Site Specific Allocations

Adopted January 2011

1. Introduction

Local Development Framework

1.1 The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 introduced fundamental changes to the plan making system. Local Development Frameworks are replacing Structure Plans and Local Plans and a regional level of plan making was introduced. At the time this DPD was adopted the East of England Plan formed part of the statutory development plan. However, in May 2010 the Secretary of State signalled the intention to abolish Regional Spatial Strategies. The Waveney Local Development Framework will replace the policies in the adopted Waveney Local Plan (November 1996).

1.2 The Waveney Local Development Framework will cover the whole of the administrative area of Waveney District except that part lying within the Broads Executive Area. The Broads Authority is the Local Planning Authority for this area and is producing a separate Local Development Framework.

1.3 The County Council, as the minerals and waste authority, are preparing Minerals and Waste Local Development Frameworks. These documents will be used alongside the Waveney Local Development Framework to assist in making planning decisions for Waveney District.

1.4 A key role for the Local Development Framework is to assist in the delivery of the Suffolk and Waveney Sustainable Community Strategies, prepared by the respective Local Strategic Partnerships; a crosssection of service providers, the business community and the voluntary sector.

1.5 The Waveney Core Strategy, adopted in January 2009, is the most important of the suite of documents that comprise the Local Development Framework. The Waveney Sustainable Community Strategy and Core Strategy have been developed based on a shared vision. The Core Strategy sets out the overall vision and policies, at a strategic level, to guide the general direction of future development in Waveney to 2021 (2025 for housing).

Site Specific Allocations Development Plan Document
1.6 The Site Specific Allocations document identifies land for a variety of uses, including housing, employment, community and mixed uses. These allocations will assist in delivering the Core Strategy and will be implemented during the plan period to 2021 (2025 for housing). This document focuses on the delivery of the key sites. Other sites will come forward for development during the plan period and these will be assessed against the Core Strategy and Development Management Policies.

1.7 There are several important considerations in determining the most appropriate sites to deliver the needs of the community. These include:

  • The vision, objectives and spatial strategy of the Core Strategy;
  • National and regional policy;
  • Views of local communities and other stakeholders;
  • The principles set out in the emerging Development Management Policies;
  • Economic, social and environmental considerations, as assessed through the Sustainability Appraisal;
  • Deliverability.


1.8 This document has been divided into five sections, focusing on the towns in the District and their surrounding areas. i.e. Lowestoft, Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and Southwold areas. Land allocations for the Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour area of Lowestoft will be included in a separate Area Action Plan. For each area, the allocated sites are ordered and grouped to follow the themes of the Core Strategy. Development of the sites should take into account the relevant policies in the Core Strategy and Development Management Policies documents. Each allocated site also includes a policy with additional specific requirements that should be complied with when preparing a planning application and developing the site. All the allocations are identified on the associated proposals map for the District.

1.9 Section 7 of the document contains the delivery and monitoring framework for the Site Specific Allocations DPD. The appendices include a list of the saved policies in the Adopted Waveney Local Plan (1996), which will be replaced by the Site Specific Allocations Policies. A glossary provides definitions for some of the common terms used within the Site Specific Allocations document and the LDF as a whole.

Other Development Plan Documents
1.10 In addition to the Core Strategy and the Site Specific Allocations document, the Waveney Local Development Framework includes three other Development Plan Documents that are important in decision making, shaping and delivering future development in the District. These include: -

1.11 Development Management Policies - Criteria based policies for determining planning applications; including, for example, affordable housing, open space and renewable energy policies. These policies will be used alongside the Site Specific Allocations document to deliver the objectives of the Core Strategy.

1.12 Gypsy and Traveller Site Specific Allocations - Policy CS12: Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation in the Core Strategy provides a criteria based approach for the assessment of planning applications for gypsy and traveller accommodation. However, Waveney is required to identify new sites and a further Site Specific Allocations document to meet this need will be produced, due to commence in 2010.

1.13 Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour Area Action Plan - focusing on delivering employment-led regeneration in the heart of Lowestoft.

1.14 In addition, a Proposals Map illustrates, on an Ordnance Survey base map, the policies and proposals in the Development Plan Documents that relate to specific sites or areas of land, areas of environmental protection and other similar designations. This includes minerals and waste site specific allocations adopted by Suffolk County Council.

Supplementary Planning Documents
1.15 Supplementary planning documents will also be prepared, as and when necessary, to provide additional guidance for specific policies and explain how they will be implemented.

