Following recent government instruction, there is to be another local Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) involving a further call for sites for development. This will occur in early 2015 and will be followed by two public consultation stages before being fed into the review of the current Local Plan. The provisional date for the review completion is Dec 17.
It is possible that developers will offer local sites which are unacceptable to the village. As previously, this may cause concern when the suggestions are published. It is therefore important to understand that this does NOT imply the sites will be considered suitable after their full evaluation in the context of the Local Plan. All of the sites offered in the last call were ultimately ruled unsuitable.
Morcott Parish Council has responded to the current consultation on the methodology by stressing the importance of retaining the sensible controls the Local Plan places on permissible development in “Smaller Service Centres” such as Morcott. This response is shown below in full.
Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment – 2014 – Morcott Parish Council’s Response to the Draft Methodology
- Throughout the document, the context and content of the Local Plan should be more strongly stated. The Local Plan was the subject of extensive consultation through the years of its development and developers should be clear that this is not an opportunity to disregard its Core Strategy. The documentation in the “ call for sites” should make this very clear and potential developers should be directed in particular to the Settlement Hierarchy (Policy CS3) and The Location of Development ( Policy CS4)
- In the interests of balance and openness, the SHLAA panel referred to in 4.5 should include democratically elected members.
- The last “call for sites” desk top exercise generated considerable alarm in Morcott and elsewhere because it was not sufficiently clear that no planning consent was implied for sites offered and included in this preliminary stage. The council should be alert to the concerns the SHLAA generates for stakeholders other than developers and ensure that its communication about it is sensitive to the former as well as appropriate for the latter.
- Para 4.21.6 implies that account will be taken of how up-to-date the plan policies are and whether the constraints they contain are excessive. It seems particularly perverse to question the continuing relevance of the Local Plan since it has yet to be formally adopted. We seek reassurance that any changes to the content of the Local Plan are subject to proper consultation within its review and not anticipated at the SHLAA stage.
- In Stage 5 Final Evidence, there is reference to sites excluded due to “national policies and designations” but no reference to locally agreed policies. This omission should be rectified.
Morcott Parish Council. Submitted 26/08/14