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Representation 9648 on BMSDC Joint Local Plan Consultation Document (Interactive) by Mr Chris Marshall

Support / Object: COMMENT
Document Link: BMSDC Joint Local Plan Consultation Document (Interactive) - HOUSING, Rural growth and development, Q27
Representation: I would support a limit on development at a level that does not dramatically change any community. with every effort made to preserve the best of the local landscape, views and ecology.

Original submission

Dear Sir or Madam
I would like to lodge my response to the BMSDC JLP consultation document. Could you please confirm receipt of my submission and include me in the mailing list for updates on the progress of the JLP.
Section - Strategic
Vision
* Development to be sustainable (economic, social and environmental), in the right place, of the right type and which meets the local need.
Objectives
* Development balanced between homes and employment. Encourage inward investment, protect and enhance environmental assets, provision of necessary infrastructure and services, but emphasise provision of housing that local residents need and can afford.
* Radically improve the already strained local road networks especially the "Ipswich Northern Route" and improvements to the A1071 at B1113 and Hadleigh Road junctions, and an access onto the A14. The B1113 is an Off Network Diversion Route but the road through the village is inadequate for that purpose.
* Ensure delivery of all necessary infrastructure / services (transport, schools, medical, open space etc) in good time and without back paddling -Planning needs to be pro-active on this.
Priorities
* Development shouldn't lead to communities losing their identities by swamping and creeping coalescence (merging of communities).
* Location of growth to be spread more pragmatically across Babergh rather than fewer large sites
* MOST IMPORTANT FOR SPROUGHTON - transport infrastructure, school places, accessible healthcare services, enhance environmental assets.
Housing Requirement, Settlement Hierarchy and Housing Distribution
Housing Requirement 2014 to 2036 - Option HR1 - 7820 new houses based on pop. growth.
* I do not agree with this: numbers seem overstated with no apparent account taken of effects of BREXIT on domestic and overseas migration.
* Relocation of major industries, effects of 'Northern Powerhouse and HS2.
* 10% uplift to increase supply/reduce sale price/increase affordability.
* Housing need based on projected 1.03 persons per dwelling (past average has been 2.3)
CONTINGENCY and DELIVERY
* Current 'stuck' sites with permissions and no building suggests need for contingency going forward - replace 'stuck' sites with others.
* Contingency sites to be replacement and not additional, original sites to be taken out of plan. Regular review of demand required checking the guiding principles of type, tenure, place and need (local) - should trigger need for reserve sites.
HIERARCHY
* Village status distorted by scoring system, influences development location.
* Sproughton classed as CORE and also HINTERLAND village, can't be both.
* I do not agree with the stance taken - scoring based on distance to services and facilities; should be based on travel time as accessibility overstated.
* No account taken of capacity of a service in scoring (eg Primary School/shops (Sproughton identified as having a P.O.!)
* Positive scoring factors in this Hierarchy assessment are actually negative factors against Creeping Coalescence (i.e. the erosion of as communities' individuality) they therefore fly in the face of the NPPF and unfairly place Sproughton into the main settlement types.
* I would support reconsideration of the scoring criteria adopted to include fairly balanced negative scores for the threat of Creeping Coalescence.
SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION
* Four options offered: 1) County Town Focused, 2) Market Town/Rural balance, 3) Transport Corridor Focused. 4) New Settlement Focused. Due to the settlement types designated to Sproughton in the Hierarchy scoring the first three options propose over 50% of growth in our designations, only the last option reduces this to 35%.
* The combined arbitrary criteria for scoring of both Hierarchy and Spatial Distribution chosen by BMSDC for the JLP just appears to promote the site availability that has come forward, effectively a mechanism to justify the sites.
* JLP to 2036 gives opportunity for bold, innovative and creative thinking but continuing the urban sprawl / welding / merging communities not the answer.
* Creating well planned, self-sufficient purpose built settlements with their own identities is and thereby preserving the qualities of existing communities.
