Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

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Object

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Local Housing Need

Representation ID: 7482

Received: 11/03/2019

Respondent: Portland Planning Consultants

Representation Summary:

The global promotion of UK Central Hub will generate migration demand likely to be different to the historical demand. Thus the migration trends arising from the UK Central Hub initiative are wholly different to the norm represented by the 2014 based housing projections. Analysis of a parallel project centred on Ebbsfleet on the HS1 route indicates extraneous migration is likely to be much higher than historical migration. Exceptional circumstances are considered to prevail as a result of the UK Central Hub, which need to be taken into account in the overall housing requirement.

Full text:

The proposals within the Local Plan Review include substantial provision of housing at the UK Central Hub comprising an estimated 2500 dwellings to be delivered within the Plan period. The Council have advised that their housing figures are based on the standard methodology. The standard methodology comprises two elements. The first is the 2014 based estimates of numbers of households projected by the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government which are essentially and extrapolation of household formation based on the existing and forecast demographic structure taken together with past known trends of inter regional, intra regional and international migration. The second is an adjustment to take account of affordability deficiencies.
The UK Central Hub is an initiative aimed at exploiting the advantages of the new HS2 infrastructure in the interest of furthering the economic well being of the West Midlands Conurbation.
The Overview download from the promotional web site states the hub area is :-
The economic powerhouse of UK Central, The Hub offers inward investors a central and globally connected location to grow their business. Realising the development potential of the High Speed Rail Interchange, a 140 hectare site within The Hub is planned to become a sustainable garden city for the 21st century.
Other promotional material is delivered in Mandarin confirming the global targeting of the project's economic advantages.
Given this global linkage it can be reasonably supposed that a material proportion of new residents will be migrating in a manner that is materially different from the patterns used in the standard methodology. The circumstances of the development of UK Central Hub are therefore not covered by the trend material which underlies the standard methodology and as an exception to the trend the development of UK Central Hub represents an exceptional circumstance. It is necessary therefore for the additional population arising from this to be taken into account as failure to do so will result in under provision of housing and a corresponding exacerbation of affordability problems which the standard methodology was designed to do.
When measured against Government policy which seeks to meet all strategic development needs (See NPPF 2019 paragraph 23) this would therefore represent a breach of the NPPF. Any breach of the NPPF represents a failure to secure sustainable development. The breach of the NPPF amounts to a situation where the plan would be unsound but more importantly would amount to a breach of the statutory duty on Local Planning Authorities under Section 39 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act the 2004.
The nearest example of the efforts to exploit the High Speed hub in the UK is Ebbsfleet International near Dartford in Kent. Like the ambitions for UK Central Hub the authorities there have sought to exploit the new economic opportunities afforded by a high speed rail link. Their advantages do not include ready access to international air transport as is the case of UK Central.
In order to consider the weight that should be attached to this objection I have checked the figures for housing need in Dartford Borough (where most of the Ebbsfleet development will be located).
The Core Strategy for Dartford proposes (at table 2 on Page 58) that during the period 2016-2026 some 9900 dwellings will be delivered - an annualised rate of 990. The base level 2014 table indicates a housing need of 778 dwellings per annum. This last figure includes the trend based migration evident before the Ebbsfleet initiative started to deliver additional houses. Thus the non trend migration which appears to flow from the Ebbsfleet initiative totals, over the period 2016-2026, some 2120 dwellings [(990-778) x 10].
If a similar pattern were to be repeated in the case of UK Central Hub then this would indicate that the majority of the UK Central development in the plan period would be attributable to non trend migration not hitherto absorbed into the 2014 base household forecasts.
In this context, and to avoid potential unsoundness and breach of statutory duty, the Council is invited to examine closely the impact of UK Central Hub on deviation from the migration trends evident from the 2014 forecasts.
Consideration of the overall housing need in the conurbation, and potential delivery within the conurbation of the conurbation needs has been assessed in the context of the 2014 based household projections. These point to the overall conurbation needs being about the same as when Solihull earmarked the figure of 2000 dwellings to meet conurbation needs. Thus the move to a figure derived from the 2014 based household projections is not materially different from the figures derived from the former housing need calculations. There is no overall change from the underly sub regional figures which will allow the UK Central Hub generated addition migration flows to be offset against changes arising from a move to the standard methodology.
In the context of the foregoing it is submitted that the overall housing requirement needs to take into account this exceptional circumstance presented by the advent of UK Central Hub. The evidence from Ebbsfleet is that it could be very substantial. A failure to take this into account points to a breach of statute and unsoundness through being inconsistent with national policy for delivery of the housing needs of an area having regard to all sources of need.

