Cheltenham Plan (Part One): Preferred Options

Response Details

Response Details
From Brockhampton Land Consortium (- -)
Agent Jamie Lewis
Date Started: 22 Mar 2017 13:23. Last modified: 30 Mar 2017 14:54
Status Complete
Response ID #530077

Q1

Do you agree with the Vision Themes and Objectives?

  • Yes
  • No

Please enter any additional comments
«No response»

Q2

Do you agree with the Preferred Strategy for the economy? (para 3.16.1)

  • Yes
  • No

Please enter any additional comments
«No response»

Q3

Do you agree with Proposed Policy EM1 Safeguarding Key Existing Employment Land and Buildings? (see also Appendix A, Proposals Map and site maps)

  • Yes
  • No

Please enter any additional comments
«No response»

Q4

Do you agree with Proposed Policy EM2 Safeguarding Non-Designated Existing Employment Land and Buildings?

  • Yes
  • No

Please enter any additional comments
«No response»

Q5

Do you agree with Proposed Policy EM3 New Employment Allocations? (see also Proposals Map and site maps)

  • Yes
  • No

Please enter any additional comments
«No response»

Q6

Do you agree with Proposed Policy EM4 Promoting the Cyber-Security Sector?

  • Yes
  • No

Please enter any additional comments
«No response»

Q7

Do you agree with Proposed Policy EM5 Protecting the Route of the Former Honeybourne Rail Line? (see also Proposals Map)

  • Yes
  • No

Please enter any additional comments
«No response»

Q8

Do you agree with Proposed Policy GE8A or GE8B Local Green Space? (see also Appendix B, C, Proposals Map and site maps)

  • GE8A
  • GE8B

Please enter any additional comments
See attached

Q9

Do you agree with Proposed Policy PR1 Land Allocated for Housing Development? (see also Appendix D, E, Proposals Map and site maps)

  • Yes
  • No

Please enter any additional comments
See attached

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Note

If you know of a site which is suitable for housing and should be included in the Cheltenham Plan please submit information via the Call for Sites form.

Q10

Do you agree with Proposed Policy PR2 Land Allocated for Mixed Use Development? (see also Appendix D, E, Proposals Map and site maps)

  • Yes
  • No

Please enter any additional comments
See attached

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Note

If you know of a site which is suitable for mixed use development and should be included in the Cheltenham Plan please submit information via the 'Call for Sites' form.

Q11

Do you agree with the preferred options? (para 7.4.1, see also Appendix F, Proposals Map and site maps)

  • Yes
  • No

Please enter any additional comments
«No response»

Q12

Do you think that an Article 4 direction to restrict HMOs is required in any part of the Borough?

  • Yes
  • No

If yes then please state where and why
«No response»

Q13

Do you think that an Article 4 direction in any Conservation Area is required to stop the erosion of its special character through householder development in any part of the Borough?

  • Yes
  • No

If yes then please state where and why
«No response»

Q14

Do you think that an Article 4 direction to restrict the loss of office or employment uses to residential is required in any part of the Borough?

  • Yes
  • No

If yes then please state where and why
«No response»

Q15

If you have any comments on the Cheltenham Plan evidence base please enter them below.

«No response»