OTHER DITRIBUTION OPTIONS
* I would support an option for proportional ditribution
* Propose carefully planned 'organic growth' of existing communities.
* The expected Babergh population growth of 8000 by 2036 (9%) could be applied to each community - Sproughton grow by 120 (50 or so new houses). Low impact on community infrastructure, encourage small scale employment enterprises, reduce the need to travel, enhance and grow the desirable aspects of communities and provided opportunities for local developers and labour to be part of the growth agenda - inward investment/wealth retained locally.
* The concept that in one house out of ten a grown up child might want their own home in the community close to their parents over a 20 year period is not just conceivable, it must be for most parents a welcomed iopportunity; this matches a district wide 9% proportional distribution.
NEW SETTLEMENT
* It is the proposition to create a new or garden town, a separate and distinct community most probably in a new location with minimal local impact but the potential to improve/create improved county infrastructure/services.
* This issue is highly adversarial and personal. No one wants something like this in their back yard. So ideally situated where it least effects existing communities but with ready access to Road and Rail links.
* Some suggestions: Near Gt Blakenham, South of Sudbury close to rail link, Somewhere between Belstead/Bentley and A12/Main Rialway.
Housing Types
* National space standards should apply with provision for storage.
* Requirements for provision of accessible homes and bungalows on 10+ developments are becoming a necessity.
* Self Builds support local economy and rural outlook so should be encouraged.
* Provisions for Affordable homes should also consider Starter homes which are more appropriate to support growth of local community.
* Housing mix should consider need not greatest developers profits.
Older persons
* I support policies that increase the provision of Bungalows and Accessible housing
* A factor apparently ignored is that we are living longer, and the number of retired people selling high value houses in city areas migrating to the area. The aging population is looking for bungalows but they will also need more care so there will be a need to increase health and care infrastructure.
Affordable housing
* I support the retention of a 35% affordable housing target, but it should be more robustly enforced.
* The total need for affordable house suggested is 19.4%. This is a drop from the previous policy of 35% in the face of a 71% local increase in private rentals (i.e. homes being bought up and rented to people who can't afford to buy a home), an increase in single parents looking for homes and an increase in local financial deprivation. That just doesn't stack up.
* BDC under the last Local Plan only achieved 23% affordable housing which probably was the consequence of viability arguments from developers. Perhaps the proposal to reduce this to a 20% requirement is intended to make the target achievable? But the outcome is likely to be developers making the same arguments for similar reductions bring the deliverable supply down to about 13%.
* There is not a reduction in affordable housing need, there is an increase, that is a nationally recognised fact, and BMSDC need to enforce the standing policy of 35% more robustly to achieve that. This could be improved by apply the policy to developments of three or more homes, or BMSDC engaging in the construction of council homes themselves that could all be affordable/starter homes.
* Starter homes should also be added into this mix. Sold at a discount of at least 20% below market value with a maximum sale cost of £250,000 exclusively to first time buyers these are the type of homes the local community needs.
Rural growth and development
Delivering growth, services and facilities in rural towns and villages.
* Sustainable development: at the heart of planning? This is not a recommendation to build but to build wisely. There has to be a realistic prospect that houses are needed and suitable for a given location and it would appear from the surveys done that Rural housing is needed by the expanding local resident population
* It is interesting that small and individual developments which complement the county character have come forward successfully whereas the larger strategic site's drag on. Surely an indication that individual development is for need, and therefore gets done. Whereas national developers build for profit and will hold off until they feel they can get the maximum return with no consideration for need.
* Smaller developments also assimilate into the rural, scattered hamlet, market town character of the county.
* The present policies are too restrictive on small and individual development, in that what appears to be perfectly acceptable infills and small extensions to village boarders which complement their character without oppressive change have been blocked by planning policies when large estate developments that are oppressive, change the character and destroy the individuality of local communities have been supported.
