Active Land Management - Tranche 3 (Agenda Item 8)
Report of the Executive Member for the Assets and Strategic Development Portfolio (Mark Kiddle-Morris).
The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development outlined the background to the Active Land Management programme. Each piece of Council land was being investigated for potential uses, using a ‘top down’ approach which provided a clear audit trail and ensured that the Council’s assets achieved their best value.
Members received a presentation on each of the ten sites in the third tranche and were advised of the options available.
The following comments were made with regard to each site:
Attleborough – Blenheim Drive
In response to representations received from Ward Members, the Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development suggested that the site should be retained for consideration in the wider planning context of the ASHAAP.
It was clarified that the Open Space had been provided as a condition of the initial planning permission but noted that the Council had given the Town Council an additional 22 acres of Open Space.
Snetterton – North End
Snetterton Parish Council supported Option 4.
Thompson – Tottington Road
Thompson Parish Council preferred affordable housing with a degree of openness retained.
The Chairman was pleased that the proposal was for the authority to build its own houses to rent as there was a huge need across the district for rentable accommodation.
Watton – Mill Road
Mr Wassell noted that Watton was already densely populated. He supported the Town Council’s view that the land should remain as Open Space.
The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development said that to ensure best value the development potential had to be looked at first.
Gressenhall – Rougholme Close
The Parish Council were in support of the development of starter homes – preferable three bedroomed so that families would stay in the village.
Whissonsett – Church Close
The Parish Council were keen for open market housing for local people.
Bintree – Cubitts Close
Mr Cowen suggested that there was clearly value in the site which could be developed for a single dwelling as the access was adequate for that. The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development agreed and modified the recommendation to investigate that option.
Dereham – Waples Way
Mr Goreham, speaking as Ward Representative, said that both this and the following site were on the Moorgate Estate which had already been extensively developed. This site had drainage issues and also formed part of a nature walk. It was a long way from the town centre and residents would have to use a car to access services which would add to the traffic burden. He suggested that the land should be retained as Open Space by the Council and asked why that was not an option.
The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development advised that the option to retain the sites had been removed due to cost implications and that if land was transferred to town or parish councils there would be no commuted sum for maintenance.
Mr Goreham accepted that all Councils had to maximise their assets but said that sometimes, in terms of amenities to the ratepayers, the best option was to leave it as it is – money would not replace amenity.
The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development explained that under the Active Land Management Framework they had a duty to look at all options and in this case he felt development should be investigated. If it turned out to be too costly other options would be considered.
The Vice-Chairman pointed out that the Council had to represent the whole district. He suggested that two additional dwellings would be a compromise.
Mr Goreham reiterated that as Ward Representative he completely opposed the recommendation.
Dereham – Howlett Close
Mr Goreham noted that as the option for status quo had been removed it seemed the Council was determined to dispose of the land one way or another. This very small piece of land had been Open Space for nearly 60 years and was an amenity enjoyed by the predominantly elderly residents. Development would cause them a lot of stress – he had received representation from almost every resident. The estate was well balanced, further development would be inappropriate and would cause chronic parking issues. Both he and the other Ward Representative, Mr Monument (who could not attend the meeting) were implacably opposed to the site’s development.
The Chairman ensured Mr Goreham that his comments were not being disregarded. The Council was trying to get best value for its land. If a planning permission was submitted Ward Representatives and residents would have the opportunity to object. If the planning permission failed Cabinet would take a secondary view on the use of the land.
Mr Cowen suggested that the cost of moving the high voltage cables should be investigated first as that might negate any residual value.
The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development accepted that in some cases it would be impossible to fulfil planning application requirements, but said that all potential uses had to be investigated.
Dereham – Castell Road
Mr William Richmond, Ward Representative, spoke against the recommendation. The residents of Highfield Estate had no access to Open Space which was why this site was designated as such in the Local Development Framework. Dereham already had its allocation for affordable housing and 200 residents wanted to retain the site as Open Space.
Mrs Monument, also a Ward Representative for the estate said that when Open Space was provided in new developments it was bound by legal agreement. This site was too old for that but exemplified the reason for the policy. It would make a travesty of Open Space policy if it was built on. The land served about 250 houses and also linked to a narrow strip of green land which (if owned by the Council) should be included if the land was transferred to the Town Council.
The Executive Member for Assets & Strategic Development felt that Options 1 and 2 were both worth investigating and he would recommend a combination of the two.
Mrs Monument was concerned that there should be no road linking the two estates as local people feared a rat run from Quebec Road to Highfield Road.
If the two sites were developed together the Vice-Chairman wondered if the Open Space provision could be met on the Castell Road site. He acknowledged however that that might not be the best area within the scheme and said that should be left open for investigation.
Mr Cowen suggested that the developers could be given a steer that the presumption would be that the existing space to the east would form the bulk of the Open Space provision as that was what the people of Dereham wanted.
To decide on the alternative/future uses of each of the 10 sites processed in the third tranche of the Active Land.
(1) To ensure the diverse interests that exist around land usage are realised; and
(2) To provide a source of funding for both the Council’s revenue and capital spending.
RESOLVED that the alternative/future use of each of the 10 sites processed in the third tranche of the Active Land Management Programme be determined as follows:
(1) Attleborough – Blenheim Drive
Land to be retained and its future use to be considered as part of the wider Attleborough & Snetterton Heath Area Action Plan.
(2) Snetterton – North End
Whole site offered for affordable housing. Any development to include an area of Open Space for transfer to the Parish Council.
(3) Thompson – Tottington Road
Land to be developed for affordable housing with RSL partner or by design and build.
(4) Watton – Mill Road
Land to be developed for open market housing on a design and build basis.
(5) Gressenhall – Rougholme Close
To be developed as design and build to rent out as affordable housing.
(6) Whissonsett – Church Close
To be developed for open market, design and build housing for rent or sale.
(7) Bintree – Cubitts Close
Investigate the possibility of development for single dwelling on design and build basis for sale.
(8) Dereham – Waples Way
Develop part of site for two affordable houses (extending existing line of housing).
(9) Dereham – Howlett Close
Submit planning application for open market sale for design and build housing.
(10) Dereham – Castell Road
Hold dialogue with purchasers of adjoining (swimming pool) site to discuss potential to develop both plots of land as one site, with the preference that the area to the east of the site forms the bulk of the Open Space provision required.