Sustainability Appraisal

Showing comments and forms 1 to 22 of 22

Support

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 22369

Received: 18/03/2019

Respondent: Rochford District Council

Representation:

The Council has no specific observations to make on Brentwood Borough Council's Draft Sustainability Appraisal or Habitats Regulations Assessment for the Pre-Submission Draft (Regulation 19).

Full text:

The Council has no specific observations to make on Brentwood Borough Council's Draft Sustainability Appraisal or Habitats Regulations Assessment for the Pre-Submission Draft (Regulation 19).

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 22497

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Hallam Land Management Limited

Agent: Marrons Planning

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation:

Whilst the SA has been updated to reflect decisions taken regarding the Local Plan at the Extraordinary Council meeting in November 2018, the decision was not made in light of the SA of January 2019

Other strategic options should be appraised which appraise higher levels of growth to reflect the higher level of LHN that now needs to be planned for.

The SA should therefore re-assess its appraisal of additional growth at Brentwood in light of the evidence presented by Hallam Land Management within its representations in respect of Calcott Hall Farm.

Change suggested by respondent:

The Sustainability Appraisal must be reviewed and updated in light of changes that need to be made to the Draft Local Plan, and in light of new evidence presented to the Council as to the positive effects of development of Calcott Hall Farm, Brentwood.

Full text:

These representations contain both general and specific concerns in relation to the Sustainability Appraisal, January 2019.

Sustainability Appraisal Process

The Sustainability Appraisal (SA) is an iterative process to help inform the stages of plan making and the key choices the plan must take in light of the findings. In this particular case, the SA has not informed plan making decisions but has responded to them. This is clearly evident from the narrative within the original SA prepared in October 2018 which appraised a different Draft Local Plan to that which is currently subject to consultation. Whilst the SA has been updated to reflect decisions taken regarding the Local Plan at the Extraordinary Council meeting in November 2018, the decision was not made in light of the SA of January 2019.

Establishing Reasonable Alternatives

As noted in representations submitted by Hallam Land Management Limited (HLM) in relation to Housing Need and Requirement, the minimum local housing need (LHN) is 452 dwellings per annum (dpa), based on the standard method, and taking into account 2014 Household Projections.

The SA has only assessed alternative strategic options for the distribution of growth that as a minimum meets the LHN within the Draft Local Plan (350 dpa). Other strategic options should now therefore be appraised which appraise higher levels of growth to reflect the higher level of LHN that now needs to be planned for.

Unmet needs from Neighbouring Authorities

As noted in representations submitted by HLM in relation to the Duty to Cooperate, the identified unmet needs of neighbouring areas have not been taken into account in establishing a housing requirement for Brentwood. The SA also recognises that there are unmet needs (box 5.2 and table 5.1), and notes that higher levels of housing growth would go some way to addressing these needs. Although the SA notes that there would be further environmental consequences of addressing unmet need from elsewhere, this would be inevitable given it is a higher level of growth requiring further land. However, this does not mean that a higher level of growth could be deemed unsustainable.
Additional Strategic Growth at Brentwood

Indeed, the SA concludes:

"A headline conclusion is that a strategy involving one or more strategic allocations within the A127 corridor performs well, relative to the alternative of supporting higher growth at Brentwood, in respect of a number of objectives. It does not automatically follow that a strategy involving higher growth at the Brentwood is relatively unsustainable overall; however, it is an indication. The appraisal has highlighted limited benefits to supporting higher growth at Brentwood, and some significant draw-backs, most notably in respect of 'air quality' and 'biodiversity', with significant negative effects predicted in both respects. However, the appraisal findings do reflect the merits of the particular package of sites assumed to deliver higher growth. There will be alternative packages of sites that perform better in certain respects."

As an example of a site that can perform better in certain respects, it will be noted from representations made in respect of the Site Allocations that Land at Calcott Hall Farm, Brentwood could have a positive effect on air quality and biodiversity as a consequence of the proposals for a Community Link Road and measures to enhance biodiversity and green infrastructure on site. Higher growth at Brentwood would not therefore automatically be appraised as unsustainable in the context of this site being allocated.

