Chairman's Announcements (if any) (Agenda item 5)
Simon Wood (SW), Interim Business Manager, Capita informed the meeting that this was the third Working Group to consider the proposed site allocations and settlement boundaries within the District. The Planning Policy Team had assessed each area according to the criteria as listed at paragraph 1.6 of the Locational Strategy, Level and Location of Growth and Rural Areas report published on 4 July 2016 Further work had been completed on the housing trajectory, this had demonstrated that the SUEs within Thetford and Attleborough were not expected to be delivered in their entirety within the Plan period. As a consequence, and to meet the housing requirement, a higher level of provision in the largest settlements would now be required which was different to what had been discussed previously at the meetings earlier in the year. The revised distribution of proposed housing growth had been endorsed at the first LPWG meeting held in Thetford on 11 July 2016 as follows:
· Key settlements – 50%
· Market Towns – 30%
· Local Service Centres – 15%
· Rural areas – 5%.
This distribution was still consistent with the broad Spatial Strategy.
The second report that was discussed at the Thetford meeting was in relation to Policy PD05 which had been split into two parts. PD05a applied to settlements that met three out of five of the service facilities audit identified in paragraph 1.6 of the settlement boundary report (published on 4 July). PD05b would apply to the smaller villages that had two or fewer of the service facilities required. These villages would have no settlement boundary but small amounts of development could be permitted if they had local support in accordance with Policy PD05b.
This would all be subject to further consultation following this round of LPWG meetings.
The Chairman advised that this round of meetings was for the Group to hear views from the public to help shape the document. Further consultation would be had followed by the document being submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.
Councillor Duigan, a Ward Member for Toftwood and a Town Councillor for Dereham, felt that the change to the number of proposed housing growth for the market towns contained very little information as to how the figures had been reached. He had no idea, until now, that Swaffham and Dereham was going to be allocated 600/700 houses. The Neighbourhood Plan had been put together on the former figures and he asked if this would mean that the background documents would have to be changed. Further explanation was required.
Roger Atterwill, the Chairman of Swanton Morley Parish Council, informed Members that the Parish had been completely thrown out by these new figures and had grave reservations for the five year land supply if the 5000 houses were not delivered in Thetford. He asked if this would have a knock on effect to all the other areas and also asked why the change of heart so late in the day.
Tony Needham, Dereham Town Council, pointed out that the monitoring report in October 2015 stated 1200 completions a year and now this had been changed to 575. He also wanted to know what had categorically changed in a matter of months.
Councillor Robert Richmond could not support the proposals and mentioned the 1000s of houses granted for Thetford in April 2014 none of which had been built. This increase for Dereham, in his opinion was not do-able and also not fair.
SW advised that in terms of Thetford, the site was currently being marketed. Infrastructure, power and other issues of that nature, were also being addressed. The reason the numbers had changed was due to the changes to a reappraisal of the trajectory for housing delivery to meet the five year housing land supply requirement. Everything that had been agreed was in accordance with the Spatial Strategy. The Preferred Directions consultation was just that, a consultation and in terms of infrastructure and drainage etc that would all form part of the Local Plan and Infrastructure Delivery Plan going forward.
Phil Mileham, the Strategic Planning Manager for Breckland Council stated that the Planning Committee agreed the Thetford SUE in 2014 and the planning permission had been issued at the back end of last year and was granted with outline planning for seven years recognising the likely lengthy lead in time to deliver such a large development.