Waveney Local Plan

Frequently Asked Questions


How Much Growth?

Why do we need more housing?
Waveney is an attractive place to live and work and more people migrate into the District from elsewhere in the UK than leave. Additionally, households in Waveney are getting smaller, so even with no population growth there is a need for more housing.

If we don't plan to meet the housing needs arising from these two factors, there is a risk that needs won't be met, resulting in a situation where demand continues to outweigh supply. This will push up house prices making it more difficult for younger people to enter the housing market.

By not planning for this growth there is also a greater risk that housing developments could be built in inappropriate locations. This is because without an up to date plan in place, developers can benefit from the ’presumption in favour of sustainable development’ contained within the National Planning Policy Framework.

How are population and household forecasts calculated?
The Council commissioned Peter Brett Associates, who are experts in demography and estimating housing needs, to undertake a study known as a Strategic Housing Market Assessment. The document considers a number of different projections based on different assumptions on past trends of population growth and household formation. The document also considered market signals and the prospects for economic growth to test whether any uplift would be required.

In the past population growth in Waveney has been consistently due to migration rather than natural change (births/deaths). Most migration in the past has been internal migration (from other parts of UK) apart from in the early 2000s where there was a spike in international migration due to the expansion of the EU.

The document concluded that a projection of need based on trends observed over the last five years would be most robust. Medium term trends would over emphasise the effect of the recession and longer term trends would over emphasise the one-off impact of international migration back in 2004 when the EU expanded. The document concluded that no uplift would be required for market signals or economic growth prospects.

The five year trend indicated that the District’s population will grow by 10,600 over the period 2014-2036. At the same time, the size of households will decrease from 2.25 to 2.15. This results in a growth of 7,700 new households which equates to a need for 8,223 new dwellings (dwelling numbers are higher than households due to vacant and second homes).

Why do we need to plan for migration – can’t we just plan for local needs?
We can’t stop people from moving into the District from elsewhere. If we don’t provide enough housing in the market for people moving to Waveney demand for new homes will outweigh supply. This will put up prices and make it increasingly difficult for local people to enter the housing market. Additionally the National Planning Policy Framework requires us to consider migration in assessing housing need.

What about International Migration?
Population projections by the Office for National Statistics predict that over the period to 2036, 300 people (of any nationality, including British) will migrate to Waveney from Countries outside the UK each year. It is also predicted that 300 people living in Waveney (of any nationality, including British) will migrate to Countries outside of the UK each year. Therefore, direct international migration to and from Waveney will have a neutral effect on the population size of Waveney over this period.

Where are these 5,000 jobs coming from?
Waveney has commissioned an Employment Land Needs Assessment to estimate the need for future economic development. The assessment uses a forecasting model known as the East of England Forecasting Model which projects employment growth for every District in the east of England. The model considers economic trends and forecasts at the international, national, regional and local level and uses these to project changes in future employment.

As part of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment, Peter Brett Associates used Experian modelling to forecast likely economic growth (taking into account local factors with respect to offshore wind). They used these forecasts to ensure there would be sufficient housing available to meet anticipated jobs growth. These forecasts have also been presented in the Employment Land Needs Assessment Update report.

Both the Experian model and the East of England Forecasting Model predicts that the majority of jobs growth will be in the service sector. This includes professional services such as engineering and technical consultancies and business services such as call centres and office services. Significant growth is also expected in accommodation and food services which includes tourist accommodation and restaurants. With a growing population there will also be more jobs in health care, retail and wholesale.

Offshore wind developments off the coast of Lowestoft are expected to bring significant employment to the town. As part of the work on the Employment Land Needs Assessment it was estimated that an additional 1000-1500 direct and indirect jobs could be associated with this growth.

Further information is available in the Employment Land Needs Assessment – chapter 7 and the Employment Land Needs Assessment Update (2017).

Infrastructure

Will local infrastructure be able to support new homes?
New development in the Local Plan will need to be supported by new and improved infrastructure. Infrastructure includes schools, medical facilities, roads, public transport and other community facilities. The Council will not be able to get the Local Plan approved if it cannot demonstrate there is a reasonable prospect necessary infrastructure will be delivered.

The Council has worked with infrastructure providers to identify the likely infrastructure requirements to support the development plans outlined in the First Draft Local Plan. These are detailed in Appendix 1 of the First Draft Local Plan. The Draft Infrastructure Study which accompanies the consultation provides further detail.

Larger development sites will often provide some infrastructure on site. The Council also has a Community Infrastructure Levy in place which requires developers to make a financial contribution towards new and improved infrastructure. The Council then pools this money to deliver infrastructure.

How will the roads cope with extra traffic?
New development will increase traffic on roads. The Council has commissioned WSP to undertake modelling of the effect of new developments in the First Draft Local Plan on the road network. The modelling indicates that the level of development and the location of developments proposed will not have a significant impact on the functioning of the road network in all areas with the exception of Beccles and Lowestoft. In these locations improvements to some junctions will be required to mitigate the impact of development. Junction improvements together with travel planning should mean there is no significant impact on congestion and journey times. Following this consultation further modelling work together with identification of mitigation measure will take place.