Furthermore, the SA also notes that in relation to Climate Change Mitigation, development around Brentwood urban area would be more sustainable than options elsewhere in South Essex where sustainable transport options are not available:

"In conclusion, options involving a concentration of growth along the A127 corridor perform best, along with Option 7, which is higher growth options that could feasibly reduce pressure for growth at locations to the east within South Essex where commuting by train to London is less attractive as an option."

The SA should therefore re-assess its appraisal of additional growth at Brentwood in light of the evidence presented by Hallam Land Management within its representations in respect of Calcott Hall Farm. In particular, evidence in relation to air quality, biodiversity, heritage, landscape and transport all impact on how the site should be assessed with the SA. The SA should be updated to reflect this further evidence in the same way evidence prepared to inform the appraisal of Dunton Hills Garden Village has been taken into account.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 23121

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Basildon Borough Council

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation:

The Council questions whether the Spatial Strategy is therefore justified and consistent with national policy. The two transport corridors dont offer comparable choices in terms of the capacity of these transport connections. Four reasonable site alternatives in the Central Brentwood Corridor have been disregarded in the Sustainability Apprial, despite having few constraints and being able to tap into the potential for movement capacity. This is considered to be in conflict with sustainable development when sites which have significant constraints to development or delivery have been included within the Plan, at the expense of sites which have fewer constraints.

Change suggested by respondent:

Using the Sustainability Appraisal and other evidence, the Plan should select sites within the Central Brentwood Growth Corridor that provide opportunity for extensions to towns and villages that can encourage more sustainable travel choices and take advantage of the superior infrastructure available. This should help encourage commuting behaviour to shift away from private car use and therefore make this location a more sustainable and viable option to concentrate growth. Chapter 3 should be modified as a result along with all land use allocations in Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.

Full text:

