Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

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Support

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

2.1 Local Plan vision

Representation ID: 7585

Received: 02/11/2017

Respondent: Merton College and Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance

Agent: Savills

Representation Summary:

Our clients support the overall vision and objectives for the District as set out in the Plan up to 2031.

Full text:

Our clients support the overall vision and objectives for the District as set out in the Plan up to 2031. Our clients support the principle of providing new development in the most sustainable locations, with residential development meeting strategic and local needs. The focus of development at the market towns and rural centres is supported. Subject to the comments made elsewhere in this correspondence, the principle of meeting the housing requirements of the District in full by providing a range of market and affordable housing types, tenures, and size in appropriate and sustainable locations is supported.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

SS1 clause 2a. enable housing development during 2011-2031 comprising:

Representation ID: 7590

Received: 02/11/2017

Respondent: Merton College and Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance

Agent: Savills

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

Whilst our client does not wish to explicitly comment on the merits or otherwise of individual sites proposed for allocation, a key issue of soundness for any local plan is whether the proposed housing allocations are deliverable and likely to result in the required level of completions.
To ensure that the plan is positively prepared and stands the best chance of meeting identified housing need, the Council should consider the allocation of developable reserve sites together with a suitable mechanism to allow their release during the plan period, as may be necessary.

Full text:

Policy SS1 sets out the spatial strategy for HDC up to 2031, including directing development to appropriate locations in accordance with the proposed settlement hierarchy. Parts 1a-1f are generally supported, insofar as they seek to direct growth to the most sustainable locations in the district in accordance with relevant provisions of the NPPF. This includes development to part of the Leicester Principal Urban Area, Sub-regional Centres, Key Centres, and rural centres including the Kibworths. A summary of this settlement hierarchy is set out as follows:
* Leicester Principle Urban Area (Scraptoft, Thurnby & Bushby) ;
* Sub regional centre - Market Harborough ;
* Key centres - Lutterworth & Broughton Astley ;
* 7 rural centres - including the Kibworths;
* 16 selected rural villages ;
* Other villages, rural settlements & countryside (where development is strictly controlled).

This policy seeks to enable housing and commercial development over the plan period, including a minimum 12,800 dwellings. This includes circa 7,915 dwellings through completions or commitments, including through neighbourhood plan allocations. The Plan proposes circa 1,500 dwellings in a strategic development area (SDA) east of Lutterworth, and an additional 1,200 dwellings at the Scraptoft North SDA, and circa 1,170 dwellings allocated elsewhere in the Plan.

Bullet 3 to Policy SS1 outlines that the Plan will bring forward strategic development areas at East of Lutterworth and Scraptoft North, and ensure that they become well-planned, high quality living environments and that they support the maintenance and improvement of employment areas, shopping centres and community facilities both within them and nearby.

Whilst our client does not wish to explicitly comment on the merits or otherwise of individual sites proposed for allocation, a key issue of soundness for any local plan is whether the proposed housing allocations are deliverable and likely to result in the required level of completions.

The experience of strategic allocations is that there is a very long lead in period before housing completions commence. Reliance on only two strategic allocation potentially reduces the robustness of the plan in the event that either of these allocations is not developed as anticipated in the local plan policies.

The advantage of relying on more than two strategic allocations, is that whilst such sites are unlikely to contribute to supply in the short term such as five year supply, there is a greater likelihood of strategic allocations making a significant contribution to housing completions for the remainder of the plan period including helping to meet the unmet need arising from both Leicester City Council or Oadby & Wigston District Council.

To ensure that the plan is positively prepared and stands the best chance of meeting identified housing need, the Council should consider the allocation of developable reserve sites together with a suitable mechanism to allow their release during the plan period, as may be necessary.

Support

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

GD1 clause 1.

