Representation ID: 46803
Respondent: Mrs Sidney Syson
Not really in support or an objection but a general comment that I find the reasons given in many parts of the plan are not in my opinion sufficent evidence to support a Local Plan.
Not really in support or an objection but a general comment that I find the reasons given in many parts of the plan are not in my opinion sufficent evidence to support a Local Plan.
Representation ID: 48598
Respondent: Les Dobner
Not should be located could be located.
Not should expect would expect
Not should be located could be located.
Not should expect would expect
Part 1 Intro
Local Plan, key to help War Dist deliver its vision for next 15 yrs.
Produced with Police, fire and rescue and health and many others
Part2 our vision for district
To make Warwick district a great place to live, work and visit.
Council and partners trying through the Sustainable Community Strategy.
Try means fail. Do there best is what they mean. I make no comment on
how good this is.
This sets out 4 key priorities and 5 cross cutting themes.
Health and well Being
Economy, Skills and Employment
Cross Cutting Themes
Narrowing the Gaps
Embedding sustainability throughout.
Families at risk
Engaging and strengthening communities
The Sustainable Community Strategy is central to improving life in the
District across all the themes. Supported by series of Delivery Plans
and Locality plans which set out approach to improve areas of the
Local Plan a key element to deliver Sus Comm Strat
Preferred Options for Local Plan have been aligned with Strategy to
ensure it will address these priorities and themes.
Strategy for Future Sustainable Prosperity of District
to deliver vision, Council agreed key principles to develop Local Plan.
Facilitating growth and development of local economy to support a
dynamic, flexible, low carbon, mixed economy
Agreement to pursue the potential for sub - regional employment
site at the Gateway. The need to provide new employment land in and
around the thee main towns to meet local needs encourage creation
the need are food, water, air etc. This is a want.
local needs. If this is the above ok, if not this is a want.
Commitment to maintain and promote thriving town centres
How does building out of town supermarkets achieve the above ?
Commitment to maintain current strengths in districts economy.
Promoting regeneration of more socially / environmentally deprived
areas and support rural economy
Providing for growth and population changes.
meeting housing of the existing / future population of District including
land for around 550 new homes per annum on new allocated sites
Providing for diversity, including affordable homes for elderly and
vulnerable. Sites for gypsies / travellers and other specialised needs.
If these are green sites Please quote the Green Party's Countryside
Please see above
Providing for neighbourhoods that are well designed, distinctive and
based on principles of sustainable garden towns, suburbs and villages.
Providing home and neighbourhood designs that are sustainable,
low cost and carbon efficient.
Distributing development across District.
Ensuring developments based on principles of sustainable Garden Towns,
suburbs and Villages.
Protecting biodiversity, high quality landscapes, heritage assets and
other areas of significance
They have been reading the Green Party's Countryside Policy
Emphasis on infrastructure
Developing an effective / sustainable transport package
Ensuring parks, open spaces, countryside and areas for wildlife are maintained
They have definitely read the Green Party's Countryside Policy
Ensuring education is provided for in major new developments
Does this include gypsys and travellers
Ensuring community activities, health services and other key services
are provided for in new developments
Develop sustainable communities with strong local centres and / or
Done so far
May 2011 Document of key issues and scenarios for growth published.
This was subject of consultation.
Substantial amount of evidence gathered, to help understand changes
locally and what we need to plan for.
Please see above
This information important in helping develop preferred options
December 20011 Council agreed Future and sustainable Prosperity
of Warwick District. This set out key criteria for Preferred Options
Range of options appraised lead to selection of a preferred option
for each aspect of plan
The Government has published National Planning Policy Framework
This underlines importance of well justified upto date local plans and
means local plans play vital role in shaping future of local areas.
Whilst options can be justified. Important to underline they are
suggestions and not proposals for L Plan. The Council also prepared
Infrastructure Plan to go with Preferred Options. This Plan outlines
transport, schools, health open spaces, which is needed to help new
Please see above
communities prosper. More needs to be done on this, but again,
the Council is keen to hear from all interested parties about
Please see above
For those interested infinding more why these options chosen see
chapter below or www.warwickdc.gov.uk
Following consideration by Executive consultation starts 1st June
to 27 July Council keen to hear from anyone. Consutation is number
of public meetings, exhibitions and roadshows, local press and website.
Following consultation, work undertaken to develop draft Local Plan
with detailed Infrastructure Delivery Plan and Community
infrastructure Levy scheme. Then, approval of Daft Local Plan and
investment strategy, delivery to Council late 2012 early 2013.
Publication of Plan Feb 2013. 6 week consultation March / April 2013
Submission to Secretary of state June 2013
Pre - hearing meeting July / August 2013
Examination Public Hearing October / November 2013
Inspector's report February / March 2014
Adoption Estimated March / April 214.
4 Spatial Portrait, Issues ansObjectives see map 1
Warwick District has a growing, ageing, urban, ethnically diverse
and highly skilled population.
90% of the 138,800 live in Kenilworth, Warwick, Whitnash Leamington
areas. 10% in small villages. Population grown from 124,000 in
2000 12% increacse, forcast to grow 15% in next 15 years.
Compared to other parts Warwickshire,a higher proportion of
working age. Highest rate expected over 65
District diverse population, high proportion non - white 15% compared
to rest of county.
Notwithstanding current economic downturn, district has strong local
economy with skilled population higher productivity, earnings
compared with reginal / national averages
significant proportion of is designated for environmental or
historic value. To protect and maintain the character of District
Local Plan will balance growth and protecting enhancement of
So it is supposed to be
Areas of historic and environmental importance include 81% 28,000
hectares of Green Belt. 7 sites scientific interest. 15 sites important to
Nature Conservation. 2145 Listed Buildings. 29 conservation areas
4% of District. 11 Registered Parks and Gardens 4% of District.
District faces a number of opportunities and issues, important Local Plan
addresses these. Council consulted on issues facing District during
spring 2011 and thought consultation on following issues identified
important: Effects of recent recession and not knowing economies
House prices limit local peoples ability to buy or rent in area, creating
need to provide more affordable housing in towns and villages in the
Please see above
Threat to economic strength of town centres in Warwick,Leam and
Kenilworth from retail and leisure developments elsewhere.
Size and condition of existing community facilities and services
( particularly schools and health - care ) and whether they can
meet current and future needs. Peoples health and well - being
and the need for people ( particularly teenagers and young
people ) to have access to sport and cultural experiences
such as cinemas and community events.
Road congestion and air polution around main junctions along
A46 and M40, routes into towns and in town centres.
Threat of flooding to homes and businesses in some areas
particularly where surface water may flood towns and villages
and concern that flooding will increase beacause of climate
Areas of poverty in Warwick and Leam
Presure for development threatening the high - quality built
and natural environmets in district, particularly historic
areas and the cost of maintaining historic buildings in the areas.
Crime and the fear of crime, paticularly in town centres and the
need to protect the community from harm.
Governments plan ned high speed 2 rail line and possible
effects on the area (government cosulting on this ).
During consutation in spring 2011, number of objectives
identified. These set out key aims Local Plan will seek to deliver.
Following consultation objectives have ammended to take
account of views received and more recent changes ( such as
publication of National Planning Policy framework ).
Objectives have been used to link Council's Stratergy see above.
Providing sustainable of levels of growth in district.
And balance with housing growth to maintain high levels of
employment and deal with unemployment in deprived areas.
Local Plan will identify and maintain flexible and varied supply of
accommodation and land for right businesses.
Support the growth of knowledge - intensive industries, energy
and the rural economy;
improve business growth to support organic growth of local
Provide a sustainable level of housing balanced with economic
groth to reduce homeless and in unsatisfactory accommodation
to meet needs and help deal with future need for affordable
housing. Local Plan will : identify and maintain
right type, right tenure and in right location.
Make sure that new developments will reduce car use.
this improves air quality and help address climate change
reducing road congestion and carbon emissions, encouraging
people to walk and cycle more. Make sure new developments
are designed and built so they use water more effeciently and
reduce demand for natural resources. Increase renewable
and low carbon sources to reduce emissions.
.Make sure new developments are located, designed and built
so they can deal with the expected effects of climate change
particularly flooding. Make sure new developments are
distributed across district,and located to maintain and improve
the quality of the build and natural environment, particularly
historic areas and wildlife habitats and buildings and
areas of high landscape value. New developments should
respect the integrity of existing settlements. Make sure
new developments are built to high standard in terms of
design and provide incluplacessive liverly and attractive
places where people feel safe and want to live, work and visit
Make sure new developments provide public and private open
spaces where there there is a choice of areas of shade, shelter
and recreation which will benefit people and wild life, provide
flood storage and carbon management.
Make sure , if buildings and spaces particularly in historic
areas need to be adapted to meet the changing needs
Please see above
Check with Police WHITNASH
of the economy a nd to deal with environmental isssues
in a sensitive way 4.12 Enabling infrastructure to
improve and support groth. Enable organisations such
as schools and health service and provide and
maintain improved facilities and services in locations
peopoe can get to and that can meet current and future
needs and support sustainable economic groth in deprived
THIS may be correct, dwellings are another need
Even those sleeping rough go to the Salvation Army
areas. Enable energy, communications, water and waste
organisations to improve their infrastructure and services
so they can meet peoples needs. Protect the environment
ALL TOGETHER NOW. Please see above
and contribute towards dealing with causes and contribute
dealing with the causes and mitigating the effects of
Enable transport providers to make improvements more
integrated public transport cycling and pedestrians
organisations to improve their infrastructure and services
transport network, support sustainable economic growth.
Enable improvements to be made to the built and natural
environments which will help maintain and improve
historic habitats and their connectivity, help the public
access and enjoy open spaces such as parks and
allotments, reduce the risk of flooding. Keep the effects
of climate change
Representation ID: 48807
Respondent: Warwickshire County Council - Environment & Economy Directorate
The County Council, under the Localism Act 2012, has a "duty to co-operate". The duty to co-operate requires councils to 'engage constructively, actively and on an on-going basis' on issues relevant to statutory plans. Therefore, we will assist in the plan making process and infrastructure planning on an on-going basis.
The County Council, under the Localism Act 2012, has a "duty to co-operate". The duty to co-operate requires councils to 'engage constructively, actively and on an on-going basis' on issues relevant to statutory plans. Therefore, we will assist in the plan making process and infrastructure planning on an on-going basis.
We welcome the vision and direction of the local plan to create sustainable communities and a quality environment for all those who live and work in the District.
As well as our statutory duties our view is also set out in the context of the County Council's vision contained in the "Going for Growth" paper approved in April 2012. The purpose of this paper was to identify how the County will embrace the coalition government's twin primary aims of reducing deficit and securing growth in this challenging period of public sector austerity. The "Going for Growth" paper sets out how we will assist in stimulating and influencing the business and economic environment (with the necessary educational, skill development and community ambitions) to deliver 'growth' for Warwickshire.
In respect of indicating support for any particular development Option: our view is that there should be a right balance of sites that support growth. Therefore, it is a matter for the District Council, to satisfy itself and strike the right balance, in respect of deliverability, viability and sustainability and supporting infrastructure required to deliver each option.
The planning issues and policies contained in the "Preferred Options of the Local Plan" will impact at differing levels on the County council's corporate responsibilities, particularly economic, transport, support for the elderly and extra care housing, library services public health, gypsies and travellers and education. The Director of Public Health has already responded directly to you on the consultation and evidence.
The key values contained in the "Going for Growth" paper are stated below in emboldened text and their implications for planning and landuse policy is explained in the embolden text below:
* Our social investment will contribute to a county where the will compare well to other British communities.
We will look for planning policies that support technological Infrastructure and in particular in rural areas. We will support the strategic employment sites of the strategy.
* With a sense of mutual ownership of public services (the Warwickshire Shareholder).
We will support positive planning policies that embed co-location of services with the voluntary sector, private sector providers and other public bodies.
* We will achieve a discernible reduction in inequalities in social, economic, health and well-being regardless of age disability or culture.
This applies to access to goods and services for local residents including adequate provision for gypsies and travellers.
Planning policies on extra housing and affordable is provided with the necessary long term supporting services. We will support proposals and policies for co-location of services.
* A vibrant economy will produce high quality job offers in Warwickshire, raising the skill levels in the overall workforce so that we are as productive and competitive as the best in the Country.
* Warwickshire will be a place which looks actively at the best practice from other places - international as well as national - to develop innovative and entrepreneurial solutions. Our economic well-being will be measured by international comparison not simply against "West Midlands" regional standards. Our urban town centres will punch above their weight when compared with similar sized English town centres and our rural infrastructure will be amongst the best in the Country.
We will support planning policies that support a competitive economy for inward investment.
Warwick and Stratford upon Avon are international destinations and make a significant contribution to the economy of the region and sub region.
Therefore, we will support planning policies that support and sustain the key town centres.
* Our growth plan will attract people to live and work in Warwickshire as a specific choice. There will be a strong brand image, underpinned by a recognition that this as one of the best places in the Country to live and work.
Our strategic policies contained in the Local Transport Plan and Growth strategies support the improvement and the provision of strategic infrastructure such as junction improvements to strategic highway network and provision of new railways stations.
* There will be a strong Health and Well-being ethos about the quality of lifestyle we are encouraging.....where the brand "Warwickshire" will be directly associated with a health-focussed lifestyle supported by the health infrastructure to match.
The National Planning Framework requires Local Plans to include policies for health and well-being. The County Council is also responsible for Public Health and we would seek overarching planning policies in the Local Plan that support health and well-being as part of new developments in the District.
We are committed to delivering the best possible health and wellbeing outcomes for everyone, helping people to live Warwickshire.
Planning for health is important not only from a legislative perspective, but
also in relation to costs. Promoting healthy lifestyles, avoiding health impacts
and tackling health inequalities throughout the planning process could result
in major cost savings to society. There is significant evidence on the effect that spatial planning has on community health and well-being and spatial planning policies can address local health inequalities and social exclusion. Some local authorities have adopted planning policies to promote the health and well-being of residents through development management. The Local Plan can contribute to health and well-being in the following way:-
* The quality and opportunities of the local environment is a contributory factor in shaping health.
* Transport and traffic, access to public transport, lack of open space and where we shop for food are just a few examples of how the built environment influences our physical and mental health.
* Planning can positively affect the health of residents by shaping and influencing the layout and the open spaces in between developments and securing investment for the public realm.
* For example, planning policies can include; design requirements for housing layouts to encourage safe and pleasant walking short distances to amenities and services.
Developer obligations can be used to build infrastructure such as healthcare facilities, parks or cycling routes. There should be an overarching policy that promotes health and welling for communities in the District area. Spatial planning policies can promote and provide opportunities for healthier lifestyles.
It is against the above background that the comments are made to the specific questions. This letter contains an amalgamated response from various services. Whilst we have endeavoured to bring together as many responses as possible to assist you in the development of your Core Strategy, please be aware that there may be other services that may have comments to make at subsequent consultation periods as the process moves forward.
We wish to make detail comments on the Infrastructure Delivery Plan by mid-September. However, our general comments are set out below:
Comments in relation to adult social care and specialists housing needs.
Preferred Option 6 (PO6) Mixed Communities & Wide Choice of Homes
C. Homes for Older People should also include homes that include the needs of local older people, adults and children with disabilities and other local vulnerable people who need care and support. Therefore, this policy should include provision for; extra care housing and supported living accommodation suitable for adults/children with disabilities.
The Local Plan should provide clarity on the difference Use class C2 and C3 Usage Class. All too often we are seeing the C2 Usage Class applied to individual dwellings, which seem to become institutional if they are providing independent living solutions to vulnerable adults, e.g. McCarthy Stone development in Southbank Road, Kenilworth.
Extra care housing and use class C2 and C3
There is currently some uncertainty about the precise the definition of the different care market sub sectors, including that of 'Extra Care'. Extra Care may be defined as a scheme where occupiers have their own self-contained apartment or living space(s), and generally do not wish to live entirely by themselves without access to care, but do not require either, constant care. Such occupants would have the option of purchasing, as their needs require or are determined varying degrees of domiciliary care.
In terms of which use class order Extra Care falls within, its widely recognised definition, particularly regarding the varying degrees of care provided to residents, has led to debate over whether it comes under C2 Residential Institution or C3 Dwelling Houses.
The issue here is that care homes and extra care housing - both offer long term care solutions - but the preferred model (and this is the view of older people) is independent living (use class C3) with access to 24/7 care rather than admission to residential care (use classC2). We are seeing the market over providing ie residential care homes delivered ahead of extra care housing. If the number of residential care beds introduced to the market hits the predicted number of overall required care places (extra care housing and residential care), planners are likely to argue that there is little need for extra care if the residential care market has already delivered the required/reported numbers
Housing polices within the Local Plan should, therefore, clearly set the distinction between the class uses and also address how those needs will be met.
Demand for Extra Care housing
Based on the 2001 census Warwick District Council will need to provide 1197 units of extra care housing of which 299 should be "social rented" extra care housing. The latter figure should be form about 10-15% of the affordable housing numbers for the District.
Draft Infrastructure Plan
The first sentence could be re-written to read as "Adult Social Services are mainly concerned with adults and older people with physical and/or learning disabilities and/or mental health problems"
The last sentence should read as "Residential care accommodation is..."
May be better to refer to "older people and adults" rather than "...elderly and non-elderly people..."
This needs to reflect the current 50/50 service model promoted by the County Council, i.e. a model where 50% of people who would normally go into residential care are diverted into extra care housing.
The suggestion that "Housing accommodation...for people with learning or physical disabilities will be met as the need arises" needs to be clearer.
At present only a limited number of people with learning disabilities are afforded the opportunity to live independent and meaningful lives with choice and control over where and who they live with. Instead, many have their lives constrained by having to live in residential care where individual outcomes do not generally improve. With approx. 300 people with learning disabilities currently living in residential care in Warwickshire, the overall programme intention is to deliver no less than 200, 1 and 2-bedroomed apartments that are suitable for adults with learning disabilities, including an initial short term target of an average of 25 apartments per annum between 2011 and 2015 in line with the County Council's Transformation agenda.
There are about 227 people with learning disabilities in the Warwick District, some are living in extra care accommodation and the others with their main carer (this could be parents or partner). Some residents are living in "hard to let" properties and can be victims of abuse and hate crime. These specialists accommodation would provide suitable and safe accommodation for these vulnerable residents.