This letter serves as the approved response from Basildon Borough Council to the Brentwood Borough Council's Local Plan Regulation 19 public consultation.
Please be advised that for all of the consultation points below, the Council would like to attend the future oral hearings as part of the Plan's Examination in Public.
As a neighbouring authority, a Duty to Cooperate public body and a key partner in the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA), Basildon Borough Council has taken the opportunity to review and consider the potential implications for the Basildon Borough that may arise from Brentwood Borough Council's Local Plan and determine whether it considers it to be compliant with necessary legislation and whether it meets the tests of soundness.
1) Is the Brentwood Borough Local Plan 2016-2033 legally compliant?
The Council has reviewed the Brentwood Borough Local Plan 2016-2033 and supporting documents. It considers that whilst it disagrees with aspects of the Plan from a soundness perspective that it is however legally compliant.
2) Does the Brentwood Borough Local Plan 2016-2033 meet the tests of soundness?
The Council does not believe that the Brentwood Borough Local Plan 2016-2033 meets the tests of soundness in all of its policy areas. It therefore makes the following 1 representation in support of an aspect of the Plan and 17 representations where it considers the Local Plan is unsound and requires modifications to make it sound.
Supporting Representations
Consultation Point: Chapter 1
Soundness - Effectiveness & Compliance with National Policy
Paragraph 26 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) asserts that effective and on-going joint working between strategic policymaking authorities and relevant bodies is integral to the production of a positively prepared and justified strategy. In particular, it considers that joint working should help to determine where additional infrastructure is necessary, and whether development needs that cannot be met wholly within a particular plan area could be met elsewhere. To demonstrate effective and on-going joint working, strategic policy-making authorities should
planning.policy@brentwood.gov.uk
SERVED BY EMAIL ONLY
prepare and maintain one or more Statements of Common Ground, documenting the cross-boundary matters being addressed and progress in cooperating to address these.
A major step forward for effective cooperation has been the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Essex County, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock Councils to form the ASELA. This has ensured that there is now a more coordinated, collective working on a 'place vision' for the sub region, which recognises one of the key delivery tools will be a statutory Joint Strategic Plan (JSP). A Statement of Common Ground has also been agreed between the ASELA to ensure it is embedded into the Local Development Schemes of all the local planning authorities with resources committed to its preparation during 2019/2021. This will ensure it sets the foundations for planning at a broader spatial level, determining how growth and infrastructure can be better coordinated to positively influence place-making in South Essex and provide a more prosperous area for people to live, work, study and visit. The Statement of Common Ground recognises that the planning landscape of South Essex is not perfect and not all authorities can wait for the JSP to be completed before their Local Plans are advanced. It accepts that the JSP will have to be mindful, in particular of Basildon, Brentwood and Castle Point's and the reality that their Local Plans are already too advanced to be paused.
The Council has noted Brentwood Council's commitment in paragraph 1.13 to work as a member of ASELA on a process to develop a long-term growth ambition that would underpin strategic spatial, infrastructure and economic priorities across the wider sub-region. It is acknowledged that this is in accordance with the South Essex JSP Statement of Common Ground - June 2018; of which Basildon and Brentwood Borough Councils are one of the seven joint signatories.
Work on the JSP is at an early stage with Regulation 18 consultation due to take place during 2019, followed by Regulation 19 in 2020, with examination in public and adoption not expected to be until 2020/2021. It will cover a longer plan period extending to 2038; slightly longer than both the Basildon and Brentwood Local Plans. Paragraph 1.38 of the Brentwood Borough Local Plan references that its own allocations can contribute towards some of the delivery of early growth during the JSP plan-period; a position that is also applicable for the soon to be submitted Basildon Borough Local Plan 2014-2034. It is welcomed that the Brentwood Borough Local Plan has mirrored the intent of the Basildon Borough Local Plan in Paragraphs 1.35-1.38 that following the adoption of the JSP, it may be necessary to review the Plan, at least in part, to ensure any opportunities for additional growth and infrastructure provision in the Borough, that may otherwise be additionally identified in the JSP, can be realised. The Council fundamentally supports this policy approach as meeting the soundness tests of being a) effective and b) in accordance with national policy.
The Council considers this to be compatible to its own position and underpins the collective efforts to get an "effective mechanism" in place to address strategic, cross boundary matters in a more holistic and planned manner that has greater potential to realise positive outcomes to South Essex communities. Looking ahead, the Council embraces the opportunity presented by Brentwood Borough Council being part of the ASELA and the JSP, in order to tackle strategic, cross-boundary matters holistically to ensure sustainable growth solutions are achieved that benefit all communities.