Representation ID: 7598

Received: 02/11/2017

Respondent: Merton College and Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance

Agent: Savills

Representation Summary:

Policy GD1 establishes that HDC will take a positive approach that reflects the presumption in favour of sustainable development, in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework. This policy confirms that planning applications that accord with the Development Plan will be approved without delay, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

In light of its consistency with relevant provisions of the NPPF which reinforce a presumption in favour of sustainable development, our clients support the provisions of this policy.

Full text:

Policy GD1 establishes that HDC will take a positive approach that reflects the presumption in favour of sustainable development, in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework. This policy confirms that planning applications that accord with the Development Plan will be approved without delay, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

In light of its consistency with relevant provisions of the NPPF which reinforce a presumption in favour of sustainable development, our clients support the provisions of this policy.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

H1 Opening sentence

Representation ID: 7599

Received: 02/11/2017

Respondent: Merton College and Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance

Agent: Savills

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation Summary:

Given current uncertainty over the extent of any unmet need within the Leicester and Leicestershire HMA, this is not a sound basis upon which the Plan can reasonably progress. Any such unmet need must be considered fully at this stage in order to ensure compliance with the tests of soundness, and any relevant provisions of the NPPF. The Plan cannot be considered positively prepared, effective or consistent with national policy. If the Council continues with this approach, it will not have demonstrated the Duty to Co-operate.

Full text:

Policy H1 - Provision of New Housing sets out the proposed distribution by settlement for a minimum residual housing land supply of 4,660 dwellings in the plan period. Policy H1 includes two Strategic Development Areas (SDA) allocations, three site allocations in Market Harborough for 1,140 dwellings (Policies MH1 - 3) and one site allocation in Fleckney for 130 dwellings (Policy F1).

This policy outlines that Harborough District Council is able to meet all of its housing requirement within the District, evidenced by the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), 2016. The Plan, as at paragraph 5.1.5., notes that should any local authorities within the Leicester and Leicestershire HMA be unable to meet their full housing needs, because of either a lack of physical capacity or significant harm to the principles and policies of the NPPF, there will be a need to consider whether those needs can be met elsewhere within the HMA.

Given current uncertainty over the extent of any unmet need within the Leicester and Leicestershire HMA, this is not a sound basis upon which the Plan can reasonably progress. Any such unmet need must be considered fully at this stage in order to ensure compliance with the tests of soundness, and any relevant provisions of the NPPF. The Plan cannot be considered positively prepared, effective or consistent with national policy. If the Council continues with this approach, it will not have demonstrated the Duty to Co-operate.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

H2 clause 1

Representation ID: 7600

Received: 02/11/2017

Respondent: Merton College and Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance

Agent: Savills

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Yes

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

A Local Plan Viability - Residential Options Viability Interim Report was published in April 2016. This report established that viability varies between 30-40%. Whilst our clients support the mechanism for providing affordable housing and the potential for off-site commuted sums where necessary, we consider that a policy requirement which better reflects the stated viability range of 30-40% as per the evidence base may be more suitable.

Full text:

Policy H2 - Affordable Housing sets out that a 40% affordable housing will be required on housing sites of more than 10 dwellings, or with a combined gross floorspace of more than 1,000 square metres, or of more than 0.5 hectares. Policy H2 notes that where on-site provision is demonstrated to be impractical, off-site commuted sums of an equivalent value will be made in lieu of on-site provision.

A Local Plan Viability - Residential Options Viability Interim Report was published in April 2016. This report established that viability varies between 30-40%. Whilst our clients support the mechanism for providing affordable housing and the potential for off-site commuted sums where necessary, we consider that a policy requirement which better reflects the stated viability range of 30-40% as per the evidence base may be more suitable.

