Proposed Submission South Somerset Local Plan (2006 - 2028): Main Modifications - August 2014

Comment ID 63
Document Section Main Modifications Policy SS5: Delivering New Housing Growth Content View all on this section
Respondent Boyer Planning (O Jones) View all by this respondent
Response Date 09 Oct 2014

In its representations at the Examination, Abbey Manor Group (AMG) commented upon the extent to which the policy objectives provided by the ‘directions of growth’ approach satisfied paragraph 154 of the NPPF.

In summary, Paragraph 154 of the NPPF requires Local Plans to set out the opportunities for development and clear policies on what will and will not be permitted and where and in doing so, include only policies that provide a clear indication of how a decision maker should react to a development proposal. In the context of the directions for growth identified at the various settlements their individual policies are generic in nature and there are no criteria to guide development proposals – to a large extent the broad purpose of the identified ‘directions of growth’ are explained in the supporting text but the policies lack precision as to the intended outcome. The District Council’s position has been that subsequent Site Allocation DPD will provide further and more specific policy requirements for each of these ‘directions of growth’.

At the Local Plan Examination Hearing Session for Issues 6 and 7, the Inspector drew similar conclusions to those made in AMG’s representation and sought greater clarity on how applications for residential development and overall housing growth will be managed in the Market Towns of Crewkerne and Wincanton.

In response, MM12 introduces a further passage of text to the third paragraph on page 53, which seeks to add greater clarity to how applications for residential will be considered in Crewkerne and Wincanton. AMG support the “permissive approach”,. With respect to Wincanton, this “permissive approach” applies to the town’s “direction of growth”, which favours an Urban Extension to the west of Wincanton that would be viable, deliverable and co-ordinated with the rest of the existing development in a sustainable location (by virtue of its proximity to the existing retail, leisure, work and health facilities that have been developed on this side of town). To illustrate this point we attach a plan which indicates how such an extension might meet any identified need for further Employment and/or Residential land arising for the Town.

MM12 proposes two further amendments to the Local Plan, namely the introduction of a further paragraph at the end of Policy SS5 (on page 54) and at Chapter 13: Implementation and Monitoring. This new text reads as follows:

“An early review of policy relating to housing and employment delivery in Wincanton will be undertaken as part of the proposed Site Allocations Development Plan Document process; this will commence within two years, with the objective that the review will be completed within five years of the date of adoption of the Local Plan.”

AMG objects to the timescale of the Site Allocations Development Plan Document review process outlined in the aforementioned text. This timeframe of commencement within two years and completion in five years is unjustifiably long. This timescale is unduly long in practice because there will inevitably be successful district-wide based 5-year housing land supply challenges in this timeframe. By pursuing such a long-term approach to implement a review the Council’s ability to defend the policy to resist such challenges will be undermined and diminished.

To summarise, AMG supports the MM12 amendment to Policy SS5, which advocates a “permissive approach” to residential development in Yeovil and seeks to clarify the remit for the “Direction of Growth” at Wincanton. However, AMG disagrees with the proposed timescale of the review of policy relating to housing and employment delivery in Wincanton as part of the proposed Site Allocations Development Plan Document process. During the Examination the Inspector raised concerns that an “early review” of housing and employment provision at Wincanton was not planned and should take place. A review into housing and employment provision at Wincanton within two years and completion within five years cannot be considered a genuine “early review” as requested by the Inspector.