Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

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Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

H6 2a.

Representation ID: 6622

Received: 01/11/2017

Respondent: Claybrooke Magna Parish Council

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

72% of the pitches provided across the District are in Lutterworth and surrounding villages with 30% of the whole District's provision being in the villages of Ullesthorpe and Claybrooke Parva. What is the evidence of need for this hugely distorted distribution strategy? Concentrating the pressure in one area makes service delivery unsustainable.

This is an unsustainable location in terms of NPPF; lacking facilities and employment and having limited public transport.

Planning Appeal 14/00603/FUL confirmed that provision for G/T in Parva would be damaging to the countryside, unsustainable and injurious to community relations. The justification for the Inspector's ruling remains.

Full text:

Claybrooke Magna Parish Council objects to the proposal to create new G/T pitches in Claybrooke Parva as this is unsound and unjustified.
Data provided by HDC shows that of the pitches currently provided across the Harborough District some 72% are in Lutterworth and its surrounding villages with 30% of the whole District's provision being in the villages of Ullesthorpe and Claybrooke Parva. What is the evidence of need for this hugely distorted distribution strategy?
Due to the G/T itinerant lifestyle the level of demand on services can be very unpredictable with significant peaks and troughs. By concentrating the pressure in one area HDC makes service delivery unsustainable - both for the G/T community and other residents. HDC should avoid adding to the concentration in this part of the district and look for a more geographically balanced spatial distribution strategy to enable a fairer level of service provision and even out the resource requirement. It is well recognized that services such as our local GP surgery are, to use HDC's description "under severe strain".
Claybrooke Parva is, in any case, an unsustainable location in terms of NPPF development requirements. It lacks facilities and amenities, has nothing to offer by way of employment and has limited public transport links.
The proposal site itself has a restricted view on to a busy road with acknowledged (by LCC Highways) speeding issues so poses a safety risk for site residents as well as other local road users. Additionally, road safety on the A5 would be compromised by an increase in slow moving vehicles using the junction approaching or leaving the Claybrookes - the relevant junctions already have a poor record for fatal or life limiting accidents.
Planning Appeal 14/00603/FUL confirmed that provision for G/T in Claybrooke Parva would be damaging to the countryside, unsustainable and injurious to the community relations. The justification for the Inspector's ruling holds good as nothing as changed.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

BE2 clause 2

Representation ID: 6623

Received: 01/11/2017

Respondent: Claybrooke Magna Parish Council

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation Summary:

No demonstrable need for the proposed amount of non rail-served strategic development, and the siting of this amount at Magna Park will have a negative impact on the sustainability of Lutterworth and its surrounding. Road infrastructure, not stated for any appreciable upgrades during the Local Plan period, is incapable of handling the increased demand and out-commuting will vastly increase as a result.
There are other, rail-served sites both nearby and crucially in other parts of the District and County. No economies of scale to be gained by siting a large proportion of the County's strategic warehousing in one place.

Full text:

Claybrooke Magna objects strongly to the proposed 700,000sq mtr increase in strategic warehousing as the basis upon which this is proposed is unsound and not positively prepared.
1. The Council's own research reports 9LLEP,SDSS) shows that there is far less need for non-railhead warehousing across the entire county. The current proposal would lead not only to gross oversupply going forward, but choosing Magna Park as the single location for warehousing provision will deprive other parts of the county - with higher unemployment that Lutterworth - of the employment opportunity. HDC's own figures show that unemployment in and around Lutterworth is less than 2% (ONS 2017), and Magna Park employers already have significant recruitment issues.
2. The A5 has been recognized in the Midlands Connect Strategy 2017-2030 as inadequate, with no plans for any major upgrade during this time. The addition of nearly 10,000 new commuters and the concomitant rise in HGV traffic will lead to event more congestion and negatively impact the existing local economy.
3. One of the Local Plan goals is to reduce out-commuting. Currently more that 60% of Magna Park employees live outside the Harborough District. There is no evidence to show how this ratio would change with the provision of an extra 10,000 jobs. Indeed, given the low unemployment figures enjoyed by Lutterworth, it would be expected that the ratio would worsen.
4. In 2015,3 options were proposed for Magna Mark expansion.
Option A 100,000 sq mtr
Option B 279,000 sq mtr
Option C 779,000 sq mtr

