Hunstanton Neighbourhood Plan
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Pride in our Neighbourhood
Pride in our Neighbourhood 24 January 2017
In 2011, the Core Strategy of the Local Development Framework was adopted. Its companion volume, the Site Allocations and Development Management Policies (SADMP) was adopted in September 2016. These documents will be the basis on which any planning applications will be determined from now until 2026 and be enhanced by any Neighbourhood Plans that have come into effect.
During the public hearings into the soundness of the SADMP, the Borough Council undertook to start revising its Local Plan almost immediately. That process has now begun with a letter to landowners, developers and other interested parties requesting that potential sites for development be identified and suggestions made concerning planning policies. The Town Council and Civic Society are engaging in this new process.
The importance of having an up to date Local Plan was clearly demonstrated when a Planning Inspector in 2015 at an appeal concerning a proposed development at the former Foster's Sports Ground in Clenchwarton found that the Borough could only demonstrate that it had a 1.7 year supply of land. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) presumption in favour of sustainable development over-ruled the local plan and permitted a flurry of developments to be approved. The Borough's planners worked hard and were fortunately able to demonstrate at least a five year supply of land at the public enquiry into a proposal to develop land in Heacham accessed from School Road in May 2016.
As mentioned in last month's magazine, an appeal by a developer against a policy contained in the Neighbourhood Plan for St Ives in Cornwall was dismissed. The policy states that "Due to the impact upon the local housing market of the continued uncontrolled growth of dwellings used for holiday accommodation (as second or holiday homes), new open market housing, excluding replacement dwellings, will only be supported where there is a restriction to ensure its occupancy as a Principal Residence. Sufficient guarantee must be provided of such occupancy restriction through the imposition of a planning condition or legal agreement. New unrestricted second homes will not be supported at any time. Principal Residences are defined as those occupied as the residents' sole or main residence, where residents spend the majority of their time when not working away from home."
The objective of the St Ives Neighbourhood Plan Policy is that it aims to safeguard the sustainability of the settlements in the St Ives area, whose communities are being eroded through the amount of properties that are not occupied on a permanent basis. The justification is that between 2001 and 2011, the housing stock grew by 16% but the population grew by only 2.4%. 25% of the dwellings in the area were not occupied by a resident household in 2011 an increase of 67% in comparison to 2001. In order to meet the housing need of local people, bring greater balance and mixture to the local housing market and create new opportunities for people to live and work in the area, to strengthen the community and local economy, the St Ives Neighbourhood Plan supports full time principal residence housing.
Pride in our Neighbourhood 20
In early 2010, English Heritage informed me that in order to make the infant school in James Street a listed building, photographs of the interior would be required. Children's Services at Norfolk County Council as owner of the property said the County Council "would be very pleased to grant access" subject to similar permission from the governing body. The Board of Governors refused permission because they considered that if the buildings were listed, any repairs that were needed might become more costly. When the school moved to the Redgate site last October, the buildings became the responsibility of the Norfolk Property Services.
During the last few months, I learned that the school is now part of One Public Estate (OPE). That is a term with which I was not familiar but found on the internet that it is a pioneering initiative being delivered in partnership by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Cabinet Office Government Property Unit (GPU). Its objectives are to deliver more integrated and customer focussed services by encouraging all publicly funded services to co-locate. By combining services onto single sites, land and property can then be released and this can be used to stimulate economic growth, regeneration, new jobs and housing. Better integration should reduce running costs.
The OPE programme was launched in 2013 and it has seen 32 councils develop initiatives that are expected to deliver £129 million in property sales, 20,000 new jobs and 9000 new homes, with expected savings of £77 million in running costs for the public sector over 5 years. In December 2015, phase 3 was announced with over 100 councils joining. Additional government funding to the tune of £31 million is available including £115,000 for Norfolk and its districts.
You may ask how is this likely to affect Hunstanton and the surrounding district? Well the amount of land that is owned by either the County Council or the Borough Council is considerable and the future use of all the sites may be put into the melting pot especially if the sites are not at present fully utilised.
When the Neighbourhood Plan working party had a recent meeting, Mr Richard High, a self employed independent planning consultant, drew attention to the need for the local community to be invited to express their preferences about how development might occur throughout the town. He said that the community should be asked where they would like to see changes made and obtain their opinions about possible alternatives and on community facilities and green open spaces. The working party therefore needs to consider all the areas of the town which might come within the remit of OPE as well as sites at present in private ownership where change is likely and then to formulate policies in the Neighbourhood Plan that could influence what happens in these places.
Respondents to the questionnaire earlier this year indicated that there was serious concern about some areas within the town that looked uncared for. What is now needed is for residents to put forward positive ideas about the way in which such areas might be changed. Please send your suggestions and alternatives to the Neighbourhood Plan working Party at the Town Council in writing or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Following the success of the Public Presentation Day on 18 June, another one is to be held at the Community Centre on Saturday 12 November.
Neighbourhood Plan - Draft (PDF, 3.6 Mb)
Draft Neighbourhood Plan