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

Comment ID 1162
Document Section South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18) Rural Centres Land to the north of Coat Road Text Block View all on this section
Respondent Origin3 View all by this respondent
Response Date 18 Oct 2019

This representation to the South Somerset Local Plan Review Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18) has been prepared by Origin3 on behalf of Barratt Homes Ltd in relation to  their interest in land south of Coat Road, Martock (referred to as ‘the site’). A site location plan is submitted alongside this representation.

Sections 2 to 4 of this representation provide comment on the draft policies most relevant to the land south of Coat Road, specifically:

Section 2: Policy SS1 Settlement Strategy

Section 3: Policy SS2 Delivering New Housing Growth

Section 4: Policy MB2 Housing Provision South of Coat Road, Martock

The most pertinent issues raised in this representation comprise the following:

  • The identification of land south of Coat Road in Martock as a housing allocation in Policy MB2 is supported, however it should be increased from 95 dwellings to 120 dwellings.
  • The identification of Martock as a Rural Centre in Policy SS1 Settlement Strategy is supported.
  • The provision of additional housing development in sustainable locations such as Martock which allow the settlement to grow and expand is supported, however the number of new homes required in Martock in Policy SS2: Delivering New Housing Growth should be increased to reflect the role and function of the settlement.
  • Land South of Coat Road is a credible and deliverable housing option.

Three sites are allocated in Martock for residential development, which when combined seek to deliver a minimum of 210 dwellings.

Policy MB2 allocates land south of Coat Road (the site) for the development of :

  • Children’s formal and informal play space;
  • About 95 dwellings, including 28% affordable housing;
  • Public open space.

The allocation of the site for residential development accompanied by play space and public open space is supported. However the number of dwellings should be increased to 120 (with the required level of children’s play space and public open space) for the reasons set out below.

A planning application was submitted in December 2018 for the erection of 120 homes on the site,together with associated infrastructure including access and highway improvements, drainage and attenuation, play area, open space and landscaping (reference 19/00064/FUL).

The proposed number of dwellings were supported by the Case Officer and the submitted proposals included a layout that accommodated 120 homes as well as sufficient play space and public open space provision. This layout was reviewed and supported by SSDC Officers and demonstrates that this level of housing (25 above the figure in Policy MB2) can be accommodated on the site within a good quality layout and design.

The Case Officer recommended the application for approval (subject to conditions) and there were no technical issues raised with the application. The application was refused by the Regulation Committee on the 19th July 2019, after being referred by the Area North Committee on the 26th June 2019. It is evident from the assessment undertaken and set out in the Committee Report that the (then) application site can accommodate 120 new homes without adverse effects on the site’s environment features, local character, the amenity of nearby residential. Moreover, vehicular movements on the local highway network can be satisfactorily accommodated on the local highway network. Whilst the application was refused, the primary reason was in relation to Policy SS5 of the existing Local Plan. It does not follow that the scale of new development on the site needs to restricted to 95 in the context of the preparation of a new Local Plan.

It has been demonstrated that the site can clearly accommodate an additional 25 homes without prejudicing design and making an efficient use of land. The National Planning Policy Framework (2019) is clear that planning policies should promote an effective use of land in meeting the need for homes, paragraph 122 stating planning policies and decisions should support development that makes efficient use of land”.

Given that the application was considered by the Council’s specialist officers and no technical reasons for the refusal were identified, the scale of growth was supported and a well-designed layout could be achieved, the allocation of the site for 120 homes is not only in accordance with national guidance but a logical approach which the Council should take.

It should also be noted that in recognition it ability to be developed, the site has been identified in the Council’s Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) as a suitable, available and developable housing site and is also recorded as such on the South Somerset District Council Five Year Housing Land Supply Paper (August 2018).

The applicant of the scheme, Barratt Homes, were committed to commencing development within 1 year should planning permission be granted. This was included as planning condition 1 in the Case Officer’s report to the Regulation Committee. This reflects the developer’s commitment to delivering the site. Deliverability is a fundamental theme running through the NPPF, plan-making should contain policies which are deliverable (Paragraph 16).

We are not aware of any recent planning history on either of the other two sites that are proposed to be allocated, whilst the site at Coat Road is clearly deliverable with a willing developer keen to start building new homes.

An additional 25 homes would provide other community benefits including a greater number of market and affordable homes which would contribute to the housing need in South Somerset.

Taking all these points into account, the wording of Policy MB2 should therefore be revised to include ‘the residential development of about 120 dwellings’.