There is existing approval for 100,000 sq mtr. Option C was initially ruled out by the SDSS study (2014) because "provision at this scale would exceed significantly the undersupply of non-rail strategic set out in the SDSS for the whole of Leicester and Leicestershire, and potentially be contrary to its recommended strategy of providing a range of choice of sites". The evidence currently used by HDC to support Option C is that there are two outstanding planning applications (15/00865/out & 15/01531/out) which just happen to total 700,000 sq mtr. It cannot be sound or robust that stated objectives can be conveniently ignored as soon as opportunistic planning applications are submitted.
5. The NPPF states that railhead-served strategic warehousing is preferred over non-rail. There is already rail-served warehousing provision a few miles from Magna Park with more planned towards the M69/A5 interchange. Provision of yet more non-rail warehousing is in direct contravention to the NPPF.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

e. Selected Rural Villages

Representation ID: 6625

Received: 01/11/2017

Respondent: Claybrooke Magna Parish Council

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

The proposal to designate the Claysbrookes as an SRV is unsound. Using a facility where alcohol is served, a pub, as a key criterion to locate housing is discriminatory under the Equality Act. Protected groups will be excluded from its use due to religious beliefs - the aim to promote inclusive communities is failed. Evidence shows the SRV policy has been reverse engineered to meet an Officer-led original decision without due governance. Plus, Magna is not within the required "safe, acceptable walking distance" of the school in Parva and development is unsustainable so does not meet LP policy or NPPF

Full text:

Claybrooke Magna Parish objects strongly to the inclusion of The Claybrookes as an SRV as the basis upon which this is proposed is unsound.
1. Appendix F - The Settlement hierarchy sets out that 2 from a list of 6 key services must be present in order to identify the most sustainable locations for development and this determines the designation of SRV status. One of these services is a public house. Yet if the aim is, as stated with the LP, "to identify services accessible to the local population" (which therefore renders a location sustainable and suitable to accommodate future housing), how can a facility that, by its very nature, excludes people of certain religious beliefs, be set as a key criterion for selection?
It is well known that people from a number of different religious grounds are not comfortable entering public houses where alcohol is served (indeed some see it as in complete opposition to their beliefs) and therefore are excluded from social life and activities centered thereupon. By way of example, the 'Muslim in Britain' website sets out a list of
Problems that a Muslim would encounter in any public house setting which would tend towards prohibiting many people of this faith from using this local facility.
The Equality Act 2010 provides protection for people of different religious beliefs and requires public bodies to ensure their policies do not discriminate directly or indirectly. This includes minimizing any disadvantage to people on grounds of their religious belief. By using a selection method based on a facility that cannot be (or is highly unlikely to be) used by certain grounds, the Local Authority is effectively excluding people and minimizing their opportunities to be involved in community life.
The 'Essential Guide to the Public Sector Equality Duty' makes clear that equality issues must be integrated into all business of public authorities and goes on to stipulate that they have a duty to consider how policies will affect different protected groups in different ways. This duty sits side by side with other pressing issues and must be at the heart of any policy development. The Guide states the duty must be exercised with "substance, rigor and an open mind" In addition, it notes that the duty belongs to the decision maker, not the officials advising them, and must be complied with as policy is being developed and decisions are made - it is not acceptable to justify decisions retrospectively. It is clear certain religious groups could suffer detriment through the application of unsound and discriminatory SRV selection criteria and thus the Local Authority would be in breach of its equality legal obligations and failing to conform with NPPF para 69 which requires the promotion of inclusive communities and social interaction for all.
2. The process of developing SRV policy has been unsound. It became abundantly clear that a decision was made, by Officers, around 2015 to designate Claybrook Magna as a SRV and the policy justification has been changed on a number of occasions, without effective governance, in an attempt to justify that decision retrospectively.
The HDC published policy on SRV selection in 2015 and through most of 2016 was the presence of 2 key services in a settlement - there was no capacity for taking account of facilities in neighboring villages. Yet, despite quite evidently not meeting this criteria (Claybrooke Magna has only one facility - the pub) Officers designated Claybrooke Magna an SRV. The Parish Council queried this over an extended period and was advised by the HDC Planning Policy team that account was being taken of the school in Claybrooke Parva on the grounds that it was within 800m of most of Magna and therefore met the acceptable walking distance test in line with the County Council definition. When challenged as to when policy had been changed, HDC advised the adaptation to be criteria was an un-minuted meeting discussion with no record being taken. This does not meet the standards required in public life.

