Sustainability Appraisal - Second Interim SA Report Appraising Options for the Provision of Strategic Distribution Growth (Feb 2016)

Search Representations

Results for IDI Gazeley search

New search New search

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Second Interim SA Report Appraising Options for the Provision of Strategic Distribution Growth (Feb 2016)

Q1. Do you have any comments to make on the Second Interim Sustainability Appraisal Report - Appraising Options for Strategic Distribution growth (Feb 2016)?

Representation ID: 5334

Received: 16/03/2016

Respondent: IDI Gazeley

Agent: Now Planning

Representation Summary:

Representation sets out comments on the Second Interim Sustainability Appraisal Report (ISA2) key issues are summarised below. Further detail is provided in respect of each point in the full representation.

Errors of approach

* ISA2 not published alongside HDC's Options Consultation Paper in September 2015, to enable the public to make informed representation based on both. Publication and consultation on ISA2 is a clear intention to make up for the omission of ISA1. HDC is obliged to ensure that the draft local plan consultation is extended to allow it to include representations based on ISA2.

* ISA2 is focussed on projects rather than strategic options. Planning applications used as proxies for the strategic options are actual projects, not strategic options, and an approach which is not wholly compatible with the requirements of the SEA Directive.

* ISA2 is selective in the use of project specific ES evidence, misunderstands keys parts of that evidence and makes serious errors of fact.


Errors of Fact & Omission
An account of errors of fact and omission is provided, summarised below:

1) Incorrect use of the SDSS forecasts (in particular the 107 ha need for non-rail connected land) as a precise quantum and upper limit and as a matter of fact when that figure is heavily dependent on working assumptions and should be used in broad terms and with caution. Specific points made on SDSS on forecast methodology:

- "Replacement demand" assumption of 70% doesn't account for trend towards larger units, concentration in the best locations or the loss of industrial land to other uses
- Assumes Leicestershire will supply 25.9% (static) share of the region's future floor-space stock throughout forecast period
- Assumes 58% of the forecast need to be rail-connected.
- Makes further assumptions to derive a gross and then net land need.

2) Incorrect use of SDSS advice on a sequential approach, and site selection:
- Existing supply doesn't meet SDSS recommended sequential approach to site selection, none are extensions to existing sites
- Insufficient consideration of proper application, i.e. first preference to extensions to existing sites cannot reasonably be construed as a broad locational criterion. Plainly favours Options A and C.
- further work, in the form of a Site Selection Task Panel, not done or underway

3) Errors in the descriptions of each Option. Descriptions have to be consistent with the planning applications, because each option is measured for its contribution to 107ha, and ISA2 aims to advise HDC on development management for the applications. Identified errors & corrections in descriptions provided, summarised below (further detail of full representation):

Option A
- Operational area is 22ha (not 37ha)
- Site is for DHL and does not allow for further expansion of Magna Park, no rationale for adding land or treating site as an option (has planning consent)
- Site does not account for 40% of need (even if 107ha were a precise figure)
- Site accords 'completely' (not broadly adheres) to SDSS recommended site selection approach & criteria

Option B
- Site does not adhere to SDSS advice on site selection. Not an extension to an existing site (only in proximity to), and does not make use of Magna Park's existing infrastructure or management.

Option C
- planning application on which Option C is modelled is for just 83.5 ha of distribution land (not 232ha), of which 22ha is accounted for by Option A. Options C adds 61.5ha to the operational area of Option A.
- would account for 78% (of 107ha) and not "significantly exceed" SDSS requirement
- description fails to recognise range of other uses delivered; green infrastructure (48ha Country Park, 22ha meadow, 33ha structural landscape with public access - 105ha in total), Logistics Institute of Technology (D1 use - 3,700m2) with campus / playing field, Innovation Centre (B1 uses - 2325m2), Company expansion (B1 use - 7,000m2), and Estate Office incl. Local Heritage Centre (300m2). All are relevant considerations for the SA.
- Ought to acknowledge 7ha parcel that includes; a no-low emission road-based Railfreight Shuttle, HGV park and Driver Training Centre.