The District Council needs to include both anecdotal and specific needs analyses from a range of partners, such as local GPs, CCG, NHS Warwickshire and WCC. All these partners directly support and commission services for vulnerable people with a range of health and social care requirements, and these factors need to be considered when looking at overall housing provision.
Development Management and the consideration of planning applications for Care homes.
It is the joint view of the South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the County Council as the Public Health and Adult social care providers that the District Council should consider bringing forward a Supplementary Planning Documents ( SPD) to secure the proper distribution of housing and the implications the potential residents have for supporting care and clinical services.
We are therefore request that a moratorium on C2 applications placed. We also recommend that there should be an introduction of a two-stage process to assess planning application on behalf, i.e. a preliminary panel at Pre-Application stage. This could be made up of WDC, WCC, CCG (inc. local GPs) and NHS to consider any specialised accommodation, particularly as the District continues to attract interest from private developers who are seeking to provide specialised accommodation clearly geared to attracting the private pound and/or an imported population. This has implications for both Health and Social Care as follows:
1. NHS Continuing Health Care budgets are being used to fund services for an imported population rather than local residents. These new (and expensive) care homes or housing developments provide an attractive solution to meeting the needs of the private funder, however, we are still seeing those who cannot afford these prices being moved away from their local communities to where services are available. There will also be a drain on local GP and Nursing resources as these new and sizeable care homes come on stream.
2. Extra Care Housing delivery is complex and continues to struggle when reaching planning and enabling stages as it becomes embroiled in local policies. Therefore there should be planning policy guidance to create the proper balance of C2 and C3 housing for the District.
Subject to the input from the "specialist care and clinical services" panel, a development proposal could then progress to formal application for planning consent.
Heritage and Culture matters
We support the District Councils Local Plan direction in safeguarding and enjoyment of our natural and historic environment together with the district's rich heritage and visitor economy. Our specific comments are:-
Section 4, we would welcome specific reference to the interdependency between the district's tourist offer and the safeguarding of its natural and historic environment, and the provision of heritage and cultural activities and venues.
Section 7, we welcome reference to the need to maintain and develop the heritage and cultural infrastructure to support the needs of new residents and to support new communities in developing a sense of identity and social cohesion.
Section 10 tourism and the quality of the built and natural environment are linked, therefore, the contribution of the high quality of the environment should be specifically stated in any policy to maintain the role of towns as visitor destinations.
Section 17, we feel that the introductory list of cultural venues should include museums and archives. The paragraph on "Seeking contributions" should include heritage and cultural facilities; as communities grow, the cultural infrastructure and activities programme needs the opportunity and financial framework to grow accordingly.
We welcome the acknowledgement given to the importance of the District's historic environment in para. 11.1. However, archaeology and the historic environment in some cases should be joined up.
The document refers to the 'built and natural environment', (e.g. para. 4.11.7, 4.12.14, 10.4, 10.6, 11.2). 'historic areas' or the protection of 'historic assets', these terms appear to be used interchangeably. We recommend that the references to 'built and natural environment' throughout the document be re-worded to reflect that the historic environment is made up of a wide range of different types of heritage assets (including archaeological features, historic landscapes etc), rather than just historic structures.
Para. 11.1 describes the historic environment in terms of statutory protected, designated sites, such as Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monuments etc, and locally important historic assets. There are also a number of archaeological sites across the District that are of national or regional significance but may be undesignated and the local plan should also recognise this
There are also several instances where references to the protection of historic structures (such as the references in PO11 to the submission of nationally important historic assets for listing, and the bringing back of Listed buildings into use), could be expanded to take into account other, non-built, heritage assets. For example, PO11 could be expanded to include the putting forward of nationally important archaeological sites for protection as Scheduled Monuments, not just historic structures for listing.
Further clarification is needed in PO11 by "support the understanding of the significance of Heritage Assets, by: There should be provision for appropriate research for all applications relating to the historic environment".
Further clarification is needed about the reference to the Planning Authority undertaking research for all applications relating to the historic environment, or reference to requiring any planning applications relating to the historic environment to be accompanied by an appropriate assessment of the likely impact that the proposal will have upon the historic environment, as per para. 128, of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). We recommend the re-wording of this section of the document and assistance from the County's specialists can be provided.
Further clarification is needed about the term 'locally designated historic assets' in PO11. It is not clear whether this is referring solely to designated historic assets such as those included on 'Local Lists', or whether this is also referring to historic assets recorded on the Warwickshire Historic Environment Record (HER). We would recommend that reference is made to appropriately considering (and protecting if appropriate) all heritage assets as part of the planning process, whether designated or not, and that reference also be made to heritage assets recorded on the Warwickshire HER. We would also recommend that this policy acknowledge that there may be as yet unidentified heritage assets across the District which may be worthy of conservation, and which may also require protecting during the planning process.
The terms 'heritage assets' and 'historic assets' are used interchangeably throughout the document. We would recommend that the term 'heritage assets' be used in preference to 'historic assets' as this is the term used throughout the NPPF and other policy documents.
We support the reference in PO11 to the use of Article 4 directions to help protect the historic environment.
PO11 proposes protecting the historic through the submission of nationally important historic assets for listing. Not all heritage assets of national importance are listable, some may be better protected by being statutorily protected as Scheduled Monuments or included on the English Heritage 'Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England'. This policy should reflect this.
We also suggest that indirect impacts of development on heritage assets should also be added to any criteria based policy, for example, the impact that a proposed development may have upon the setting of a heritage asset which may be outside of the planning application site. Whilst there is reference to setting in para. 11.9, this is only referring to the setting of Conservation Areas.
Chapter 11, Para. 11.6 should read 'putting them to viable uses consistent with their conservation'
We also note the intention to draw up Local Lists of heritage assets (PO11); There should be clear methodology for identification of appropriate sites on the basis of our Historic Environment Records data. There should be acknowledgement throughout the Local Plan that open space can support conservation of the historic environment as well as the natural environment.
The list of areas of historic or environmental importance in the District should include reference to "41 Scheduled Monuments". We would also recommend that reference be made to the significant number of undesignated heritage assets within the District which are recorded on the Warwickshire Historic Environment Record.
We welcome that Chapter 15: Green Infrastructure makes reference to the Warwickshire Historic Environment Record (including the Historic Landscape Characterisation and Historic Farmsteads studies) (para. 15.21), however, it is disappointing that no reference is made to these within chapter 11, which specifically deals with the Historic Environment. It should be noted that whilst para. 15.21 states that the District Council has the Historic Environment Record
Proposed development sites
The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (which has informed the choice of preferred development sites included in the proposed Local Plan) should also assessed the impact that the proposed development of these sites could have upon the historic environment.
Whilst the assessment has identified statutorily protected sites on and within the vicinity of the potential development sites, however these have not considered a number of known un-designated heritage assets which the Council may also wish to consider. . These undesignated, heritage assets are of national significance and worthy of conservation. The assessment should also consider the historic landscape character of these areas.
In addition, as noted in our previous responses to the earlier Options paper of July 2008 and the 2009 "Proposed Submission Core Strategy" consultation, there will also be archaeological sites as yet undiscovered which will not be recorded on the HER, and even in areas where no archaeology has been recorded, evaluation may be required to confirm the presence/absence of remains. Consultation on a site by site basis will remain the best means of identifying archaeologically sensitive areas on the basis of current knowledge, as well as areas where archaeological potential will need to be assessed through more detailed work.
Since the individual allocations will need to take account of the impact upon historic environment we recommend that further work be undertaken to identify the issues in respect of the historic environment.
The selection criteria for the major development sites should also include for a thorough consideration of Historic Environment, and proper appraisal is undertaken and allowance made where necessary for preservation of sites of national Importance (in the sense of the 1979 Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act and the National Planning Policy Framework). We perhaps need a separate meetings to work on a systematic assessment of potential sites being put forward.
Tourism policy - general comments
We support the tourism policy of the Local Plan. Tourism is a significant sector of the overall economy within Warwick District and is recognised as a strategic priority within WDC's emerging Economic Development and Regeneration Strategy, it is recommended that Local Plan polices. Therefore, the District Council should also consider to referencing tourism as part of policy no P0 8 Economy and vica versa.
PO 8 Economy
We support the preparation of the Economic Development and Regeneration Strategy to provide a clear direction for growing and sustaining the economic position of the District Council area.
PO 17 Culture & Tourism
Rural broadband policies and policies for Culture and tourism should be cross referenced to promote the quality of the offer in the District.
It is therefore recommended that an introductory statement along the lines of Weston-Super-Mare might be more suitable:
"The Council will work with partners to support the development and retention of new and existing tourism facilities, for both business and leisure markets and promote their sustainable expansion across the District, whilst maximising their co-locational and cumulative benefits to:
* assist in regenerating our town centres by supporting growth of their retail, evening and night time economies by offering facilities and functions that could encourage spending within the wider areas;
* assist with development of green infrastructure corridors linking destinations and attractions for the benefit of both residents and visitors;
* improve the range, quality and distinctiveness of the District's tourism destination;
* provide high quality hotels and serviced and non-serviced accommodation formats and conferencing facilities;
promote the image and reputation of the District to attract visitors and secure investment."
Town centre tourist accommodation
We support the "town centre first" sequential approach for the further hotel accommodation. To support this and as an alternative, it is recommended that the Council consider the following policy wording:
Within the existing urban settlements of Warwick, Kenilworth and Leamington Spa, proposals that would result in the change of use hotels and tourist accommodation will be permitted unless:
* the proposed use or uses would reduce the overall capacity and attractiveness of Warwick, Kenilworth and Leamington Spa as tourism hubs and result in the loss of an otherwise viable hotel or tourist facility which would consequently harm the provision of tourist accommodation;
* the proposed use or uses would be incompatible with the surrounding area and businesses and would harm the character of the town centre;
* there would be no clear, additional benefits from the proposal in terms of improving the character of the area, the vitality and viability of the town centre and the economic and, cultural and environmental impact on the town as a whole.
Applicants seeking change of use away from existing hotel or tourist accommodation use will need to submit detailed evidence relating to the viability of the business and details of how the business has been marketed.
We support tourism in rural areas and we recommend that the Local Plan should have a specific policy to address expansion and re-development of existing tourism accommodation and tourism facilities within the Green Belt.
Accommodation not in permanent buildings
The District Council may wish to consider an additional policy to cover accommodation not in permanent buildings (i.e. camping, caravan and chalet parks). This type of accommodation can be damaging to the character of landscapes, and in rural areas the added light pollution can be intrusive. It is recommended that small scale developments should be supported in areas of open countryside or next to small settlements provided they are not prominent in the landscape and have high quality landscaping. The policy may choose to exclude locations in sensitive landscapes and areas prone to flooding.
Ecological & Geological
We welcome and support the strategic direction outlined in the Preferred Options document in relation to the Natural Environment and would like to make the following suggestions:
4. Spatial Portrait, Issues and Objectives
4.7 - Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation are now referred to Local Wildlife Sites. It is suggested that Local Geological Sites are also listed. You may wish also to consider using the Habitat Biodiversity Audit and the State of Biodiversity Report to provide a Spatial Portrait of the District's Biodiversity.
4.8 - You may wish to add climate change as a pressure in bullet point 9
7.5 - You may wish to add within the important issues a reference to the natural environment such as "Maintain access to the natural environment in both urban and rural settings to reap social, economic and well-being benefits".
PO4 Distribution of Sites for Housing: (A) Allocated Sites - we are aware of the habitat evidence submitted for the previous work on the local plan, but would suggest that a new model has been produced to measure Habitat Distinctiveness and Connectivity throughout Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull. This approach is placed at the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework as a way to indicate 'sensitivity' of habitats within potential allocated sites and how the site acts within the ecological corridors. We would recommend that this approach is investigated as partners to the Habitat Biodiversity Audit with the knowledge that the habitat data is current and sound.
PO4 Distribution of Sites for Housing: (C) Development of Brownfield Sites - we welcome the comment relating the development having 'no serious impact on the amenity and environment of their surroundings'. However, brownfield sites can be e very important ecological sites in their own right so suggest that this aspect is noted in the future policy.
There is no reference to the relationship between a healthy environment and the economy. It is suggested that this link is made in the introduction to add weight and substance to subsequent paragraphs within the policy such as 8.15. For example a statement could be, "There are proven links between the natural environment and economics (National Ecosystem Assessment, 2010) through an Ecosystem Services approach. It is essential that these links are maintained and enhanced through both the placement and setting of commercial activities coupled with the retention of agricultural and silvicultural practices." Further pictorial reference to explain Ecosystems Service can be found in the National Ecosystem Assessment documentation.
9. Built Environment
We support the 'Sustainable Garden towns, suburbs and village' design guide as well as the Relevant Issues and Strategic Objectives.
10. Climate Change
It is recommended that more be added in relation to Climate Change Adaptation within the introduction to support the last bullet within the box titled PO12 Climate Change.
12.25 - 12.26 These paragraphs outline the impacts and issues relating to Climate Change Adaptation, however, it is felt that this topic could be expanded upon within future documents, e.g. an addition Supplementary Planning Document or equivalent. This additional document could promote green roofs, green walls and other ways to promote urban cooling etc. WCC Ecological Services is able to signpost you to a couple of other Local Authority documentation on this topic.
It is recommended that reference be made to the Natural Environment White Paper (2011) and the importance of transport networks and ecological connectivity assets.
12. Green Infrastructure
In our opinion we suggest that this chapter is well balanced and support its approach. It is suggested that additional references to Ecosystem Services, the Warwickshire Biological Record Centre and the importance of using up-to-date ecological and geological / geomorphological data is used is the assessment of development proposals. These should be added to the future policy and the Ecological Services are able to assist you with this advice, subject to resources.
By the time the future policy is formed the Sub-regional Green Infrastructure Strategy will have been produced for consultation and can be more fully referenced as a mechanism to deliver your objectives outlined in this chapter.
18. Flooding and Water
In relation to ecology it is recommended that there is future referenced to the safeguarding or promotion of natural flood alleviation areas at strategic sites within the district as short, medium and long term aspirations to assist with flood risk measure. We are aware that this may form part of the Catchment Flood Risk Management Plan (18.9) or fall within the Sustainable Urban Drainage Approving Body's remit, but would suggest that these strategic potentials should be particularly noted within the future policy. These sites could then be potential delivered through the biodiversity offsetting metrics (15.16).
It is also recommended that a further discussion be held regarding the assessment of allocated sites using latest modelling of habitat data.
Comments regarding minerals safeguarding
Para. 143 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires that in preparing Local Plans, local planning authorities should define Minerals Safeguarding Areas and adopt appropriate policies in order that known locations of specific mineral resources of local and national importance are not needlessly sterilised by non-mineral development, whilst not creating a presumption that resources defined will be worked; and define Minerals Consultation Areas based on these Minerals Safeguard Areas.
The British Geological Survey's 'Guide to Minerals Safeguarding in England' (October 2007) provides the following advice:
"A district DPD could include policies that set out the general approach the district will take when determining proposals for non minerals development within or close to MSAs or existing mineral workings. Such policies should acknowledge the procedures for consulting the MPA on the existence and extent of mineral resources present and considering the case for prior extraction of mineral where appropriate."
In June 2009, the British Geological Survey (BGS) completed a piece of work to delineate Warwickshire County Council's Mineral Safeguarding Areas (MSAs)/Minerals Consultation Areas (MCAs). The BGS identified the extent of individual mineral resources in Warwickshire and these, in turn, were used to develop safeguard areas for each mineral. WCC would suggest that these MSAs/MCAs are either identified on WDC proposals maps and/or a link is provided in the Local Plan to Warwickshire's Minerals Safeguarding webpages. This will help to ensure that minerals implications are taken into account as part of decision making for District planning applications.
We would request that where certain applications may potentially sterilise minerals deposits within an MSA, the District Council consults the County Council. If the County Council concludes that minerals reserves may be sterilised, the applicant may be required to submit a Minerals Survey to establish whether the reserve is economically viable. In some cases, the County Council may insist that prior extraction of the minerals is undertaken prior to the non-mineral development being carried out. It is considered that the inclusion of this procedural information will improve the effectiveness and deliverability of the policy.
In assessing the Preferred Options, it is noted that there appear to be sand and gravel deposits under the 'Whitnash East', 'West of Europa Way' and 'South of Gallows Hill' sites - see attached map (appendix A). It would be beneficial if a minerals survey was undertaken by the developer to determine the quality and depth of the resource and to establish the feasibility of prior extraction.
Policies for the development of major residential development sites should include waste management issues as part of the overall design of larger residential/retail developments. For example, provision for waste recycling/composting on site will ensure that waste is managed in accordance with the principles of proximity, self-sufficiency and the Waste Hierarchy. Furthermore, there is a need to provide adequate waste facilities for flats and apartments - see WRAP's 'Good Practice Guidance - recycling for flats' WRAP, available at http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/recycling-collections-flats.
It should also be noted that policy CS8 of the Warwickshire Waste Core Strategy (due for Submission in September 2012) seeks to safeguard existing waste management sites. At this stage, it is considered that none of the preferred option sites are likely to prevent or unreasonably restrict any waste sites. However, if necessary the Council may object to other proposals which may sterilise important waste facilities (e.g. those delivering significant waste management capacity to meet the County's landfill diversion targets). To prevent this, WCC intends to supply each District/Borough Council with its latest waste site information, possibly in GIS format, so that the County Council can be consulted on any proposals within reasonable proximity (e.g. 250m) of existing waste management facilities.
Customer Services/One Front Door/services that support communities and families.
The County Council is open to co-location, co-access, and co-servicing of support services including support for the elderly, vulnerable adults, and families , however, these services should be located or are accessible to communities they serve. Further for new development these key services should evolve with the phasing for large developments. One solution could be providing lay-bys with " electric hook up points" for mobile services (including a mobile shops) this would build up sufficient demand before most of the dwellings are built. Consequently, make communities and developments sustainable.
Transport and Planning matters
The key transport strategies are contained in Warwickshire Local Transport Plan 2011-2016. The County Council is already working with the District Council to assess the transport impacts of various development scenarios as part of our Strategic Transport Assessment work and will be responding directly on this and other relevant transport matters. The key matters are access and sustainability of the pattern of development for homes and jobs.
We support the direction and economic strategy of the Local Plan and we need to undertake further work on some key matters ie transport, archaeology and ecology matters.
