Agenda item

Settlement Boundaries - Please refer to the Settlement Boundaries and Preferred Sites Report as mentioned at the beginning of the agenda (Agenda item 7)

·         Watton

·         Little Cressingham

·         North Pickenham

·         Ashill

·         Bradenham

·         Saham Toney

·         Carbrooke

·         Griston

·         Thompson

·         Stow Bedon

·         Hockham

·         Wretham


It was noted that the settlement boundaries for Watton and Ashill would remain as they were with the exception of incorporating the proposed allocation or existing planning permissions within the boundary.  An Ashill representative drew attention to the preferred site which was clearly outside the settlement boundary.  SO explained that preferred sites that had been identified would be incorporated into the settlement boundary.  Councillor Sharpe said that between now and then, Ashill could have an additional 22 houses north of the settlement boundary in which case the boundary would need to be altered again and he asked that when the settlement boundary lines were eventually drawn all planning applications should be reflected.  Mr Gibson compared the settlement boundary to a balloon – in other words, the settlement boundary would expand as more housing was included.  The meeting was informed that only those sites within the settlement boundary would be incorporated into the Local Plan until 2036.  Mr Gibson thought that this had been the case in the Local Development Framework (LDF).  SO advised that Breckland Council was only preparing one Local Plan to incorporate the shift in National Policy.  The Chairman pointed out that the Council was now working to the current Policy that had been thrusted to local authorities by Central Government.  The Local Plan would become the only document and would be more stringent moving forward.  Councillor Cowen said that he had been working on Local Plans ever since he had been elected and Members did not have a desire to go through all this again - it was Central Government.  He pointed out that the LDF had been trumpeted even though local authorities were told that it was a live document that could be tweaked; however, when the Government changed this stance Breckland had to learn to do things differently and had no choice otherwise, as a planning authority, it would have had to suffer the consequences.  Hopefully, the way the Local Plan was being framed at the moment would last more than five years.  Councillor Bambridge informed the meeting that when this Local Plan went through at the end of the year it would be more robust than the LDF.  This meeting was the fourth meeting of its kind and the housing would spread throughout the District that would solve our five year land supply.


SO was asked to highlight Policies PD05(A) and (B).  He referred everyone to section 1.8 of the Settlement Boundary report that had been made available at the meeting.


Little Cressingham

Councillor Sharpe spoke on behalf of the village as there were no other representatives in attendance.  He stated that the Plan was going to last 20 years and he asked the Local Plan Working Group to retain the existing Settlement Boundary to keep the village alive.  Councillor Bambridge explained that PD05(B) would allow for small scale development within the community and the village would not be limited to the ‘red line’.    Councillor Sharpe pointed out that there was employment in the village and removing the Settlement Boundary would inhibit growth.  Councillor Cowen reminded Members that the largest pest control supplier was located in Little Cressingham and dozens of people who lived in the village were employed there.  The Chairman asked if it met with any of the other criteria.  Councillor Sharpe said no, but if he could be assured that removing the ‘red line’ would not inhibit growth then he was content to have it removed.  Councillor Cowen drew attention to the land that was crosshatched in yellow on the map which was a Stone Curlew area; he asked what the opinions of Officers were on that.  SO advised that the Council had to deal with any constraints whether the boundary was there or not.

Agreed, to endorse the deletion of the Settlement Boundary in line with Policy PD05(B).


North Pickenham

Councillor Sharpe, Ward Member for North Pickenham said he had yet to find the village hall and the Blue Lion was not a public house.  He had conferred with the Parish Council and it was agreed that there was scope for development but that the Settlement Boundary should be retained.  There was room for the school to be extended and there was also a community centre in the pipeline which could incorporate a shop.  As for public transport, Norfolk County Council was actively attempting to change the route of the No. 1 bus to pick up from North Pickenham.   Therefore, at the request of the Parish Council, the Settlement Boundary should be retained.  SO advised that if there was genuine evidence that could be supported, then these could be included in the audit at Appendix 1 of the Settlement Boundary report.  The Chairman asked the Parish Council to liaise with the Planning Policy Officers accordingly.