* Proportionality is key; The JLP proposes a 9% Housing need over 20 years. This equates to one new home in a ten house hamlet, but why stop there. Such growth is potentially desirable naturally matching the growth of any micro community. Generally children grow older and want their own homes within their community, why shouldn't the provision and burden be spread evenly at 9%, by hamlet, village and town.
* I would support a limit on development at a level that does not dramatically change any community. with every effort made to preserve the best of the local landscape, views and ecology.
Gypsies and travellers
* Although policy relates to both BDC and Mid Suffolk the report suggests that need is M.S. The Cromer incident occurred when travellers gathered in large numbers therefore, limiting sites to short stay and small number of vehicles (say 3 days/3 plots) with sites well spread apart (say 20 miles) is safer for communities.
Economy
* A fundamental oversight is that the effects of Brexit has not been considered, either in trade, employment or migration calculations.
* JLP 20 year projections based on historic data, all pre Brexit Vote, and the bulk of growth came from migration, so are likely to be very over optimistic.
* Council finances dependent on growth but projections appear optimistic. The finances of every council depend on attracting growth so this is nationally competitive and yet there is no policy to achieve that, just wishful thinking. The Sugar Beet Factory site alone is already more land than the projected requirement for employment land with a total oversupply of 187 hectares (identified need is 12.3 hectares).
* Commercial brownfield sites should be considered in preference to greenfield for all types of development.
* Need for Northern Ipswich Bypass
* Improvements to A1071 junctions through Sproughton
* A1071 link directly with A14 to improve access into developing BDC area.
* Better Railway Service (expensive service and Ipswich station has limited access)
* Private sector building has been constant for decades, its Council building that has dropped off.
* We would support a policy for the Council to start building themselves.
Retail
* Call for sites did not actually bring forward any retail sites however there is a massive oversupply of Commercial sites that could accommodate Retail/Leisure parks if growth projections realised.
* Restricting all retail growth to town centres may be too restrictive as some growth may need to be accommodated away from town centres where sites become available.
* Retail policy inclined towards town centre growth, however as a rural community this is impractical without improved parking or an efficient transport network.
* Option to protect retail facilities in smaller towns/villages which would appear to be an appropriate policy. However how or what that might amount to is unclear.
* I would support the use of the considerable oversupply of commercial sites coming forward as retail/leisure parks or even housing, especially where those sites are brownfield and have little community/environmental impact.
Environment
* Local area/spot designations like Special Landscape areas, cherished view points, wildlife, flora and fauna reserves etc. have evolved from many years experience and often considerable efforts by communities, sometimes based on fleeting observations of rare species. They preserve the best of our environment & any policy that introduces a subjective opinion has the risk of overlooking years of experience and effort in favour of financial considerations.
* A point overlooked is the sequence of Landscape Character designations that run down from The Holliday Inn, through Chantry Vale and Sproughton and into the Gipping Valley. There is only one other place in Suffolk with the same combination and that is Dedham Vale which is designated as an Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB). Does anyone know of a famous local artist?
Climate change
* Due to changing weather patterns the threat from flooding is becoming more uncertain along the river valley and SUDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) are not adequate for sustained (several day) rainfall events especially in flood zones.
* I would recommend much more robust and critical assessment of SUDS on new developments feeding into river valleys and Flood plains and that they should be designed and built not to reduce additional flood risk but to eliminate any additional risk.
* In relation to renewable energy the balance also has to be carefully managed with Agriculture, Biodiversity and Landscape. Food production is just as important for green management as green energy, as is protection of biodiversity and preservation of the landscape for society.
Sustainability standards
If Suffolk wants to preserve their green environment then we should lead by example. The higher optional build standards are therefore the best option.
Issues to consider:
* the range of technologies that could be accommodated and the policies needed to encourage their development in the right places;
* the costs of many renewable energy technologies are falling, potentially increasing their attractiveness and the number of proposals;
* different technologies have different impacts and impacts can vary by place;
* the UK has legal commitments to cut greenhouse gases and meet increased energy demand from renewable sources. Whilst local authorities should design their policies to maximise renewable and low carbon energy development, there is no quota which the Local Plan has to deliver.