Objecting Representations
Consultation Point: Whole Plan
Soundness - Effectiveness, Justified & Compliance with National Policy
Paragraph 26 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) asserts that effective and on-going joint working between strategic policymaking authorities and relevant bodies is integral to the production of a positively prepared and justified strategy. The Council, as a neighbouring Borough and Duty to Cooperate body, has reviewed and considered previous versions of the Local Plan and its preparatory documents and submitted relevant representations under Regulation 18 consultations. The Council formally wishes to express its disappointment that given fundamental
evidence has been 'in development', but not published during much of its preparation. It has been significantly difficult, therefore, to digest the Plan's rationale and approach as it has evolved. This includes the entire Green Belt Review, Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment, Landscape Sensitivity and Capacity Study, Local Plan Viability Assessment and Transport Assessment which were not published until the month before Brentwood Council considered the Publication Local Plan in November 2018. It is accepted that not all evidence can be completed by each consultation stage and much may remain as a continual draft until Regulation 19, however it is considered this has created a lack of transparency during critical plan-making stages and contributed to the scale of representations from Basildon Council for its Regulation 19 response.
During 2017/2018, officers from Basildon, Thurrock and Essex County Councils, facilitated by an officer from Rochford District Council, jointly sought to understand and address with Brentwood Borough Council how the Brentwood Borough Local Plan, in particular the Dunton Hills Garden Village (DHGV) strategic allocation, could impact on neighbouring authority areas, particularly in terms of infrastructure and service provision. Meetings were held, and correspondence exchanged, in an effort to seek solutions and resolutions to previous Regulation 18 objections/ observations from all three Councils. The intention was to appreciate the evidenced rationale for identifying the DHGV strategic allocation and ensuring neighbouring authorities could engage more effectively to identify and manage cross-boundary impacts. Despite this engagement, it is considered that not all information and assurances sought from Brentwood Borough Council have been provided and this brings into question the soundness of the rationale and choices made in the Brentwood Borough Local Plan.
.
As such, all of Basildon Council's previous responses to Regulation 18 consultations are enclosed as supplementary evidence to the Regulation 19 consultation; affirming that many of the comments made in respects this consultation response have been raised previously, but remain unanswered or inadequately addressed. It is uncertain how the Plan has been informed by this previous input. It is considered that this is not a justified approach and has resulted in a Plan which is less effective at tackling strategic, cross-boundary issues.
Consultation Point: SP02: Managing Growth, Paragraphs 4.15-4.16 and Appendix 1
Soundness - Effectiveness, Justified & Compliance with National Policy
It is acknowledged that Brentwood Borough Council commissioned David Couttie Associates (DCA) in 2013 to undertake a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) and define its Housing Market Area (HMA). This concluded that Brentwood Borough's administrative area was a self-contained HMA. This is different to the Basildon Borough, which is a sub-area (with Castle Point) of the much larger South Essex HMA, which also incorporates Rochford, Southend on Sea and Thurrock. The Brentwood SHMA, which was most recently updated in November 2018, forms part of the evidence base for identifying the Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) for housing in Brentwood Borough. However, NPPF/2019 (published after the Publication Local Plan was approved by Brentwood Borough Council in November 2018, in February 2019) now requires housing needs to be calculated in accordance with the Standard Methodology set out in national Planning Practice Guidance.
Basildon Borough Council has acknowledged that this has seen the OAN for Brentwood Borough change three times over the course of the last year as follows:
* In January 2018, the Brentwood SHMA January 2018 identified an OAN for Brentwood of 380. This was calculated using the SHMA Planning Practice Guidance that underpinned the NPPF/2012;
* In July 2018, NPPF/2018 was launched introducing the standard methodology for calculating objectively assessed housing need. The standard methodology requires the use of the most recently published household projections as the starting point. At that time, the 2014-based CLG Household Projections formed that starting point resulting in an OAN for Brentwood of 452 homes per annum; and
* In September 2018, 2016-based ONS Household Projections were published, revising the starting point for the standard method calculation. For Brentwood Borough, these projections showed a reduced rate of household growth going forward, resulting in a reduced housing requirement for Brentwood of 350 homes per annum.
It has been noted by Basildon Council that the Brentwood Borough Local Plan uses this latest 2016 projection to define the minimum OAN target.
