and those in the emerging Local Plan.

15 Neighbourhood plan development (2)
Update on the draft Winsford NDP situation PINS Examination (24/01/14) – EIP adjourned after the first day after legal submissions from the Darnhall Estate who legally objected (in part) on the basis that the document could not come into effect before the District Council's Local Plan is in place. Examiner (Mynors) ruled that the examination be adjourned until June 2014 when the outcome of an ongoing ‘prematurity’ judicial review challenge to the draft Tattenhall NDP, should be known. CWAC’s planning committee refused an application by the Darnhall Estate to build 184 homes in Winsford in December 2013 because the site was not identified for housing in the draft Winsford NDP and the application was considered premature. But CWAC submitted its draft core strategy to the government for examination in January 2014 Darnhall also questioned whether a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for the draft NDP should have been carried out….UK law requires SEA for plans that give rise to ‘significant environmental effects’ and conflicting guidance from DCLG on whether some, or all, NDPs need an SEA. Commentaries expressed concerns about the impact of legal battles on communities' enthusiasm for neighbourhood planning.

16 Neighbourhood plan development (3a)
S&P working on the Ashton Hayes NDP for 2 years - the core of the NDP Steering Group team is approximately a dozen people and has been reported to the PC The process they've gone through Project commenced in April 2012 following the village defending an application for 15 affordable homes on its edge. The initial process was: (i) The Parish Council decision to pursue a Neighbourhood Plan ii) Volunteers sought to form the Neighbourhood Planning Team (iii)Team meets and agrees the process (iv)Team produces its Vision Statement and Terms of Reference (v)The Plan Area is produced in draft (vi) Plan finalised, application made and Forum approved by Cheshire West Sub-teams were created to cover Housing, Environment & Landscape, Community Facilities, Amenities & Social Welfare, Business & Employment and Transport & Infrastructure. Tasks included: ‘Environment Sub-Group used RSK to carry out an overview ecological assessment and management plan Liaising with CWAC over the perimeters in which the policy sits and the impact of emerging local and national policy Door to door needs survey of the entire area Five consultation events along with the other sub-teams

17 Neighbourhood plan development (3b)
Barriers or challenges that they've encountered and how they've been overcome Complication with the most sensible boundaries including Horton-Cum-Peel which is outside the Parish boundary of Ashton Hayes. The position is reported to CWACC who seek confirmation from Central Government. Eventual agreement that Horton-Cum-Peel and Ashton Hayes can combine as Neighbourhood Forum for NDP. NDP scope - team carried out an initial sample survey of the area using data in 2009 adopted Parish Plan. This was to ascertain what was still important or what was new in terms of issues Lessons that can be learned Sub-divide and conquer tasks! Ongoing dialogue with LPA throughout the process invaluable (Lucy Hughes in Policy at CWACC) Use of a “critical friend” employed in the process very useful (Cheshire Community Action, a charitable organisation who give advice and support to rural communities) Next Steps Finalise the draft Plan across all teams and carry out another consultation exercise. SEA/SA Screening – the need for the sustainability assessment!!

18 Successful delivery of small-scale dev (1)
Planning Application 11 dwellings at land off Bowe’s Gate, Bunbury, Cheshire Strutt and Parker were appointed in 2012 by Peckforton Estate and Rural Housing Trust to undertake initial pre-application/feasibility work with CEC into the acceptability of housing on the site - included ecology and highways work and an initial meeting with the Local Authority housing and planning departments, presenting an initial scheme layout for their comment. Conclusion - site had relatively few constraints and in principle the Authority were supportive of affordable housing with some market housing to help with overall viability. Second stage of feasibility works included revising the scheme design to reflect the sites characteristics and to be more in keeping with the character of Bunbury. The next stages of the project engaged with the local community and also involved further research into the area’s housing needs (met local village design group, Parish Council and rural housing officer). Officer confirmed affordable housing need and provided useful steer on type of dwellings and tenure required. Parish Council invited S&P to a consultation event in the village where developers with sites around Bunbury were asked to come along and explain their proposals to the local community. The outcome of this event was very positive. Although, residents had general concerns about new housing within Bunbury, the Parish Council’s own results showed that the majority (30%) supported our scheme over others proposed around Bunbury. Met with the leader of the Council and Bunbury Parish Council Chairman and Vice Chairman to further explain scheme - designed as a terrace reflecting a historic example close to the site which is valued by the local community - subterranean dwellings built into the landscape to help reduce visual impact. Footpath will be upgrade which leads from the application site to the village heart.

19 A Parish (Town) Council’s armoury…. (1)
Making use of the full range of extant LDDs and SPDs/SPGs CWAC Adopted SPD on Sustainable Development (July 2008) New development within the District should be sustainably located, utilising previously developed land and existing buildings wherever possible. It should improve accessibility to local services whilst encouraging alternative means of transport” Paragraph 2.7 of the SPD advises that housing development should be located within 1.6km (one mile) of a wide range of shops and services and that the development should be within 800m of a bus stop providing a frequent service to Chester or a key settlement. Good idea to use existing LDDs / SPG / SPDs, but you’d need to confirm their status with the councils first – will they be saved / maintained when the new plans are adopted, or will they be considered out of date? And if so, at what stage in the plan process?

20 A Parish (Town) Council’s armoury…. (2)
Making use of the full range of policy in NPPF….. The undesignated (ordinary) countryside The draft NPPF (2011) made no reference to the intrinsic value of the more than 55% of English countryside not in a National Park, Green Belt, Site of Special Scientific Interest or other designated site, but nonetheless of huge value to millions of people who live in, visit and enjoy it. Final NPPF (March 2012) Core Planning Principle 5 recognition of 'the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside' which applies whether that countryside is specifically designated or not. This will not mean no development in the countryside, but it will help ensure that building on greenfield land is not an option of first resort…..

21 A Parish (Town) Council’s armoury…. (3)
Making use of the full range of practice guidance in the NPPG….. How much emphasis has planning guidance given to brownfield development? Advice on reducing the amount of farmland lost to housing in first version of Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 (PPG3 in 1988), with revised PPG3 version (1992) bringing in increased emphasis on reusing urban land. PPS3 prioritised housing on previously developed land over greenfield sites in order to achieve a national brownfield target of 60 per cent. The NPPF still has an emphasis on brownfield development but does not include a target. So, does the NPPG boost brownfield development? NPPF goal is to provide more homes in the right places at affordable prices and to protect the countryside and green belt. The NPPG includes a renewed emphasis on the reuse of brownfield sites as a key source of land for housing. It also proposes incentives, such as relaxed planning obligations for brownfield development. However, brownfield sites more expensive to develop and delivery (profit!) lead-in times are often extended which means such land may not be able to provide houses at the speed and rates required to meet the country's housing needs……

22 Questions…….

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