Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

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Support

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

e. Selected Rural Villages

Representation ID: 7153

Received: 17/11/2017

Respondent: Alpha Investments

Agent: Marrons Solicitors

Representation Summary:

Support due to settlement size, services and strategic road network proximity

Full text:

Alpha Investments supports the identification of Bitteswell as a Selected Rural Village in the Settlement Hierarchy. Bitteswell has two of the six key services (primary school and two public houses) as well as a village hall, church and open space, sports and recreation facilities. It is also close to a wider range of facilities, services and employment opportunities in Lutterworth as well as the strategic road network (the A4303, the A426,the A5 and junction 20 of the M1. The proposal for new housing to meet local need is supported and it is agreed that this strategy promotes sustainable development in rural areas and is therefore consistent with paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (the Framework).

Support

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

GD2 clause 1c

Representation ID: 7155

Received: 17/11/2017

Respondent: Alpha Investments

Agent: Marrons Solicitors

Representation Summary:

Policy GD2 is supported as it specifies that appropriate development is acceptable adjacent to the existing or committed built up areas of Selected Rural Villages. As such, the policy ensures, in accordance with paragraph 14 of the Framework, that the plan is positively seeking opportunities to meet the development needs of the area as well as providing a sufficient degree of flexibility so that the Plan can respond to changing needs. Other local authorities have similar policies to this in recently adopted Local Plans.

Full text:

Policy GD2 is supported as it specifies that appropriate development is acceptable adjacent to the existing or committed built up areas of Selected Rural Villages. As such, the policy ensures, in accordance with paragraph 14 of the Framework, that the plan is positively seeking opportunities to meet the development needs of the area as well as providing a sufficient degree of flexibility so that the Plan can respond to changing needs. Other local authorities have similar policies to this in recently adopted Local Plans.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

GD6 clause 1b

Representation ID: 7156

Received: 17/11/2017

Respondent: Alpha Investments

Agent: Marrons Solicitors

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

The identification of our client's site within the Area of Separation is considered to result in the plan failing the soundness test at paragraph 182 of the Framework, primarily because it is not considered to be justified when the Landscape Character Assessment and Landscape Capacity Study is taken into account.

Full text:

Objection to Soundness:
The Area of Separation designation is not considered to be justified and should be redefined to exclude our client's site.

Introduction
1. These representations are submitted on behalf of Alpha Investments Ltd, who own land off Ashby Lane, Bitteswell. The land within our client's control is shown on the attached location plan and is c.6 hectares in size.

SS1 - The Spatial Strategy
Support Bitteswell as a Selected Rural Village suitable for growth
2. Alpha Investments supports the identification of Bitteswell as a Selected Rural Village in the Settlement Hierarchy. Bitteswell has two of the six key services (primary school and two public houses) as well as a village hall, church and open space, sports and recreation facilities. It is also close to a wider range of facilities, services and employment opportunities in Lutterworth as well as the strategic road network (the A4303, the A426,the A5 and junction 20 of the M1. The proposal for new housing to meet local need is supported and it is agreed that this strategy promotes sustainable development in rural
areas and is therefore consistent with paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (the Framework).

Policy GD2 - Settlement Development
3. Policy GD2 is supported as it specifies that appropriate development is acceptable adjacent to the existing or committed built up areas of Selected Rural Villages. As such, the policy ensures, in accordance with paragraph 14 of the Framework, that the plan is positively seeking opportunities to meet the development needs of the area as well as providing a sufficient degree of flexibility so that the Plan can respond to changing needs. Other local authorities have similar policies to this in recently adopted Local Plans.