Managing the Process
1.16 Other documents making up the Local Development Framework assist in managing the process of preparing the development plan documents.

 

Figure 1 Waveney Development Plan Documents

Figure 1 Development Plan Documents

Relationship to Core Strategy

1.17 The Core Strategy is the overarching document in the Local Development Framework and was adopted in January 2009. It sets out the overall vision, objectives and strategic policies to shape future development in Waveney, and defines broad areas where new development would be acceptable. It provides the basis for the Site Specific Allocations and also explains the settlement and employment strategies, which includes the need to plan for a minimum 5,800 new homes and 5,000 additional jobs in the District in the period from 2001 to 2021.

1.18 Most development will take place in Lowestoft, followed by the market towns. These are considered to be the most sustainable locations for development, since they provide a range of services, facilities, shops and employment opportunities, and serve as hubs for public transport. Larger Villages are also identified, to provide a focus for maintaining and enhancing the provision of services in rural areas. Some development opportunities may be available in Larger Villages, but this is not the main aim. Outside of these locations, development is likely to be unsustainable, since few services and facilities exist and public transport links are poor. In the open countryside, usually only development that meets a demonstrable local need or that contributes to the rural economy will be acceptable.

1.19 Policy CS07: Employment, outlines the strategic employment land needs of the District. Most employment use will be in Lowestoft and 1,000 of the 5,000 new jobs planned for the District will be in the Lake Lothing area (covered by the Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour Area Action Plan). The Policy states that allocations in or on the edge of Lowestoft and the market towns will be in accordance with the settlement hierarchy described above. The Policy specifically identifies that up to 5 hectares of employment land will be allocated for employment use in Bungay.

1.20 Policy CS11: Housing, details the strategic housing needs of the District. The Government requires local authorities to plan at least 15 years ahead for housing, from the adoption of the Core Strategy. The Core Strategy, therefore, identifies a minimum requirement of 6960 dwellings to be delivered in the period 2001 to 2025.

1.21 Taking into account recent developments and permissions, Table 1 outlines how the sites allocated in this document will contribute towards delivering the housing requirement and distribution strategy in accordance with the Core Strategy. This document allocates sites to accommodate approximately 530 dwellings. In addition, land will be allocated for approximately 1,500 dwellings in the Lake Lothing and Outer Harbour Area Action Plan. Together, the figures demonstrate that sufficient land is being allocated to meet the housing requirement in the Core Strategy and most housing growth will be focused in Lowestoft, as required. An overprovision for the District, of approximately 300 dwellings, has been made as a contingency, should there be unexpected delivery difficulties on any particular sites. Also in accordance with the Core Strategy, it is anticipated that 53% of all new dwellings built between 2001 and 2025 will be on previously developed land (PDL).

Table 1 - Housing Trajectory

Table 1 Housing Trajectory

1.22 Strategic Objective 6 of the Core Strategy seeks to address affordable housing need. This DPD will help deliver this objective. Many of the sites allocated for housing have a requirement for a percentage of the housing delivered on the site to be affordable. It is expected that the sites allocated in this DPD will deliver at least 145 affordable homes (approximately 30%).

1.23 Policy CS14: Culture, sets out the District's social infrastructure needs. The Policy highlights the requirement to address needs for open space and allotments, burial/crematorium land in Lowestoft and Bungay and community facilities. It is recognised that as a result of the Suffolk Schools Organisation Review some school sites will become surplus to requirements and may be able to address some of the community needs. Until December 2009, a final decision had not been made on whether changes to the school system would affect the whole District and if any sites would become vacant. This lack of certainty made it premature to allocate any school sites in the Site Specific Allocations DPD. Although, where appropriate the potential future opportunities have been taken into account in allocating land in this document. Policy DM26 Re-use of Vacant School Buildings and Playing Fields contained in the Development Management Policies DPD provides a criteria based policy approach for the assessment of planning applications on school sites in accordance with the Core Strategy.

1.24 Importantly, the Site Specific Allocations DPD must be in conformity with the Core Strategy and must assist in its delivery. Therefore, the Site Specific Allocations document does not allocate sites for development in locations which are inconsistent with policies of the Core Strategy. The document should also be in conformity with the East of England Plan (The Regional Spatial Strategy for the East of England) and relevant National policy as described in Circulars, Planning Policy Statements and Planning Policy Guidance Notes.