Object

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Site Selection Methodology

Representation ID: 7484

Received: 11/03/2019

Respondent: Portland Planning Consultants

Representation Summary:

Methodology unsound as fails to meet NPPF, not based on appropriate strategy justified by evidence or consideration of alternatives. 2 stage approach to sieving sites on basis of narrative broad area analysis lacks robustness for sites excluded in first round. Agglomeration of sites of different characteristics for SA unsound
Failure to test all potential development sites on a consistent basis, one with another to the extent that the choice of development sites is not justified.

Full text:

The methodology of the site selection process is not agreed.
Section 39 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires planning authorities preparing Local Plans "must exercise the function with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development". In exercising this duty they are required under the same section to "have regard to national policies and advice contained in guidance issued" by the Secretary of State.
Key advice of national policy National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2019 is as follows:-
 Significant adverse impacts on key economic, social and environmental objectives should be avoided, in the context of a Sustainability Appraisal designed to inform the plan making process. Alternative options which reduce or eliminate such impacts should be pursued. (NPPF paragraph 33)
 Policies for development contributions should not undermine the deliverability of the plan.(NPPF paragraph 34)

 Plans will be examined to assess whether they are sound, and measures of soundness include being justified by an appropriate strategy taking into account reasonable alternatives and based on proportionate evidence. A further relevant soundness measurement is consistency with national policy to enable delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework. (NPPF paragraph 35 )
 Patterns of growth should be focussed on locations which offer genuine choices of transport mode. (NPPF paragraph 103)
 Plans should contain policies that optimise use of land in their area. (NPPF paragraph 123[a])
 When reviewing Green Belt boundaries the need to promote sustainable patterns of development should be taken into account. (NPPF paragraph 138)
National guidance advises as follows:-
 Policies need to be justified by evidence and support of the Planning Advisory Service is tabled as of assistance in this having regard to this need for evidence based justification. (Planning Practice Guidance Reference ID: 61-031-20180913) [It is appropriate to note that PAS offer specific help in relation to Green Belt Review]
 When updating a plan [in full or part] Local Planning Authorities should ensure the resultant plan meets the tests of soundness. (Planning Practice Guidance Reference ID: 61-050-20180913)
 In relation to transport the evidence base should identify opportunities for a shift to more sustainable patterns of transport. Reference should be made to Department for Transport Circular 02/2013(Planning Practice Guidance Reference ID: 54-001-20141010)
 Circular 02/ 13 paragraph 16 is as follows:-
"Promoting sustainable transport solutions through Local Plans
16. Through the production of Local Plans, development should be promoted at locations that are or can be made sustainable, that allow for uptake of sustainable transport modes and support wider social and health objectives, and which support existing business sectors as well as enabling new growth. "
 A robust evidence base can inform sustainable approaches to transport. (Planning Practice Guidance Reference ID: 54-002-20141010)
 A range of key issues need to be evaluated and alternate scenarios of differing alternative site or mitigations proposed in order to articulate and arrive at the delivery of sustainable growth. (Planning Practice Guidance Reference ID: 54-003-20141010)

In the context of the foregoing it is considered the approach to site selection is flawed to the extent that it does not meet the statutory obligations under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, and it will fail key tests of soundness.
The nub of the problem relates to the Green Belt element of the selection process. This involved a two stage procedure - the first a broad selection of areas of potential development or non development. The earlier consultation involved a submission (January 2016) on behalf of my clients (promoters of the development at the land rear of 114 - 118 Widney Manor Road) by reference to the Inspector comments in respect of the suspension of the Examination of the Chippenham Site Allocations. Plan.
The Inspector doubted the soundness of that plan for two reasons material to Solihull's work. Firstly (number (i)/second in the Inspector's letter of 16-11-2015 [furnished in the objectors January 2016 submission] is the two stage approach to sieving potential development sites on the basis of a narrative broad area analysis which the Inspector felt would not give confidence that those area rejected in the first round have been subject to robust evaluation. This potentially leads to the view that reasonable alternatives have not been given proper consideration. This rendered that emerging plan subject to legal challenge. The Inspector did not spell it out but the underlying view appears to be that the 'justified' soundness test would not be met and thus any approval would be subject to a failure on legal grounds through the application of Tesco v Dundee City Council [2012 UKSC 13] which requires a proper understanding of policies as the heart of legally robust decisions.
The second issue in the Chippenham case is that the Sustainability Appraisal fell foul of the same logic.
It is considered that the same problem as referred to in the Chippenham case is present in the approach adopted by Solihull. The Policy and Guidance referred to above contains several discrete aspects which by virtue of S39 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 are obliged to consider are precluded in the case of discrete areas of land. Of particular concern in the instant case is the fact that the Sustainability Appraisal lumped my clients land (rear of 114 - 118 Widney Manor Road) together with 3 other parcels of land having very different characteristics.
It is submitted that the two tier approach to Green Belt site selection, together with the specific Sustainability Appraisal flaw referred to above would render the resultant Local Plan review in breach of legal duties and the publication of a plan which would not pass the soundness tests of justified and compliance with national policies.
Modern database technology renders it a fairly simple process to articulate a database which facilitates interrogation by an algorithm which can test individual development sites against the wide range of Government policies and advice required in law (and set out in brief above) to render a plan compliant with legal duty and passing the tests of soundness.