The proposed affordable housing tenure mix is described as 75% affordable/social rent and 25% intermediate housing. We consider this to be unnecessarily prescriptive. This policy should be reworded to reflect greater flexibility so as not to unduly preclude delivery. We note with interest the Government's proposals for Starter Homes as set out in the Housing White Paper. This indicated that the delivery of starter homes may be considered as part of a mixed package of affordable housing, alongside proposed affordable ownership and tenure splits. Wording which better reflects this emerging position would ensure greater appropriateness and soundness of this policy.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

H2 clause 2

Representation ID: 7601

Received: 02/11/2017

Respondent: Merton College and Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance

Agent: Savills

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? Yes

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

The proposed affordable housing tenure mix is described as 75% affordable/social rent and 25% intermediate housing. We consider this to be unnecessarily prescriptive. This policy should be reworded to reflect greater flexibility so as not to unduly preclude delivery. We note with interest the Government's proposals for Starter Homes as set out in the Housing White Paper. This indicated that the delivery of starter homes may be considered as part of a mixed package of affordable housing, alongside proposed affordable ownership and tenure splits. Wording which better reflects this emerging position would ensure greater appropriateness and soundness of this policy.

Full text:

Policy H2 - Affordable Housing sets out that a 40% affordable housing will be required on housing sites of more than 10 dwellings, or with a combined gross floorspace of more than 1,000 square metres, or of more than 0.5 hectares. Policy H2 notes that where on-site provision is demonstrated to be impractical, off-site commuted sums of an equivalent value will be made in lieu of on-site provision.

A Local Plan Viability - Residential Options Viability Interim Report was published in April 2016. This report established that viability varies between 30-40%. Whilst our clients support the mechanism for providing affordable housing and the potential for off-site commuted sums where necessary, we consider that a policy requirement which better reflects the stated viability range of 30-40% as per the evidence base may be more suitable.

The proposed affordable housing tenure mix is described as 75% affordable/social rent and 25% intermediate housing. We consider this to be unnecessarily prescriptive. This policy should be reworded to reflect greater flexibility so as not to unduly preclude delivery. We note with interest the Government's proposals for Starter Homes as set out in the Housing White Paper. This indicated that the delivery of starter homes may be considered as part of a mixed package of affordable housing, alongside proposed affordable ownership and tenure splits. Wording which better reflects this emerging position would ensure greater appropriateness and soundness of this policy.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

H1 Opening sentence

Representation ID: 7652

Received: 02/11/2017

Respondent: Merton College and Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance

Agent: Savills

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

Land north-east of Kibworth Harcourt is considered a suitable option for a possible reserve site. The site would contribute well to the achievement of sustainable development as per relevant guidance of the NPPF, including necessary economic, social, and environmental roles. Moreover, the inclusion of strategic development area at Kibworth would be likely to increase significantly the robustness of the plan to providing more flexibility and a clear contingency to assist the Council in demonstrating an adequate housing land supply in the latter half of the plan period.

The provision of a bypass at Kibworth has been a longstanding aim for the Council. Strategic mixed use development at Kibworth could be utilised to secure an appropriate level of developer funding towards the provision of a bypass at Kibworth. Our clients' land ownership is well placed to facilitate such a proposal.

Full text:

Land north-east of Kibworth Harcourt:

Savills and Andrew Granger & Co. have prepared these representations on behalf of Merton College and Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance in respect of their land interests to the north-east of the Kibworth Harcourt.

If the Harborough Local Plan 2011 - 2031 is to be found sound at examination, it must satisfactorily meet the four tests of soundness as set out in the NPPF. The Plan should be positively prepared, justified, effective, and consistent with national policy. In its current iteration and for the reasons set out in this correspondence, the Plan is considered unsound.

Our clients' land interest incorporates land to the north-east of Kibworth Harcourt. The site comprises a total site area of circa 182 hectares. An Illustrative Masterplan Framework demonstrating the extent of land ownership is enclosed.

The site is considered a suitable option for a possible reserve site. The site is capable of delivery for a strategic development area for circa 1,600 homes, employment uses, associated open space and a bypass, based on the Aspinall Verdi Residential Options Viability Interim Report (One) (April 2016).

The provision of a bypass at Kibworth has been a longstanding aim for the Council. Strategic mixed use development at Kibworth could be utilised to secure an appropriate level of developer funding towards the provision of a bypass at Kibworth. Our clients' land ownership is well placed to facilitate such a proposal.