Representation ID: 48855
Respondent: Home Builders Federation Ltd
It would be helpful if the local plan clearly stated the period of time over which it is intended to operate. This should be stated on the front cover and in the first paragraph of the introduction, as well as elsewhere in the document, including the section that addresses the housing need over the plan period. We assume that the plan period proposed is 2011 to 2029 although this is not altogether clear.
Thank you for consulting with the Home Builders Federation (HBF) on Warwick's local plan preferred option.
The HBF is the principle representative body of the housebuilding industry in England and Wales and our representations reflect the views of our membership of multinational PLCs, through regional developers to small, local builders. Our members account for over 80% of all new housing built in England and Wales in any one year including a large proportion of the new affordable housing stock.
We would like to submit the following representations on the draft Local Plan.
It would be helpful if the local plan clearly stated the period of time over which it is intended to operate. This should be stated on the front cover and in the first paragraph of the introduction, as well as elsewhere in the document, including the section that addresses the housing need over the plan period. We assume that the plan period proposed is 2011 to 2029 although this is not altogether clear.
Section 5: Preferred Level of Growth
It is encouraging to see the Council taking the correct approach to establishing a housing requirement that is in conformity with the NPPF (hereafter referred to as the Framework). It is the function of the SHMA to assess the full housing needs of the district over the proposed plan period.
We note the three scenarios for setting a future housing requirement. Inevitably, given the uncertainties regarding the economy, relying on any one employment-based scenario as the basis for setting a housing requirement could prove too inflexible in the event that the district (or adjoining districts) experience higher levels of employment growth than projected by a particular scenario. We note that option 1 allows for 600 homes a year, while option 2 allows for 700 homes a year. Option 3 has been discounted because the projected increase in jobs would not be matched by the increase in homes (paragraph 5.19).
We do have some qualms about assuming that there is a direct relationship between new jobs in the district and the demand for new homes. The relationship may not be as strong as the Council thinks, and to some extent, the demand for housing in the district will come from people who work elsewhere, typically in the larger employment centres of Solihull, Coventry, Birmingham etc.
We note that the Council's preferred level of housing growth is for 10,800 homes over the plan (PO1: preferred level of growth). This is inadequate since it is lower than the most recent household projections and the evidence from the most recent SHMA (2012). It also fails to take into account the decisions of adjacent local authorities.
The SHMA indicates that the annual need for affordable housing will be 698 homes per year (paragraph 7.50). This exceeds the proposed option, and, significantly, only addresses the affordable housing need, not the demand for market housing. The report does not appear to have assessed what the market need will be in the district in addition to this affordable need. As such, the SHMA does not satisfy the requirements of the Framework, paragraph 159.
It is unclear how the three modelled housing scenarios relate to the requirement of the Framework for the SHMA to identify the scale of housing needed over the range of tenures, including housing demand (paragraphs 47 and 159). It is unclear whether the figure of 698 affordable homes per year relates to the three scenarios since it exceeds two of them and is almost comparable to the third. The SHMA needs to set out what the quantity of need is for market housing and affordable housing over the plan period.
The Council has not explained in its Preferred Option why it is choosing to discount the evidence of need identified by the SHMA. It would appear that the Council is relying upon the argument that because the SHLAA can only identify land for 11,410 homes (paragraph 5.18). This, however, would be to pursue an capacity-based approach to determining the future housing requirement of the district, rather than using the new plan as an opportunity to review the efficacy of existing policies and constraints and consider the possibility of removing these in order to meet the level of housing need identified in the SHMA. A capacity-based approach would be contrary to the Framework, as the expectation is that the Council will do all it can to meet objectively assessed needs (see paragraphs 14, 17, 47, 179 and 182).
The 2008 based household projections indicate an increase of 13,000 households over the period from 64,000 in 2013 to 77,000 in 2028 - a period that is approximately comparable to the proposed plan period of 2011 to 2029. This is a figure that approximates to option 2 - the projected employment rate scenario of 12,888 homes. The Council suggests that this employment projection is likely to be optimistic (paragraph 5.22) owing to the most recent ONS GDP forecasts. Nevertheless, the Council may be surprised, and economic growth, and consequently housing demand, may be stronger than it expects. If this is the case the plan will need to have the capacity to respond to rising demand. This would be in accordance with the Framework which expects local plans to meet objectively assessed needs and have sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change.
Furthermore, while we would not dispute the Council's current pessimistic economic prognosis, it is important to remember that housing demand is not solely related to employment. Warwick will continue to experience many more affluent households moving into the district who may work elsewhere and non-economically actives households will continue to consume housing in the more desirable locations. The Council will need to cater for these tastes, but also increase the overall level of supply in order that those on low to medium incomes are not priced out of the district by affluent incomers. Citing the recession as a reason to scale-back plans to accommodate more housing would also be contrary to the Government's new, more positive, planning agenda, as set out in the Ministerial Statement Planning for Growth which sees planning has playing a pivotal role in facilitating greater levels of growth.
Duty to cooperate
There is also the matter of the duty to cooperate to consider and how Warwick's plan will provide for its own unmet needs that cannot be addressed through the plan (paragraph 179 of the Framework) as well as potentially the unmet needs of adjoining councils (paragraph 182). If the council is unable to meet its objectively assessed housing need through its plan (once it has properly identified this, and once it has reviewed existing policy constraints) it will need to plan to ensure that these needs can be met elsewhere without the district. To do so, it will need to plan in concert with adjoining councils.
The draft plan appears to be silent on this question. We note that at least two of Warwick's neighbours - Solihull and Stratford Upon Avon - are advancing plans that will not meet their own 'objectively' assessed housing needs (although there is an issue with the soundness of their own SHMA assessments when judged against the NPPF). Solihull is proposing only 525 homes per year when its SHMA indicates a need for 904 affordable homes. Stratford is proposing a plan requirement of 7,500 homes yet its own housing requirements study recommends between 11 and 12,000 homes over the plan period. Clearly if Solihull and Stratford are not proposing to meet their own requirements then it is very unlikely that they will be willing to accommodate any of Warwick's unmet needs. This suggests that Warwick will need to fully accommodate it own housing requirement since it cannot rely on anyone else to pick up the tab.
The location of new housing
It is unclear why the Council feels it needs to phase the delivery of sites (paragraph 7.20). Surely, if all the sites have been assessed as being suitable for housing, and thus sustainable in terms of the Framework, it should be immaterial when these sites come forward for delivery.
PO5: Affordable housing
I am concerned that the Council is disregarding the evidence of its own viability study in setting an affordable housing target of 40% when the study would appear to indicate that a figure of 35% may be more appropriate. The Council maintains that it can ignore the evidence since it will be flexible in how it applies its policy to ensure viability. This would be contrary to the approach of the Framework which now requires that the cost of affordable housing policy and other policy requirements of the plan are deliverable and to ensure that these do not render developments unviable and thus the plan undeliverable.
This will require the Council to ensure that all its policies applied to be applied to sites, especially those earmarked to contribute in the first five years from the date of adoption of the plan are subject to a reasonable level of policy demands and planning obligations. The onus should not be placed on the developer to demonstrate viability but for the Council to ensure that the cumulative impact of all its policies and demands will ensure that the majority of sites, and especially all those earmarked for the first five years, are viable (see the footnote to paragraph 47 of the NPPF and pages 26 and 27 of the Viability Testing of Local Plans report).
We are also concerned that the study has not modelled-in properly the true costs of development, including those costs to be added to development by the proposed local plan. We note that the study has only factored-in the cost of building to Code 3 and Code 4, but building to the Part L Building Regulations (equivalent to Code 5) will be a requirement from 2016 onwards. This will represent a significant additional cost. The Council should refer to the most recent DCLG report: Cost of Building to the Code for Sustainable Homes: An update cost review, August 2011. This is a significant future but known cost that will impinge upon the viability of sites over the plan period but also in first five years, and must be factored into a new viability assessment (see page 26 of the Viability Testing of Local Plans report).
The viability assessment has also not taken into account the cost of building Lifetimes Homes which is a requirement of policy PO6. A revised viability assessment will need to take account of this.
The viability assessment has not accounted for the cost of the requirement of policy PO12 for developments to provide on-site renewable energy plant to provide a 20% reduction in carbon emissions. A revised viability assessment will need to take account of the costs of doing so.
The viability assessment has not accounted for the cost of biodiversity offsetting which is a requirement of policy PO15. A revised viability assessment will need to take account of this.
The viability assessment has not accounted for the cost of flood mitigation measures as stipulated by policy PO18. A revised viability assessment will need to take account of this.
The report uses BCIS costs, but this is based on Gross Internal Area and does not account for external and landscaping costs and local site works (see page 34 of the Viability Testing of Local Plans). A revised viability assessment will need to take account of this.
The figure for site acquisition costs is rather low at 5.75%. This is more likely to be between 6.5 to 7.5%. We would refer the Council to page 35 of the Viability Testing of Local Plans report.
The viability assessment also assumes a total planning gain package (S106 and/or CIL) of £6,650 per unit. This seems modest. I have commented previously on this in my letter to the council dated 20 September 2010 in which I recommended an average of £15k per dwelling is applied as a more realistic figure. Ideally the Council should prepare a CIL Charging Schedule alongside the Local Plan to ensure an integrated viability assessment and avoids the risk of the CIL setting an unrealistically high charge that has not been reflected in the viability assessment for the local plan. Under the current arrangement, if the plan was adopted, then the Council would need to ensure the levy of any CIL introduced after the plan, in combination with S106, exceeded no more than £6,650 per dwelling otherwise the plan would immediately be rendered undeliverable.
We are also unconvinced by the interpretation of the evidence. We do not feel that the council's conclusions are legitimate ones to reach since the evidence does not support the assertion that either 35% or 40% affordable housing is viable. However, this is really a matter of secondary importance compared to the need for the Council to undertake a Framework compliant viability assessment that takes into account the costs of development, local policies and plan requirements.
Representation ID: 48866
Respondent: Anne Beaumont
The Parish Council support the Local Plan in principal.
The Parish Council support the Local Plan in principal; we have made reference as detailed below to the areas we feel directly impact our Parish.
The Parish Council would request the housing demand produced by the original survey be revisited to take account of the latest data available, such as the 2011 census results, the later figures from the births and deaths register and inward migration figures.
Also the Parish Council would like WDC to reconsider whether they have given sufficient weight to the unprecedented development in the area over the last few years, which, would make extrapolation of recent figures unreliable.
Comments on Preferred Options
P05 Affordable Housing
The Parish Council are unaware of any demonstrable need for local affordable housing, we do not have an infrastructure to support this type of development, such as public transport and community facilities, however, we are in the process of compiling a Parish Plan. With survey results from the local community imminent, we would wish to revisit our comments should results show otherwise
P07 Gypsies and Travellers.
The District Council has to identify a site for travellers within the district, which it has not yet done.
We currently have one unauthorised traveller site within our Parish, which is subject to an enforcement notice, the unauthorised site does not meet the specification laid down in the new Planning Policy Framework, nor does it meet any of the criteria set out in the Preferred Options. We need to emphasize this point so the Kites Nest site, does not become the default option for WDC in the absence of another site being identified. The Parish Council take the view that the whole area, including Coventry and Rugby, which currently have underused Traveller capacity, is taken into account in identifying potential Traveller sites.
The Preferred Options has identified the old Honiley Airfield as an employment site; we would insist any new development be restricted to the existing planning consent - potential for currently 2,000 jobs.
We request WDC in analysing the need for employment development consider the recent changes at Haseley Manor, which as an employment site could not attract business to the area and is now in the process of being redeveloped as housing.
The whole of our Parish lies with in the Greenbelt and we would wish it to remain so, if appropriate we would also wish our Parish to be designated as a "green wedge", providing a significant buffer between the conurbations of Kenilworth, Warwick, Coventry and Solihull.
We have a myriad of extremely well used Footpaths, Bridleways and Cycle routes; we wish these to be preserved as an important area for leisure and recreational activities.
We do not wish housing development forced upon us with the removal and restructuring of the Greenbelt boundaries, but we would support some sensitive infill development within our existing settlements.
As a Rural Parish, we do not have any provision of storm drains to alleviate excess surface water and local road floods. We would wish WDC to revisit their strategy on the maintenance of ditches and gulleys and to also ensure landowner responsibility is enforced.
Representation ID: 49200
Respondent: Mr Steve Tebby
The strategy doesn't mention the Localism act and does obtrain buy in from elected representatives, residents and voters.
Preferred Option Executive Summary is not acceptable in so far as it fails to mention the Localism Act.
I am quite taken aback by WDC's statement in Para 2.1 of the Local Plan Preferred Options. WDC states that the Council's vision for the Warwick District .... "is to make Warwick District a Great Place to Live, Work and Visit."
There are and have been a great many local people who belong to respected societies, who range from all political persuasions (or none) or who are just hard working individuals who have made this locality what it is today - a really good place to live, work and visit. WDC can continue the work in this vein and I hope it does, but it would be more fitting in a document of this kind for WDC to acknowledge the dedication and effort to date of such people and not to give the impression that our District is not at this moment something other than a really good place to live, work and visit.
WDC please restructure this paragraph.
1. Quoting from the LOCALPLAN: "Introduction:
"Our approach can be summarized as one which:
"Plans positively for growth and meets the District's housing need by allocating areas of land for new mixed developments.
"Supports the future vitality and sustainability of villages by including development sites in or adjacent to some villages and relaxing some of the current restrictions on development in villages." End of Quote.
Comment: Yes, but WDC doesn't mention the Localism Act. If WDC has Preferred Options then by law I understand that it now has to obtain buy-in from elected representatives, residents and voters.
PO4 ...Quote: "The Council will work with developers...."
Comment: Under the Localism Act, the council, the elected representatives, the residents and the voters will all work with the developers if that is the consensus between the council, the elected representatives, residents and voters. This must mean no more "behind closed door" meetings or secrecy.
PO9...Start of quote: "Our Preferred Option is to incorporate retail and town centre policies to:
** Apply the 'town centres first' message at the heart of Government retail policy advice that will be central to promoting the vitality and viability of the district's town centres. Town centres will be the focus for retail development and the Council will plan positively for their growth and development in accordance with their particular role within the network of town and local centres;
Support the addition of a major retail -led development scheme in Leamington Town Centre, in accordance with the identified need/evidence within the retail study" End of quote.
Comment: WDC may still support this, but after discussion with residents and voters, district councillors decided not to support Application W10/0340 re Clarendon Arcade. The legitimate planning reasons for refusing the Application, given in a written statement to the Applicants, are clear and on record. This was before the Localism Act became law. WDC must observe that any decision taken from now on is to be as a result of a consensus between themselves, the elected representatives, the residents and the voters. Furthermore, should any rivaling scheme, however small or diverse, gain the "majority" support from the elected representatives, residents, voters and WDC, then that scheme must now by law prevail.
During the public discussion on W10/0340 (2007-2011), under the questionable heading of "public consultation", there was very little support and much opposition to that scheme but WDC went ahead regardless. It was due to the good sense of the elected representatives that the scheme was rejected in November 2010. Well over 200 people lodged their formal objections to WDC. There were but four or five letters in favour. A similar proportion of Leamington Courier readers wrote in to express their objections to the scheme. The first survey by Wilson Bowden in the Royal Prior Shopping Centre in 2007 demonstrated that some 40 people wanted more shops. However, 200 others in that survey did not express such a desire. Yet this survey result has been used on a number of occasions to provide justification for the scheme and more shops. There are now more empty shops in Leamington in 2012 than there were people who wanted more shops in 2007.
Quote: "Reviewing of the Conservation areas"
Comment: It is to be expected that all such matters are to be discussed with elected representatives, residents and voters under the framework of the Localism Act. Further, I would prefer that specific parts of the existing / previous Local Plan be carried over verbatim to the new Local Plan as follows (notwithstanding the welcomed comments in section 11 in the LOCALPLAN Preferred Options Complete with....):
1. A development will not be permitted which has an unacceptable adverse impact on the amenity of nearby users and residents such as loss of privacy, loss of sunlight and daylight and noise disturbance.
2. A development will only be permitted which protects important natural features and positively contributes to the character and quality of its existing environment
3. Developments will help to support the objective of reducing dependence on the private car, avoid excessive levels of car parking and increase the patronage of public transport and encourage walking and cycling.
The rules 1 to 3 above are preferred because of their (relatively) unambiguous meanings. There doesn't appear to be a good reason to deviate from the previous plan which seems to have protected our town's heritage quite successfully during the past 20 years.
2. Comment on LOCALPLAN Preferred Options Complete with....
Paragraph 4.11, first section, 4. Quote:" 4. Make sure that new developments are in place that will reduce the need for people to use there cars. This will improve air quality and help address climate change by reducing road congestion and carbon emissions, and will encourage people to live more healthy lifestyles by walking and cycling more." End of quote.
Comment on the above quote: BRAVO!
Final Comments: I do not find the Preferred Option Executive Summary acceptable in so far as it fails to mention the Localism Act. WDC is well aware that this new Act has an objective to genuinely involve all the interested parties in local issues, the interested parties being (to repeat): the elected representatives, the residents, the voters and the District Council (or its equivalent).
The Localism Act is referred to only in Para 5.12. of "LOCALPLAN Preferred Options Complete with....", but mainly only that part of it concerned with the removal of the regional layer of strategic planning. Thank you WDC for acknowledging one part of the other main purpose of the Act and for pledging in this Para 5.12 that the "Council will, however be consulting neighbouring authorities on its proposals".
For clarity, I would like to see contained in the final agreed Local Plan an independently prepared précis of the Localism Act 2012 and what effect it may have in local decision making.
It would be good also for WDC to provide a detailed explanation of what is meant by "sustainable" in the contexts in which it uses it. The effort made in Para 12.28 on this is appreciated.
Comments on Draft Infrastructure Plan re Leamington Fire Station.
There has been considerable public discussion recently on the possible relocation of Leamington Fire Station from Warwick Street. I would like to see a commitment in the Local Plan for the retention of Leamington Fire Station at its present Warwick Street site
The "Local Plan Preferred Options" seems to be advocating growth in such a way that growth may become inevitable. WDC envisage an increase in traffic between 6% and 13% for each of the four home growth areas identified in Para 3.1.2 or a compound traffic growth of 40% if they are all developed as outlined. Is it conceivable that satellite crews from out of town fire stations, struggling with appliances through our narrow streets during the rush hour against a 40% increase in traffic density over current levels, might just fail to reach the town centre in time to prevent our wonderful Regency style heritage from being razed?