Landscape, heritage and design
* Relevant to Sproughton are SLA's (Special landscape Areas) which not only cover Chantry Vale but most of the area surrounding the village. Other local designations that relate to views, recreational and open spaces either do, or may also, relate to Sproughton.
* I support the retention of local landscape/environmental designations and the robust application of the present policies applicable to them.
* It then suggests that practices have changed to look at the landscape as a whole rather than pockets of "deemed significance" which is a concern as it appears to be an excuse to ignore recognised and cherished views/areas etc. that have been designated after many years of experience in favour of Public / Economic Need.
* The JLP refers to the 'Heritage Settlement and Landscape Sensitivity Assessment'. This will apparently identify areas where 'development can enhance the landscape'. But it is incomplete and nothing, not even the defining criteria, has been disclosed. It is a ticking rural development time bomb.
* Important Note:
* In relation to landscape types Chantry Vale has the same mix of landscape designation as Dedham Vale AONB. It is the only other place in Suffolk with the same combination of landscape type designations, totally justifying its local SLA designation. Being on the edge of Ipswich it is an ideal landscape for Recreational / Nature which would naturally link up with Chantry Park, potential footbridges linking to the Gipping Valley footpath and divert footfall away from the SSSI sites that need protection.
* A Landscape Project Area is mentioned, this appears to be the designation for the landscape overlooking the River Stour as an extension of the Dedham Vale, so a bit like the Gipping valley/Sproughton as it extends from Chantry Vale. Accordingly, this designation might be appropriate for Sproughton and the River Valley.
* Design
* The spirit of the market town and hamlet type community is the character of Suffolk and design would fit in better if more effort was made to blend in with this traditional character.
* That lends itself to small developments not estates which change the character of the county.
* All development should be designed to blend into the countryside and community, protected or not, & the dominant visual features should always be the landscape that existed before the development & not the development itself.
Delivery
Infrastructure
* Overall I agree with the Infrastructure provision policy as set out. However, I believe that any developments MUST (not should) have good access to all necessary infrastructure needs that have been identified.
* Planning permission should only be granted if there is some legally binding agreement that any identified infrastructure services WILL BE delivered as will the timing of its delivery. Guarantees should be structured such that they cannot be cancelled or avoided. Planning permission should only to be granted if there is a robust and effective legal agreement in place to ensure delivery.
* I fully support and indeed, consider it essential that each scheme considers both the existing infrastructure commitments and cumulative impacts from other developments in a locality.
* It is considered essential that any new infrastructure requirements identified with a development are phased and delivered as the development progresses. Past experience has shown this has not always been the case.
* I therefore fully support Option INF 2 that provides a strategic approach over and above the NPPF for cumulative growth, but with the caveat that infrastructure policies are adhered to.
* Option INF2 specifically mentions education but this policy needs to apply to all necessary infrastructure ie from Health to Transport.
KEY ISSUES FOR SPROUGHTON - highway / transport, education, health and flood risk
KEY ISSUES FOR FUTURE - education, public transport, highways, health, water, waste, energy, telecoms, leisure and environmental
KEY FOR GROWTH - Ipswich northern route, A12/A14 improvements, A1071/B1113 commuter routes improvement and mitigation of effects on community, rail upgrades, flood management, recycling provision, Broadband improvements, school places & accessible healthcare (need specific policy).
Healthy Communities
* Whilst I agree with the policies outlined here, I am concerned that any existing individual communities should not lose their community identity and cohesion as a result of 'creeping coalescence 'arising from the inappropriate location of new developments.
* I consider greater attention needs to be given to avoiding the 'swamping' of existing communities with excessive developments. I suggest that more emphasis is given to ensuring that any necessary developments are spread more evenly over the District as a whole, rather than being concentrated in particular communities.
* I broadly support Policy OS2 but are concerned that this does not result in the 'watering down' of existing open space provision existing within communities.
* I support Policies NROS2 and POS2 in the protection of our Open Spaces.