The reduced rate of household growth in the 2016-based ONS Household Projections was highlighted as a nation-wide issue driving down the OAN calculations in around two-thirds of authorities, although not Basildon. This resulted in the standard methodology only identifying around 215,000 homes per annum supply for England against a national policy target of 300,000 homes per annum. Consequently, in October 2018 MHCLG launched a consultation on technical changes to the standard methodology, seeking for authorities to continue using the 2014-based CLG Household Projections in the interim. On the 19 February 2019, the Government's response to this consultation was published indicating that the Government will be making clear in national Planning Practice Guidance that the 2016-based ONS Household Projections should not be used for the standard methodology calculation, and the 2014-based CLG Household Projections should be used instead.
The Brentwood Local Plan therefore, which makes provision for 456 homes per annum does meet just over its full OAN for housing, having regard to the standard methodology calculation of need based on the 2014 CLG Household Projections (452 homes per annum), as explained in required by Planning Practice Guidance (Paragraph: 004 Reference ID: 2a-004-20190220 and Paragraph: 005 Reference ID: 2a-005-20190220) that has been adjusted following the Government's response to the technical consultation.
The Brentwood Local Plan, however, as drafted and approved by Brentwood Council in November 2018, sets out in Paragraphs 4.15-4.16 that the housing target for Brentwood is set at 350 homes per annum and it proposes an annual housing supply buffer of 20% taking total supply of 456 homes per annum. This was considered at the time as offering additional flexibility throughout the plan period. This is now not the case as the 2016-based ONS Household Projections must be discounted, as above, with the baseline reverting to the 2014-based projections. This results in a Plan which will now have an insignificant flexibility in its land supply; a component which was considered justified and fundamental to the Plan's strategy when it was approved in November 2018.
When this new position is viewed alongside the variable housing target, it is considered this could cause the plan to be less effective and justified. The initial housing target of 310 homes per annum between 2016 and 2023, should, according to the Plan, increase to 584 homes per annum beyond 2023. It is noted that this increase is substantially reliant on the new Dunton Hills Garden Village (DHGV) in the Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor, which according to the Housing Trajectory set out in Appendix 1 is expected to commence housing delivery in 2023/24, within the first five years of the Plan. That scheme is expected to deliver at the initial ambitious rate of 100 homes per annum upwards from thereon, reaching 300 homes per annum by 2026. These are considered to be overly optimistic delivery assumptions for such a large scale Green Belt allocation, which whilst mostly in a single land ownership that could facilitate delivery, still requires for the boundaries of the Green Belt to be amended on adoption of the Plan (assuming it is found lawful and sound), detailed masterplanning, essential infrastructure programming on-site and off-site to ensure sustainable development can be achieved. It is not clear from any published evidence how such a delivery rate has been formulated having acknowledged these issues and therefore this is challenged in terms that it is not justified.
Summary: As a result in the change to the NPPF, the Plan also now has very little flexibility within its land supply should anything happen to cause delivery of homes to become delayed during the plan period; which was a fundamental principle to the Plan's strategy approved in November 2018. There is an unjustified over-reliance on DHGV in the Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor to
contribute towards supply at an accelerated rate. The Council therefore objects to Policy SP02, 4.15-4.16 and Appendix 1
Modification: 1) The Local Plan must be adjusted to incorporate previously discounted development sites, particularly in the Central Brentwood Growth Corridor to restore the flexibility in site supply across a broader range of spatial locations, thereby improving the Plan's effectiveness and deliverability. 2) The methodology to the Local Plan's Housing Trajectory needs to be published and open for comment and challenge of its assumptions.
Consultation Point: PC02 and PC03
Soundness - Effectiveness, Justified & Compliance with National Policy
Paragraph 80 of the NPPF establishes that planning policies should help create the conditions in which businesses can invest, expand and adapt. The Council notes the new employment land requirements and job growth needs evidence undertaken by Lichfields in 2018. It is considered the amount of new employment land being provided is broadly sufficient to ensure that the Brentwood Borough meets its overall forecast employment land needs, including forecast new needs and losses from allocations and structural change.
It is considered however that the policy makes the assumption that there are no capacity issues for existing infrastructure, or any needs for supporting infrastructure to be provided and it is considered that this lack of clarity will make the policy ineffective, unjustified and will counteract creating conditions to support business growth which the NPPF seeks. As the Local Plan does with its housing target in Policy SP02 and Appendix 1, PC02 and PC03 should therefore incorporate additional provisions to manage the release and expansion of the locations within the Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor, supported by an Employment Land Trajectory in a new Appendix, to make it more effective, justified and consistent with national policy. The Council therefore objects to Policy PC02 and PC03.
