27 Jan 2010

Where will all the houses go?

Well to cut a very long story short on the basis of current figures about what is planned for Stroud District and what was in the Regional Spatial Strategy we have some 1,500 to 2,000 homes to build each year.

Photo: Ruscombe fields that were wanted for development.

Well Stroud District Council is following the legal stuff to develop it's Core Strategy about how those homes will be allocated. Yesterday evening was a Policy Seminar to hear about the next stages and the proposed 7 Alternative Strategies for dealing with development in the District up to 2026 and the proposed policies to guide that development.

The Council is drafting it's new planning framework for the District known as the Local Development Framework (LDF). This will eventually supersede the current Local Plan – but unlike the Local Plan, the Local Development Framework is made up of a portfolio of separate planning policy documents, which will address different policy topics in the future. Hope I haven't lost you yet....

At the centre of the LDF is the Core Strategy. This document will provide an overview of the District and set principles and policies to guide development up to 2026. The Core Strategy will form the basis of planning policy decisions for the District, and it will set the context for other more detailed planning policy documents in the future.

In March/April 2009 the Council consulted on the key Issues that the Core Strategy should consider. Since then the findings of that consultation have been combined with leading issues raised by national and regional planning guidance in order to prepare a number of background papers to support the next stage of production and consultation – the Alternative Strategies.

The Council will soon be consulting the public again on this next stage – seeking views on 7 alternative ways of seeing development distributed in the District and on proposed policies to guide development. The consultation period will run from 8 February to 22 March 2010 when we will again speak with Parish and Town Councils.

Well I've had the first glimpse of the proposed 7 strategies and immediately have concerns about their implications - not just for our area but the whole District. I have not seen the full details but know we need to get this right - some of the proposals mean more houses to be squeezed in to the villages and possibly significantly more homes - but this is not the time to panic - there is much more to the strategies including employment sites and more so I would urge folk to consider them when the consultation is launched.

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment

Meanwhile the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) has now been completed - see my blog here with details of potential impact locally.

The SHLAA seeks to identify and assess all potential sources of housing supply to meet the Districts needs to 2026. The final report is available to view online here.

There is also a page of site assessments - you can see the numbers on this map and download the appropriate report.

It is important to note that the SHLAA does not allocate housing sites. The decisions on which of these sites may be allocated will take place through the development of the Core Strategy. Any planning applications relating to any of these sites that pre-empt that process will still need to be considered through the Council’s development control system.

Whilst there is no specific requirement to consult on the results of the SHLAA, the selection of potential housing allocations is part of the Core Strategy preparation process and will be subject to public consultation. It is in my view an important consideration to consider these sites when making a response to the Core Strategy.

I would welcome feedback on any of this once the consultation gets going. Is it time to reform the Ruscombe Valley Action Group?


Graham Bond said...

Hello Philip,

It is interesting to note that the SHLAA assessment for the Ruscombe Valley (RTP ID 87) under the item "Single/Multiple ownership" categorizes this as 'Single' !!

I guess TYM & Partners didn't do their job thoroughly since thanks to Gladwish (PerfectPlot.co.uk) landbanking scam this land has many owners.

Philip Booth said...

Indeed you are correct - here is the response from the Council when we raised that issue;

I agree that the assessment should have picked up on the fact that the site is in multiple ownership and apologise for that error. However, this wouldn’t actually change the overall view of the site’s potential. It is achievable, possibly suitable and possibly available. In terms of availability, the site was submitted by an interested party and there was nothing in the submission to suggest that the other site owners would categorically not wish the site to come forward. So the 2014 onwards assessment holds. We will change this data in the database we hold and the proforma in due course.