Policy GD6 Areas of Separation
4. Part 1 b) of the policy proposes an Area of Separation is designated between Bitteswell, Lutterworth and Magna Park. The supporting text at paragraph 4.11.4 states that this aims to protect the identity of Bitteswell from the growth of nearby Lutterworth, and to maintain separation of both Lutterworth and Bitteswell from Magna Park.
5. Our client's site is not currently located with the Area of Separation (AoS), as defined by the Proposals Map and Policy EV/3 of the 2001 Local Plan. However, the Council is proposing to redefine the boundaries of the AoS to incorporate our client's site. It is considered by the Council that this decision is justified by the conclusions of the Area of Separation Review 2017 (the site is assessed as part of Land Unit No 7). However, the proposed AoS designation excludes a parcel of land directly to the south of our client's site, which was recommended for inclusion in the AoS in the Council's 2011 Area of Separation Review and which is a similar distance to Lutterworth as our client's site.
6. Unit No. 7 in the AoS Review 2017 is a large area which includes our client's site. However, similar to the land parcel to the south (adjacent) our client's the site is distinguishable by virtue of an established band of existing hedgerows and trees to the extent that is does not contribute to the objectives of the AoS. It is however accepted that the land comprising the eastern part of Unit No. 7 contributes to the AoS.
7. The extent of the proposed Area of Separation designation is such that the exclusion of this site could effectively amount to a housing allocation and limits the Plan's ability to be flexible. Land to the west of Ashby Lane is not proposed to be incorporated in the AoS, and whilst a parcel of land within this location was assessed in the 2015 SHLAA as being developable (A/BT/HSG/01), gaining an appropriate access to the site has been identified as a potential constraint by the Highways Authority and may prevent the site being deliverable.
8. Whilst our client agrees that an AoS designation is appropriate in preventing the coalescence of Bitteswell with Lutterworth, there is a clear opportunity for the boundaries to be amended within the vicinity of our client's land, based upon the Council's own evidence. Coalescence is considered to be more of a threat on the eastern and south-eastern edges of the settlement. As shown on Figure 13 of the AoS Review, parts of the village are within 110m and 320m of the edge of Lutterworth. In light of this and given the exclusion of the
land directly to the south is it not considered that our client's land should be included within the AoS.
This last point is supported by the Council's Landscape Character Assessment and Landscape Capacity Study (LCALCS), where the 'prevention of coalescence' was one of the criteria assessed. Our client's land is identified as part of Parcel 6 in the LCALCS, where it was assessed to have an overall medium landscape capacity. Sites were assessed against various criteria, including the 'prevention of coalescence' which is a material factor in the consideration of an AoS designation. In relation to coalescence, the parcel was awarded 3 points (on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is most suitable for development, this is considered to be a medium impact). Coalescence with Lutterworth was considered to be a larger threat at sites to the east and south-east of Bitteswell, with parcel 4 (to the east of parcel 6) and parcel 5 (land north of Lutterworth Road) scoring 2 points under the coalescence criteria. Parcels 14 (land south of Lutterworth Road) 13(land off Valley Lane) were considered an even greater threat to coalescence, scoring 1.
9. The 2017 AoS Study states that unlike the LCALCS, it focuses more on the role that land plays in maintaining the sense of separation between settlements (paragraph 2.9). In the assessment of Land Unit 7 at Appendix 3 of the AoS Study, it appears that the main impact upon the sense of separation is experienced from Lutterworth, where "the most open aspects are from a section of Bill Crane way looking north-west" and where there are "open views from public footpath X36 which runs through the area connecting Bill Crane Way to Leicester Road" as well as "private views are open from the edge of the new housing development to the east and from others fronting Bill Crane Way." Public and private views were assessed as part of the LCALCS, where land parcel 6 (within which our client's site is located) was considered to have a medium impact upon public and private views (both scoring 3 points). This compares to parcels 4 and 13, where the impact upon public views were both given a score of 1 (i.e. considered the most harmful impact). In the LCALCS, impact upon public and private views were considered to be of secondary importance whereas the prevention of coalescence was considered to be of primary importance.
10. The LCALCS goes on to conclude that Land Parcel 6 'could be appropriate for residential development'. Based on the foregoing, it is considered that the LCALCS could be given some weight in the justification of the AoS, and that on this basis, our client's site should be excluded from the Lutterworth/Bitteswell/Magna Park AoS. Doing so would give the plan a greater degree of flexibility in the Plan's ability to meet its housing need and would give scope for a development parcel broadly in line with SHLAA site A/BT/HSG/03 to be delivered (comprising land within our client's ownership and land to the south), which is considered to be more in keeping with the existing settlement pattern and focus the pattern of development towards the north for the settlement, with Parcel 7 in the LCALCS performing the necessary function of separation.
11. The AoS will therefore perform fully towards its intended objective and does not require our client's land to achieve the laudable end. If removed from the Area of Separation, the site would still be afforded protection against inappropriate development by proposed policy
GD2 which gives weight to the impact of development upon the character and/or form of the settlement as well as the physical and visual separation between settlements.
12. Part 2 of the policy seeks to prevent development in the Areas of Separation "where it would not compromise, either alone or in conjunction with other existing or proposed development, the effectiveness of the Area of Separation in protecting the identity and distinctiveness of these settlements." Notwithstanding my client's argument that land within their ownership should be removed from the Area of Separation, the wording of Part 2 of the policy is supported as it is more flexible and less restrictive that saved Policy EV/3 of the 2001 Local Plan.