Modifications: PC02 and PC03 should be amended to incorporate a staggered delivery target for new employment land, supported by a new Employment Land Trajectory within the Plan's Appendices, to coordinate the phased release of new and expanded employment land to ensure it can be linked to specific and necessary upgrades to supporting infrastructure. This will minimise the impact growth will have on existing highway routes in particular, which could otherwise impact on cross-boundary issues within the wider South Essex economic corridor.
Specialist Accommodation
Consultation Point: HP07
Soundness - Effectiveness
The Council has noted that the Brentwood Gypsy and Traveller Local Needs Accommodation Assessment 2018 (GTAA) assessed the need for Gypsy and Traveller pitches in Brentwood Borough for the period 2016 to 2033 as being 13 pitches. It acknowledges that there were no Travelling Showpeople identified as living in the Brentwood Borough, so there are no current or future accommodation needs for this community.
The evidence is noted as identifying a requirement of 11 additional Gypsy and Traveller pitches (5 total current need and 6 total future need) to be developed between the period 2016 to 2033 and makes a further 10% allowance for Gypsy and Traveller households whose travelling status was recorded as being "unknown", increasing the need to 12 pitches. It is acknowledged that since the completion of the evidence, one Gypsy and Traveller pitch has been lost through an approved change of use application and to replace this lost pitch, the Plan has added an additional pitch to its target, meaning the total requirement of Gypsy and Traveller pitches is 13 pitches.
Whilst it is noted that Brentwood Council proposes to meet this need through the incorporation of
a minimum 5 Gypsy and Traveller pitches as part of the Dunton Hills Garden Village allocation and through the regularisation of 8 existing pitches elsewhere in the Brentwood Borough. This however implies that 8 pitches will contribute towards meeting current need and only 5 pitches towards future need, when 6 are in fact required. The Council therefore objects to Policy HP07.
Modification: The GTAA identified the need for an additional pitch to meet future needs and therefore whilst the Policy HP07 quotes a minimum of 5 new pitches to be provided within its minimum target, the Plan could be more effective by setting 6 pitches as the target.
Consultation Point: Paragraphs 6.52-6.62
Soundness - Positively Prepared & Effectiveness.
The Council is concerned that there is no acknowledgement in the supporting text to the Brentwood Local Plan as to how it will address any unmet needs arising from Greater Essex authorities for the provision of accommodation for Gypsies, Travellers & Travelling Showpeople should it arise. The Plan should therefore recognise and support the principle of this approach going forward, to ensure that there will be a technical approach in place to support any neighbouring authorities with any potential unmet Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople need. This will ensure that the same process is applied throughout Essex therefore making the plan more positively prepared and effective for Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople communities. The Council therefore objects to Paragraphs 6.52-6.62.
Modification: The Essex Planning Officers' Association Protocol for Unmet Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Needs 2018 has been developed collaboratively across Essex under the Duty to Cooperate, including with Brentwood Borough Council. It should be referenced in the supporting text to Policy HP07 - within Paragraphs 6.52-6.62. This will help ensure that the Plan recognises and supports the principle of this approach going forward, underling the technical approach in place to support how any requests from neighbouring authorities with any potential unmet Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling will be considered in the future and then addressed as necessary through the Plan review process.
Consultation Point: Paragraphs 6.52-6.62
Soundness - Effectiveness and consistent with national policy.
Paragraph 9 of the Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (PPTS) establishes that "...local planning authorities should set pitch targets...which address the likely permanent and transit site accommodation needs of travellers in their area, working collaboratively with neighbouring local planning authorities." There is also no mention however in the Brentwood Local Plan of the strategic and cross-boundary matter of Transit Sites, for which there is a study underway during 2019/2020 by the Essex Planning Officers' Association on behalf of all Greater Essex local planning authorities, including Brentwood Borough. Whilst it has not yet been possible to robustly assess the need for transit sites in Essex due to data inconsistencies across Greater Essex, changes have been made to the unauthorised encampment data collection process and an update to Essex Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Local Needs Accommodation Assessment will follow during 2019/2020 to determine whether any transit sites are needed in Greater Essex to help manage development pressures.