4) Errors in alternative growth & distribution options.
- ISA2 takes view that Option C amounts to over-supply (making it an unreasonable alternative in SEA terms) but assesses it anyway
- ISA2 considers combination B+C to be still more unreasonable, but assesses anyway
- Uses incorrect distribution land areas (& makes no reference to floor-space quanta), on which Option C is assumed to be an unreasonable alternative. Corrections provided:
o Sum of A+B =110ha (not 125ha) or 379,553m2, in land area terms only 3% more than 107ha, or in floor-space terms 89% of that requirement (at 40% density)
o Sum of B+C (which includes Option A)= 171.5ha (88ha +83.5ha) not 320ha, in land area terms 60% over the 107ha, or in floor-space terms 65% of that requirement (at 40% density)
o Increment of Option C over combination A+B is just 21.2% in land terms (88ha +63.5ha =151.5ha, not 125ha) or just 12.5% in floor-space terms (427,200m2 not 379,553m2)
o As Option A is now permitted the relevant comparison is between Option B and the additional increment of warehousing that Option C adds
The conclusion ISA2 reaches (that the adverse effect of Option C on its own would be considerable greater than the combination A+B) as a result of these errors (para 5.3.18) is incorrect. It also follows that ISA 2 is not justified in concluding that a combination of options A+B does not lead to any further effects, and it is therefore not justified in terms of key finding 5 (para 5.4).

- Statements to explain why Option C would not be a reasonable alternative for policy making (alone or in combination with Option B) are wrong in respect of; exceeding 107ha requirement, no un-met need in neighbouring authorities, limiting geographic choice. Extra reasons cited;
o Magna Park is on the boundary of the East and West Midlands underscoring why 107ha should not be treated as a precise figure
o HDC does not need to be made aware of un-met need by other neighbouring authorities, NPPF para 179 obliges HDC to meet need arising in its area unless it cannot. ISA explains needs arises because of the planning applications, as well as the future need of the industry (i.e. need de facto arises in HDC area)
o SDSS does not seek "geographic choice" because it wants a spread of sites, its objects are to supply market- facing sites that increase concentration / take-up in the South Midlands and accommodate increasing warehouse sizes.
o ISA2 fails to understand that clustered provision is more sustainable (environmentally, socially and economically) than dispersed provision of single or small sites. Concentration can reduce the sectors environmental footprint.

5) Error in claiming that the objects of sustainable development would be compromised if 107ha is exceeded, ISA2 is wrong to claim that Option C, on its own or in combination, would have adverse impacts (i.e. distort the function of the property market, or compromise the ability of the logistics sector to meet its land needs in optimal locations) on competing sites as this has no foundation in evidence or policy.
- ISA2 provides no information on intended supply by other LPA's.
- The East Midlands overall requirement is for a further 5,570,000m2 of distribution floor-space by 2031 (according to SDSS). Located on the edge of the East / West Midlands Option C, or combination B+C contribute just a small proportion to this wider requirement.
- HDC is obliged to understand and meet the needs of industry in its area (NPPF para 179), limiting provision is not justified and (with 3 planning applications) would not meet the stated needs of business
- Any competition from Magna Park would be dispersed across the whole of the Golden Triangle (not confined to Leicestershire), to assert otherwise is to fail to understand the geography and market economics of the sector
- LLEP designates Magna Park as 1 of its "areas of transformation for the future", NPPF para 180 requires HDC to work collaboratively with LLEP
- SDSS advocates a geographical spread to provide market-facing choice not to limit supply, where the market clearly wants it, in order to achieve what LPA's together might consider an 'equitable' distribution
- Magna Park returns benefits to the industry (& in turn the environment) that make its premium management charge worthwhile, compared to other sites.
- ISA2 omits to acknowledge that Option C includes a railfreight shuttle designed to increase rail freight take-up at DIRFT
- Government policy does not limit competition in land supply. National Policy Statement on national Networks does not, in promoting an increase in SRI's, seek to limit delivery of road-only sites
- The views of other LPA's, in terms of the effect of over-provision, are accepted without supporting evidence and in respect of DIRFT III are misplaced (as DIRFT III is part of the existing and proposed supply, and only more sustainable where occupiers use rail).