1.25 Further detail on community needs and how this document will assist in delivering the spatial visions and objectives of the Core Strategy, are covered in the following town area sections.

Site Specific Allocations Document Preparation

Community Involvement
1.26 In Spring 2006, the Council asked Town and Parish Councils, service providers and developers to consider the needs of the community and submit sites for consideration as allocations in the Site Specific Allocations document. Most sites were put forward by landowners and developers. The Council also suggested sites that had been identified through early work on the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment. Several sites were carried forward from the Waveney Interim Local Plan (2004). Across the District 146 sites were suggested and all were published for consultation.

1.27 The first Issues and Options consultation, 'Seeking Your Views on Land Suggested for Future Development', was published in December 2006. The consultation was town area based and included the local issues and community needs alongside the sites. A summary of the sustainability appraisal for each site was included to assist the public in comparing the alternative site options. Several additional sites were received following this consultation and these were published for comment as Further Issues and Options in July 2007. Over 1000 responses were received for both consultations and these assisted the Council in preparing the preferred options.

1.28 In October 2008, the Council published the preferred options, 'Seeking Your Views on the Preferred Sites for Future Development', for the Beccles and Bungay areas. Consultations for the Lowestoft, Halesworth and Southwold areas followed in November 2008 through to January 2009, including a separate master planning consultation for the Town Hall site in Lowestoft. Each preferred site included suggested policy requirements to be taken into account when developing the site and a summary sustainability appraisal. All the sites not recommended to be taken forward were also included for comment, along with the analysis and reasons for rejection. Approximately 700 responses were received, including additional sites.

1.29 A Further Preferred Options consultation was undertaken in October 2009 to receive views on two additional preferred sites and other suggested sites. Approximately 180 responses were received. Responses to both preferred options stages have assisted in shaping the final Site Specific Allocations document in terms of the sites allocated and how they should be developed.

1.30 The Proposed Submission version of the Site Specific Allocations DPD was published for consultation for 6 weeks from 26th February 2010. The DPD was submitted to the Government in June 2010 for examination by an independent Planning Inspector. A public hearing was held in October and the Inspector's Binding Report was received in December 2010. The DPD was found to be sound. The Site Specific Allocations DPD was amended and adopted by the Council in January 2011.

1.31 Further detail on the consultation associated with the preparation of this document can be found in the Consultation Statement available at http://www.waveney.gov.uk/ldf

Figure 2 Site Specific Allocations - Preparation Stages

DPD Preparation Stages.jpg

Evidence Base
1.32 Local Planning Authorities are required to ensure that planning policies are based on a sound evidence base. In addition to public consultation, preparation of the Site Specific Allocations document has been influenced by other strategies and plans. Many of these are referred to in paragraph 1.20 (Figure 3) of the Core Strategy.

1.33 The Council has also commissioned a number of studies to help inform development of the policies, as well as those produced in-house. Studies that provide evidence for the Site Specific Allocations DPD are listed below. These are available to view at: http://www.waveney.gov.uk/Planning/Planning+Policy/Local+Development+Framework/background_studies.htm

The Shoreline Management Plans are available at:
www.suffolksmp2.org.uk and http://www.northnorfolk.org/acag/default_2092.asp 

Sustainability Appraisal
1.34 Sustainability appraisal is an assessment of the potential significant social, environmental and economic impacts of development and forms an integral part of the plan making process. It ensures that all policies and proposals are prepared with a view to contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. All site and policy options considered in the preparation of the Site Specific Allocations DPD have been comprehensively appraised through the Sustainability Appraisal process. The final assessment of the sustainability and the potential significant effects of this plan can be found in the Sustainability Appraisal Report which is available on the Council's website www.waveney.gov.uk/ldf.

Habitats Regulations Assessment
1.35 Waveney and surrounding Districts are home to a number of important designated sites for nature conservation. Habitats screening is an assessment of the potential significant effects of a policy on European Sites designated for their nature conservation importance. These include Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas, and international Ramsar sites. A site allocation should only be approved after determining that it will not adversely affect the integrity of such sites. Each site has been assessed for any significant impacts on European sites within or outside the District. The screening report concludes that sites included in the Site Specific Allocations DPD will not have any significant impact on European sites, either alone or in combination with other plans and strategies. The Habitats Regulation Screening Report is available on the Council's website www.waveney.gov.uk/ldf.