South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18)

Comment ID 237
Document Section South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18) Rural Centres Bruton Text Block View all on this section
Respondent Bruton Conservation Trust View all by this respondent
Response Date 30 Aug 2019
Attachments
Comment

A summary (not necessarily exhaustive) of what we feel is insufficiently addressed within the update of The Local Plan for the period 2016-36.

This is followed by a number of observations on a variety of related issues.

SUMMARY VIEWS

  1. 1. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY MEASURES

We do not perceive sufficient concentration on the many measures that need to be addressed in detail:

-Encouragement of local energy production initiatives.

-Agreed automatic introduction of anti-pollution measures on highways and in residential planning to counter toxic traffic fumes and light pollution.

-Street lighting - the introduction and implementation of more thorough and sensitive measures in discussion at county level to ensure that it is sensitive to local safety needs as well as having the lowest possible impact on ‘dark skies’ and wildlife.

-Tree planting and the protection of wildlife across the built landscape in particular.

-Planning insistence on good house design with automatic attention to energy production and conservation (PV and/or thermal panels, heat pumps) together with sedum roofs, rainwater and surface water harvesting and the like).

  1. INFRASTRUCTURE

We see no mention of measures to enforce better controls over road building including the introduction of studies to ensure the suitability of existing road networks in and connected to any housing schemes which increase population density.

Ditto the above for sewage and surface water disposal.

The potential for flooding in residential areas now subjected to vastly increased impermeable hard surface needs to be highlighted and not lightly passed over with reference to permeable drives.

  1. COMMUNITY FACILITIES

A stronger position is required in insistence on large planning proposals to include these: neighbourhood shops, play areas, retirement and recreational facilities for the elderly. Potentially, medical facilities should be expected.

  1. CONSERVATION AREAS

If the plan’s strategic policies are to be delivered and yet simultaneously exert protection of areas of exceptional historic or other interest, effective conservation control must be exerted. We are dismayed not to see mention of a dedicated Conservation Officer.

  1. A STATEMENT OF INTENTION TO FIRMLY ADHERE TO STRATEGIC POLICIES

Numbers of anticipated extra housing units required are rightly stated for the period up to 2036. (Rural Centres, eg. Bruton, page 26). We would look to strong insistence on not breaching these cohort figures through the acceptance of unnecessary proposals.

We would also look for strong protection of the statement on page 32 envisaging development within a context of extended local services and supporting economic activity.

There is little indication that these measures are properly in place at present.

SOME OBSERVATIONS

  1. The Trust accepts that the Plan is basically a sensible one.
  2. The Trust firmly supports the building of a Neighbourhood plan to add to the Local Plan to thus create a Development Plan.
  3. We accept that the Neighbourhood Plan should agree the numbers of homes for delivery and build them by 2036. We do not accept that plans for large numbers of houses have to be hurried along, to the extent of accepting them even before the due date of expiry of the current plan in 2028.
  4. Page 109-Rural Centres:

Para 8.6, we have a limited regular bus service;

Para 8.7-fails to mention traffic as an environmental concern as well as contributing to pressure on safety and infrastructure;

Para 8.8-what has happened to the Bruton Town Council’s objective (Number 1 of 9) of all future development to be located to the west of the Frome Road? And that over-expansion of the east side of the town is to be avoided.

Para 8.14- the notion of Bruton High Street as ‘vibrant’ is to say the least diluted by the numbers of houses and former shops having become locations for Air BnB.

  1. A Cranborne Chase AONB boundary extension to include Bruton might offer greater planning protection.
  2. Should we look to co-operate more with Mendip District Council over future development?