Continued on a separate Word doc.... Cont. sheet 1.
Claybrooke Magna Parish Council
Cont/d
2. In 2016 the parish Council evidenced, through detailed survey work, that the majority of Claybrooke Magna (some two thirds) lay outside of the 800m acceptable walking distance as defined by HDC and was also able to demonstrate inconsistency of application of the 'rule' across the District. HDC Planning Policy Team agreed to recover in light of the evidence provided and then cam back saying distances of around 1km may be acceptable for school journeys on foot. Rather than acting on the evidence presented this was clearly reverse engineering policy simply to try to justify the original incorrect and unsound decision.
Note of the meeting on 10 August 2016 with HDC Planning Policy representative and subsequent letter from the Parish Council to the Local Planning Executive Advisory Panel dated 13 September 2016 are enclosed to provide more background.
The CIHT document used to support the move to a 1km test was dated 2000 and never adopted by HDC as policy. That same document identifies that 800m is a more appropriate walking distance and more recent CIHT publications such as Planning for Walking 2015 show 400m as a reasonable benchmark with up to 800m as acceptable in relation to a place importance. The policy definition has changed once again in the Local Plan consultation document; further reverse engineering as HDC Officers had failed to find evidence to justify their original decision. No options were presented to Council, the process has been Officer led.
3. The Local Plan now says adjoining settlements were there is one key facility but that "share a primary school within safe, acceptable walking distance" have been treated as composite Selected Rural Villages. So again let us turn to the evidence. What is an acceptable walking distance? As set out above, CIHT see it as up to 800m. Most of Claybrooke Magna (two thirds) is beyond 800m of the school in Parva.
And is the walk deemed safe? Not by residents. The pavement coming out of Magna slopes sharply with a gulley running through the centre. At that point parents with pushchairs and people with mobility impairment have to walk in the road. Is this deemed safe? Is it acceptable to increase footfall and traffic flow and add to the level of risk? County Council Highways are aware of and acknowledge the risk but do not have capital resource to address. Some of the stretch is not overlooked and there is no street lighting plus the school itself is situated on a sharp bend and there is extensive parking congestion around it every day which presents a real risk of the safety of young children trying to cross the road. Photos enclosed)
4. On the wider issue of sustainability there is no evidence of need for Claybrooke to be given SRV designation. The age profile in Magna is lower than that of the average of other villages across the district; it is a vibrant and family oriented community that does not require the scale of development envisaged in order to be sustainable. The opposite is true; the facilities are simply not available to support the proposed plan. HDC's own Housing Register data for the last 5 years confirms the lack of evidence of local need - only 2 applications received of which only 1 is still active.
Any development of the scale proposed contravenes the NPPF requirements for sustainable transport as we have a limited (hourly) bus services that does not take people directly to major centres of employment such as Leicester and doesn't run beyond late afternoons or Sundays. A survey of residents conducted by the Parish Council in April 2017 showed 100% usage of personal transport for commuting for those working both locally and further afield. The main reasons given being time pressures and lack of public transport alternatives.
For example: to use public transport to work in Leicester entails having to leave before 4pm to get back to Clayabrooke Magna . This demonstrates the service is of very limited value. The unsustainable pattern would clearly only be worsened by additional development with more people using cars. Further evidence was supplied by Arriva confirming very low usage of the bus service. The proposed scale of development would clearly fail to facilitate access to jobs and services as required by the NPPF.

Overall, the scale of development being disproportionate, out of keeping with the character of the village and with no evidence of local need or support is contrary to NPPF core principles as set out in para 17 and contravenes the requirements of para 50, 58 and 66. It also fails to meet NPPF core principles regarding sustainable transport and in this regard contravenes paras 17, 25, 27, 38, 69 and 70.

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