Whilst this cannot be included within Policy HE07 due to uncertainty, given that it is a current strategic matter for the Duty to Cooperate, with work in train to seek a resolution, it is considered more effective, for the Plan as a whole, to indicate how any such needs identified in future updates to the GTAA will be dealt with to make it more effective and consistent with the PPTS. The Council therefore objects to Paragraphs 6.52-6.62.
Modification: The Council considers the Local Plan would be more effective and more consistent with the PPTS if the strategic, cross-boundary issue of transit sites, covered by the Duty to
Cooperate were to be supported by a new paragraph explaining the context behind the issue and that it will be addressed as part of its first review.
Consultation Point: PC08 and Figure 7.7
Soundness - Justified & Effective
The Council notes that Nathaniel Litchfield & Partners prepared a Retail and Commercial Leisure Study (RCLS14) for Brentwood Council in 2014. The study identifies that Brentwood Town Centre as the main shopping centre in Brentwood Borough, with Shenfield, Ingatestone and Warley Hill providing smaller scale District Centres offering more local services, whilst smaller communities are supported by a number of village shops/local parades. The relationship between Brentwood Town Centre and larger competing centres including Basildon Town Centre is also noted, which is consistent with the Council's own evidence set out in the South Essex Retail Study 2017.
It is also acknowledged however that the Local Plan's settlement hierarchy proposes that DHGV Village and West Horndon will incorporate District Centres, similar in scale and role to Shenfield and Ingatestone. Figure 7.7 suggests this will apply to just DHGV, but caveats that this may change as a result of masterplanning or new evidence. Whilst the Council accepts that some form of local centre provision that could provide local shopping, community facilities and healthcare facilities would be a sustainable approach to the planning of any new community, helping to reduce the need to travel to larger centres to meet community needs, the positioning of the Garden Village needs to consider how it could impact on other centres and facilities in the locality, including those outside the Brentwood Borough, which may be closer and higher-order than other Brentwood Borough alternatives.
The Council cannot determine from any of Brentwood's published evidence as to what assessments have been carried out to determine the likely impact of installing new District Centres in West Hordon or DHGV on Basildon Borough's Laindon Town Centre. Assuming a central location within the site, DHGV District Centre would be around 2km to its west and West Hordon is only one stop by rail. Laindon Town Centre is the Basildon Borough's smallest town centre, which is currently undergoing a multi-million pound regeneration by Swan Housing Association to redevelop it into a new mixed use commercial and residential development called Laindon Place. It already provides a health centre, community centre, police station and library, which are all set to remain.
It is not considered acceptable as set out in footnote 10 to Figure 7.7 that the "the designation of the DHGV service centre(s) as a District Shopping Centre and/or Local Centre(s) and any subsequent Primary Shopping Area could be altered further by the South Brentwood Masterplan as this should remain a function of policy and not be delegated. The Council therefore objects to Policy PC08 and Figure 7.7.
Modification: Footnote 10 of Figure 7.7 should be amended to remove reference to the South Brentwood Masterplan as the role and order of the designated centre should be established by policy only. The Plan should have been informed by evidence which has tested cross-boundary impacts of installing new District Centres in close proximity to nearby centres including Laindon Town Centre and what measures will be taken in policy to limit any impact. If this evidence does not exist, the District Centre should be removed from DHGV, retaining some local centre provision to ensure DHGV can be sustainable and to enable the Plan to be effective and justified.
Consultation Point: Chapter 3, Chapter 6, Chapter 7 and Sustainability Appraisal
Soundness - Justified and consistent with national policy.
Paragraph 16 of the NPPF advises amongst other things that Plans should be prepared with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. The Local Plan's Spatial Strategy is termed "Transit-orientated Growth", concentrating growth in the Local Plan in two transit corridors running through the borough. The 'Central Brentwood Growth Corridor', with the
A12, the Great Eastern Main Line to London Liverpool Street Station, and the Elizabeth Line; and the 'Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor', with the A127 and the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway to London Fenchurch Street Station.
The Local Plan states that the site selection process for the housing allocations has been based upon the Spatial Strategy, and a sequential approach to selecting sites for development. It is accepted that this approach is intended to maximise brownfield redevelopment opportunities and support growth within compatible locations.
The Council acknowledges that Brentwood Borough Council has now published much of its previously missing evidence as set out in previous Regulation 18 representations. The Council is not satisfied that the Plan has been adequately informed by its evidence, and it questions whether the Spatial Strategy reached is therefore justified and consistent with national policy.
