Local Plan Consultation - February 2016

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COMMENTS ON THE CHANGES TO THE LOCAL PLAN

ON BEHALF OF BRAMLEY PARISH COUNCIL

February 2016

This is concerning Change Reference PM141, Policy SS5, on Page 50:-

The change in the levels of development in and around defined settlement boundaries for the 5 settlements in the Neighbourhood Planning Policy SS5 from “APPROXIMATELY” to “AT LEAST” is completely unacceptable. It destroys completely the concept of Neighbourhood Planning and the supposed support that Basingstoke and Deane gives to Neighbourhood Planning. 

Definition of Approximately: - “close to, around, roughly in the region of”
Definition of At Least             : - “at minimum, no less than, not less than” giving an open end, ad infinitum

This change gives developers a complete Open Door for housing numbers in the Parishes developing Neighbourhood Plans. No plan can cope with an open end, ad infinitum and therefore you destroy with this single change (considered by Basingstoke and Deane to be a minor change) the possibility of Parishes developing Neighbourhood plans to influence housing developments, growth in their parishes.

There is also the change Ref PM143, Paragraph 4.52, Page 51 where it states “at least 750 homes will be delivered at the five named settlements through the policy, reflecting the size, characteristics, needs and sustainability credentials of these settlements”. This is the support for Policy SS5, but it again is completely wrong, giving no support to Neighbourhood Planning.

The previous wording “approximately” gave parishes a chance to influence housing developments, growth in the parishes in keeping with the views of the community and in accordance with the Local Plan, but this change destroys that possibility.

Within the plan there are no changes to the Paragraphs 4.18-4.36, the evidence base supporting the numbers allocated to the Parishes:- 

Bramley paragraph 4.28 and 4.29:-

4.28:- Bramley has some local facilities including a railway station providing access to Basingstoke and Reading and bus connections to Basingstoke. It has a primary school, local shop, public house and community facilities. Residents of surrounding villages may rely on these local services for day to day needs whilst the residents of Bramley may be dependent on Basingstoke for higher order services, including main food shopping. There are around 1,300 employee jobs in Bramley and Sherfield Ward. Unemployment is low (1% of the working age population compared to the borough average of 1.9% (2013). 

4.29:- Given the size of the village, the level of facilities and services available, and the level of local housing need (in 2013 there were 72 households in housing need in the parish) an allocation of 200 homes has been made to meet the needs of the village through Policy SS5 (Neighbourhood Planning). This approach recognises the strength of local discontent with recent development in the village and allows the local community to identify a locally supported approach to accommodating growth rather than allocating a specific site. Homes will therefore be delivered through mechanisms such as Neighbourhood Planning, and Bramley Parish became a designated area for Neighbourhood Planning purposes in 2013. 

Whitchurch 4.21 and 4.22:-

4.21:- Given the size of the town, the level of facilities and services available and its links to higher order services, in addition to the level of local housing need, a Greenfield allocation (set out in Policy SS3.6) is made to deliver approximately 150 new homes. A further allocation of 200 homes has been made to meet the longer term needs of the town through Policy SS5. These homes will be delivered through mechanisms such as Neighbourhood Planning, in response to the ambitions of the local community which are reflected in Whitchurch Parish becoming a designated area for Neighbourhood Planning purposes in 2013. The Local Plan also allocates a 1 ha site for a station car park to the north of the town (Policy SS11) 

4.22:- General infrastructure constraints including education, the historic road infrastructure which leads to local congestion and sewage treatment will be addressed, where possible, in the site specific policies and through the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP). 

For Overton, Paragraphs 4.25 and 4.26; Kingsclere Paragraph 4.33; Oakley Paragraph 4.36 

Where is the supporting evidence to give Basingstoke and Deane the right to subject these parishes to an open ended book for development when the numbers allocated to these parishes is based on the information in the paragraphs listed above for all the parishes, recognizing the infrastructure constraints and in the case of Bramley, the extraordinary growth seen over recent years. 

For Bramley, in paragraph 4.29 it states that Basingstoke and Deane recognizes “the strength of local discontent with recent development in the village and allows the local community to identify a locally supported approach to accommodating growth rather than allocating a specific site.” The allocation of 200 houses meets the needs of the Local Housing need based on the 2013 figures( which has reduced since that time”).

On the 2013 figures, 40% of 200 equals 80 houses affordable/social meeting the 72 household need in the Parish. 

With “AT LEAST” 200, where does the growth of Bramley end? It is a parish that Basingstoke and Deane recognizes as being discontented with recent developments in the village, and a village that is struggling to give to its residents a “happy, healthy lifestyle” because of the lack of infrastructure improvements that has not materialised with growth? 

The Parish Council has emphasised this throughout consultation. With this single change to the local plan you are going one step closer to destroying village life in Bramley completely, and likewise for the other Parishes allocated housing under the policy SS5, “NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING” 

Bramley Parish Council is COMPLETELY OPPOSED to the change in the wording from “APPROXIMATELY” to” AT LEAST”, and as can be seen through the Neighbourhood Plan for Bramley that is at the Pre-Submission stage, has the support of the community of Bramley Parish who have expressed their views as to how growth of Bramley will continue within the plan period. 

Written on Behalf of Bramley Parish Council

Malcolm Bell, Parish Councillor

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