Additional text

1. Introduction 1.1 Brockhampton Lane Consortium (the Consortium) controls land within Cheltenham Borough at the proposed North West Cheltenham strategic allocation as defined in the emerging Joint Core Strategy (JCS). The JCS provides the strategic policy framework in which the Cheltenham Plan is formulated. 1.2 These representations focus on the consistency of the Cheltenham Plan’s, policies and proposals with the emerging JCS and national policy and guidance. 2. Consistency with the JCS 2.1 The JCS has reached the stage where consultation is being undertaken on Proposed Modifications following the Inspector’s Interim Report. Those Proposed Modifications identify a housing requirement for Cheltenham Borough of at least 10,917 dwellings from 2011-2031 (546 dwellings per year) and Policy SD2 plans for 10,997 dwellings. 2.2 The Proposed Modifications also identify that this will be provided within the Cheltenham Borough administrative boundary and cross-boundary urban extensions at North West Cheltenham (where the Consortium’s land lies) and West Cheltenham defined in Policy SA1, and commitments covered by any Memoranda of Agreement. Therefore the Consortium’s land is to be removed from the Green Belt through the JCS process. 2.3 In terms of completions and commitments for Cheltenham Borough, those total 3,779 dwellings of which completions comprise 1,426 dwellings. The urban extensions add a further 5,385 dwellings. Windfalls (865) and existing local plan allocation (10) and the Cheltenham Borough Local Plan (957)1 make up the rest of the supply total of 10,996 dwellings, though the Consortium notes that the Cheltenham Plan identifies a total supply of 10,989. 2.4 However, it is clear that there has been an under supply in the first five years of the plan period (1,426 against a requirement of 2,730) and the level of commitments is less than a five year supply requirement, even without the shortfall being taken into account. The Consortium notes that the JCS will be using the Liverpool method for managing Housing Supply because of the reliance on delivery from strategic sites, though it is noted that this element of supply is expected to start during 2017/2018 and there is little chance of this happening. 2.5 Given that the Proposed Modifications presents no policy to phase the housing requirement of Cheltenham, it is therefore important in terms of proper planning that the Local Plan seeks to maximise the potential of the strategic allocations, rather than, as in the case for the Consortium’s and at North west Cheltenham apply unnecessary constraints through the designation of Local Green Space. 1 All figures taken from JCS Table SP2a as proposed to be modified Cheltenham Local Plan (Part 1) Preferred Options Consultation March 2017 Page 3 For Brockhampton Lane Consortium 3. Local Green Space 3.1 The NPPF and NPPG set out the context for the designation of areas of Local Green Space. Paragraph 77 of the NPPF sets out the policy context for designating Local Green Space as follows: ‘The Local Green Space designation will not be appropriate for most green areas or open space. The designation should only be used: ● where the green space is in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves; ● where the green area is demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value (including as a playing field), tranquillity or richness of its wildlife; and ● where the green area concerned is local in character and is not an extensive tract of land.’ 3.2 The Consortium strongly objects to the additional criteria inserted at the end of Paragraph 5.1.6 of the Cheltenham Plan which cannot be attributed to the NPPF. The Consortium also notes that Paragraph 76 of the Framework is only quoted in part with the reference to ‘…complement investment in sufficient homes, jobs and other essential services’ being omitted. 3.3 It is important to recognise that the NPPF is clear that Local Green Space will not be appropriate for most green areas or open space. The criteria are presented as a comprehensive test in that all need to be met in order for land to qualify. However, we deal with each of the criteria in turn. 3.4 The Consortium’s land is in close proximity to Swindon Village being located adjacent to existing development along it southern border. However, two points arise. Firstly the depth of land suggested for inclusion places its extremities over 300 metres distance from the edge of the settlement which the Consortium considers does not qualify as being in close proximity. Secondly, the criteria refers to being in close proximity ‘to the community it serves’. None of the Consortium’s land can be said to ‘serve’ the community as it is privately owned and in agricultural use. The exception to this is the bridleway along the northern brook and footpath along the eastern boundary, which are protected by other legislation2 and included as Green Infrastructure in the JCS. Therefore the Consortium believes that the land identified for Local Green Space fails this criterion. 3.5 In terms of being ‘demonstrably special’’ to the local community ‘and holds a particular local significance’, this test has not been met in that the only significance is that it 2 NPPG Paragraph: 018 Reference ID: 37-018-20140306 Cheltenham Local Plan (Part 1) Preferred Options Consultation March 2017 Page 4 For Brockhampton Lane Consortium is undeveloped at present. The Consortium’s land is not considered to have any characteristics of beauty to distinguish it from any other land in the locality. Similarly, there is no historic significance to the land (no Listed Buildings within or clearly viewed from the site and no archaeological constraints to development3 ). None of the Consortium’s land forms the setting to the Conservation Area as it is separated by intervening development. This is confirmed in the Swindon Village Conservation Area Character appraisal and management plan, February 2007. 