There are not enough GPs at the local medical centre, how will they cope with more housing?
GP recruitment and retention is an issue which affects nearly all locations in the District and Suffolk more generally. This is an issue which the health service has to address, but it doesn’t remove the necessity to deliver new homes to meet needs. As it affects almost all areas it is not something we can consider when making decisions about how much development each area can take.

The NHS have programmes both nationally and locally to address the current GP shortage for example the GP Forward View by NHS England. This plan allocates an additional £2.4 billion towards general practice by 2020, including an extra 5000 new GPs over the next five years as well as thousands more general practice nurses and other staff. Locally, the CCG is looking to expand workforce including looking to Europe for new GPs.

It should be remembered that this is a long term plan and new development will be phased over the plan period. The majority of development will take place post 2020. As such, there is some time for the NHS to plan for new GPs and new healthcare facilities.

The main thing the Council needs to consider when planning for growth is whether there is sufficient physical infrastructure to provide health care facilities within an area. If there isn’t the Council needs to work with health providers to ensure there are plans in place to deliver new health care facilities. The growth proposed in the First Draft Local Plan will necessitate extensions to medical centres in most parts of the District. The Council will continue to work with NHS England and the Clinical Commissioning Group to ensure there is sufficient space in medical centres for new GPs. If physical extensions cannot be made to practices, it may be necessary for reconfigurations or relocations.

Neighbourhood Plans 

What is the relationship between the Local Plan and Neighbourhood Plans
A neighbourhood plan should be in conformity with ‘Strategic’ policies set out in the Local Plan. All of the Policies within the First Draft Local Plan are considered to be ‘Strategic’, therefore, once adopted, a Neighbourhood Plans should be in conformity with them. A neighbourhood plan will become part of the statutory development plan once it has been adopted by the planning authority and applications for planning permission will be determined in accordance with that plan.

Does a neighbourhood plan have the same legal status as the Local Plan?
A neighbourhood plan attains the same legal status as the Local Plan once it has been agreed at a referendum and is adopted by the local planning authority.

Can Neighbourhood Plans limit the amount of development in a Parish?
No. The National Planning Policy Framework states that neighbourhood plans and orders should not promote less development than set out in the Local Plan or undermine its strategic policies. The Local Plan will set out the minimum level of development for each area in order to ensure objectively assessed needs are met and the overall strategy of the Local Plan is delivered.

What weight can be attached to an emerging neighbourhood plan when determining planning applications?
Planning applications are decided in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. An emerging neighbourhood plan may be a material consideration.

What Neighbourhood Plans are being prepared in Waveney?
Kessingland – made
Southwold
Oulton
Beccles
Bungay
Henstead with Hulver
Lound, Ashby, Herringfleet, Somerleyton
Mutford
Oulton
Shadingfield, Sotterley, Willingham and Ellough
Worlingham


Affordable Housing

Will Affordable Homes be available for local people?
Affordable Homes consist of a number of tenures including affordable or social rent (Council Housing), and intermediate tenures such as shared equity or starter homes. Affordable rents or social rent tenures are let using a letting scheme called ‘Gateway to Homechoice’. This service is shared across 8 Councils including Waveney and Suffolk Coastal. Council and housing association homes available to let in all the council areas are advertised on the Gateway to Homechoice website. Registered applicants can search and bid for available properties.

Applicants are placed in to one of five bands (A-E) according to the level of housing need. A local connection will give an applicant a higher banding than those without a local connection. Local connection criteria include things such as local residency, employment, education, and family ties.

Affordable housing on new developments is usually secured using a Section 106 legal agreement. This will set out how local connections are used or applied for the AH in that development. They will apply allocation system in place at that time. The Council's housing team will help shape the terms of the Section 106 agreement.


Local Issues – Lowestoft

Why so much development for Lowestoft and its surrounding Parishes. There are already large outstanding planning permissions?
The new allocations proposed in the First Draft Local Plan, together with these existing planning permissions equates to nearly 5,000 homes being delivered in Waveney over the plan period. This represents 55% of the District’s overall growth.
The distribution strategy set out in Policy WLP1.1 is based both on settlement size, opportunities for development, access to services and facilities and employment, potential for economic growth and environmental constraints.

Lowestoft together with its surrounding parishes represents the largest built up area in the District accommodating just less than half of the Districts population. The town also has the greatest potential for economic growth. Therefore, it is considered difficult to justify any less than 55% of the District’s growth. However, if you disagree with the level of growth proposed for the Lowestoft area, please let us know through this consultation together with the reasons for this.

What is the timetable for the Third Crossing?

Third Crossing Timetable
See https://www.suffolk.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/transport-planning/lake-lothing-3rd-crossing/

What is happening at the East of England Park?
The project plan so far has construction beginning in November 2017 and completion scheduled for June 2019. The funding won from Coastal Community Fund is £997,901.

What is happening with the Brooke Peninsula and Sanyo sites?
Both of these sites have planning permission. They are also both part of a wider allocation for development being carried forward in this Local Plan under Policy WLP2.4. Demolition of existing buildings is currently underway on the Sanyo site. The Sanyo site remains on the market. The landowner for Brooke Peninsula is still considering ways in bringing the site forward for development. It is expected that development will start to take place within this area in the next five years.