In Para 4.6.17, it is reported that the Fire and Rescue Service acknowledges that although new development can impact on the level of risk, there is no direct relationship between an increase in population and an increase in risk. This curious and counter-intuitive denial (from whom it is not clear) then turns into a warning: An increase in traffic congestion could impact the ability of existing stations to meet standards of cover. Here we have a preferred plan which predicts an increase in traffic density of up to 40% and a proposition in Para 4.6.18 to remove the Fire Station to a satellite location.
Under the powers of the Localism Act, I would urge our elected representatives, the Leamington residents and the voters to press WDC for our Town's Fire Station to be retained at its present location. Perhaps WDC could resolve not to relocate our Fire Station?
In my opinion, without further explanation, the Para 3.1.24 (on innovative but undefined ways to overcome traffic problems) lacks credibility. Perhaps further explanation could be provided in the Plan? Any explanation may be crucial to the case for a re-location of our Fire Station.
Representation ID: 49294
Development plan policies should not fetter important contribution that client makes to vitality and viability of
town centres. Financial services retailers generally
(and Bank in particular) play a key role in promoting town centre health and as a result, provision of financial services should be allowed to improve/evolve alongside improvements to shopping provision envisaged over proposed plan period. Banks should not be subject to outmoded restrictive controls on location, particularly as this is not supported by Government policy or by any evidence. Need to review existing policies that restrict A2 uses in designated frontages or risk plan being found unsound.
1. Introduction & Background
We act as planning consultants for Barclays Bank plc ("the Bank") in respect of the Local
Development Framework (LDF) for the District and this letter forms the Bank's response to
the above consultation. As a long-established business, the Bank has made a substantial
contribution to the vitality and viability of the District's town centres over the years that it has
traded and as a significant stakeholder it is therefore concerned that development plan
policies should not fetter the important contribution that it makes to the vitality and viability of
those town centres. Through high attraction of footfall, financial services retailers generally
(and the Bank in particular) play a key role in promoting town centre health and as a result,
the provision of financial services should be allowed to improve and evolve alongside the
improvements to shopping provision envisaged over the proposed plan period. Banks should
not be subject to outmoded restrictive controls on their location, particularly as this is not
supported by Government policy or by any evidence, so there is therefore a need to review
existing policies that restrict such A2 uses in designated frontages or the Council will risk the
plan being found unsound.
2. Representations on the current consultation
The Preferred Options document sets out the Council's 'Strategy for the Future and
Sustainable Prosperity of Warwick District' (Paragraph 2.5), highlighting several 'Key
Principles' which include "facilitating the growth and development" of the local economy to
support a "dynamic, flexible" economy and "a commitment to maintain and promote thriving
town centres". Paragraph 4.8 refers to "the threat to the economic strength of the town
centres of Warwick, Leamington Spa and Kenilworth from retail and leisure developments
elsewhere", a matter highlighted in the 2011 consultation which also set out the Council's
intention to facilitate a level of retail and leisure growth that will meet existing and future
needs and "maintain and improve the vitality and viability of existing town and local centres".
P-07-289- Warwick LP PO Page 2 of 5 June 2012
Paragraph 4.10 sets out the Council's Objectives to address the identified Issues including
the intention to meet people's existing and future needs and maintain and improve the vitality
and viability of existing town and local centres. However, whilst the Council intends that the
Local Pan will identify the role of each of the town centres and plan for their future
management and growth, the plan omits a firm intention to review existing outdated local
plan policies. The Bank objects to that omission as it will result in a plan that is unsound,
particularly as the Plan acknowledges the need "to respond to the rapid changes taking
place" in the economy (Paragraph 8.5), emphasises the need for growth and flexibility
(Paragraphs 8.6 & 8.7) and recognises the requirements of the NPPF to plan proactively and
flexibly to respond to changes in the economy (Paragraphs 8.11 and 8.12). The Plan refers
to the Council's draft 'Economic and Regeneration Strategy' which identifies 6 priorities
including attracting investment and the growth of businesses (paragraph 8.17) and also to
the Key Ambitions of the 'Coventry & Warwickshire LEP' which include creating an
environment where businesses can thrive (paragraph 8.18). Section 9 on 'Retailing and
Town Centres' confirms the need to "maintain the economic strength of the town centres"
and the need for "a strategy for future management and growth of the town centres to meet
future needs". Despite this, Policy PO9 fails to facilitate either, compounding this by saying
nothing at all about reviewing existing outdated town centre policies.
The Council's background technical paper (March 2011) relating to 'Retailing and Town
Centres' refers to national planning policy in PPS4 and the need for enhanced consumer
choice through the provision of innovative and efficient shopping, leisure, tourism and local
services in town centres. It highlights the concerns in Leamington Spa about decreasing
levels of pedestrian footfall and the limited amount of investment that has resulted in the
town "losing its competitive edge". The paper notes that in Warwick there has also been a
decline in pedestrian footfall and a limited degree of retailer interest, resulting in a less than
vibrant and robust centre. In the current Warwick District Local Plan 1996-2011 Policies
TCP4 & TCP5 place arbitrary restrictions on non-A1 uses in primary and secondary
frontages but these measures have clearly failed to prevent the decline in footfall and the
consequent detrimental effect upon vitality and viability. The focus should be on the quality
of the occupier, not on maintaining an arbitrary level of a particular use class. The Bank
considers that the omission from the Preferred Options of a firm intention by the Council to
review out of date policies relating to shopping frontages is unsound, particularly as those
policies are in conflict with Government policy. We set out below the national policy
background that necessitates such a review if the Council is to produce a Development Plan
that is sound.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) re-emphasises the requirement for a
Development Plan to be "sound" when it is submitted for Examination and that in order to be
so it must be "Positively prepared, Justified, Effective and Consistent with National Policy".
The Government expects the local plan process to consider alternative strategies before
deciding upon the most appropriate, that decision being based on evidence to support the
choice (paragraph 182). The NPPF is clear that each LPA should "ensure that the Local Plan
is based upon adequate, up-to-date and relevant evidence" and that their assessments and
strategies "take full account of relevant market and economic signals" (paragraph 158).
On the matter of policy formulation the NPPF states that for plan-making:
* "local planning authorities should positively seek opportunities to meet the
development needs of their area"; and
* "Local Plans should meet objectively assessed needs, with sufficient flexibility to
adapt to rapid change" (paragraph 14).
P-07-289- Warwick LP PO Page 3 of 5 June 2012
The Government is clear that there should be a positive attitude to "proactively drive and
support sustainable economic development" and to "respond positively to wider opportunities
for growth". Plans should "take account of market signals" and the needs of business
communities (NPPF paragraph 17). "Planning should operate to encourage and not act as
an impediment to sustainable growth" and "significant weight should be placed on the need
to support economic growth through the planning system" (paragraph 19). Local Planning
Authorities "should plan proactively to meet the development needs of business" (paragraph
20) and "Investment in business should not be over-burdened by the combined requirements
of planning policy expectations" (paragraph 21). In drawing up Local Plans, local planning
authorities should set out a clear economic vision and strategy which "positively and
proactively" encourages sustainable economic growth; and should "support existing
business sectors, taking account of whether they are expanding or contracting". The NPPF
confirms that "Policies should be flexible enough to accommodate needs not anticipated in
the plan and to allow a rapid response to changes in economic circumstances" (paragraph
21). In his Foreword to the NPPF the Minister for Planning is very clear that "Development
means growth" and that "Sustainable development is about positive growth", emphasising
that "Planning must be a creative exercise in finding ways to improve the places in which we
live our lives". This reflects HM Treasury's commitment that "the default answer to
development is yes" in its ongoing 'Plan for Growth', which was launched at the time of the
Budget in 2011, reinforced in the 2012 Budget and now underpins the NPPF.
Keeping significant generators of footfall out of primary frontages will actively work against
the achievement of the Council's strategic objectives and is inconsistent with national policy.
The Council should recognise the positive impact that financial service retailers such as the
Bank have upon vitality and viability. The review of the local plan provides an opportunity to
examine new evidence and to revise out-of-date policy, particularly if it is not consistent with
national policy. Limiting certain Part A uses in the primary frontage undermines the Council's
intention to attract private sector investment in the town centre. The implication that only A1
uses are appropriate derives from very outmoded and discredited thinking that other uses
such as banks detract from the vitality and viability of town centres. By definition, uses that
fall within Part A of the Use Classes Order are appropriate in town centres as they are
"shopping area uses" and are acceptable without any need for restriction or qualification.
This is particularly the case for the financial services sector. ODPM Circular 03/2005
"Changes of Use of Buildings And Land" which accompanied the last major revisions to the
Use Classes Order specifically states in relation to the A2 Financial and Professional
Services use class (which was created to separate those uses "serving the public, from other
office uses not directly serving the public" - paragraph 32), that the Class is also "designed to
allow flexibility within a sector which is very much a part of the established shopping street
scene, and which is expanding and diversifying". The uses within Class A2 are noted as
being those "which the public now expects to find in shopping areas" (paragraph 38).
The wider role played by town centres than a pure shopping function has been recognised
throughout Government policy on town centres. Government Policy in PPS6, PPS4 and now
in the NPPF particularly emphasises the importance of economic growth and the promotion
of town centre vitality and viability. Paragraph 23 requires that "Planning policies should be
positive" and states that local planning authorities should "promote competitive town centres
that provide customer choice" and allocate a range of sites because it is important that
needs for retail, leisure, office and other main town centre uses "are met in full". The clear
message is that "local planning authorities should plan positively for their future to encourage
economic activity". In fact there is nothing in Government policy that recommends or
supports imposing restrictions upon acceptable town centre uses at all and indeed, as noted
above, paragraph 21 of the NPPF requires flexibility in policies in order to allow a rapid
response to changes in economic circumstances. It is therefore essential that Development
Plan policies should facilitate the positive approach required by the NPPF.
Promoting vitality and viability in town centres are objectives of the Government and the
Council. To succeed, town centres need to provide a full range of services and these often
need to be located in ground floor premises in accessible locations. Indeed, Class A2
retailers such as the Bank routinely experience very high levels of customer visitation,
contributing significantly towards pedestrian movement and therefore the vitality and viability
of town centres. The Bank has undertaken a number of comparative footfall surveys in
connection with its current acquisitions programme at its branches in various towns and
cities in the UK (copies are attached). These conclusively show that the level of footfall
associated with Bank branches is commensurate with, and often higher than, the best known
national multiple Class A1 traders.
Banks also have moved away from the traditional style of frontage, preferring to have an
open, visually interesting and attractive face to the 'high street'. The Bank has become
increasingly retail in its presentation and has introduced an innovative 'flagship' branch
design, which has been developed in association with its customers, to transform banking
into what it terms as "a retail focused experience". The Bank estimates that some 10 million
customers use its branches each week and through listening to their feedback, a design has
been developed that meets their requirements for modern banking and provides branches
similar in appearance and in operation to retail shops. This is an example of the "changes in
economic circumstances" that the NPPF recognises and to which all Local Plans must
positively and flexibly respond. Whilst the design of every new branch has to be flexible in
order to be sensitive to the requirements of each building occupied, the aim is generally to
ensure that over 70% of the internal space at ground floor is accessible to customers. The
Bank's managers regularly report that upon the opening of a 'flagship' branch the customer
visitation levels significantly increase and thus the level of activity helps to underpin
pedestrian flows to the benefit of surrounding traders. It is therefore important that planning
policy recognises the benefit of bank uses in fostering footfall and pedestrian activity and
that it should not resist much-needed investment by financial service retailers.
The Bank's footfall surveys have been a key element in helping to change attitudes towards
the presence of banks in core shopping areas and primary frontages. Even planning
authorities that once strongly resisted Class A2 uses in their primary areas have granted
permission for Barclays 'flagship' outlets. Examples of authorities that have recognised the
wider benefits of the 'flagship' design (following receipt of applications which have been
supported by evidence of high footfall), include Southampton, Reading, Manchester, Milton
Keynes, Romford, Southend, Leicester, Plymouth, Sheffield, Kensington & Chelsea and
Cambridge. Follow up surveys were carried out in 2010 at Milton Keynes, Southend,
Reading and Southampton (copies are attached). In every case the new 'flagship' branch
significantly increased footfall, confirming the Bank's beneficial effect on vitality and viability.
The Council's objectives will require major commitment and substantial investment by the
private sector. Pursuing restrictive policies to keep significant generators of footfall such as
the Bank out of primary shopping frontages will actively work against the achievement of
those objectives and is an outdated and discredited approach. The Bank therefore considers
that, in the light of its evidence, it imperative that the Council revises existing policies such
as TCP4 and TCP5 as they are neither consistent with National Policy nor Justified.
Proposed Policy PO9 does not do so and the Council's documents show no indication that it
has gone through an objective process and audit trail of assessing alternatives to those
existing policies, or that alternatives have even been considered at all. That is unsound.
3. Draft Infrastructure Plan
The Council has also invited comments on the Draft Infrastructure Plan as part of the current
consultation. As this document evolves into an Infrastructure Delivery Plan, the Council
should consider very carefully the balance between seeking contributions towards
infrastructure from proposed development and threatening the viability of that development.
P-07-289- Warwick LP PO Page 5 of 5 June 2012
The NPPF is clear that "Investment in business should not be over-burdened by the
combined requirements of planning policy expectations" (Paragraph 21) and that
development proposals "should not be subject to such a scale of obligations and policy
burdens that their ability to be developed viably is threatened". To ensure viability, any
infrastructure contributions sought should still allow for "competitive returns to a willing land
owner and willing developer to enable the development to be deliverable" (Paragraph 173).
4. Closing Comments
The Government has confirmed its commitment to HM Treasury's 'Plan for Growth' and it is
clear that the Council's objectives will require major commitment and substantial investment
by the private sector. In the light of our Client's evidence and the Government's
determination set out in the NPPF that planning policies and their implementation must
facilitate economic investment and growth, it is imperative that the Council uses the
opportunity of the preparation and revision of its Development Plan to ensure that its
planning policies in respect of bank and building society uses in designated shopping
frontages are consistent with National Policy and fully justified by robust evidence. Up-todate
development plans are an essential element in providing support for economic growth
and in taking Policy PO9 forward the Council must revise its current Local Plan retail policies
TCP4 and TCP5 to provide that support for investment by stakeholders such as our Client
and to ensure that the plan is sound. We trust that the Council will indeed take on board the
Bank's objections in the light of it being "keen to hear the views of all interested parties to
help us shape a draft Local Plan" and the confirmation that these Preferred Options "are not
a final set of proposals for the Local Plan" (Paragraph 3.3).
The Council's recognition of the need for significant private sector investment in the town
centres means that policies in the replacement local plan must give greater encouragement
to appropriate Part A uses to invest and to improve the quality of their representation.
Restrictive planning policies designed to keep significant generators of footfall such as the
Bank out of primary shopping areas will actively work against the achievement of the
Council's objectives and is inconsistent with national policy. The Bank's evidence of how it
increases vitality and viability in primary frontages shows that there is considerable benefit in
seeking to attract those A2 users such as banks who provide a high level of investment in,
and maintenance of, their premises resulting in active and attractive street frontages. This
will foster very significant footfall and pedestrian activity and attract investment by others,
helping to provide the confidence and commercial viability necessary for any programme of
regeneration and investment. To be Justified and Consistent with National Policy the
emerging Local Plan must review existing out of date policies that restrict the presence of
financial service retailers such as the Bank in designated frontages. If this is not done, the
Council will risk the DPD being found unsound. Policy wording should make it clear that
uses such as shops, banks and building societies which contribute to the vitality,
viability and diversity of town centres will be encouraged and that such active ground
floor uses will be appropriate in all designated retail frontages without restriction.
In view of the requirement for improved provision of banking services in Warwick District the
Bank would like to confirm its continued interest in the Local Plan process and in that regard
we shall be grateful if the Council will continue to notify us of the progress of this document
as well as details of any other emerging LDDs.
Representation ID: 49925
In setting the strategy, it should be made clear the time period that the plan is proposed to cover. For example, at 1.2, there is reference to the next 15 years and only later in the document is confirmed that that the plan period covers 2011 to 2029.
On behalf of Barwood Strategic Land LLP and the landowners we write in support of their
respective interests at land 'south of Gallows Hill/ west of Europa Way, Warwick'. This site is
identified in the Local Plan Preferred Options as a location for growth delivering 1,600 dwellings
in phases 2 and 3 of the plan period along with employment land, open space and community
Land interests within the proposed allocation are also held by William Davies and Hallam Land;
it is intended that all developers and landowners will work together to secure a comprehensive
masterplanning approach to the development of this site.
We respond to the respective policy areas and chapters below:
1. Part 1: Setting the Scene and Summary
- In setting the strategy, it should be made clear the time period that the plan is proposed
to cover. For example, at 1.2, there is reference to the next 15 years and only later in
the document is confirmed that that the plan period covers 2011 to 2029.
- It is noted that paragraph 4.2 makes reference to the fact that the District could grow by
as much as 15% over the next 15 years (from a current population of 138,800) - this
represents an increase of some 20,820 residents. We highlight that the 2008 based
household projections shows growth from 62,938 households in 2011 to 77,955
households in 2029. This represents an increase of 15,557 households. The 2006
based projections showed 17,110 households over the same period. The 2010 based
population projections show very similar population growth to the 2008 based projections
and although the latter remain the most up to date, it is expected that the 2010 based
CLG household projections will be very similar.
- Paragraph 4.10 should be revised to make reference to the need to ensure that Local
Plan meets the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing as
required by the NPPF.
2. Delivering Growth - Housing / PO1: Preferred Level of Growth
- The preferred level of housing growth is proposed to be 600 dwellings per annum
(totalling 10,800 dwellings) over the plan period, which when deducting commitments,
small SHLAA sites and windfalls results in a need to identify and allocate land for 6,986
dwellings. The Council have disregarded Option 2 (employment led growth and 700
dwellings per annum) seemingly solely on the basis that there is a lack of certainty that a
sufficient number of homes on strategic sites could be delivered within the plan period.
Using the Council's own calculations, delivering 700 dwellings per annum would result in
the need for an additional 1,800 dwellings to be found on allocated sites. Part of the
justification relates to the perceived lead in times for the delivery of the larger sites;
however the Council's own phasing programme is a self-fulfilling prophecy in this regard.
