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

Comment ID 1796
Document Section South Somerset Local Plan Review 2016-2036 Preferred Options Consultation (Regulation 18) Rural Centres Land south of Hospital Lane Text Block View all on this section
Respondent Persimmon Homes (South West) Ltd View all by this respondent
Agent Pegasus Planning Group (S Hami…
Response Date 18 Sep 2019

4.1 South Petherton is defined as a Rural Centre, with the objective of enabling the settlement to grow and expand its identified role by allowing for additional growth, the provision of additional retail premises and modest growth. Total housing requirement in the adopted Local Plan 2006-2028 was 229 dwellings. According to the AMR 2018 Table 20 indicates that total net completions and commitments as at 31st March 2018 is 280 dwellings. The AMR states that this is one of the few areas in the district where the market is buoyant. A similar picture is recorded for employment, the total employment land requirement in hectares was 2.47 hectares compared to total completions, under construction and not started is 3.44 hectares.

4.2 The AMR records that the Rural Centres have, on the whole, been performing strongly in respect of housing development and delivered significantly in excess of their annualised requirement for housing.

4.3 It is noted that South Petherton has a Neighbourhood Plan that was “made” in September 2018. It covers the period 2015 -2028 and is aligned to the adopted Local Plan and acknowledges that whilst a review of the Plan is not intended, it may be triggered by any number of changes, particularly changes to the District planning policies.

4.4 As noted above the adopted Local Plan included a figure of at least 229 dwellings over the Plan period. The Plan whilst promoting an increase of 1% to Rural Centres, this transpires as a decrease for South Petherton as the Preferred Options proposes about 116 dwellings. When completions and commitments are taken into account the residual requirement is for about 55 dwellings.

4.5 The Settlement Profile for South Petherton, paragraph 8.1 concludes that:

“South Petherton has achieved well against it housing delivery target, showing a strong housing market able to accommodate further growth. Its healthy town centre and strategic position next to the A303 also suggest that it has a strong capacity to accommodate further growth.”

4.6 Policy SP1 proposes residential development for about 45 dwellings on Land south of Hospital Lane together with children’s informal play space and public open space. The proposed allocation is supported. The policy includes 29% affordable housing.

4.7 Persimmon Homes have previously promoted the site for 89 dwellings, and a full application was submitted in 2014, reference 14/04142/FUL which included 31 affordable homes. The officers report recommended approval, however the application was refused by members on 27th March 2015.

4.8 There were four reasons for refusal, the level and layout of the development with a single point of access and the design and detailing of the dwellings; the proposed drainage strategy; the quantum of development and the loss of some best and most versatile agricultural land.

4.9 The proposal has been amended since the previous planning application and in summary comprises of the following:
• The construction on site of up to 70 two and two and a half storey dwellings;
• Provision of affordable to be policy compliant;
• Provision of a primary vehicular access from St Michael’s Gardens, the provision of a secondary access from the west from Farley Fields ie Lime Kiln Avenue, and the inclusion of possible footpaths/cycleways connecting to the existing PROW network.
• The provision of three areas of open space, a lower open space in the south east corner of the site, a central open space extending the open space provided within Farley Fields and an upper open space located alongside the northern site boundary;
• Land provided for the addition of circa 20 car parking spaces for the medical centre in the north eastern corner of the site;
• The gross density of the site (the whole site including open space) would be approximately 27 dwellings per hectare (dph). The net density of the site (excluding open space but including roads and driveways) would be approximately 37 dwellings per hectare; and
• Installation of a pumping station in the lower open space.

4.10 The affordable housing provision is intended to be policy compliant. It is noted that Policy SP1 proposes 29% affordable housing and that this is also included in Policy HG2, however as stated elsewhere in this response the evidence to support 29% has not at this stage been provided. The emphasis in plan making is now upon understanding the evidence base to support the viability of 29% affordable housing proposed in the Plan. It is noted that paragraph 9.20 states that this figure will be tested as part of the Plan-wide Viability Assessment. We look forward to engaging in this process as set out in the PPG.
Persimmon Homes South West
South Somerset Local Plan Review Reg 18 consultation
(Chard Eastern Development Area and South Petherton)
September 2019 | SHF | P19-2177 Page | 18

4.11 To support the promotion of the land south of Hospital Lane, a Development Framework has been prepared. Design plans are currently evolving based on the constraints and an initial Framework Plan has been prepared.


4.12 The main design principles of the Framework Plan include:
• One of the key principles for integrating the development site into the vicinity is to strengthen the pedestrian connections that can be seen to the south and west whilst introducing new connections to the north and east to serve the medical centre;
• The primary access to the residential development is proposed via a priority junction on the southern boundary of the site, at the eastern end of St Michael’s Gardens. The detail for the design of this access is noted in the Transport Assessment, which accompanies this planning application. There is no intention to upgrade Lightgate Lane or remove the existing bollards to allow for vehicular access
• A secondary/emergency access is proposed from Lime Kiln Avenue on the western boundary of the site with Farley Fields and will also include pedestrian and cycle links;
• The proposed internal road layout will include a spine road linking to a network of shared surfaces serving the properties. The layout and grain of development mirrors the principles used throughout St Michaels Grange and Farley Fields;
• The POS has been split into three parts with the most prominent sitting within the south-eastern corner adjacent to the proposed vehicular access point. The second area has been designed as a continuation of the POS within St Michael’s Gardens. This will result in the creation of two new squares which will replicate the arrangement within St Michaels Gardens. The final area is located adjacent to the northern boundary and will include connecting footpaths to the medical centre. All three areas will benefit from additional landscaping;
• Land has been provided in the north east corner of the site for additional parking for the medical centre.

4.13 The statement shows that the site can deliver more housing in line with current Government guidance on making more efficient use of land, this has been demonstrated by an application submitted previously for 89 dwellings on the site which had officer recommendation for approval (14/04142/FUL).

4.14 The proposal for up to 70 dwellings accords with the Council’s approach to density as set out in Proposed Policy EQ2 General Development and Design. Paragraph 14.31 of the Preferred Options states:

“All development should ensure the most efficient use of land through the size and arrangement of plots, further determining the position, orientation, proportion, scale, height, massing and density of buildings as well as the treatment of the spaces around and between the buildings themselves. Consideration of the relationship to adjoining buildings and landscape features will be encouraged. Density should be justified as part of the overall design concept of development proposals and will also include appropriate consideration of private amenity spaces. Particular regard should be had for levels of housing demand and need and availability of sites, infrastructure and service availability, efficient use of land, accessibility, local area characteristics and other detailed design considerations (as indicated above) in the determination of the appropriate density on a particular site.”

4.15 The Development Framework has shown that the proposed development is located in a sustainable location, provides considerable benefits such as affordable housing and will provide a relatively significant contribution to overall housing supply within the district.

4.16 The perceived impacts of the scheme would be acceptable mitigated through planning obligations and would be considered acceptable in terms of residential amenity.

4.17 As such, it is considered that the proposal would accord with the definition of sustainable development set out in Section 2: Achieving Sustainable Development of the NPPF (2019).

4.18 Notwithstanding the inconsistency with the proposed number of dwellings in Policy SP1, it is nevertheless considered that there is general compliance with the aims of Policy SP1 and the proposal would not conflict with the ‘settlement strategy’ for the district.