3.6 The Consortium’s land has no recreational value, nor is it any more tranquil than any other undeveloped land surrounding a settlement falling within NEC B rather than NEC A4 . Similarly, there are no statutory designated ecological sites within or adjacent to the Consortium’s land with the nearest SSSI some 2.3km west of the land. There are also no non-statutory designated ecological sites within or adjoining the Consortium’s land. It is clear therefore that the proposed Local Green Space fails to meet the requirements of the second criterion of paragraph 77 of the NPPF. 3.7 The Consortium refers to Neighbourhood Plan Inspectors considering LGS on these criteria5 and would draw the parallels to the council’s attention: “On my site visit I did not see anything to indicate that this land was available for public recreational use. In addition I cannot identify any particular feature of this land that would distinguish it from the vast majority of other land surrounding the village nor can I see that it has any particular merit for special designation. I conclude, following a site visit, that this site does not meet the criteria for inclusion and should be deleted from the list in the policy.” “The site is in a countryside location on the outskirts of the settlement, projecting into the wider countryside. As such, the character of the site is as part of the surrounding countryside, rather than local in character. Whilst there is public access along the footpaths, and these footpaths appear to be well used by the local community, there are many areas of countryside where footpaths allow public access. It is not the purpose of the Local Green Space designations to include countryside land that provides wider views of the countryside. In my view, the site is a large area which projects into the open countryside and is part of the wider countryside rather than local in character. Thus, even with the historical significance and possible wildlife significance, I do not consider that this site meets the criteria for designation as Local Green Space.” 3 Oxford Archaeology September 2007 4 ANV Noise and Vibration Assessment February 2008 5 Rolleston-on Dove NP Examiner, Christopher Collison held of a site known as College Playing Fields; Chapelen-le-Frith NP, Examiner Janet Cheesley held of a site known as Target Wall Field Cheltenham Local Plan (Part 1) Preferred Options Consultation March 2017 Page 5 For Brockhampton Lane Consortium 3.8 The proposed Local Green Space covers some 24 hectares. Whilst the NPPG is clear that there is no hard and fast rule on how big a Local Green space can be it is also clear that ‘...blanket designation of open countryside adjacent to settlements will not be appropriate. In particular, designation should not be proposed as a ‘back door’ way to try to achieve what would amount to a new area of Green Belt by another name’ 6 . 3.9 Once more NP Examining Inspectors7 have made judgements in terms of extensive as follows: In the case of Farleigh Fields, it is my view that 19 hectares also comprises an extensive tract of land. To provide some perspective, at least twenty three full size football pitches would easily fit in to an area of this size. In the case of Farleigh Fields, it is my view that 19 hectares also comprises an extensive tract of land. To provide some perspective, at least twenty three full size football pitches would easily fit in to an area of this size. Given that the Framework is not ambiguous in stating that a Local Green Space designation is not appropriate for most green areas or open space, it is entirely reasonable to expect compelling evidence to demonstrate that any such allocation meets national policy requirements. Specific to demonstrating that Farleigh Fields, and Moor Lane Fields are not extensive tracts of land, no substantive or compelling evidence has been presented.” 3.10 Inspectors for NPs at Arlewas, Sedlescomeb, Tattenhil and Oakley and Deane came to similar conclusions in relation to parcels of 2.5 and 3.9has; 4.6has; 9.2 and 4.3has; and just over 5has. The Consortium therefore considers that the proposed Local Green Space is an extensive tract of land and fails to comply with the third criterion on paragraph 77 of the NPPF. Nor does it meet the selection criteria at Appendix B to the Cheltenham Plan in this respect. 3.11 It has clearly been demonstrated that the proposed Local Green Space fails to satisfy any of the criteria of paragraph 77 of the NPPF and cannot therefore be considered suitable for designation as Local Green Space. 3.12 The NPPG is clear that ‘Designating any Local Green Space will need to be consistent with local planning for sustainable development in the area. In particular, plans must identify sufficient land in suitable locations to meet identified development needs and the Local Green Space designation should not be used in a way that undermines this 6 NPPG Paragraph: 015 Reference ID: 37-015-20140306 7 Backwell NP Examiner Nigel McGurk held in relation to a site known as Farleigh Fields and Moor Lane Fields; Cheltenham Local Plan (Part 1) Preferred Options Consultation March 2017 Page 6 For Brockhampton Lane Consortium aim of plan making’ (our emphasis)8 . Given the identified issues in relation to the lack of deliverable housing supply identified at Section 2 above including the optimistic and housing trajectories relied upon for the proposed JCS allocations around Cheltenham, the identified Local Green Space at Swindon village is clearly contrary to the NPPG in this regard as it could contribute additional dwellings as part of the Strategic Allocation which is proposed to be removed from the Green Belt. 3.13 The Consortium notes that Paragraph 5.3.4 attributes the JCS as providing the indicative plan where LGS should be designated. However, the Consortium considers that it is clearly not the role of the JCS, as a strategic planning document, to make that judgement. 3.14 In addition, the Consortium’s land is one of the few significant opportunities to meet the housing needs of Cheltenham that lie within the Borough and is not significantly constrained with the exception of its current location in the Green Belt. It relates well to the Town, and the Consortium considers that there is significant justification to maintain the allocation to meet the housing needs of Cheltenham rather than designate the area Local Green Space. 3.15 For these reasons the Consortium strongly objects to the designation of its land within proposed Policy GE8A m) and the proposals map.