Our clients' interests at Kibworth would contribute well to the achievement of sustainable development as per relevant guidance of the NPPF, including necessary economic, social, and environmental roles. Morevoer, the inclusion of strategic development area at Kibworth would be likely to increase significantly the robustness of the plan to providing more flexibility and a clear contingency to assist the Council in demonstrating an adequate housing land supply in the latter half of the plan period.

Object

Harborough Local Plan 2011-2031, Proposed Submission

5.1.4 to 5.1.7 Explanation

Representation ID: 7653

Received: 02/11/2017

Respondent: Merton College and Leicester Diocesan Board of Finance

Agent: Savills

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation Summary:

Whilst the Council has to some extent sought to co-operate with neighbouring authorities in the HMA, the preparation of the plan against a backdrop of the above uncertainty is problematic. Any provisions to address this declared unmet need from LCC and OWDC are not yet agreed as part of any up-to-date memorandum of understanding between authorities in the HMA. Therefore until such a time, it can not yet be clear that the Council has fulfilled the requirements of the Duty to Co-operate.

Without fully addressing any unmet need in the HMA, the Plan cannot be considered positively prepared, effective or consistent with overarching national policies. The Plan cannot be found sound at such a time where uncertainty on the extent of any identified unmet need has not yet been accounted for.

Full text:

The Duty to Co-operate was established in the Localism Act 2011, which amended the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It places a legal duty on local planning authorities, county councils and public bodies to engage constructively, proactively and on an ongoing basis to ensure that significant issues that affect more than one local authority area are addressed adequately within plans. This Plan must therefore consider influences on and the requirements of adjoining areas and how strategic infrastructure is to be delivered.

Paragraph 47 of the NPPF sets out that in considering whether the Duty to Co-operate has been met, local planning authorities should deliver a full objectively assessed housing need for market and affordable housing in the identified Housing Market Area (HMA). This should account for any unmet need arising from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and where consistent with achieving sustainable development.

The District is considered part of the Leicester and Leicestershire HMA. The HMA includes a total of nine Leicestershire local authorities. Our clients recognise that these nine authorities have worked together to prepare the 2017 HEDNA, which identifies an OAN figure for the HMA of 4,829 dwellings per annum between 2011 -2031, and 4,716 dwellings per annum between 2011 - 2036.

Nevertheless we understand from review of the Council's published Duty to Co-operate Statement (September 2017) that there remains a significant level of uncertainty regarding whether or not each of these individual authorities can plan for and meet their own needs, or whether they will require assistance from neighbours in the HMA. We understand that two authorities within the identified HMA have recently outlined concern about their capacity to deliver their own OAN figures within the plan period. Leicester City Council (LCC) has declared unmet need totalling circa 8,834 dwellings in the period up to 2031. Oadby & Wigston District Council (OWDC) has also declared an unmet need of 161 dwellings up to 2031, or 1,076 up to 2036. It is reasonable to consider that Harborough District Council will play some role in responding to any such unmet need as the situation becomes more clear.

Whilst our clients consider that the Council has to some extent sought to co-operate with neighbouring authorities in the Leicester and Leicestershire HMA as per the published Duty to Co-operate Statement, the preparation of the plan against a backdrop of the above uncertainty is problematic. Any provisions to address this declared unmet need from LCC and OWDC are not yet agreed as part of any up-to-date memorandum of understanding between authorities in the HMA. We understand that a final memorandum of understanding which will establish a commitment to meet OAN figures up to 2028 will be signed all HMA authorities by January 2018. Therefore until such a time, it can not yet be clear that the Council has fulfilled the requirements of the Duty to Co-operate.

Without fully and comprehensively addressing any unmet need in the HMA, the Plan cannot be considered positively prepared, effective or consistent with overarching national policies. The Plan cannot be found sound at such a time where uncertainty on the extent of any identified unmet need has not yet been accounted for.

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