Phasing the larger allocations in Phases 2 and 3 (i.e. post 2019) could result in a
significant number of dwellings coming to the market at the same time and making it
difficult to therefore deliver an additional 1,800 dwellings in full within the plan period.
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We would suggest that the Council allows the market and the development industry to
regulate itself in respect of the phasing and the timing of the delivery of development.
To allow the larger allocations to make a start earlier in the plan period will ensure
steady delivery of housing over the life of the plan. It is not in a developer's own interest
to saturate the market however steady delivery on a number of sites over a number of
years will promote healthy competition and ensure sufficient time to allow such sites to
be built out in full. Furthermore, in doing this, there would exist the opportunity to
allocate land for the 'missing' 1,800 dwellings which would make a bigger step towards
meeting the Council's housing need.
- In addition, we highlight that the NPPF makes reference to development which is
sustainable going ahead without delay. It follows that in order for a site to have secured
an allocation in what will be an adopted Local Plan, that site must be sustainable and
therefore in accordance with the NPPF, there is no need for that site to be held back by
an arbitrary phasing policy.
- The Localism Act enshrines a Duty to Cooperate on Local Authorities when preparing
plans. In the event that Warwick District does not meet its own housing need in full, we
see no evidence of adjoining LPA's being prepared to take on and meet that need. The
District is bounded by the following LPA's:
- Stratford District: Latest draft Core Strategy did not propose to accommodate sufficient
growth to meet its own needs. No proposals to meet unmet need from Warwick District.
- Coventry: Latest draft Local Plan does not propose to accommodate sufficient growth to
meet its own needs. No proposals to meet unmet need from Warwick District.
- Rugby Borough: Adopted Core Strategy does not include any proposals to accommodate
unmet need from Warwick District.
- It is not therefore clear the way in which the Duty to Cooperate has been carried forward
or the way in which the District's housing need will be met in full, particularly given that
the household increase is projected to be closer to 15,557 households rather than the
10,800 households currently being planned for.
- Further justification for using lower housing targets is provided in paragraph 5.22 where
it is stated that using Option 2 would meet the projected change in employment between
2011 and 2031 as identified in the West Midlands Integrated Policy Model. However the
Council consider this to now be optimistic as it was carried out in 2010 and forecast an
increase in employment growth from 2011. We highlight however that throughout the
NPPF there is reference to the need to 'plan positively' and the need to stimulate and
secure economic growth. It would appear that the Council are revising their growth for
the period to 2029 (i.e. the long term) because short term growth has failed to
materialise. This cannot be said to be planning positively or assisting in securing
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3. PO3: Location of Growth
- The components of growth are reviewed below:
- Committed Housing Sites (1,224 dwellings): whilst clearly committed sites, we question
whether it is appropriate to include all of these sites and not include any allowance for
non-implementation. A 10% non-implementation rate is the industry 'norm' which we
consider should be applied here, thus reducing the commitments to 1,102 dwellings.
- Small Urban SHLAA sites (290): We seek clarification as to where these sites fall within
Table 7.2 of the Draft Local Plan (DLP).
- Other Windfall Housing Sites (2,300): Paragraph 7.25 of the DLP confirms that the
Council consider there to be a limited supply of land within the existing built up areas of
the towns. Windfalls can be included if the Council can demonstrate that such sites have
consistently become available in the local area and will continue to form a reliable source
of supply having regard to the SHLAA. The Council's SHLAA methodology confirms that
a minimum site size of 5 dwellings was used and that Officer's did not rely solely on sites
which supplied to them by developers or landowners but also conducted their own
research including reviewing areas currently in non residential use and looking at small
scale developments such as change of use of existing buildings. It would therefore
appear that the Council have had every opportunity to identify suitable residential sites
and include them in the SHLAA. With the removal of rear garden land from the definition
of previously developed land, we consider that the scope for new windfall development is
much reduced and that windfalls will no longer continue to make up a significant element
of future supply. Furthermore, under the banner of the NPPF and the requirement to
plan positively, windfalls should be seen as a 'bonus' rather than forming approximately
20% of the overall supply.
Land South of Gallows Hill
- The distribution of housing growth across the District is supported with particular
reference to Land South of Gallows Hill. It is noted that within the Council's Landscape
Character Assessment (February 2009), it is concluded that the study area is not suitable
and the rural character should be safeguarded from development. It is however clear
that this study has considered landscape character in isolation and this study should be
considered 'in the round' as is only one part of the evidence base underpinning the Local
Plan. The NPPF is clear that economic growth is a priority and that economic, social and
environmental factors have to be balanced against each other.
- The developers of this site will be commissioning technical and environmental work to
underpin the draft allocations; this will include detailed landscape and visual work to
demonstrate ways in which the site can be developed without adverse landscape impact.
- Whilst the developers will be working together to ensure a comprehensive approach to
the delivery of the site, we consider it important to recognise that within this should exist
the flexibility to ensure that each developer can bring parts of the site forward at their
own pace within an overall masterplanned approach. The delivery of large sites is often
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hampered by requirements to submit a single planning application which can cause
significant delays and is often to the detriment of the site itself.
4. PO5: Affordable Housing
- Whilst we do not object to the provision of affordable housing in principle, we do not see
any up to date evidence of the way in which the appropriateness of the target as been
assessed in terms of the financial viability of development in accordance with paragraphs
173 and 174 of the NPPF. Paragraph 7.43 of the DLP makes reference to a November
2011 document and an Addendum dated May 2012. The May 2012 document does not
feature in the Evidence Base on the Council's web-site and therefore we reserve the
right to make further representations in this respect upon publication of this document.
5. PO6: Mixed Communities and a Wide Choice of Housing
- We consider that sufficient flexibility should be included within any policy to ensure that
account is taken of up to date market demand in addition to the SHMA's. The latter can
become obsolete very quickly and clearly, if developers feel there is no demand for a
particular type of property then they will not build it, which can result in stalled sites and
lower rates of housing delivery.
- Lifetime Homes: there is no national policy which requires the provision of Lifetime
Homes and we see no justification which supports 25% provision.
- Homes for Older People: whilst the provision of extra care housing is supported, these
have very site specific criteria with operators having specific requirements in respect of
site location and suitability. A site which is suitable for market housing may not be
suitable for extra care housing and it is important to ensure that this policy is not applied
so rigidly so as to sterilise areas of land or stall sites.
6. PO8: Economy
- It is noted that the Council propose to consider allocating a 'proportion' of the site south
of Gallows Hill for employment. The provision of mixed use development is supported
although clearly further clarification is required on the definition of 'a proportion'.
7. PO10: Built Environment
- The Council's Garden Towns, Suburbs and Villages prospectus is supported.
8. PO12: Climate Change
- We have reviewed the Council's evidence base and do not see any case for the
introduction of a 20% climate change policy. We are also disappointed to see a
continued emphasis on renewable energy provision within new developments (when the
Council themselves acknowledge the disadvantages with some renewable technologies)
as opposed to the emphasis being placed on energy efficiency. If the overall aim is seek
a reduction in carbon emissions, we fail to see why this should be achieved through
renewable energy rather than energy efficiency measures.
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9. PO18: Flooding and Water
- Whilst the policy as a whole is supported it is noted that much of this replicates national
guidance and is therefore superfluous. Furthermore, the requirement that all new
developments include SUDS is unfeasible. There are some instances where SUDS
schemes are not feasible or viable and this should be recognised within the policy.
10. Draft Infrastructure Planning
- Whilst the provision of a draft Infrastructure Plan is supported to assist in providing
certainty to developers when bringing forward new sites, particularly in respect of the
larger strategic sites. We consider that further refinement of this plan may be needed.
For example, within Warwick and Leamington Spa, 6 new primary schools are currently
being considered at the same time as capacity in a number of existing schools is also
identified. It is noted that the NPPF advocates a CIL charging schedule being prepared
in tandem with a Local Plan if possible and we consider this may be appropriate in this
case to assist in determining the total cost of items identified in the Draft Infrastructure
Plan. This is of particular importance when reviewing the Strategic Transport
Assessment Overview Report which identifies a requirement of up to circa £5,000 per
property for transport infrastructure without taking into account any other infrastructure
requirements or planning obligations.
Representation ID: 49941
Respondent: Gallagher Estates
Agent: Pegasus Group
There should be greater reference throughout the document to NPPF, the Localism Act 2011 and the Ministerial Statement, Planning for Growth (March 2011). Object to the lack of reference to the duty to co-operate in the Localism Act.
See attached documents
Representation ID: 50738
Respondent: Dr Tim Robbins
There are two key omissions from the consultation that are being used as justification for the plans submitted and to contradict residents arguments. The first relates to the lack of information on the objections to development in the South in the previous plan (which have justified plans to build in the North in this plan). The absence of this together with the fact switching development to the North would result in a popularity contest means development in the south should not be excluded. A senior member of the Council stated that development in the north is needed to provide worker accomodation for development at Coventry Airport despite at the time of consultation it being impossible to allocate the site for this use. This justification is an afterthought, not explained in the consultation document and with no evidence to support it. The use of the site is inconsistent as there is land closer to Coventry which has been identified suitable for development. On these grounds it is impossible to justify exceptional circumstances to build on the site without undertaking a comprehensive assessment.
A further omission is despite Old Milverton and Blackdown being identified as having high greenbelt value this information has not been included in the consultation document.
Is concerned about the nature of the consultation process and that residents strong opposition will be ignored despite national government policy stating the importance of localism. It is the Councils responsibility to act on these views and change plans accordingly not argue, cite counter evidence or employ professionals to create arguments to ignore such views. The Council's documentation did not provide all the evidence that was used to create the plans therefore residents could only express their views. The document was entitled 'Preferred Options' however no other options were presented. The Council must select alternatives and make these subject to a second round of consultation with the greenbelt removed. If the strong opposition shown by North Leamington residents is ignored it will be the Councils responsibility if the plan fails. The online consultation system is not fit for purpose, poorly designed and incredibly complex with no opportunity for people to put forward solutions and locations where they would like to build. This suggests that the Council is not interested in the views of the population. The documents should have been made more prominent at certain deposit points, particularly Leamington Library and Warwickshire College
I am writing to express by serious and deep-felt objections to the preferred options plan as part of the consultation process that ends on the 27th July. In particular I object to construction on the greenbelt land to the North of Leamington, particularly the area North of Northumberland road, and South of Old Milverton, which seems to be being referred to as "Milverton Gardens." I propose that there are sound and sensible planning reasons not to build on this land, and viable alternatives elsewhere. To build on this land would be to fail to "protect for future generations" an essential part of the National Planning Policy Framework.
SECTION 1: INCORRECT PLAN TO BUILD ON GREENBELT LAND
Development unsuitable on Greenbelt land:
The part of the plan that I am quite simply outraged about is the destruction of valuable greenbelt land. This is not in accordance with national planning policy, for National Planning Policy Framework identifies that greenbelt land should only be built on in exceptional circumstances. The plan the council has put together does not demonstrate exceptional circumstances, not do I believe are there exceptional circumstances within the county for this to be validated (it would be unacceptable for the council to simply take this consultation and find some more evidence that they argue makes greenbelt use warranted, the point of consultation is not to argue with it, but to find out and accept local views). No evidence has been cited by the council explaining the exceptional circumstances, and as this is an evidence based consultation this is unacceptable and the plan to build on greenbelt land must be removed. This is further compounded by the fact that development is proposed also on the South edge of Kenilworth increasing the risk of sprawl as the two towns are being moved closer together. There is already significant established sprawl between Leamington and Warwick, to allow future sprawl risking coalescence with Kenilworth would destroy the local area, the community and result in people not wishing to move to the area and thus prove unsustainable.
Arguments that the need for housing in the area warrant construction on the greenbelt as an exceptional circumstance are false; this is demonstrated by strong evidence for in Cheltenham (a region which like Leamington has a strong need for housing and a large proportion of the county covered by greenbelt land), here the NATIONAL planning inspectorate ruled that these were not sufficiently exceptional circumstances to building on greenbelt land, and it is only right that Warwick District Council take heed of this evidence in their plan and remove the greenbelt from their plans. It has been argued that 80% of the county's land is greenbelt, however this is a misleading statistic for in fact a far smaller percentage of the rural-urban fringe is protected by greenbelt land. It is therefore totally unacceptable to use greenbelt land to build 44% of the housing required under the plan. Furthermore the % of greenbelt bordering the rural urban fringe is there to prevent urban sprawl, this is a nationally stated policy, it is my opinion that building on the greenbelt to the North of Leamington risks sprawl with Kenilworth and Coventry (this is indisputable as an original purpose of the greenbelt is to prevent sprawl with these areas, nothing has changed with regard to these areas, so building on the greenbelt encourages sprawl).
Use of greenbelt land is also unacceptable for there are other suitable areas for housing to be built, which are outlined later in this letter. Early in the consultation process the council discussed the need to "spread the pain" around the county, and for this reason there was construction on the greenbelt. This is not a planning reason for building on the greenbelt and certainly not an exceptional circumstance; as this was mentioned by council members early in the consultation it is only logical this is the logic for construction on the greenbelt land. This logic is unsound and the greenbelt should be removed from the plans. Creating alternative arguments later to counter residents objections that "spreading the pain" or as you have referred to it as in your preferred policy document "spreading development around the district" is not in-keeping with the process of consultation, for this is arguing with the publics views gathered consultation rather than being guided by them.
It is important to note that the National Planning Policy Framework sets out five purposes for Greenbelt land. In summary these are; to prevent urban sprawl of built up areas, to prevent neighbouring towns merging, to protect the country side from encroachment, to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns, and to assist urban regeneration by encouraging the recycling of urban land. Given that the greenbelt land to the North of Leamington Spa and South of Old Milverton fulfils the first 4, and arguable also ensures the 5th of these objectives, this is quite clearly greenbelt of very great importance and therefore its development would be contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework and common sense.
I believe the council have been disingenuous, or certainly at least short sighted in their plans. The land to the North of Northumberland Road that is planned for development leaves no distinct boundary to the greenbelt, particularly to the West of the site. This is in contravention of the NPPF, but would inevitably result in further development of the greenbelt land beyond that currently mapped by the council. This site therefore is inappropriate for development for once the boundary of the greenbelt is breached in this location and housing built upon it, this will create a "slippery slope" of further greenbelt development; a disaster to the region and totally unwanted by residents.
Advantages of focusing building in the South:
I am a young person (23) returning to Leamington Spa to work, the access to rural space and greenbelt land are essential to me choosing in this area to live. These rural spaces and areas of greenbelt are essential to the heritage and character of our town. It is essential we preserve this to encourage future skilled people to live here. However I cannot afford to purchase a house in the area, rather I am forced to live with my parents. As a resident of the area looking to purchase a house I am strongly opposed to construction on the greenbelt land to the North of Leamington, rather I would prefer extensive construction to the South. Housing in North Leamington has always been, and no doubt will continue to be more expensive, this is why developers want to build there (as stated by a senior officer of the council) as developers can then sell the houses for more profit. We are desperately in need of new affordable housing, as stated in your plan, so not only is construction in the greenbelt not warranted as an "exceptional circumstance" but actually contrary to what the district so desperately needs! Allowing more construction in one area (the South) would increase supply and therefore decrease demand for houses there, and with increased supply and decreased demand it is a simple economic argument that housing would be cheaper in that area. A key part of your plan is to ensure affordable housing is available and therefore by persisting with construction on greenbelt land to the North of the Town you fail to provide an adequate and sustainable supply of affordable housing. Again your policy of "spreading development around the district" is not only not based on planning principles and harmful to the district, but in fact prevents you achieving the large stock of affordable housing, which you set out to do.
In the Milvertion Parish Council meeting I attended a senior officer of the council stated that putting all housing in the South would be "more than the market could bare," quite simply this is argument is not valid for justifying construction in the North Leamington Greenbelt. If the market cannot support that level of housing then clearly there is no need to build any more housing in the district for there is no more demand!
Furthermore focusing housing in the South would allow financial saving for the council; this is important in a time of recession with an uncertain future; it is the councils responsibility to spend taxpayers money as effectively as possible and by focusing construction in the South rather than "spreading" development around the town, then the council could benefit from economies of scale whereby new schools and other services could be built singuarly in one area rather than having to spread service provision at increased cost around the county. This would thus allow the council to benefit from an economy of scale.
As a medically qualified doctor with a special interest in diabetes and obesity I believe it is vital that the council and planners take on-board that Warwickshire is set within the West Midlands, which exhibits the highest rate of obesity in England. Such an epidemiological problem is of tremendous importance to the health, wealth, sustainability and enjoyment of futures generations. The greenbelt land to the North of the Town has an incredibly important exercise resource; the footpath between Leamington and Old Milverton and on to Warwick. I believe this must be one of the most popular footpaths in the region and provides vital exercise and leisure benefits for the local population who walk, cycle, ride horses, jog on it. Destruction of this greenbelt would prevent people using this footpath ( being realistic very few people would use a footpath that runs through the centre of a housing development, even if it is a "garden" one, and this goes for arguments of putting it in a belt of parkland, which also would not give any benefit to the community, and as in many areas can result in foci for crime.
Attempts to recreate this leisure resource would not I believe be successful in a garden town; the footpath is free of charge to use, requires no special equipment to use, is open whenever local residents want to use it (even at night), can accommodate a high volume of people, can be used by those of any age (indeed people who grow up using it as children are likely to continue to use it as adults thus bridging a vital gap in ensuring exercise throughout life), it can be used individually or in groups. It also provides a low resistance, low impact, long duration form of exercise that is vital to older people needing to exercise. It is my opinion that even a combination of play areas, sports grounds, parks and facilities would fail to fulfil these criteria. When canvassing opinions from people using the greenbelt we were amazed at how widely people come from across Leamington to use this resource - it is a benefit for the whole town, and indeed the whole region - this letter, and the strong opposition to the greenbelt destruction cannot be accused of being "NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard). Ensuring the health of the population of Leamington is vital to creating a sustainable development plan, building on this vital local resource fails to meet the needs of today's population but also destroys a vital amenity for our future increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke etc and increasing the burden on our health services. Building on the other sites suggested in this letter avoids such problems.