6) Error in the use of SHMA forecasts to assess / conclude that options A+B and Option C would impact adversely on planned housing supply, reasons summarised as:
- SDSS and SHMA forecasts use different methods, for different purposes and for different geographies. Thus inappropriate to use HMA estimates of the need for jobs, which are closely related to projected housing need & based on population, until tested / found sound through examination. FOAN is always a minimum not a ceiling.
- The economic case for Magna Park (ES Chapter 5) is misunderstood by ISA2, it sets out that impacts affect the 16 local authority / SHMA areas that best align to Magna Parks 45 mins labour market catchment and that employment / housing needs are fully taken account of with the resulting conclusion that neither Option A, Option C or Option C+B will have significant adverse effect on housing supply or the labour market.
- No. of jobs projected to be created by each option or combination of options, represents a tiny share of the projected labour force growth in these 16 local authority / SHMA areas and would be dispersed across them.
- A proportion of jobs will be taken by people who already live in the labour market area, at present 18-20% of Magna Park employees live in a postcode area which wholly or partly lies in a Harborough District ward. Heads of Terms for the S106 for Option A and C includes appointment of a local employment co-ordinator to increase that share.
- Harborough has a very open labour market, and the creation of more jobs could reduce the level of out-commuting.

7) Errors and Unfounded Conclusions in the Assessment and Key Findings (Section 4):
The detailed appraisal in Section 4 is inaccurate and appears to be a comparison between the 3 projects rather than a proper high level appraisal of the strategic options for a plan. Selective use of ES evidence is problematic. A detailed list of the most problematic points is provided (in full representation) and summarised below;

Natural Environment:
- Loss of agricultural land is principle concern, but none of it (options A, B, C) is 'best and most versatile' protected by the planning system.
- Assessment draws selectively on the ESs for the applications and fails to pick up on proposals for green infrastructure, mitigation, and their potential positive effects on biodiversity.

Health & Wellbeing:
- Skills training and education are omitted from the objectives. ISA2 omits to acknowledge the proposed Logistics Institute of Technology included in Option C. ES for Options A and C contain detailed plans for reducing reliance on private car travel. Population projections relevant to the sector are not cited, and current labour market surplus is not understood. Strong case for more jobs to reduce out-commuting.
- Option C could place pressure on bus services, and also increase the commercial rationale for a significant increase in bus services (starting with improvements associated with Option A).
- Scoring: Recreation & Open Space -Option C merits 2 green ticks, Communities - Option C merits 3 green ticks, Accessibility - Option C should score better than Option B (2 red crosses not merited).

Resilience to Climate Change:
- ES evidence (relied upon for other parts of the assessment) means an uncertain red score for Option C is inexplicable, as no development in Flood Zone 1 and surface water mitigation measures proposed.

