Site Specific Allocations

Adopted January 2011

HAL3 - Dairy Hill Playing Fields, Halesworth

Allocation: Housing and Allotments

HAL3.jpg

Context
5.41 This site allocation comprises the playing pitches (2.1 hectares), that form part of a larger sport and recreation site in the heart of Halesworth. Access to the site is from the west via Dairy Hill, located at the southern end of the site. Just to the north of the entrance is the swimming pool. A play area, bowling green, changing pavilion and tennis courts lie to the south.

5.42 The swimming pool (currently disused), tennis courts, changing pavilion, play area and bowling green lie outside the allocated site and the uses will be retained. Halesworth Playing Fields Association plans to redevelop the swimming pool as an indoor facility, along with the provision of a gym and cafeteria. These facilities are best located centrally where they provide good accessibility to the surrounding community and to those who may wish to reach the facilities by public transport.

5.43 Agricultural fields flank the site to the east. Residential development is located to the south. The Patrick Stead Hospital and residential development border the site to the west, while Halesworth Middle School lies to the north.

Proposed Development
HAL3 Image 1.jpg5.44 There has been a long standing need to enhance the sports provision in Halesworth and the playing fields at Dairy Hill cannot meet the needs of local sports teams. Current playing field provision at Dairy Hill is comprised of just two football pitches, one adult pitch and one junior pitch. The Halesworth Playing Fields Association along with the Town and District Council have been seeking to identify an appropriate alternative site for many years. Halesworth Playing Fields Association is currently seeking to deliver a new site of approximately 10.5 hectares in size. This will include football, rugby and hockey pitches, as well as a cricket ground. Alternative provision could include land at the middle school, were that to become available, as an interim measure.

5.45 The development of these playing fields needs to be balanced against the benefits of developing increased and improved facilities. This site is only being progressed as an allocation for housing on the strict condition that a greater area of open space is provided in the form of playing pitches in another accessible location. Profits from the sale of the land for housing should contribute towards funding this improved facility, but housing development should not take place on site HAL3 until an alternative location for playing pitches has been agreed and delivered.

5.46 The site is well located for housing development, in terms of access to local employment, shops and services, and for walking to the railway station. In terms of size and type of dwellings, the Housing Market Assessment (2007), suggests a mix of housing but with the focus on the provision of smaller 2 and 3 bedroom flats and terraced properties.

5.47 Dairy Hill sits in a prominent position overlooking the south of Halesworth. Therefore, development on this site requires sympathetic design that will not have an adverse impact on the character of Halesworth.

5.48 The Highway Authority has indicated that road access via Dairy Hill can service a development of no more than fifty dwellings. A Transport Assessment may indicate that more dwellings could be accommodated but there could be an adverse impact on the character of the area. Development of 50 houses at a density of 30 dwellings per hectare will cover 1.6 hectares of this site. This level of density is consistent with the density of surrounding housing and reflects the site's edge of centre, suburban location. 35% of dwellings should be affordable. This percentage requirement was established through a site specific viability assessment which took into account known abnormal costs and site specific requirements. The requirement for affordable housing will only be reduced in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that a lower percentage of affordable housing is needed to ensure the site remains financially viable when taking into account unforeseen development costs.

5.49 The remaining 0.5 hectares of land will be allocated for allotments, over and above the open space provision required as part of the housing development. Locating the allotments at the southern end of the site would provide good accessibility for existing and future residents and enable shared parking provision with the sports facilities to the south, if required.

5.50 The Suffolk Wildlife Trust have identified that existing hedgerows are being used by a number of birds and these should be safeguarded. Also, banks should be retained as rough areas and an invertebrate survey undertaken for the bank to the north of the site.

5.51 The County Archaeologist has confirmed that there is no known archaeological content on this site, but due to the size of the site a condition should be attached to any planning permission relating to archaeological investigation.

Policy HAL3

Land at Dairy Hill, Halesworth, (2.1ha), is allocated for housing development (50 dwellings) and allotments. The site will be developed in accordance with the following site specific criteria:
• Development of this site shall not take place until a replacement location for the provision of playing pitches in the Halesworth area has been agreed and delivered.
• Part of the playing pitches (1.6 ha) should be developed for a mix of 2 and 3 bedroom dwellings. The total density of dwellings should be approximately 30 dwellings per hectare. 35% of dwellings should be affordable. The affordable housing requirement will only be reduced in exceptional circumstances to ensure the site remains financially viable when taking into account unforeseen development costs.
• The remaining land (0.5 hectares) at the southern end of the site should be set aside for allotments.
• The design will need to take into account the prominent location of this site and views towards this site from the south.
• Existing hedgerows should be protected and banks retained as rough areas.
• There should be no more than 50 dwellings on this site unless a Transport Assessment indicates otherwise and the character of the area is not adversely affected.
• An archaeological condition should be attached to any planning permission.
• A Flood Risk Assessment should be prepared as part of the application process to assess and mitigate the risk of flooding from surface water drainage.

Implementation
5.52 Development of this site will be progressed by Halesworth Playing Fields Association (who own this site) developers, Halesworth Town Council and Waveney District Council. This site cannot be delivered until alternative playing field provision is delivered. New playing field provision could include the land at the middle school site as an interim measure, if that becomes available through the School Organisation Review.