It is of particular importance to myself and local residents to note that the area of highest use, accessibility and therefore greatest amenity and health benefits are the fields closet to Leamington Spa, therefore even the smallest amount of encroachment into the greenbelt would be unacceptable and harmful to the community and it's future sustainability and this is not what the very strong opposition to your plans from local residents have asked for.
The area between Kenilworth and Leamington Spa is subject to air quality management measures due to the high pollution created by surrounding pre-existing infrastructure, not only would new roads create increased levels of air pollution (harmful to the population, and in particular those with respiratory diseases eg asthma) but also the proposed development would reduce the Green Lung between Leamington and Kenilworth to less than 1.5miles reducing the ability of this land to absorb and decrease surrounding levels of air pollution. It is hardly sustainable to future generations to encourage harmful levels of pollutants in the air and therefore building here fails to achieve the plans aims for another reason. The land to the South of the town, does not suffer from the risk of coalescence with other towns, and indeed areas to the East and West not subject to air quality management, and thus would provide far better locations for the construction of new developments.
There is considerable wildlife and conservation benefit to the greenbelt between North Leamington and Old Milverton; it is essential we preserve diversity of wildlife for future generations, and this is intrinsic to a sustainable plan. Protected wildlife in the area includes; bats and their flight-paths, gliss gliss mice, great crested newts and badgers and their sets. This is without any study and I'm confident that careful study would elucidate other important species, this is likely to produce significant delays with biodiversity study, and protest questioning the ability of the council to deliver the site in an appropriate timescale if at all. I and many like me believe that we and Warwick District Council have a duty to protect these creatures, attempts to move them are unacceptable.
The preferred option plan's suggestion of construction of housing in the North Leamington Greenbelt fails to take into account the employment landscape of the district past, present and in future. Myself and other residents have strong objections and concerns that there will not be enough employment in North Leamington. This is a further reason that construction should not occur on the greenbelt. Whilst the plan suggests that some land will be made available for employment there is no thought as to what, where, or who this might be. There is no consideration as to why employers would consider not locating in the South where there is far better access to the M40 and national infrastructure (even with the proposed trunk road) nor why they would leave an area where there is already both competitors and suppliers, both of whom would make South Leamington more attractive. I believe that the only employment you could be confident of having in the North would be employment to service those who live in the new houses there, this would no doubt involve out of town shopping and further damage the centre of Leamington Spa, disastrous for the local economy at. Furthermore there is NO EVIDENCE provided whatsoever as to whether and if so which employers would locate in the North. The vast amount of employment and retail land in the South provides an abundance of EVIDENCE that employers are not only there, but also want to be there and new development/employers continue to locate. You have failed in your consultation document to demonstrate evidence of successful employment opportunities deliverable to the North and as a consequence myself and local residents do not want construction in the North, again this is not an invitation to attempt to justify your decision to put housing in the North, but rather listen to resident's views and act on them by not building in the North.
Housing in the North poses a very serious risk that people would need to commute to South Leamington to work, or alternatively to the M40 both these would involve travelling across the river at peak times when congestion is already unacceptable, this would hardly be sustainable and contribute to air pollution which has already shown to be excessive in the North.
At the Milverton Parish Council meeting it was proposed that the construction of the Coventry Gateway/airport project(s) would provide employment for those living in the North. This is unacceptable for two reasons; the first is that this is construction on greenbelt land seemingly justifying more development on greenbelt land - this is of course poor reasoning for justifying exceptional circumstances for construction on the greenbelt land! Furthermore this employment land abuts and provides significant benefit to Coventry; I do not believe Warwick district should be responsible for providing housing in Leamington for employment that is effectively in Coventry regardless of where historic district borders are drawn, nor will the planning inspectorate. If this land is exceptionally required from the greenbelt to provide housing for employment, that land should be provided near Coventry. Furthermore having people living in North Leamington yet working in Coventry risks turning Leamington into a commuter town - with great disadvantages for our town centre, and those who work there. Finally there is considerable congestion around peak times in journeying to Coventry, the infrastructure is not in place to allow people to commute to Coventry and indeed any improvements that were made have simply begun to tackle the current problems. These highways agency solutions have hardly corrected the problems that currently exist for significant congestion remains at peak times For all these reasons construction on the greenbelt in the North is incorrect and an alternatives strategy should be sought.
This plan goes against almost a century of town planning in Leamington; the 1943 Royal Leamington Spa plan for development identified that employment land had already been focused in the South of the Town, and highlighted the importance of continuing this development this further. Vitally this was seen (and has continued to be seen) as the correct policy when the M40 did not exist, the presence of the M40 only strengthens the desire for business to locate in the South of the town, and therefore it is essential housing locates close to this to prevent further congestion in the town. The 1943 plan further elucidates that construction of housing in the North would serve simply as commuter accommodation for those working in Coventry. The local residents do not want Leamington to develop into a commuter town, nor the demise of the town centre that would result from this, this is a further strong argument for not building on the North Leamington Greenbelt. These are hardly pithy historical notes, but instead provide a firm evidence base tested over 60+ years demonstrating successful location of employment land in the South of the town, and the risks of commuter accommodation in the North. The council have totally failed to provide strong evidence for employment to locate to the North, nor for this to function as successful housing for the town, indeed at the Milverton Parish Council meeting the Deputy CEO couldn't give any significant detail as to what sort of employment would locate to the North. I must repeat again that this letter is not an invitation for the council to now seek this evidence or contest these arguments (supported by petitions, other letters, and record breaking meeting attendance), but to listen to local views and use them to modify their plans to remove construction on the North Leamington Greenbelt - to fail to do this would be to fail to consult properly.
To be sustainable housing should be planned close to proposed employment otherwise it will have adverse impacts on commuting and travel. If for example people end up having to commute to the Coventry Gateway project then and is contrary to a sustainable community and contrary to the declared aims of the Gateway project.
The current infrastructure is completely unable to meet the demands that would be placed upon it by new construction in the greenbelt to the North of Leamington Spa. This means that new land would be needed for a Northern Relief Road. Land that is so unsuitable for development that it requires a £28 million investment to make it suitable - again hardly justification for exceptional circumstances to build on the greenbelt. Professional opinion further suggests that this £28 million is an understatement and costs would be far higher. Furthermore this relief road would destroy the character of Old Milverton, one of Warwickshire's greatest villages. I believe this should not happen, particularly because Old Milverton is a conservation zone an "areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance." It is therefore unsustainable to destroy such a village's character, and furthermore irresponsible after the residents have spent so many decades preserving their village for the council to destroy it themselves on the basis of inappropriate planning decisions. Additionally this development is a waste of council money, for although the cost of the relief road would be met by the developers if an alternative site was chosen this funding could be spent on other requirements for a new development required by the council, eg schools/cycleways. The problems with infrastructure costs also link back into arguments regarding the cost of housing to consumers; the housing developers are commercial companies and they will pass on the cost of building the relief road to those who go on to purchase the houses. The council has already recognised the importance of building affordable housing and therefore questioning construction in the already expensive North Leamington, but adding to the cost of housing due to the need for a relief road will only make the housing more expensive and inaccessible to the people, who like myself who cannot afford housing.
The recent disastrous modification of infrastructure in Jury Street Warwick demonstrate the poor ability of this country to develop it's infrastructure appropriately, and the public have no faith in the council's ability to successfully deliver such projects, therefore the insertion of a £28 million relief road is of great concern to residents, there is shockingly little evidence in the local plan as to how this would be successfully implemented and local residents can only fear it would be as disastrous as other plans without this evidence base; it is put in we believe as an afterthought to justify construction on the greenbelt land, and must therefore, along with it's concurrent development, be removed from the development plan.
The plan argues that turning the A452 between Leamington and Kenilworth into dual carriageway would be a benefit to the area, however a more thorough assessment by the council would identify that at peak times delays on the A452 result from commuters wishing to access the Town Centres, which a dual carriageway would do very little to improve.
The Northern relief road planned by the council will form an artificial barrier, which will encourage further unacceptable development that will further destroy old Milverton; risking such a development is inconsistent with the NPPF and Regional Spatial Strategy, as Milverton should be protected under policy RR1 of the RSS.
I personally believe that there is an over-provision of housing in the preferred options plan, this occurs because the Council is relying on projections from a past period of exceptional growth, that is very unlikely to be continued. Furthermore even if the proposed housing demand was accepted then amazingly the preferred options plan could have the housing removed from the greenbelt sites without causing a deficit and this is without other (more suitable) alternative sites, as suggested below being substituted. Quite clearly therefore exceptional circumstances cannot be justified for construction on the greenbelt, and this wouldn't be accepted at later stages of the process if/when such a development was inspected/contested. For this reason I strongly believe that the result of the consultation should be the removal of construction from the greenbelt land, due to overprovision of housing alone (but with the potential for including other sites if the results of the consultation seem necessary). I feel particularly strongly that this argument should be accepted and included in the future plan for it was the leader of the council stated at the Milverton Parish Council meeting that if we thought there was overprovision of housing then we should say so. This must therefore be a valid reason to object and one I expect to be taken onboard.
SECTION 2: Need to consistently align Local Plan with West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy
When I examine the evidence base for your plan, and in particular the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment I note that almost all the suggested rural areas are discounted because they conflict with RSS policy point RR1. It is clear that overwhelming importance has been placed on the policies in this document. This must be balanced with the important policies expressed in the National Planning Policy Framework which rightly protect the vital importance of greenbelt land.
However this RSS document includes policy QE14 that states that "Development plan policies should create and enhance urban greenspace networks by ensuring adequate protection is given to key features such as parks, footpaths and cycleways, rivervalleys, canals and open spaces". It is not recorded in the Strategic Housing Assessment that a footpath crosses the land between Northumberland Road and Old Milverton, but there is most definitely one there, marked on OS maps, and heavily used as a local amenity to people living in urban areas including Leamington Spa; this provides important health and lifestyle benefits. In the Regional Spatial Strategy each policy is given equal standing and therefore this policy is as important as RR1 which you have already used to discount so much other possible development land. It only therefore stands to reason that this greenbelt land too (as QE14 protects more than just the physical path, but also the green land around it) should be removed from the preferred options plan. Indeed the proposed sites L07 and even more so L03 are in my opinion some of the most highly used footpath and recreational natural green space areas in the district and must be protected as such.
The suggestion of ignoring QE14 and building on the greenbelt, yet leaving the footpath is logically unacceptable. The QE14 protects GREENSPACE, therefore there must be GREENSPACE around the footpath. (This is essential to it's use). The policy identifies that footpaths and parks are different and must both be protected. It is therefore unacceptable to put the footpath into parkland as this is entirely different. The footpath and the greenspace around it must be therefore be protected in their current form!
Furthermore the RSS also states in policy QE6 that; "Local authorities and other agencies, in their plans, policies and proposals should conserve, enhance and, where necessary, restore the quality, diversity and distinctiveness of landscape character throughout the Region's urban and rural areas by: protecting and, where possible, enhancing natural, man-made and historic features that contribute to the character of the landscape and townscape, and local distinctiveness." The greenbelt to the North of Leamington is quite clearly a natural feature of the landscape that contributes greatly to the character of North Leamington, Old Milverton and the surrounding area, and is essential to the local distinctiveness of these areas. This is clearly demonstrated in the huge number of signatures in petitions returned to the Council surrounding the proposed construction on these areas.
Furthermore the protection of villages under RR1 is quite inconsistent; land is being used incredibly close to Old Milverton for housing and particularly in the construction of the Northern relief road. It is been ignored that Old Milverton should be protected by RR1: "rural areas which are subject to strong influences from the MUAs and which are relatively prosperous and have generally good access to services. For these, the main priority will be to manage the rate and nature of further development to that which is required to meet local needs, whilst ensuring that local character is protected and enhanced." It is clear that Old Milverton is as strongly influenced as other Warwickshire villages from the key MUAs, it is relatively prosperous and the residents are quite contented with their access to services. Therefore just as development sites, for instance those neighbouring Radford Semele (and still contacting the Leamington Fringe), have been rejected on the basis of RR1 so should the developments between North Leamington and Old Milverton - neither these houses, nor the relief road, nor the infill that would surely follow the construction of these two things are meeting local needs, the character is certainly not protected nor enhanced.
In discussion with Daniel Robinson at Warwick District Council he informed us that the Old Milverton to Northumberland road site is labelled as "an extension of urban land that happens to come close to Old Milverton", not as a rural site in itself, this is not consistent with sites eg R46 which is equally an extension of urban land that happens to come close to Radford Semele but is protected by policy RR1 in the RSS document. These inconsistencies persist throughout the SHLAA.
SECTION 3: More Appropriate Sites
Previously identified viable sites
The quite remarkable problem with the Council's plan is that a previous plan (Core strategy plan 2010) identified ample land within the district without resorting to construction on the greenbelt, this fact alone means that there must be adequate land elsewhere to build on, thus there cannot be exceptional circumstances to justify construction on the greenbelt land, when nothing significant (except the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework stating that greenbelt land should not be built on unless exceptional circumstances) has changed in the district. Indeed during this consultation the council has suggested that people objecting to the greenbelt land use must not just state they don't wish that land to be developed, but suggest alternatives; I propose to you that at least one valid alternative has already been part validated is the Core Strategy Plan and this can be used as a solution to ALL THOSE PEOPLE who are objecting to the greenbelt. At the Milverton Parish meeting the a senior officer of the council suggested changes had been made to the Core Strategy Plan's of building in the South due to infrastructure problems, however this is hardly sufficient to justify building in the North; a significant infrastructure investment in the South (akin to the Milverton relief road proposed for the North) could sort out the infrastructure problems there, and whilst significant investigation has gone into the South's infrastructure and congestion problems woefully little has gone into examining the North. In short selective investigations have been completed to rule out land the council has decided not to build on, whilst no such investigation has gone into land they do wish to build on. A carefully examination of current and future congestion in the North should have been completed before the plan was decided on (not after), it is now impossible to complete a post-hoc analysis without bias creeping in to favour development in the North. It is very clear from the congestion currently in the North that already exists that further development would only exacerbate this, whilst the South is already better placed with easy access to the M40.
Warwick District Council have argued that land in South Leamington is not as attractive to developers because concentration of development in that area may result in developers making less profit - financial gain quite clearly cannot be expressed as a "very special circumstance" to permit unnecessary development in the Geenbelt land.
There is ample room to move a significant number of the greenbelt housing allocation into and around Radford Semele. This preferred options allows for 500 houses in Category 1 villages, this a low proportion relative the total requirement and across the Category 1 villages which are not in greenbelt land there should be a significantly more houses planned for there. The preferred options document does not identify those specific sites surrounding villages that are suitable to meet the 500 houses target, not only should this be done but it is very likely these villages could absorb more accommodation, potentially even a doubling and this would be preferable to current plans to build on the greenbelt.
Whilst at Radford Semele there is a possible argument against coalescence significant sites still remain; R67 and R41 total 11.16 acres, and seem to have been excluded due to the presence of gas mains, these gas mains require a 100m exclusion zone, however both sites could in fact be extended towards the gas main and remain outside the exclusion zone. Indeed the garden town approach to development would easily allow these exclusion zones to be incorporated into the required green space and cycle-ways that the council is so keen to provide. Professional advice suggests there is significantly more housing that could be built in this area near the gas mains and still conform to planning law, it is essential the council reconsider this and identify how to extend the provision in this non-greenbelt land. Furthermore the site boundary of R41 does not seem to follow and fence or hedge line and could therefore be extended significantly, even if there is a fence/hedge line the site could still be extended to include more land to boundaries further out, or boundaries could be completed. Flooding risk to the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre is stated as a risk, but this is over a km away and is of negligible import - this needs to be reconsidered and potentially simple flood alleviation methods installed. Furthermore site R56 to the West of Radford Semele was also identified as being suitable subject to alleviation of flooding issues and is an excellent site given that it would not contribute to coalescence, again the garden town approach to the development would allow the incorporation of flood alleviation schemes, and thus these schemes and this site (potentially also enlarged) would be far preferable to construction on the greenbelt. Any risk of coalescence between Radford Semele and Leamington is dwarfed in comparison to the consequences of risking coalescence between Leamington and Kenilworth/Coventry as produced by building on the Northern Greenbelt and it is far preferable to build here; indeed almost all towns across the UK have grown by inclusion of local villages and there is little reason why the open space between Radford Semele and Bishop's Tachbrook should not be used such given this is not greenbelt land.
Grove farm also could provide additional housing, removing the need to build on the greenbelt; L09 we are told by David Barber (via Councillor Bill Gifford) has not been developed for the main reason of coalescence, but even if this site was developed there would still be 1km between built up areas, this would provide a suitable green wedge, though personally I believe building on this wedge would be preferable to building on greenbelt land. Indeed significant areas of land have been discounted as they would result in coalescence or the destruction of a greenwedge; however discounting these sites whilst building on greenbelt land is contradictory to the national government policy outlined in "Strategic gap and green wedge policies in structure plans: main report." The document states "There would be significant problems in giving strategic spaces and green wedges the status of greenbelts. Strategic gaps as greenbelts would reduce peripheral land development options on the edge of large settlements, often in sustainable locations. Problem over the interpretation of prominence and the possible need for safeguarding land would also occur. If green wedges were given Green Belt status then the area covered by a strong presumption against development would be more closely drawn into cities and large towns". This demonstrates that the status of greenbelt is above that greenwedges, so the wedges should be built on fir
Site L09 should be reassessed as it is more suitable than the greenbelt suggested to be built on, the problems outlined in the SHLAA are less than the problems with building on the North Leamington greenbelt. Site L09 is not in greenbelt land, objections that the land would need employment and infrastructure are no different to the problems identified with the greenbelt land the council intends to build on, and the development of the countryside is not an serious reason not to build on the land when in contrast you want to build on the greenbelt. The topography would not provent sensibly designed/developed housing.
It is quite simply idiotic that site W07 is not being built on, currently the council propose building on greenbelt land rather than improving the county by building on slurry contaminated land, which is in my opinion effectively brownfield land. Indeed the council even identify it as suitable for development once ground remediation work is completed.
W03 is exactly the same - it slurry contaminated land, identified as suitable for development after ground remediation works should be built on prior to brownfield sites. The arguements in the SHLAA regarding whether the market could support it is bizarre - if the market cannot support such land then certainly land to the North Greenbelt requiring a £28 million+ relief road isn't needed because there wouldn't be demand!
