THE BRAINTREE DISTRICT LOCAL PLAN
CALL FOR SITES CONSULTATION RESPONSE
1. The Parish Council has been asked for its views on four sites which have been identified in the Call for Sites consultation with a view to their consideration as part of the proposed Braintree District Local Plan for the period to 2033 and whether the village envelope to accommodate all or any of these or any other sites. The sites (as shown on the attached plan) are:
Ashe 102 Site off Foxes Road 0.4 has - capacity 10 dwellings
Ashe 103 Site south of Foxes Lane 0.98 has - capacity 18 dwellings
Ashe 104 Site beside Street Farm - capacity 2 dwellings
Ashe 500 Site at the rear of the bungalows, the Street 0.54 has - capacity 30 dwellings.
2. By way of general background:
a. The Local Plan will provide the planning framework for the District until 2033 (subject to periodic reviews); this is now programmed for presubmission consultation sometime in 2016 and adoption in 2017;
b. It will have to address, among other things, the identification of sites to meet the objectively assessed housing need for the District; this is presently put at between 12,000 and 15,000 new dwellings (750-950 dwellings per year) in the period to 2033;
c. The 2015 Strategic Housing Land Assessment identifies 3,176 hectares of potential residential development land, which would potentially accommodate over 100,000 new dwellings. However, the fact that a site is identified as potentially suitable for development does not mean that, when the effects on environment and sustainability are taken into account, it should be;
d. None of the four sites are within the village envelope designated on the Braintree District Local Plan Review 2005;
e. The site at ASHE 104 (Street Farm) was the subject of a planning application for two dwellings in 2015. The BDC planning committee resolved that planning permission should be granted on 22nd December 2015.
f. ASHE 103 (south of Foxes Road) was also subject to an application for permission to develop 17 dwellings including 7 affordable homes. This was refused planning permission on 27th October 2015.
g. As set out above, to meet the general housing requirements in the district there is ample potential land and the choice for sites will be properly driven on a district wide basis, particularly with a view to focussing development in the most sustainable locations (i.e. those with availability of employment, community infrastructure and public transport); however any case for the release of land at Ashen could take into account local factors, including the provision of affordable housing, so long as it is controlled with a priority for those with a tie to this village or area; whether or not there is such a need would have to be considered on the relevant evidence at the time.
h. The procedure will be in the first place for BDC to draft the local plan including the identification of sites and other planning controls including the relevant village envelope. The draft plan will then be subject to consultation, before the plan is submitted to the Secretary of State for examination before an independent inspector. The examination will include oral hearings and the consideration of representations and objections from third parties. The inspector will then make recommendations as to any modifications (or the rejection of the plan). BDC will only be able to adopt the plan in accordance with the recommendations of the inspector. As set out above, it is programmed that this process will be concluded before the end of 2017.
3. The Parish Council considered this matter on 9th January 2016 and came to preliminary conclusions which it will review in the light of responses at the village meeting and otherwise: they included
a. That at this time BDC had made its decision on ASHE 104 (Street Farm) that permission should be granted and this Council should therefore focus on the other three sites;
b. That, while views varied from there being no change in the village envelope in the above respects to provision being made at this stage to meet the District wide need, in terms of the sites put forward:
i. ASHE 500 (land behind the Street bungalows) was not supported because of its exposure, lack of containment, access and the effect on the character of the village;
ii. There may be a case for the allocation of one or in the case of ASHE 103 part of the other two sites specifically to meet local housing need in the village; and
iii There was a majority preference for ASHE 102 (Foxes Road) over ASHE 103 (south of Foxes Lane), with particular regard to its relative enclosure and relationship to the village structure.