Policy H1 - Provision of new housing
13. Policy H1 identifies minimum housing requirements for the Selected Rural Villages, including Bitteswell (a minimum of 30). The fact that these are expressed as minimum requirements is supported as it incorporates a degree of flexibility into the policy. Marrons Planning does have concerns that the housing trajectory at Appendix G would not ensure a 5 year housing land supply on adoption and thinks this should be addressed by the Local Plan prior to submission to the Secretary of State.

Conclusions
14. The identification of our client's site within the Area of Separation is considered to result in the plan failing the soundness test at paragraph 182 of the Framework, primarily because it is not considered to be justified when the LCALCS is taken into account.

Support

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

H1 clause 6a - Bitteswell

Representation ID: 7167

Received: 17/11/2017

Respondent: Alpha Investments

Agent: Marrons Solicitors

Representation Summary:

Policy H1 identifies minimum housing requirements for the Selected Rural Villages, including Bitteswell (a minimum of 30). The fact that these are expressed as minimum requirements is supported as it incorporates a degree of flexibility into the policy. Marrons Planning does have concerns that the housing trajectory at Appendix G would not ensure a 5 year housing land supply on adoption and thinks this should be addressed by the Local Plan prior to submission to the Secretary of State.

Full text:

Policy H1 identifies minimum housing requirements for the Selected Rural Villages, including Bitteswell (a minimum of 30). The fact that these are expressed as minimum requirements is supported as it incorporates a degree of flexibility into the policy. Marrons Planning does have concerns that the housing trajectory at Appendix G would not ensure a 5 year housing land supply on adoption and thinks this should be addressed by the Local Plan prior to submission to the Secretary of State.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

Appendix G Housing trajectory

Representation ID: 7243

Received: 17/11/2017

Respondent: Alpha Investments

Agent: Marrons Solicitors

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Not specified

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

Policy H1 identifies minimum housing requirements for the Selected Rural Villages, including Bitteswell (a minimum of 30). The fact that these are expressed as minimum requirements is supported as it incorporates a degree of flexibility into the policy. Marrons Planning does have concerns that the housing trajectory at Appendix G would not ensure a 5 year housing land supply on adoption and thinks this should be addressed by the Local Plan prior to submission to the Secretary of State.

Full text:

Policy H1 identifies minimum housing requirements for the Selected Rural Villages, including Bitteswell (a minimum of 30). The fact that these are expressed as minimum requirements is supported as it incorporates a degree of flexibility into the policy. Marrons Planning does have concerns that the housing trajectory at Appendix G would not ensure a 5 year housing land supply on adoption and thinks this should be addressed by the Local Plan prior to submission to the Secretary of State.

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