Furthermore considerable research and indeed I believe actual inclusion in the plan should go into the development of a new village(s) to the South of the district in the extensive non-greenbelt land there, such virgin land would be hugely attractive to developers, and there is ample space to build such a site without contacting existing rural settlements and therefore avoiding harming their character. Indeed I issue it as a challenge to the council and the planners to include such a site, using imagination to create a garden village, which would be a true innovation in our district and one of which all local residents could be proud.
Whilst it is clear that a plan such as the Preferred Options plan produced by the council cannot be expected to please every resident in every area of the town, it is the council's responsibility to listen to arguments that are based on clear planning policy and supported in numbers. The arguments produced against development of the North Leamington greenbelt are backed by a substantial number of residents and backed by firm planning policy either National (eg the National Planning Policy Framework), Regional (The Regional Spatial Strategy for the West Midlands), or Local (ensuring development is in accords with WDC's aims as stated in the consultation document). Opposition in the South from my experience is centred around a lack of infrastructure, schools, and an over-burdening of development there. None of these are firm planning reasons; the council have very clearly identified that local infrastructure can be put in place by developers and the M40 provides an excellent foundation for this countering that argument, wherever there is new development there will be new schools and the council must do more to persuade residents that this will be the case, and finally the concerns of overdevelopment are a "NIMBY (not in my back yard) argument backed up by no sound planning arguments - indeed there are plans to build a New Mildland City in the Meridian Gap is supported by national planners and shows that this region has the need and ability to support a substantial amount of housing in one area, and whilst nothing of this size is proposed for Warwickshire it quite clearly demonstrates that whatever the council proposes it would not be an overburden in an area that in now way risks coalescence with another town.
SECTION 4: National context
It is vital that all those involved in the consultation process do not become blinkered in their view, but respect the national context within which this plan stands. The importance of the "National Planning Policy Framework's" AND "Strategic gap and green wedge policies in structure plans: main report protection of the greenbelt land" have already been highlighted, as well as the failure of the current plan to take account of these - which I imagine will be a major problem when the plan is submitted to the inspectorate. There is however even more evidence of the importance of greenbelt land, which should be considered with regards to this plan.
The government's original proposals for planning policy (the draft national planning policy framework) provided very little protection to the greenbelt land, however it was immense public opposition to this with nearly a quarter of a million people signing a petition organised by the national trust (a scale unprecedented for a planning policy document) that resulted in greenbelt land being protected as per the final document, and as ignored by the preferred options plan. This clearly shows however the immense value the nation place in greenbelt land, and in the protection provided for it by the National Planning Policy Framework. The preferred options plan fails to take account of this and residents in the North, myself included feel it is of national importance to ensure the NPPF's protection are not ignored, particularly by an executive committee of the same political party as the government who instituted the plan, and we believe we would have national support if our arguments were to be wrongly ignored during the consultation. It is afterall the people of the nation that we wish to attract to Warwick District to live, work and play!
SECTION 5: The consultation process
Omissions from Consultation
Whilst trying to understand the Council's reasoning for what seems to be a highly unusual plan it has come to my attention that there are two key omissions from the consultation that are either being used as justification for the plans submitted, or used to contradict local residents views and arguments, this does not make for a fair consultation and produces the view held by many that the council are determined to build on greenbelt land to the North, and then find any planning evidence/arguments that justify their desires. This is not a sound grounds for consultation and it can only be made fair if such arguments are ignored. My chief concerns are listed below.
Senior individuals within the council have stated that previous opposition to development in South Leamington, particularly around Bishop's Itchington have prompted the need to force development on the greenbelt in this plan. If this were to be a valid basis for planning then it is of vital importance that such information is included in the consultation document - yet it is not. The absence of discussion on this matter within the consultation document, as well as the fact that this would result in a plan based on a popularity contest/political pandering rather than sound planning principles means that additional development in the South should not be excluded with resultant development on the Northern greenbelt. There has been tremendous resident opposition in the North (see submitted petitions of over 2000 individuals) alongside strong planning arguments dictated by National Planning Policy, which the council are compelled to follow, and on which basis the plan will be judged when sent to the inspectorate. It may not be possible to please all residents with the subsequent plan to develop the town, but the council's responsibility is to listen to the views of this consultation and build their plans based on the views of local residents that are supported by sound planning arguments.
Another senior member of the council has stated that the need to develop on the Northern Greenbelt stems from a need to provide worker accommodation for subsequent employment land at the Coventry airport site. However it is not identified in the consultation that such land has been allocated for this purpose and it would be impossible to allocate such land at the stage for which the consultation document was written (and the greenbelt land assigned to development land) as the document states with regards to the Coventry gateway site that "It has the potential to provide in the region of 14,000 jobs as well as facilitate major improvements to the transport network. The Council is supportive in principle but considers that further work is needed to justify the identification of this site." The (very senior) officers justification of such a site for Coventry housing is therefore an afterthought, not explained in the consultation document with no evidence base to suit such a project and a major omission from the consultation document. Furthermore such a claim that the land is to be used for commuter land with respect for Coventry is inconsistent as land closer to Coventry has been identified as suitable for development, yet not included as suitable land for the construction of housing. Additionally there is a huge expanse of greenbelt land between the proposed North Leamington greenbelt site and Coventry which would be closer, with reduced environmental/congestion impact that would be suitable for that housing. It is totally impossible to justify exceptional circumstances to build on the greenbelt to the North of Leamington for such a development in Coventry without a detailed analysis of the situation, which should be provided with evidence.
A further key omission from the document is that despite Warwick District council performing a study of greenbelt land between Old Milverton and Blackdown, which concluded that these areas had high greenbelt value, this information was consequently rejected from the consultation document, or if it exists and I cannot find it - then it certainly has not been used to sufficient extent.
Expectation that resident views/submissions to consultation will be ignored
I am deeply concerned about the nature of this consultation process, and I like very many other residents feel that our views will be ignored despite strong objections by letters submitted to yourselves, petitions, and exceptional attendance at public meetings such as the North Leamington Community Forum and Milverton Parish Council. Indeed we have been told one member of the council explicitly stated that residents should get used to the plan as it would go through regardless - quite clearly bringing into question the fairness of the consultation. National government policy states the importance of localism to ensure that the views of local people not ignored and I believe the council must take the views of North Leamington residents on board, and act on them.
The consultation process has asked for the views of local residents, which I believe have been strongly voiced in terms of not building on the greenbelt land to the North of the town. I believe it is the councils responsibility to listen to these views as part of the consultation, take them on board and change their plans accordingly. It is not the councils responsibility to argue with these views, cite counter evidence, or employ professionals to create reasons/argument to ignore such views. Indeed the council's documentation for the consultation has not provided all evidence that was used to create their plans, therefore limiting residents to only being able to provide their views and not assess and counter all the evidence. All residents could therefore do is provide their views, which must then, in my opinion by listened to and acted on, as there is nothing else they could provide. Furthermore the document is referred to as the "preferred options plan" however there are NO options as to which land could be built on, therefore as local residents have objected to construction to land on the greenbelt the council must then seek alternative land and submit this to the second consultation round with the greenbelt land removed. The council must not ignore over 2000 residents views resisting construction on the greenbelt because the residents (who are not planners) have not all identified land elsewhere, there is as demonstrated here alternative land, and it is the councils responsibility to search an alternative option.
The strength of opposition I have seen from local residents to not building on the North Leamington greenbelt demonstrates that if the council fails to take on board views of the residents as a result of this consultation then I firmly believe those views will only be expressed more strongly in the second period of consultation and stronger still following that if our views continue to be ignored. I and others would have no hesitation in involving national groups and media attention in opposing these plans, which I and others so strongly object to. It is irresponsible of the council to risk a failed plan. The council have repeatedly told us that if a plan is not submitted and accepted then developers will be free to build wherever they want and there will be a lottery of developments (this sounds remarkably like a threat to residents not to submit their views and oppose the plans), however in fact it is the councils responsibility to ensure that we are not left in this situation by taking on board, and acting on the locals views. It will be their fault, not ours if we are left without a plan. Furthermore it would be foolhardy of the council to risk the phenomenal cost in fighting local residents legally, on which I believe the council would have little no grounds to proceed, there are many far better things to spend money on. From the strength of opposition I have witnessed I have little doubt that if the council ignored North resident views then there is the demand and resources to pursue this fight further.
At a recent Milverton Parish Council meeting the chairman of the council announced to the approximately 150 people there who opposed the plans that they should not write to their local MPs. The people at the meeting had widely expressed their view that the council had failed to put in place National Policies developed by their MPs' government. I, and everyone else there saw it as entirely appropriate to write to our MPs, but again the Council seemed determined to allow nothing to influence their views and seemingly politically motivated plans for the county. This is furthered by the title of the consultation document - "Local Plan Preferred Options" for a plan that does not contain a single option as to the provision of housing land.
Online Submission Form and Information Provision
The online submission form that Warwick District Council has as the main way to register submissions to the consultation is not fit for purpose. Firstly the system is incredibly complex, with the need to register to even access the system, and once there a bizarre system that took me a considerable amount of time for me to fathom, once completed you must object on particularly items/sites - this is despite the repeated messages from the council that they do not wish people just to object but to provide solutions and say where they would like to build. The system is not fit for this purpose. In fact I have not before seen such a poorly designed online data collection tool. Furthermore a considerable number (of intelligent computer literate) people have failed to access they system and to understand how it operates. These points suggest to me that the council is less than interested in the views of the local population, for it would not have been difficult to design a far simpler, user friendly system, accessible to the young/old alike.
Leamington library has been advertised as a location of consultation information; however this could only be viewed once asking at the desk, from whence a box containing the information was produced. If the council genuinely respected the views of local residents an eye-catching display could be simply and cost-effectively be erected to attract attention. Similarly when visiting Warwickshire College to view the information, reception at the College did not in fact know that the information provision existed, it was only after ringing the council that the information became apparent.
These points are not intended to be taken as a "moan" but rather when taken together they demonstrate that it is not surprising that residents of North Leamington feel that their views will be ignored, and it is essential that the petitions and letters such as the one above are taken onboard and acted upon by the council to ensure the North Leamington Greenbelt is protected.
The plans as they stand are totally unacceptable in that they involve greenbelt on the land to the North of Leamington Spa. In particular the land to the North of Northumberland Road and South of Old Milverton is one of the most used pieces of greenbelt in the whole district, with immense amenity and health benefits. The planned construction in the greenbelt is contrary to the national policies of the "NPPF" and "Strategic gap and green wedge policies in structure plans: main report." The immense local opposition to this plan and the National Policy of Localism mean the greenbelt sites to the North of the town should be excluded permanently from the plan.
The council has a choice; they can devastate the character and attractiveness of a unique Royal Spa town, that has been cherished and lovingly developed for centuries OR the council can seek an alternative option. The alternative option will need their imagination and determination to build on the views of the populous, but it will build a town of which we can be rightfully proud for decades to come.
Representation ID: 50799
Respondent: Bluemark Projects
Agent: Pegasus Group
There should be much greater reference to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the Localism Act 2011 and the Ministerial Statement, Planning for Growth, March 2011 included in the document.
1.1 Pegasus Planning Group is instructed by Bluemark Projects to submit representations in respect of the Warwick District Council Local Plan - Preferred Options consultation document dated May 2012. Bluemark Projects controls an area of land north of Common Lane, Kenilworth, outside the Green Belt, which they believe is eminently suitable for allocation as a site for sustainable residential development. Making our representations we are mindful of prevailing Government policy, especially the National Planning Policy Framework and the Localism Act 2011. We also believe that the Ministerial Statement by Mr Greg Clark, called Planning for Growth, dated 23 March 2011 is of significance and should be take into account.
1.2 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published in March 2012. It sets out that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to achieving sustainable development. The Government has included in the NPPF a set of core land use planning principles at Paragraph 17, which should underpin both plan making and decision taking. Among these principles it is set out that planning should:
"Proactively drive and support sustainable economic development to deliver the homes, business and industrial units, infrastructure and thriving local places that the country needs. Every effort should be made objectively to identify and then meet the housing business and other development needs of an area, and respond positively to the wider opportunities for growth. Plans should take account of market signals, such as land prices and housing affordability, and set out a clear strategy for allocating sufficient land which is suitable for development in their area, taking account of the needs of the residential and business communities."
1.3 In respect of housing development, Section 6 of the NPPF is entitled "Delivering a Wide Choice of High Quality Homes" and sets out the following at Paragraph 47:
"To boost significantly the supply of housing, the Local Planning Authorities should:
* Use their evidence base to ensure that their Local Plan meets the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area as far as is consistent with the policies set out in this Framework, including identifying key sites which are critical to the delivery of the housing strategy over the Plan Period"
1.4 In particular the NPPF at Paragraph 179 states:
"Joint working should enable Local Planning Authorities to work together to meet development requirements which cannot wholly be met within their own areas - for instance, because of a lack of physical capacity or because to do so would cause significant harm to the principles and policies of this Framework"
1.5 We have been mindful in making our representations of the need for the Local Plan to be judged against the tests of soundness in set out in the NPPF. In addition at Paragraph 182 a fourth test of the soundness of the Local Plan has been introduced, namely that it is:
" ▪ Positively Prepared - the Plan should be prepared based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements, including unmet requirements from neighbouring Authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development"
1.6 Following the budget in March 2011, which set out The Plan for Growth, a written ministerial statement was published by the Minister for Planning, Mr Greg Clark, entitled "Planning for Growth". This statement is not one of the policy documents that has been superseded or revoked by the NPPF. The statement makes clear that the planning system should do everything it can to help secure a swift return to economic growth. In particular he states:
"Local Planning Authorities should therefore press ahead without delay in preparing up to date Development Plans, and should use that opportunity to be proactive in driving and supporting the growth that this country needs. They should make every effort to identify and meet the housing business and other development needs of their areas, and respond positively to wider opportunities for growth taking full account of relevant economic signals such as land prices"
1.7 In addition, the NPPF at Paragraph 173 deals with ensuring the viability and deliverability of Local Plans. It states:
Pursuing sustainable development requires careful attention to viability and costs in plan-making and decision-taking. Plans should be deliverable. Therefore, the sites and the scale of development identified in the plan should not be subject to such a scale of obligations and policy burdens that their ability to be developed viably is threatened. To ensure viability, the costs of any requirements likely to be applied to development, such as requirements for affordable housing, standards, infrastructure contributions or other requirements should, when taking account of the normal cost of development and mitigation, provide competitive returns to a willing land owner and willing developer to enable the development to be deliverable.
We consider this to be an important test which should be applied to the policies in an emerging local plan. The cumulative effects of policies that place additional costs on developers need to be justified, and the potential to adversely affect viability and therefore deliverability must be addressed in evidence.
2. SECTION 2
Part 1: Setting the Scene and Summary
2.1 We have noted in our Introduction what we consider to be the key issues of national planning policy and legislation which should underpin plan making including the preparation of the Local Plan for Warwick. In particular, we think there should be much greater reference to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the Localism Act 2011 and the Ministerial Statement, Planning for Growth, March 2011 included in the document.
2.2 We of course recognise that Government policy and legislation cannot alone be the key drivers of the Local Plan, and recognise that other strategies and the Council's Vision will necessarily underpin the process in Warwick. However, the omission of reference to national planning policy and legislation is we believe unfortunate and should be rectified. We note references under the heading of "Our Vision for the District" to facilitating and providing for growth both in respect of the local economy and housing needs. We support this forward looking stance on the District's part, however, we question the identification of a specific housing requirement, later contradicted in the Preferred Options document, of 550 new homes per annum on new allocated sites. It is inappropriate to include as part of the Vision which drives the Local Plan, a precise figure for one of the key components of the plan itself thereby raising concerns of a prejudicial approach to the process.
2.3 We also note under the heading of "Environment" that one of the Council's key principles is to avoid coalescence, presumably between settlements within the District, and this is a principle we would support and expect to see carry forward in terms of decisions on the spatial distribution of development. We also note the reference to new development being based on the principles of Sustainable Garden Towns, Suburbs and Villages. We consider this approach to be a bold and interesting proposition, but one which cannot at this stage be held up as a prescriptive means of determining future forms of development. There is much of interest in the accompanying prospectus, dated May 2012 and entitled "Garden Towns, Villages and Suburbs". However, we feel this document can be no more at this stage than a starting point for discussion on interesting ideas around urban design.
2.4 Under the section of the plan entitled "The Local Plan Process" we again would suggest that greater reference should be made to the NPPF, and in particular at this juncture to the Localism Act 2011 and the introduction of a duty to co-operate. The Local Plan would benefit from an explanation of the two elements of the duty to co-operate, firstly the issue of legal compliance with provisions in the Localism Act 2011 itself, and secondly matters of soundness as set out in the NPPF.
2.5 The obligations regarding the duty to co-operate placed on Councils are intended to ensure that with the impending abolition of the Regional Strategy tier of planning, some semblance of co-ordination and strategic planning is maintained. Section 33A of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, inserted by the Localism Act 2011, therefore requires local planning authorities to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis in the preparation of development plan documents. It is also clear that compliance with this legal requirement cannot be undertaken retrospectively, and must be embedded in the process of plan making during the course of preparation of the Local Plan. We note a solitary reference at the end of Paragraph 5.12 to the fact that Warwick District Council will be consulting neighbouring authorities on its proposals, but do not consider this satisfies the legal requirements or the tests of soundness placed on the Council.
2.6 This is an especially pertinent issue in relation to Warwick District Council as it is clear now that Coventry City Council is intending to plan for a level of new housing development which is very significantly lower than the needs arising in the City. Indeed, the response of Coventry City Council in respect of consultation on the Preferred Options document suggest that homes being provided in Warwick District will meet some of the needs arising in Coventry. We are not aware that this is a formal agreement between the districts, as we have seen no evidence of proper co-operation in terms of strategic planning in the sub-region. It is also the case that Birmingham has openly acknowledged that it cannot accommodate all of the needs arising within its boundaries, and will be relying on new housing development to meet the needs of the City being provided in adjoining districts. The clearly established patterns of out-commuting from Warwick into Birmingham suggest that a proportion of the housing needs of Birmingham itself which cannot be met within its boundaries will need to be met within Warwick District. Whilst it is laudable that Warwick District Council is making timely progress on preparing a Local Plan, the duty to co-operate placed upon it in terms of the Localism Act 2011 and indeed Paragraphs 178 to 181 of the NPPF mean that due attention must be given to these matters in order to avoid any problems with the progression of the Local Plan through its Examination in Public.