Object

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 4 - Site 1 - Barratts Farm

Representation ID: 7487

Received: 11/03/2019

Respondent: Portland Planning Consultants

Representation Summary:

This site is objected to as it is poorly related to employment areas. It is remote from good quality bus services, much of the site will be sterilised by a statutory duty to consider the preservation of the setting of several affected listed buildings. Furthermore the provision of primary education using a Section 106 agreement is unlawful.

Full text:

It is inappropriate to allocate the site for several reasons.

Firstly it is poorly related to jobs in the conurbation and whilst Balsall Common has a good level of services the employment balance is very poor. There is access to a station but the site is mostly remote from good quality bus services.

Secondly there is a problem of the affect on the Listed Buildings in and close to the site. It is established case law that Parliament's intention in enacting section 66(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 was that decision-makers should give "considerable importance and weight" to the desirability of preserving the setting of listed buildings when carrying out the balancing exercise. Barnwell Manor Wind Energy v East Northamptonshire Council and others, [2014] EWCA Civ 137

The Barratts Farm Development will have an impact on the setting of several listed buildings and the statutory duty means that the requirement to have good architectural standard does not satisfy the test established by the courts. The 'preserving' of the setting has been held by the Courts to mean doing no harm which indicates that the starting point means the whole of the area within the field of vision of each listed building could be sterilised thus pointing to at least a significant reduction in the number of dwellings achievable which may have an adverse impact on delivery of infrastructure.

Finally the site is ineffective as delivery of the primary education cannot be achieved. Solihull's Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) scheme does not allow procurement via section 106 Agreements of Primary Education facilities in this location under Regulation 123 of the Community Infrastructure Regulations 2010.

Object

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 5 - Site 2 - Frog Lane

Representation ID: 7488

Received: 11/03/2019

Respondent: Portland Planning Consultants

Representation Summary:

It is considered this site is poorly related to employment facilities and very intrusive into the openness of the Green Belt.

Full text:

It is considered this site is poorly related to employment facilities and very intrusive into the openness of the Green Belt.

Object

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 6 - Site 3 - Windmill Lane

Representation ID: 7489

Received: 11/03/2019

Respondent: Portland Planning Consultants

Representation Summary:

It is considered this site is poorly related to employment facilities and very intrusive into the openness of the Green Belt.

Full text:

It is considered this site is poorly related to employment facilities and very intrusive into the openness of the Green Belt.

Object

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 6 - Site 3 - Windmill Lane

Representation ID: 7490

Received: 11/03/2019

Respondent: Portland Planning Consultants

Representation Summary:

It is considered this site is poorly related to employment facilities and very intrusive into the openness of the Green Belt.

Full text:

It is considered this site is poorly related to employment facilities and very intrusive into the openness of the Green Belt.

Object

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 7 - Site 21 - Pheasant Oak Farm

Representation ID: 7491

Received: 11/03/2019

Respondent: Portland Planning Consultants

Representation Summary:

It is considered this site is poorly related to employment facilities and very intrusive into the openness of the Green Belt.

Full text:

It is considered this site is poorly related to employment facilities and very intrusive into the openness of the Green Belt.

Object

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 8 - Site 22 - Travellion Stud

Representation ID: 7492

Received: 11/03/2019

Respondent: Portland Planning Consultants

Representation Summary:

It is considered this site is poorly related to employment facilities and very intrusive into the openness of the Green Belt.

Full text:

It is considered this site is poorly related to employment facilities and very intrusive into the openness of the Green Belt.

Object

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 20 - Site 25 - School Road

Representation ID: 7494

Received: 11/03/2019

Respondent: Portland Planning Consultants

Representation Summary:

This site should be excluded as it represents an intrusion into the openness of the Green Belt, and is remote from employment opportunities in the conurbation.

Full text:

This site should be excluded as it represents an intrusion into the openness of the Green Belt, and is remote from employment opportunities in the conurbation.

Support

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 34 - Washed Over Green Belt Settlements for Potential Removal

Representation ID: 7498

Received: 11/03/2019

Respondent: Portland Planning Consultants

Representation Summary:

Yes. However it is essential that special circumstances should prevail to justify this - either in the form of a roll back of the Green Belt to facilitate provision for infilling to enable achievement of housing targets, or to accommodate specific allocations of development sites such as the land at the rear of 114 to 118 Widney Manor Road.

Full text:

Yes. However it is essential that special circumstances should prevail to justify this - either in the form of a roll back of the Green Belt to facilitate provision for infilling to enable achievement of housing targets, or to accommodate specific allocations of development sites such as the land at the rear of 114 to 118 Widney Manor Road.

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