* -In the case of Policy CF2 whilst fully supporting this, it is considered essential that any proposals to remove existing community facilities is supported by an appropriate formal assessment carried out in conjunction with the local community.
Functional Clusters
* Functional clusters is a way of looking at the existing spatial geography based on how communities interconnect. The functional clusters then inform the settlement hierarchy. Classification for these purposes is relevant to determining the approach to planning.
* The approach is not appropriate. Planning policy should not be based on artificial constructs, which over emphasise the role of larger settlements. Planning policy should ensure a proportional allocation of housing and employment land across the Districts in support of the characteristics and needs of existing communities.
Settlement Boundaries
* Settlement boundaries are used to identify where the principle of development has been established, a threshold of ten related dwellings is applied. land outside of this settlement boundaries is countryside.
* The JLP view is that they need redrawing to allow rural growth opportunities.
* Whereas some factors considered are appropriate the new boundaries have been drawn to include development sites that have not been delivered. Further thought needs to be given to planning consents that have been granted but not yet delivered.
* Extensions to a settlement boundary are inappropriate if existing permissions have not been delivered.
* I also feel that the determination of settlement on the basis purely of numbers is over-simplistic. The setting and historical purpose of any collection of houses is important; for example, a collection of farm workers cottages located in the countryside should not necessarily establish a basis for a larger settlement. The existence of 'community' is also important.
Potential Land for Development

Site Number Description
SS1024 Land north of Hadleigh Road and west of Church Lane
SS0721* Former Sugar Beet Factory site (employment)
SS1023 Land north of Hadleigh Road and East of Church Lane
SS0191 Land west of London Road (A1214) and east of Hadleigh Road
SS0711 Land east of Loraine Way
SS0299 Land at Poplar Lane
SS0223 Land north of Burstall Lane and west of B1113
SS1026* Poplar Lane (mixed - some employment)

On an aggregate basis, no - the sites identified are not appropriate for allocation within the settlement boundary. As a general principle, planning policy should ensure a proportional allocation of housing and employment land across the Districts, sympathetic to and in support of the characteristics and needs of existing communities. A total of 9,446 dwellings are proposed (sum of dwellings across all sites specified within the SHLAA). However, once the net number of dwellings is calculated having taken into account planning applications granted, in progress etc, the Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) is reduced to 4,210. It appears that 2,320 of these dwellings i.e. 55.11% of the total development proposed in Babergh is designated for Sproughton. This is a significant over development of Sproughton which currently has around 581 dwellings - this would be an increase of 397% in parish size. It is completely disproportionate and would result in Bramford joining with Sproughton and Sproughton being absorbed by Ipswich in the same way that Kesgrave and Rushmere-St- Andrew has been. Not so much 'creeping coalescence' as 'complete digestion'. A much fairer basis for development would be a pro-rated approach with some tweaking for those settlements that are very small in size.On an individual basis, please see below specific comments in respect of sites allocated in and around Sproughton village:
Some observations to help inform any responses to individual sites in Sproughton.
SS1024:
Site not appropriate for development.
In addition to those matters identified as requiring further investigation in the site assessment summary (highways, cordon sanitare and A14 noise, impact upon landscape, townscape and heritage assets, and biodiversity impact upon protected species and habitats - all of which are reasons for NOT permitting development on the scale indicated, if at all) consideration should also be given to:
* The setting and the views into and from Chantry Vale, which are almost unique
* Maintaining a green corridor along the route of the River Gipping (i.e. the Gipping Valley)
* Topography of the proposed site and water courses / drainage
* Provision of schools and health services
* The 'creeping coalescence' between Ipswich town and Sproughton village, which would threaten the identity, if not the very existence of, Sproughton village.
SS0721
Site appropriate for development, subject to the scheme proposal. It is not clear to local residents, however, why - given the size of the site - a portion may not be allocated to housing.
SS1023
Site not appropriate for development.
