How to make your Neighbourhood Plan a Development Opportunity

Neighbourhood Development Plans can provide you with a real development opportunity.

How to make your Neighbourhood Development Plan work for you. If a parish area has not progressed with its Neighbourhood Development Plan, and it’s silent on housing land allocation, then the Local Authority must assess your proposed housing development on national housing requirements. It’s a little known fact and could lead to unlocking development.

Neighbourhood Development Plans

Here is how this planning policy works. It is a bit ‘dry’ but bare with us.

What the policy basically means is: where the local Neighbourhood Plan is silent on development opportunity, proposed development should be granted planning permission, in order to meet national housing needs.

If you have an edge of settlement site, then you should be reading this article…

Looking at the Development Plan for rural Herefordshire, this is the Herefordshire Local Plan – Core Strategy (LPCS). Strategic Policy SS1: sets out a presumption in favour of sustainable development, reflective of the positive presumption enshrined in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). SS1 confirms also that proposals which meet Core Strategy policy (and, where relevant other Development Plan Documents and Neighbourhood Development Plans) will be approved, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Housing need is nationwide at the moment as successive Govmts have failed to deliver housing targets. Herefordshire-housing-need can be summarised in the planned growth strategy policy SS2: this advocates ‘proportionate growth’ of Hereford, the market towns and a number of rural settlements.

Relevant parishes are actually listed, and if your parish is on that list then housing development is highly likely.

If you want to know if your parish is on the list email the office on this link here, and we will provide you with a free copy of the list.

In the case of Herefordshire the Council states: It requires 5,300 new dwellings to be distributed across the rural county.

This statement does recognise that different parts of the County will have differing housing needs and requirements, and some areas are to be accelerated in terms of the amount of housing growth: not all areas are equal, in housing terms.

The principle of residential development in the County is considered against policies RA1, and RA2: these policies advocate residential development of sites in, or adjacent to, identified rural settlements to support local services and facilities, and to meet the needs of the community.

Indicative ‘proportionate growth’ targets are to be used as a basis for the production of Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDPs). Local evidence and environmental factors will determine the appropriate scale of development: however, the principle that development is possible, is well defined.

The Inspector’s Report on Herefordshire’s Core Strategy makes it clear: a flexible and responsive approach is necessary, in order to deliver the level of development sought, whilst recognising, and respecting, the rural landscape. The Inspector’s modification proposed, and now incorporated within the adopted Core Strategy, leaves flexibility for NDPs to identify the most suitable housing sites. But if sites are not identified then it does mean that any location in, or adjacent to, sustainable settlement locations must be considered for housing development.

In the absence of a NDP, or a Rural Areas Site Allocation Development Plan Document, identifying a settlement boundary, the Core Strategy advises that any applications for residential development will be assessed against their relationship to the main built form of the settlement. Outside of these settlements, new housing will be restricted to avoid unsustainable patterns of development.

Generally parish groups are drafting NDP’s at different rates, and some haven’t started at all. So where plans are absent, or insufficiently advanced, no weight can be given to them in the planning decision.

The expectation of this policy is that NDPs will define appropriate settlement boundaries, or reasonable alternatives, or will allocate land for new housing; or otherwise demonstrate delivery by indicating levels of suitable and available land capacity.

As already stated in the absence of a sufficiently advanced NDP, sites within, or adjacent to, the settlement will be considered as potentially appropriate housing proposals. It is advised however that you keep an eye on the NDPs progress, as the weight which can be apportioned to applications on the edge of sustainable settlement is changing fast.

Thomas Studio, can provide you with a free no obligation consultation as to the potential for housing development on your land. Email the office HERE and request your free consultation.