2.7 We note that at Paragraph 4.8 the Council identifies opportunities and issues that the District faces and the importance of the Local Plan addressing these. We agree with many of the issues identified, but consider that opportunities are not properly represented and greater reference should be made to the excellent locational benefits, strong demand for housing and robust local economy which can support growth of benefit not just to the area but to the sub-region and wider region. Under the heading 'Objectives' at Paragraph 4.9, we consider that amendment in particular to take account of the NPPF has not gone far enough. In particular, we consider that the overarching objective of the planning system should be recognised, namely helping to secure sustainable development. The Objectives section would also benefit therefore from a clear reference to the Government's view of the three dimensions to sustainable development set out at Paragraph 7 of the NPPF, namely that the planning system should perform an economic role, a social role and an environmental role. We believe these complementary roles are expressed in the objectives set out in the Plan, but they should be referenced more clearly to the NPPF and the achievement of sustainable development.
2.8 Under the sub-section Preferred Level of Growth, at Paragraph 5.1, we agree entirely that the Council should "plan for a level of growth that is founded on the best evidence". Again there should be reference to the NPPF and in particular the requirements of Paragraph 159 with regard to planning for an appropriate level of housing growth.
2.9 In this regard, the reference repeated at Paragraph 5.2 to an objective to support growth in the region of 550 new homes per annum is inappropriate as an issue or objective, as such a figure can only be derived once a clear understanding of the objectively assessed housing needs of the area has been explicitly set out. The need first to establish, based on robust evidence, what the objectively assessed housing needs of the area are is set out clearly in the recently published Inspector's Preliminary Conclusions with regard to the Bath and North East Somerset Core Strategy Examination. The Inspector, Mr Simon Emerson was clear that an objective assessment of housing needs and demands in the manner required by Paragraph 1.59 of the NPPF is an essential pre-requisite to considerations of how those needs should be met. He went on to say at Paragraph 1.11 of the annex to his Preliminary Conclusions that:
"The NPPF makes clear (e.g [Paragraph]47) that Local Plans should meet the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing. Even if it cannot do so because the exceptions in NPPF14 are met, needs must be objectively assessed so as to identify any unmet need that should be sought in adjoining areas."
2.10 In our view, the starting point for understanding the objectively assessed needs of the District should be the most up-to-date household projections available from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). At this moment in time these are the 2008-based household projections. Analysis of this data shows that over the plan period 2011 - 2029, the projected increase in the number of households in Warwick District is 15,500. It would then be reasonable to include allowances for un-met need, vacancies and second homes in order to derive a dwelling requirement which the District should plan for through the Local Plan process. It is clear from this analysis that the figure of 10,800 dwelling which the Council proposes as its housing requirement falls far short of objectively assessed needs.
2.11 We note references in Section 5 at 5.21 that the SHLAA demonstrates the levels of growth up to 700 dwellings per annum can be accommodated within the District in strategically sustainable locations. We are not persuaded, however, by the dismissal of this option on the basis of the cursory explanation that is contained in the final sentence of that paragraph. The onus is now clearly on Local Planning Authorities to demonstrate why sustainable development, including on greenfield locations, cannot be delivered in accordance with the NPPF, to meet objectively assessed needs. In that context, the land my client controls north of Common Lane, Kenilworth would be entirely appropriate as a location for sustainable residential development, outside the Green Belt, to help meet these needs.
3 Part 2: Delivering Growth
3.1 Whilst we support the identification as a key issue at paragraph 7.4, 'the need to provide more housing to ensure that the needs of current and future residents are addressed', we disagree fundamentally with the preferred level of housing growth that Warwick has chosen to provide for, namely 10,800 new homes between 2011 and 2029, 600 new homes per annum. We have commented previously that we consider this figure is very significantly below the objectively assessed needs of the District. In that context therefore the proposal to provide for 10,800 new homes over the period 2011-2029 fails to accord with the requirements of the NPPF, particularly at Paragraph 47, to use an evidence base to ensure that the Plan meets the full objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area.
3.2 The Council has chosen to produce a Strategic Housing Market Assessment solely for the District, and it would appear that the Council's assumptions are that this represents the housing market area within which it must meet objectively assessed needs. The alternative would be for Warwick District Council and other adjoining authorities to prepare a Strategic Housing Market Assessment which covers a wider area taking in a number of authorities and representing a sub-region approach to the distribution of housing growth. There is no evidence that this is taking place as required in the NPPF, particularly Paragraphs 178 to 181.
3.3 The preferred option, PO3: Broad Location of Growth should, we submit, be clearer about the focus for most growth being directed within and on the edge of the existing urban areas and the preference in the first instance for the location of development in areas outside the Green Belt. We support the identification of the importance of the need to avoid coalescence of settlements, and this is especially the case with regard to Green Belt land in accordance with Paragraph 80 of the NPPF.
3.4 We therefore think the identification of the broad location for growth as a preferred option would benefit from clearer prioritisation of the need: firstly to concentrate growth within and on the edge of existing urban areas in locations outside the Green Belt; the importance of avoiding development within the Green Belt which closes the gap between existing settlements, and could potentially therefore lead to their coalescence; and, in accordance with these principles, the distribution of growth across the district. We acknowledge the importance of a proportionate amount of growth in the rural areas, based on a hierarchical approach to the suitability of rural settlements.
3.5 In setting out in Table 7.1 what it believes to be the extent of existing housing land supply in the District, the Council has made an allowance for windfall development. Whilst the NPPF clearly indicates that local planning authorities can make an allowance for windfalls, it also states that they can only do so if they have compelling evidence that such sites have consistently become available in the local area and will continue to provide a reliable source of supply. In the absence of any evidence from the Council, it will not be justified in terms of Paragraph 49 of the NPPF to include a windfall allowance. We therefore expect that the Council will need produce the compelling evidence required in order to justify any windfall allowance, which must only apply to sites below the threshold for the SHLAA, and exclude garden land. We therefore have concerns that the Council is currently unable to demonstrate a supply of land for 3,814 dwellings. In addition, given that we disagree that the figure of 10,800 dwellings is an appropriate housing requirement over the Plan Period, we therefore believe that the balance of land to be allocated through the Plan is significantly in excess of the 6,986 dwellings indicated at Table 7.1.
3.6 In addition, we find the reference at the end of Paragraph 7.22 to the need to provide housing to support a "Regional Investment Site" in the vicinity of the A45/A46 junction near Coventry Airport inexplicable and inappropriate. It is indicated in Paragraph 7.22 that the over-provision which the Council believes it has made in respect of new housing will enable additional housing to be provided near Coventry Airport. We fail to see how this is the case, as the total of 8,360 is accounted for by other developments identified in Warwick District. Further housing release near Coventry Airport would therefore add to this total. We have seen no proposals with regard to the Coventry Gateway Proposal at Coventry Airport for new housing to be built in the Green Belt, either in Coventry or Warwick. If such a move is to be proposed through the Warwick Local Plan, this will clearly be to meet housing needs arising in Coventry, and we would expect to see it justified fully by evidence of joint working between the respective Authorities in order to meet unmet need arising in Coventry within the Green Belt in Warwick.
3.7 PO4: Distribution of Sites for Housing, proposes allocations for housing or mixed use development in order to deliver housing growth. We propose the allocation of land north of Common Lane, Kenilworth, as described in the Background Document we have prepared to support these representations, as suitable for housing development. The Background Document provides an illustrative layout which demonstrates that it is reasonable to assume a capacity of c.65 dwellings on the land outside the Green Belt north of Common Lane. We understand that the Council may not have previously had information to demonstrate that access to the site could be satisfactorily achieved, but the Background Document clearly demonstrates an access solution which will also have the benefit of improving traffic flows and safety on Common Lane.
3.8 The identification of land in the Green Belt for residential development through the plan making process can only be justified in exceptional circumstances, in accordance with Paragraph 83 in the NPPF. We do not believe that the Council can sustain the view that such exceptional circumstances exist where it has not first considered all other options for sustainable development on land outside the Green Belt. In the case of the land my client controls, north of Common Lane, Kenilworth, this site should be identified as an allocation for residential development for c.65 dwellings, in policy PO4: Distribution of Sites for Housing.
3.9 Affordable Housing
The Preferred Options document acknowledges that it is not possible for the overall level of housing growth proposed to meet the arising requirements for affordable housing, as the annual arising need for affordable housing is 698,which is in excess of the proposed annual requirement of 600 dwellings per annum. In addition, as the windfall element is likely to consist of smaller sites they are unlikely to contribute towards affordable housing delivery exacerbating the shortfall. The housing requirement is therefore not addressing the need for all types of housing as required by paragraph 159 of the NPPF. In addition, the title to this subsection is incorrect as the Local Plan does not meet the need for affordable housing.
3.10 As identified in the accompanying Housing Evidence Review Paper, it is advised that a higher housing requirement is appropriate taking into consideration relevant factors. Such a requirement, in the order of 17,500, is in excess of the total arising affordable housing need (12,564 dwellings based on an average of 698 dwellings per annum over 18 years) and would assist to deliver a greater amount of affordable housing.
3.11 There is concern that if the overall arising housing needs (for both market and affordable) are not catered for, the poorest in society will be further marginalised (i.e. remaining as concealed/ shared households, when accommodation within the private rented market is potentially beyond their means) and could result in such groups moving out of the District to locations where dwellings that are affordable are available. Such an outcome would have a detrimental effect on society both socially and economically. For example, family/ social networks are broken, which potentially places a greater burden on local services and it could lead to a mismatch between available local labour and jobs, which could result in increased commuting.
3.12 In terms of the proposed policy approach, which requires 40% affordable housing on developments of 10 or more dwellings in the urban area and 5 or more dwellings in the rural area, it is important that the policy approach remains flexible as this blanket level of affordable housing will not be achievable on all development sites.
3.13 It is acknowledged that an Affordable Housing Viability Assessment has been prepared in order to test varying percentages for the affordable housing policy. Such assessments are based upon key variables to test the impact of different levels of affordable housing provision. The key variables set out within the report are: market position, location, value area, density, tenure split and developer profit. There are a number of other factors which have not been taken into account such as site remediation and provision of infrastructure. These can have a huge bearing over whether a scheme is viable or not.
3.14 Assumptions in relation to each of the key variables are used to determine viability. There is concern that given no two sites are the same general assumptions in respect of the cost and revenues of development may be inaccurate. It is therefore essential that the Council allows a flexible approach to delivering affordable housing in order to ensure that development is not prevented from coming forward as a consequence of a rigid policy approach. Similar sentiments are echoed in the Ministerial Statement of March 2012 and NPPF, both of which seek to facilitate housing delivery and ensure that Local Plans do not impose unnecessary burdens that could threaten the viability of development.
3.15 Mixed Communities and a Wide Choice of Homes
It is welcomed that the PO6: Mixed Communities and a Wide Choice of Homes does not include a prescriptive approach to house sizes and types to meet the needs of communities. There is a reference to such information being set out within the Strategic Housing Market Assessment. There is concern, however, that this document may not be updated regularly and therefore the information in relation to housing mix and type may become out of date. Indeed the information contained within the Strategic Housing Market Assessment is already out of date to some extent as it relies on data from 2011. Further, although information is set out at a sub district level, there may be a justification for a specific mix and type of housing on a specific site or in a particular locality and therefore the Council should ensure the policy is sufficiently flexible to deal with such circumstances. We believe that housing developers have a good understanding of the markets within which they operate, as ultimately they will only build what there is demand for in the area.
3.16 The Preferred Option also requires at least 25% of homes, across all tenures, on sites of 50 or more dwellings to be built to Lifetime Home standards. This is a discretionary standard and whilst a number of house builders do achieve lifetime homes standards voluntarily. It should not be compulsory through planning policy. As with any policy which imposes an additional financial burden on developments, the requirements of Paragraphs 173 and 174 of the NPPF are especially relevant. In particular, Paragraph 174 states:
Local planning authorities should set out their policy on local standards in the Local Plan, including requirements for affordable housing. They should assess the likely cumulative impacts on development in their area of all existing and proposed local standards, supplementary planning documents and policies that support the development plan, when added to nationally required standards. In order to be appropriate, the cumulative impact of these standards and policies should not put implementation of the plan at serious risk, and should facilitate development throughout the economic cycle. Evidence supporting the assessment should be proportionate, using only appropriate available evidence.
3.17 We have seen no assessment of the cumulative impact of all of the requirements and local standards set out in the Preferred Options document, and unless evidence is produced which supports the imposition of these, the Local Plan cannot be justified.
12. Climate Change
3.18 The Preferred Options document sets out a requirement that seeks a 20% reduction in carbon emissions from development to include a contribution from renewable and low carbon technologies, which is to be applied to residential development of one dwelling or over and to require new residential development to meet standards set out in the Code for Sustainable Homes. There is concern that this policy approach lacks flexibility and is not the most appropriate strategy. In particular, it is not in accordance with Paragraph 95 of the NPPF which requires local planning authorities:
when setting any local requirement for a building's sustainability, do so in a way consistent with the Government's zero carbon buildings policy and adopt nationally described standards.
3.19 Reducing energy use through a 'fabric first' approach is something that many developers are currently looking at and is therefore a realistic and deliverable way forward for reducing carbon emissions. For example the AimC4 consortium is seeking ways to achieve the 25% CO2 reduction required between the future Part L 2013 building regulations and the current Part L 2010 building regulations at no additional cost. This would effectively move, in relation to Part L, from Code for Sustainable Homes Level 3 to Level 4 without increasing build costs.
3.20 Any future policy on CO2 reduction should begin with energy conservation and efficiency before looking at on-site or off-site renewables / low carbon solutions. The way in which new residential development will meet the carbon reductions required in building regulations is not prescribed and therefore could comprise of a range of solutions but it appears that 'fabric first' is generally the route being pursued by house builders, and as such is a realistic cost effect way of delivering reductions. In view of the fact that carbon reduction is enshrined in current and future building regulations legislation there is no basis for adding a further layer of policy through in the Local Plan. In addition, all development must be planned for its lifetime. Reliance on technologies which may well stop working or become obsolete before the end of the life of the development should therefore be avoided. It is, for example, questionable whether solar PV panels imported from the Far East and added to developments represent a sustainable, long term solution to reducing carbon emissions.
3.21 The reference to on-site energy efficiency measures and low or zero carbon energy generation to meet a carbon reduction equivalent to 20% of predicted energy requirements is not considered to be justified. As noted above the 2013 Part L building regulations will already see a 25% improvement in CO2 emissions over current Part L building regulations (and a 44% improvement over the 2006 version). By aligning Category 1 (Energy and Carbon Dioxide Emissions) of the Code for Sustainable Homes with Part L of the building regulations the Government are maintaining a realistic timetable to reducing carbon emissions. The emerging Local Plan is taking a contrary approach whereby it is seeking to force measures onto new development prior to the national timetable without exploring the consequences.
3.22 In reality, in respect of house building it is the market that will really dictate the level of energy efficiency and carbon reduction in new homes over and above legal requirements. If buyers are prepared to pay the additional premium for zero carbon homes then the development industry will build them. However at the moment evidence suggests that reducing carbon emissions is not top of the list when purchasing a property, particularly when peoples' incomes are under pressure from other sources.
3.23 There is no objection to reducing the impact development has on climate change but, in respect of new housing, the policy takes no account of the cost implications that will arise from the measures, a burden that will ultimately fall on the house buyers. As previously noted, Paragraph 174 from the NPPF requires local planning authorities to assess the cumulative impact on the implementation of the Local Plan of all local standards, in order for the plan to be justified.
3.24 The Government has not made achieving a particular level against the Code for Sustainable Homes mandatory i.e. the rating can be zero. Whilst the legal requirement to reduce CO2 emissions is currently the equivalent of Code 3, and next year it will be Code 4, there is no legal requirement to meet the CO2 emission equivalent of either Code 5 (100% improvement) or Code 6 (zero net). Paragraph 95 of the NPPF states that when setting any local requirement for a building's sustainability local planning authorities should do so in a way consistent with the Government's zero carbon buildings policy and adopt nationally described standards. The emerging Local Plan is seeking to go beyond these without justification.
15. Green Infrastructure
3.25 We object to the proposal to replace 'Areas of Restraint' with Green Wedges. There is no basis in the NPPF for adding a layer of protection or restriction over development in addition to the Green Belt, or above such areas which local communities may seek to identify as Local Green Space.
3.26 The NPPF contains, as one of its core principles in Paragraph 17, reference to recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside. Large parts of the District are covered by Green Belt designation, with its well established levels of control over development, and the NPPF at Paragraphs 76 and 77 allows local communities, in defined circumstances, to designate land as Local Green Space. Areas of particular nature conservation or habitat value can be afforded protection through the hierarchy of designated sites. There is no justification, therefore, for adding a further layer of 'Green Wedges' and all references to this approach should be deleted.
4.1 These representations to the Warwick Local Plan - Preferred Options consultation document have been prepared on behalf of our client, Bluemark Projects. They are supported by a Background Document which identifies a site north of Common Lane, Kenilworth which we contend should be identified as an allocation in the submission version of the Local Plan when it is published.
4.2 Our representations have set out what we consider to be flaws in the consultation document which could render the Local Plan unsound, and we therefore commend the points we have raised to you for further consideration. In particular, we have concluded that the plan should refer more explicitly to the requirements both of the NPPF and the Localism Act 2011. In should also remove references to what could reasonable be concluded is a pre-ordained approach to the overall level of new dwelling provision the Plan should provide for.
4.3 We do not believe the consultation document has properly identified objectively assessed housing needs in accordance with the NPPF, nor is there any evidence of compliance with either the legal obligations or the requirements of the NPPF with regard to the duty to co-operate. These, we contend, are serious flaws in the approach the Council is adopting.
4.4 The Council's approach to the spatial distribution of development should be clarified along the lines we have suggested, and we contend that the land outside the Green Belt north of Common Lane, Kenilworth should be allocated as a housing site in policy PO4: Distribution of Sites for Housing.
4.5 We object to elements of the Council's approach to local standards generally and consider the requirements to justify this in accordance with the NPPF have not been met. In particular we have concerns with the policy suggested for affordable housing and to the approach proposed in relation to lifetime homes. We also object local standards in the manner envisaged in relation to climate change. We further find no basis for the suggestion of a policy to identify green wedges, which should be removed from the Plan.