Agreed, not to endorse the preferred option but the Settlement Boundary be retained in line with Policy PD05(A) subject to further information.



No Ward Member or representatives were in attendance.

Agreed, to endorse the removal of the Settlement Boundary in line with Policy PD05(B).


Saham Toney

Members’ attention was drawn to page 76 of the report in relation to ST.1 – extend the Settlement Boundary at Cley Lane around existing development.  A Parish Council representative felt that it would be feasible to move the existing Settlement Boundary to incorporate ST.1.  He pointed out; however, that the foul water drainage was not good in the village and a response from Anglian Water was awaited.  The proposal to build up to six dwellings directly opposite a flood plain was not a good idea and some residents had already moved out of the area due to flooding.  It was noted that the village had previously been designated as a Local Service Centre (LSC) and the Parish Council representative mentioned the huge reduction in the number of proposed dwellings due to it being removed.  SO advised that this had been changed on the basis of the audit, the criteria had not been met and in terms of allocations, development was expected to come forward within the policy constraints adopted.  The Chairman reminded everyone that there would be further opportunity to consult at the Cabinet meeting on 30 August 20216 and during the public consultation. 

Agreed, to endorse the amendment to the Settlement Boundary in line with Policy PD05(A).




No representatives were in attendance and the recommendation was to amend the Settlement Boundary (shown as CAR.1 on the map) along Mill Lane to include properties known as Toad Hall and The Bungalow.


Councillor Cowen pointed out that one Settlement Boundary was deep into the flood plain and he raised concerns about any future development.  SO said that this was a fair point but assured Members that environmental issues would be made absolutely clear in the Local Plan and applied irrespective of settlement boundaries.

Agreed, to endorse the amendment to the Settlement Boundary in line with Policy PD05(A).



Councillor Cowen, the Ward Member for Griston had not received any feedback from the Parish Council.

Agreed, to endorse the amendment to the Settlement Boundary in line with Policy PD05(A).



Representatives from Thompson Parish Council were in attendance and stated that a village appraisal had recently been carried out where 90% of households responded and the consensus was to retain the Settlement Boundary.  Copies of the Appraisal would be provided to the Council.  Councillor Cowen drew attention to the fact that there was still a Post Office in the village which nowadays was very rare and Thompson had its own school.

Agreed to endorse the proposed retention of the Settlement Boundary in line with Policy PD05(A).


Stow Bedon

Mr Hayward, of Stow Bedon Parish Council said that he had had a very informed consultation with Councillor Philip Cowen at a recent Parish meeting where 66 parishioners were in attendance, as well as the Parish Council, and all voted to retain their Settlement Boundary.  Stow Bedon was a very beautiful part of Breckland and should remain so.  The news of this proposed removal had alarmed many residents and the Residence Association had knocked on many doors to aid the said responses. It was noted that the Church was being renovated to include a community centre, the village also had a farm shop and there were many self-employed people who lived in the community.  It was also noted that Stow Bedon covered Lower Stow Bedon and Breckles and it was asked why the option to retain the Settlement Boundary was not considered.


Councillor Bambridge pointed out that Policy PD05(B) would provide the opportunity for the community to put the development where they wanted. Councillor Philip Cowen stated that it had been the biggest turn-out that he had ever seen at a Parish meeting.  He concurred with the Parish’s views and assured Members that the church was under repair and according to lottery grant conditions a community facility must be included.  There was also a farm shop which was very well attended.  A third of the population in the village worked in the village and Stow Bedon should be classed as the parish of Stow Bedon, Lower Stow Bedon and Breckles.  Employment across these parishes should also be taken into account.  The village of Caston had the no. 81 bus service and Stow Bedon had a bus stop.  It had all the necessary criteria but no-one had gone to look, this audit had been carried out as a desk top study which was completely incorrect.  He thought it to be an insult to send the document out in its current form and Breckland Council should not be asking unpaid members of the community to do its work.


