This report sets out the proposals for a further ‘call for sites’ as part of the work on production of an addendum/additional work to the current Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) that is in production.
The Committee considered the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management’s report that set out proposals for a further ‘call for sites’ to try to identify additional land for development.
The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management outlined the key targeted areas which included:
· tiers 1 – 4 in the settlement hierarchy;
· brownfields sites;
· regeneration and intensification opportunities;
· further site options within the western side of the district;
· sites for small scale housing developments;
· employment sites;
· gypsies and traveller sites
He drew Members attention to the third section in the report that outlined the different forms of engagement that would be undertaken including press releases, media coverage and contacting parish and town councils that Members had supported to encourage other sites to come forward in the district. This further work would then be required to be sent to the HELAA panel for a formal assessment.
The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised he would keep Members updated on the timetable and implications and reminded Members that the implications would depend on how many additional sites come forward.
Comments during discussion included:
· Concern raised about the lack of gypsy and travellers sites and issues in the past about parks being used which causes great stress within communities. A suggestion was made for the need for a strategy to encourage landowners to come forward with land as the report identifies a long standing challenge with very few sites coming forward as available;
· There is a need to consider employment provision as this is as important as housing in rural communities;
· Town and Parish Councils should be contacted to understand their need in the communities. The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management acknowledged that further thought was needed about how to include parishes in this process.
· There is a need to focus on the top tiers of the hierarchy for the call for sites and to not focus on areas that already have submitted a lot of sites; In response the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management advised there was a need to treat everyone fairly and sites that may come forward would still have to be accepted and considered;
· Concern was raised that a strategic brownfield sites study had not been completed and that it would be regrettable if greenfield sites were considered without considering the brownfield sites; The Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management accepted the need to go back through the urban capacity study to look at potential sites and suggested that the Housing Task Force could look at other sites the Council owned so they could be considered.
A further recommendation was proposed by Councillor Mike Allen and seconded by Councillor Philip Skinner to read:
In evaluating the proposed sites Officers should not presume a large new community to the West End will be approved.
Councillor Allen advised that he was not against the new community but that Members should not presume it is possible and that an open mind was needed when presented with further sites.
Further discussions included:
· Support a further call for sites to enable Members to understand what land is available and if there is a need to consider greenfield sites this should be considered to ensure appropriate land is available for development;
· There is a need to set the ground rules now before the consultation in order to follow through in the future.
· Support was expressed for recommendations 1 and 2 only;
· Several Members could not support recommendation 3 as it went against what Members had already agreed in the previous meeting;
· There are communities worldwide that ban the use of greenfield sites and only use brownfield sites where they combine employment and housing together;
1. To endorse the proposal for a further call for sites to support production of the Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment;
2. Delegate authority to the Service Lead – Planning Strategy and Development Management to undertake this work;
3. In evaluating the proposed sites Officers should not presume a large new community to the West End will be approved.
The recommendations were approved by a Senior Officer. The Senior Officer Decision Notice is listed above under Additional Documents.