Response to concerns raised during consultation period
Response to concerns raised during consultation period
Our Neighbourhood Plan is moving forward steadily through the different phases that all such Plans are subjected to. This is to ensure that it will ultimately stand up to official scrutiny and, currently, we are reviewing this with WDBC as we enter Regulation 15 of the process.
During the now concluded 8-week period of public consultation, the Plan Steering Group held a series of Drop-in sessions to which all members of the parish public were invited. The views of those who came along were unanimously favourable.
There were some negative letters received however, almost exclusively concerning the proposed Affordable Homes development adjacent to Green Hill. These identical letters showed that, despite our efforts to advise residents with displays, mailed summaries, Drop-in sessions etc., each writer was plainly ill-informed.
We believe that we need to redress that by once again clarifying the unequivocal facts surrounding that development and the importance of the Neighbourhood Plan in general.
The summary of facts below can be reviewed at your leisure and can be verified by any number of means. Time is still on our side and we would be happy to convene another Drop-In Session to help with your understanding of the realities concerning the Plan. The misconceptions contained in the aforementioned letter, would probably result in the sender ultimately voting against the Plan. This is, of course, their prerogative, but it is not what we feel parish residents signed up for.
The phrase ’don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’ is highly analogous to those wanting to vote against the Plan through a lack of beneficial knowledge. This would be highly detrimental to the expectations of the rest of the residents as a whole and will open up the village of Lamerton to all manner of unwanted development, against which we would have NO defence in the absence of a Neighbourhood Plan.
The message (of a Plan rejected by the village) sent to local Planning Authorities would be clear…. free reign to approve Planning Applications from greedy developers anywhere in Lamerton.
Do you really want that?
Please feel free to contact a member of the Steering Group to discuss any element of the Plan or to arrange a meeting with us.
- The proposed Green Hill development will almost certainly happen whether or not we include it in our Neighbourhood Plan.
- If Lamerton does not produce an approved Neighbourhood Plan the West Devon Borough Council will, in accordance with the terms of the Joint Local Plan, determine for themselves the future development needs of the parish and the location of any development sites.
- West Devon Borough Council will not approve a Neighbourhood Plan which does not include adequate provision for “Affordable Housing”.
- Developments of 10 Dwellings or less are not required to include provision for “Affordable Housing”. Accordingly, to gain approval, the Lamerton Neighbourhood Plan must include at least one site of at least 11 dwellings.
- With the exception of “The Old Dairy” all potential development sites identified via the SHLAA are “Greenfield Sites”. Whilst it is admirable to protect all such sites at least one will have to be identified as an ‘Exception Site’ in accordance with the NPPF for development if Affordable Homes are to be built and an approved Neighbourhood Plan is to be achieved. Either the Parish can do this or West Devon will do it on behalf of the parish.
- The Green Hill development scheme is unique. As the land owner is willing to sell his land at a price significantly below open market rates, it is possible for properties to be built which will be lower in price to buy or to rent. As nobody will build homes at a loss, a proportion of the homes built in Green Hill will be for sale at market levels, in order to subsidise the loss on the ‘Affordable Homes’ Other land owners could elect to do likewise but none have, thus making Green Hill the only site available for this form of development.
- Given the uniqueness of the Green Hill development opportunity and the assurance of the need for affordable housing from within the village, the Lamerton Parish Council gave its support to West Devon Borough Council for the development to proceed further.
- At this stage in proceedings the Lamerton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group were made fully aware of the situation regarding the Green Hill development proposal which existed between the Lamerton Parish Council and West Devon Borough Council.
- Faced with the choice of either supporting the Green Hill site and its likely development or identifying another site which would be additional development within the Parish, the Lamerton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group elected unanimously to support the Green Hill site.
- The development proposes that properties will be for existing parish residents or for those with a demonstrable parish link. The criterion has not yet been fully determined and it is confirmed by WDBC that a separate body, at least partly made up of Parish residents, will compile the criteria. Once finalised the criteria will remain in perpetuity for each affordable property.
- The development of “Brownfield Sites” will be given development priority. Lamerton has only one such site “The Old Dairy”. The size of the site, together with its proximity to listed buildings, indicates that the site will not be large enough to accommodate 12 dwellings or more. Whilst it is a favoured site it is of insufficient size to achieve an approved Neighbourhood Plan. A second site of 12 dwellings or more is therefore still required.
- The proposal for a development scheme on the Green Hill site was brought to the attention of the Lamerton Parish Council by West Devon Borough Council. Contrary to the belief of some residents the Lamerton Neighbourhood Planning Group had absolutely no involvement in this proposal at that time.
- The joint Local Plan clearly states that it expects villages/parishes to provide details of suitable developments through approved Neighbourhood Plans.
- West Devon Borough Council, through policies contained within the Joint Local Plan, has clearly indicated that development outside of the generally regarded village area of the parish will not be supported.
- West Devon Borough Council has on numerous occasions assured the Lamerton Parish Council that sufficient interest exists within the Parish to justify the Green Hill development. We continue to push for updated assurances that this continues to be the case.
- The Joint Local Plan clearly states that Lamerton is required to meet a “minimum” housing need of 20 dwellings between 2014 and 2034.
- As part of the further evaluation process for supporting the Green Hill development site the Lamerton Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group considered the following:
- The Bull Field site had a planning application turned down by West Devon Borough and was therefore no longer a site for consideration.
- The land owner of the Chestnut Close site is the same as that for the Green Hill site, although the infrastructure cost would be significantly higher at the former and would massively increase traffic issues by the School junction.
- The Old Dairy as already mentioned is considered to be of inadequate size to provide affordable housing.
- In light of reasons given by the Government Inspector for rejecting a recent planning appeal it was felt a similar argument would almost certainly be made in respect of land behind The Farriers.
- The Highways Authority has no objection to the Green Hill site and the impact of increased traffic either on Green Hill or onto the B3362.
- The concerns raised regarding limiting future development of the Green Hill site can and will be addressed under the future planning application for the site. Lamerton Neighbourhood Plan, when approved, will be of major assistance in doing this.
- Assurances from West Devon Borough Council that all steps are being taken to minimise any visual intrusion to exist local residents from the development of the site.