It was recommended that the Parish Council should liaise with the Ward Representative and the Planning Policy Officers to satisfy the criteria, the Settlement Boundary could then be retained on the provision that three out of the five criteria were met.


The Clerk of Saham Toney Parish Council concurred with the aforementioned views.


The Chairman agreed that the information should be gathered from the Parish Council as soon as practicably possible.  In defence, Councillor Marion Chapman-Allen reminded Members that all Councillors were emailed asking for comments on the criteria and a number of alterations had been made to the document.

Agreed, not to endorse the preferred option but the Settlement Boundary be retained in line with Policy PD05(A) subject to further information.



Mr Childerhouse, the Clerk of Hockham Parish Council stated that the village had many services that had not been included on the audit.  There was a bus service a shop, employment and good connections to rail transport.   The Parish Council was asking to be moved to Policy PD05(A) and not Policy PD05(B) as stated in the audit document.  He also wanted to discuss with Planners the possibility of including a number of plots of land for development within the Settlement Boundary.  He did email the Planning Policy Team to point out all the discrepancies but had received no response.  The Chairman said that in light of Hockham meeting three out of the five criteria he asked that it be moved that the Settlement Boundary be retained subject to the Parish Council liaising with the Planning Policy Officers about changes to the Settlement Boundary.


Councillor Philip Cowen had been shocked with the number of errors in the report.  Hockham was a large village and supported villages in a tight radius.  At the LPWG meeting held earlier in the year, it was acknowledged that growth could happen, the village was constrained and the school needed to grow so taking away the Settlement Boundary was unbelievable and he could only endorse everything that had been said by the Clerk.

Agreed, not to endorse the preferred option but the Settlement Boundary be retained in line with Policy PD05(A) subject to further information.  Amendments to the boundary to require further discussion.



Mr Gibson, Clerk to Wretham Parish Council pointed out that he had emailed the Planning Policy Team stating that the village did not have a Settlement Boundary and he asked why no other villages without Settlement Boundaries had been discussed.  In response, SO reminded Members that these meetings ensured that the information contained in the audit was amended in accordance with the information received.  Councillor Cowen said that Wretham contained a great deal of employment.  Mr Gibson pointed out that it also had a village hall and had public transport the same as Hockham.  He said that the Parish was quite content without having a Settlement Boundary. Councillor Sharpe wanted to know if any of the villages without a Settlement Boundary in his Ward could meet three out of the five criteria, should he arrange meetings with those Parishes.  The Chairman confirmed that the Planning Policy Officers would work with those Parish Councils to discuss these matters; there may be a need to have a further meeting.  SO had received a very clear message from this meeting; the Planning Policy Officers would be doing the work on the behalf of those Parish Councils and the relevant Clerks would be contacted.  The Chairman could only apologise for the lack of information provided on the audit and assured the Parish Council that if Wretham came back meeting three out of five criteria then a Settlement Boundary would be put in place.  Mr Gibson asked if Wretham had to have one even if all criteria were met.  SO emphasised that a Settlement Boundary would have to be imposed in line with it going forward to the Planning Inspectorate.


The Parish Council were asked to remain behind after the meeting so contact details could be exchanged.


Councillor Cowen asked about Caston which had a Settlement Boundary but had not been included in any of these meetings.  An email had been received from Martin Pendlebury the Principal Planning Officer, Capita apologising for the fact that Caston had been mistakenly omitted.  This, he felt, was unacceptable and Caston should have the opportunity to come and speak.  The Chairman stated that this had been an oversight and again mentioned about arranging a further meeting.

Deferred, subject to further information being received on whether Wretham met three out of the five criteria in line with Policy PD05(A).