Housing & Economy:
- Assessment is flawed, due to errors in the descriptions / size of the options in relation to the 107ha SDSS forecast. Summary / overall score for Option C ("mixed effects") is unfounded and contrasts with the assessment of other options where ISA2 concludes Combination A+B ("similar effects to option B alone") and Combination B+C ("similar effects to Option C").
- Reference to the negative implications of the loss of least valuable agricultural land grades (3b/4), is difficult to follow.
- All options to a greater or lesser extent support NPPF para 28 (support sustainable growth of all types in rural areas), Option C does so better that A,B, or A+B (once the correct relationship to SDSS forecast is understood)
- Assessment incorrectly concludes that Option C and combination B+C would have an impact on housing in the HMA (or any other HMA) without any evidence to contradict (the Economic Case for Magna Park) evidence when; the 45min drive-time catchment would likely spread any additional housing demand over 16 local authority areas, the high level of out-commuting for work by Harborough residents, and that labour market forecasts (Economic Case for Magna Park) take account of the SHMA's for all 16 area in the 45 min catchment.
- Wide geographic footprint and dispersed nature of the industry is not understood by the assessment.
- Assessment fails to have regard to the wide labour market catchment of the sector or to the job creation targets of all 4 LEP in that catchment, each of which targets logistics because of its high growth and their areas competitive advantage for its efficient operation.
- The job count for Options C (5,300 jobs) and Option B (3,500 jobs) together represent only 7% of the current surplus labour in the 16 local authority areas / 45 min drive-time catchment of Magna Park, less if forecast labour market growth is taken into account.
- No basis or evidential support for ISA2 concluding that growth at Magna Park, which is growth that could take place across the East Midlands, would have a significant impact on any one HMA. ISA2 confuses the assessment by seeking to compare job need forecasts with the differently derived SDSS forecast of the need for additional distribution space.
- Job count of Option A is incorrectly stated and should be amended to 1230 FTE and 296 construction jobs.
- The EIA (Economic Case for Magna Park and Chapter 5 of the ES) takes account of the potential significant impacts on housing, but ISA2 ignores this evidence, and makes arbitrary judgements which are prejudicial to the proper assessment of Option C.
- It would be unreasonable to expect housing supply in Harborough to be in balance with the job creation of developments of strategic importance, which are optimally located. Optimally located means more productive and therefore more competitive.

Resource Use:
- No reference to Railfreight Shuttle proposal (Option C).
- Greenhouse Gas emissions, Option C scoring 2 red crosses compared to option B (neutral) is unfounded.

8) ISA2 Conclusions (Effects on Harborough / Broader Implications) & Key Findings
A number of issues are raised, these are summarised as (further detail in full representation);

- Stated potential for synergistic effects of the combinations assessed (A+B and B+C) is questioned and is considered incidental. Inexplicably there is no reference to the synergistic effects of options A and C with the existing Magna Park, which are significantly beneficial for the economy, environment and for employees (ref. Economic Case for Magna Park). Existing Magna Park with a large extension (co-ordinated under single management) creates a synergy, by increasing the likelihood that bus services will be commercially feasible.
- ISA2 para 5.2.9 claim, as to the need to revisit all the SHMA's (housing need), is unfounded. If there is a need it would arise because the SHMA's have taken inadequate account of the growth potential of the logistics sector (and its economic geography and labour market).
- Evidence from the "pro-forma" referred to in para 5.3.5 is not provided, nor is it assessed against the supply accounted by the SDSS (Part B report).
- Para 5.3.10 is wholly un-evidenced. EIA data includes a cumulative impact assessment (Option B +C) which finds there are no significantly adverse environmental impacts that would provide grounds for refusing the two proposals in combination.
- The claim that competition would be bad is not substantiated (Para. 5.3.15-5.3.16). The market requires choice and is particularly sensitive to location / appropriateness of units, developers will not deliver development for which demand is unlikely. SDSS advice on a sequential approach to site selection is to ensure that supply is optimally located and market-facing.
- The notion of a strategic land use as a locally arising need is misconceived (Para. 5.3.17). Magna Park exists and there are planning applications before HDC, it already draws on a large labour market area and so would any extension proposals. If HDC wants to reduce the openness of its labour market, it would have to take a policy-led approach to increase the number of jobs in the district.
- Option C on its own provides for 12.6% (47,647m2) more distribution space that Option B, therefore it is incorrect for ISA2 (para. 5.3.18) to assert that any negative implications for combination A+B would be "much less than for Option C".
- No basis provided for concluding that combination B+C would have overall implications that are likely negative because of competition, over-supply and housing. No regard had to evidence, including cumulative impact, submitted with Option C.