In addition to those matters identified as requiring further investigation in the site assessment summary (highways, cordon sanitare and A14 noise, impact upon landscape, townscape and heritage assets, and biodiversity impact upon protected species and habitats - all of which are reasons for NOT permitting development on the scale indicated, if at all) consideration should also be given to:
* The setting and the views into and from Chantry Vale, which are almost unique
* Maintaining a green corridor along the route of the River Gipping (i.e. the Gipping Valley)
* Topography of the proposed site and water courses / drainage
* Provision of schools and health services
* The 'creeping coalescence' between Ipswich town and Sproughton village, which would threaten the identity, if not the very existence of, Sproughton village.
SS0191
Some of the site (specifically, in the south-west corner / adjacent to the existing settlement on London Road) may be appropriate for development, subject to the development of an appropriate scheme, the considerations already identified (highways, cordon sanitare and A14 noise, impact upon landscape, townscape and heritage assets, and biodiversity impact upon protected species and habitats), and further considerations comprising:
* The setting and the views into and from Chantry Vale, which are almost unique
* Maintaining a green corridor along the route of the River Gipping (i.e. the Gipping Valley)
* Topography of the proposed site and water courses / drainage
* Provision of schools and health services
* The 'creeping coalescence' between Ipswich town and Sproughton village, which would threaten the identity, if not the very existence of, Sproughton village.
SS0711
Site not appropriate for development.
In addition to those matters identified as requiring further investigation in the site assessment summary (highways, environmental and heritage), additional key considerations include:
* Maintaining a green corridor along the route of the River Gipping (i.e. the Gipping Valley) and the views to and from the river-side walks that would be impacted by the proposed site
* 'Creeping coalescence' between Bramford and Sproughton.
SS0299
Site is appropriate subject to the development of an appropriate scheme.
With respect to the current Wolsey Grange application, no formal decision has yet been published by the Planning Committee. It is our view, however, that the scheme as set out in the application is not appropriate and we support any challenge Sproughton Parish Council may make to any decision approving that application.
SS0223
Site not appropriate for development.
The site assessment summary notes appropriate considerations to factor into any decision (highways, landscape, heritage and allotment relocation). However, the District Councils should be in no doubt that any proposed development of a special landscape area, which also results in a loss of amenity and potentially significant negative social and economic impacts on the existing local community, is deeply objectionable.
SS1026
Site is appropriate subject to the development of an appropriate scheme.
With respect to the current Wolsey Grange application, no formal decision has yet been published by the Planning Committee. It is our view, however, that the scheme as set out in the application is not appropriate and we support any challenge Sproughton Parish Council may make to any decision approving that application.
Growth
* The data used to forecast growth is too historic as it makes no consideration for the effects of the Brexit vote, it is therefore unreliable and potentially over ambitious.
* On the back of this data the JLP proposes significant home building to accommodate significant migration into the area to fulfil the employment needs of significant growth in business/employment.
* But the JLP does little or nothing to promote growth in Business other than bring in more potential employees by building more housing.
* The government is pushing growth in the Midlands and Northern Powerhouse and they have much better business infrastructures. Suffolk cannot compete with this to attract new business unless councils introduce competitive incentives and improve the business infrastructure of the county. But this JLP proposes nothing constructive to achieve that.
* This JLP is good for business as more housing will increase the unemployed pool making it easier and often cheaper to run a business, but that doesn't mean growth.
* But if house building is not matched by business growth it will not be good for the bulk of the resident population as there will be no increase in overall wealth in the community, but the community will be supporting a bigger population.
* Developers and Councils promote growth as the ultimate objective, but for who? Take a look at London and compare it with your present lifestyle. Businesses and Councils do well in Cities, but what is the quality of life of those that live there?
New NPPF white paper imminent
* The latest consultation paper on the NPPF is proposing a cap of 40% above any LP created prior to their new proposals.
* Therefore it is entirely possible that the unrealistic housing needs proposals being proposed in our JLP could be increased by another 40% making an unrealistic growth plan impossible.

Yours faithfully

Chris Marshall


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