Local Issues – Beccles

Why has Beccles and Worlingham been given so much growth – much more than other market towns in Waveney.
Beccles and Worlingham, together, make up the second largest built up area in the District – by some degree. The population of Beccles and Worlingham is 13,868 which is more than double that of Halesworth and Holton as the next largest built up area. The planned growth will result in Beccles and Worlingham growing by about 23% which is less than the proportional increase in Halesworth and Holton and many other settlements in the District. This level of growth is no more than what was experienced over the 20 year period 1991-2011. For example, according to Census data in 1991 there were 4,799 dwellings in Beccles and Worlingham, by 2011 there were 6,399 dwellings representing a growth of 1,600 dwellings over the 20 year period. The distribution strategy set out in Policy WLP1.1 is based both on settlement size, opportunities for development, access to services and facilities and employment, potential for economic growth and environmental constraints. If you disagree with the level of growth proposed for Beccles and Worlingham, please let us know through this consultation together with the reasons for this.

I thought the plans for Beccles Southern Relief Road do not have any junctions on to it?
The Beccles Southern Relief Road will be constructed over the next year and will not include any intermediary junctions on to it. At this stage there is no certainty that any development will take place to the south of the town, therefore it would not be sensible to build junctions on the initial road design. It would also not be beneficial to delay the construction of the road.

Suffolk County Council has advised that they would have no objection to new access being constructed on to the relief road. These would be constructed after the relief road is complete when required by the development.

On the draft masterplan, approximately how many homes are in Worlingham and how many in Beccles?
400 in Worlingham Parish, 120 in Weston Parish, 730 in Beccles

Do the Schools have capacity?
The Primary Schools in Beccles and Worlingham, with the exception of Albert Pye, are expected to have a surplus of spaces by 2020 of 87 places. Suffolk County Council assume that each new dwelling will generate 0.25 primary school children. Therefore there is capacity in the schools to accommodate 348 new homes. Only Worlingham Primary School has the room on site to expand to accommodate additional pupils beyond this. Worlingham Primary School could potentially expand to accommodate an extra 210 places, which could meet the needs of an extra 840 new homes. However, this would not be desirable as most potential sites for development are outside of the catchment of the Worlingham Primary School. Therefore, there is a need to develop an entirely new primary school as part of the development to the south of the town. This would be a 1.5 form entry school accommodating 315 places.

The GP Practice is full and the number of GPs has decreased significantly over the last year – how can it cope with new development?
See question above about GP shortages. Development will not start immediately. Development on the allocated sites is not expected to start before 2020. The Local Plan forecasts that the there will be no more than 60 homes built a year until 2022 in Beccles. From then onwards development will be between 60 and 100 new homes a year. The Council understands that the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group are working with and supporting the surgery to address these immediate problems. It is not considered a constraint on development at the rates planned for as there is time to address the situation before significant levels of development occur.

The Local Plan recognises the need to extend Beccles surgery to accommodate the increased population by 2036.

Will new development cause air quality issues?

Nitrogen dioxide levels are monitored by Waveney District Council at Ingate. Monitoring began in 2011 and to date there has been no exceedance of the pollutant thresholds set out in the relevant EU Directives, UK regulations and DEFRA guidance. The highest concentration was found in 2011 and since then there has been a year on year decrease. The Council’s annual air quality reports can be found at: http://www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/environment/environmental-protection/air-quality/


Local Issues – Bungay

What about plans in Ditchingham and Earsham?
The Council is engaging with South Norfolk. However, developments in these areas count towards the Central Norfolk (Greater Norwich) housing numbers.

There are currently 21 outstanding commitments in Ditchingham and 23 in Earsham.


Local Issues – Halesworth/Holton

What is happening on the Dairy Farm site (off Saxons Way)?
This site has been purchased by a local housing developer and plans are expected to come forward soon.

What is happening with the former Tesco (Thoroughfare) site?
The site is on the market and is currently under offer.


Local Issues – Southwold and Reydon

If the planning application on the St Felix School is approved will this reduce the allocation on land west of Copperwheat Avenue (WLP6.1)
Land west of Copperwheat Avenue (Policy WLP6.1) is allocated for 250 dwellings in the First Draft Local Plan. This site in addition to the St Felix site (Site 138), together with existing planning consents in the Southwold and Reydon area will result in the delivery of at least 394 dwellings over the period 2014-2036. This would still equate to approximately 4% of the District’s growth and therefore in line with the overall distribution strategy for housing set out within Policy WLP1.1. However, this is a consultation and the overall level of development for Southwold and Reydon could change dependant on the results of the consultation.

Police station site?
The Southwold Neighbourhood Plan is developing proposals for the gateway to the town.

What about sewerage capacity?
The Water Cycle Study indicates that there is sufficient capacity in the sewerage treatment works to accommodate up to 844 homes. There will need to be improvements to the sewerage network to accommodate new development.

By Waveney District Council (Robbie Cook) 2 months ago