9) Key Findings
Conclusions provided are flawed for the reasons summarised below;
- ISA2 provides no evidence to demonstrate that Option A+B is better than Option C on its own.
- Reliance on the 107ha figure is indefensible, and ISA2 does not demonstrate that the B+C combination is not sustainable.
- ISA2's notion of a balanced approach is also indefensible on the evidence cited
- The preference for Option B is misplaced and misunderstands the evidence, if Option C is the most sequentially suitable location in terms of the SDSS it could be made to comply with the forecasts which ISA2 relies upon.
- ISA2 has not tested whether there are other options (which could be variations of the options considered) which would better meet the objectives which ISA2 purports to use to test the project specific schemes.

Representation concludes that:
1. ISA2 may not be a compliant report for the purposes of the SEA Directive 2001/42/EC.
2. Proposed alternatives are not properly assessed, either as strategic options or in terms of what they properly represent, in terms of comparing their likely impact with each other.
3. The basis on which ISA2 has been undertaken requires significant and objective re-consideration, or risks impairing the soundness of the plan.
4. given the unusual approach of adopting EIA specific material for SEA purposes, ISA2 could be regarded as legally flawed and open the plan up to challenge
Consequence of ISA2 unusual approach, together with miss-description of the options plus the evidential errors is that the principal ISA2 conclusion, that Options A+B would seem more reasonable (in contrast to Option C) and thus would appear to have the support of ISA2, is deeply flawed. It is also difficult not to infer that the combination of these factors does not amount to an exercise designed to justify a pre-determined outcome that finds against Option C.

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Second Interim SA Report Appraising Options for the Provision of Strategic Distribution Growth (Feb 2016)

Strategic Distribution Option A

Representation ID: 5335

Received: 16/03/2016

Respondent: IDI Gazeley

Agent: Now Planning

Representation Summary:

Operational area of Option A is 22ha (as per planning application) not 37ha.
Site is for DHL and does not allow for further expansion of Magna Park, no rationale for adding land or treating site as an option (has planning consent)
Site does not account for 40% of need (even if 107ha were a precise figure)
Site accords 'completely' (not broadly adheres) to SDSS recommended site selection approach & criteria


There is no basis for associating Option A with a local only need. The DHL supply chain operation draws on demand that could be met anywhere in the Golden Triangle.

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Second Interim SA Report Appraising Options for the Provision of Strategic Distribution Growth (Feb 2016)

Strategic Distribution Option B

Representation ID: 5336

Received: 16/03/2016

Respondent: IDI Gazeley

Agent: Now Planning

Representation Summary:

* Option B, a new development to the south of Magna Park, is not an extension to an existing site.

* Site does not adhere to SDSS advice on site selection. Not an extension to an existing site (only in proximity to), and does not make use of Magna Park's existing infrastructure or management.

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Second Interim SA Report Appraising Options for the Provision of Strategic Distribution Growth (Feb 2016)

Strategic Distribution Option C

Representation ID: 5337

Received: 16/03/2016

Respondent: IDI Gazeley

Agent: Now Planning

Representation Summary:

* Planning application on which Option C is modelled is for just 83.5 ha of distribution land (not 232ha), of which 22ha is accounted for by Option A.
* Option C adds 61.5ha to the operational area of Option A and would account for 78% (of 107ha) and not "significantly exceed" SDSS requirement
* Description fails to recognise range of other uses delivered; green infrastructure (48ha Country Park, 22ha meadow, 33ha structural landscape with public access - 105ha in total), Logistics Institute of Technology (D1 use - 3,700m2) with campus / playing field, Innovation Centre (B1 uses - 2325m2), Company expansion (B1 use - 7,000m2), and Estate Office incl. Local Heritage Centre (300m2). All are relevant considerations for the SA.
* Ought to acknowledge 7ha parcel that includes; a no-low emission road-based Railfreight Shuttle, HGV park and Driver Training Centre
* Option C provides for just 12.5% more distribution floor-space (and less land area given to distribution warehousing) than the combination of Options A + B - a point which eludes ISA2 because of the errors in the description of Option C.
* Option C is also an extension of an existing site and thus satisfies the first preference in the sequential approach to site selection advised by the SDSS.

If you are having trouble using the system, please try our help guide.