The Council has noted the two Growth Corridors. It has reflected however that there are fundamental distinctions between them, which do not appear to have influenced site selection choices in a justified way. The Central Brentwood Growth Corridor is the location of nationally and regionally managed and maintained infrastructure - the A12 & M25 (Highways England) and Elizabeth Line (maintained by Network Rail and operated by Transport for London) and East Anglia Line (maintained by Network Rail and operated by Abellio East Anglia), which helps to put this investment into use through the growth locations. The South Brentwood Growth Corridor, whilst at its far west includes the M25, the remainder of the corridor consists the A127 (maintained by Essex County Council) and Essex Thameside Line (maintained by Network Rail and operated by c2c). It is not considered they offer comparable choices in terms of the capacity of these transport connections and the Central Brentwood Growth Corridor, by the presence of nationally and regionally maintained infrastructure.
In reviewing the appropriateness of the Spatial Strategy, an important element of the Plan's Sustainability Appraisal involves appraising 'reasonable alternatives' to inform development of the Plan. Four reasonable site alternatives in the Central Brentwood Corridor have been disregarded (AECOM Sustainability Apprial - Table 5.2), despite having few constraints and being able to tap into the potential for movement capacity offered by this superior corridor. This is considered to be in conflict with sustainable development when sites which have significant constraints to development or delivery have been included within the Plan, at the expense of sites which have fewer constraints. This raises fundamental concerns about the Plan's spatial distribution of growth and whether it has made the most of the capacity in this alternative corridor, before embarking on a new standalone settlement at DHGV in the Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor. The Council has noted that four sites on Table 5.2 of the Sustainability Appraisal have the potential to deliver 2,200 homes through extensions to villages, thereby questioning the need for a new settlement of the scale envisaged to deal with growth in the plan-period, which it considers means the Spatial Strategy is unjustified. The Council therefore objects to Chapter 3, the Sustainability Appraisal and land use allocations in Chapter 6 and 7.
Modification: Using the Sustainability Appraisal and other evidence, the Plan should select sites within the Central Brentwood Growth Corridor that provide opportunity for extensions to towns and villages that can encourage more sustainable travel choices and take advantage of the superior infrastructure available. This should help encourage commuting behaviour to shift away from private car use and therefore make this location a more sustainable and viable option to concentrate growth. Chapter 3 should be modified as a result along with all land use allocations in Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.
Consultation Point: Sustainability Appraisal
Soundness - Justified and consistent with national policy.
Paragraph 16 of the NPPF advises amongst other things that Plans should be prepared with the objective of contribution to the achievement of sustainable development. The Council challenges whether the Sustainability Appraisal has informed the choices made in the Spatial Strategy as
required by national policy, given it states that there was an early intention by Brentwood Council to deliver at least one new large-scale strategic site, which could be judged as artificially limiting the exploration of other plausible and deliverable urban/ village extensions. It is considered that Brentwood Council's lack of a Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) between 2011 and 2018 has negatively impacted upon previous Regulation 18 drafts, which could have evolved differently having been informed by such evidence, demonstrating that other suitable, available and deliverable site options were present. This is unjustified, not consistent with the Plan's Strategic Objective SO1 and not in accordance with the NPPF. The Council therefore objects to the Sustainability Appraisal.
Modification: The Sustainability Appraisal should be reviewed to test an alternative strategy which does not include the artificial assumption that at least one new large scale strategic site should be incorporated into the Local Plan and then it should be amended accordingly. The Plan should then be reviewed informed by the outcome.
Consultation Point: BE11 and Paragraphs 5.106
The Council has reviewed the Brentwood Borough Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) accompanying the Local Plan. It is acknowledged that this is intended to be a 'live' working document, much the same as the Basildon Borough IDP.
Paragraph 5.105 acknowledges that in respects of the South Brentwood Growth Corridor "...the provision of sustainable transport in this area is poor". The Council considers that it is surprising therefore that there are no specific highway mitigation measures provided in the Plan, just a statement that "the Council will work proactively with developers, key stakeholder and service providers to implement...new measures which would seek to mitigate transport impacts of sites on the highway infrastructure...". Whilst it is acknowledged within the Plan of the joint working being undertaken by ASELA, and the A127 Task Force for the Route Management Strategies and Joint Strategic Plan, both of which are supported by Basildon Council. The Council does however consider that highway modelling should have been tested to determine impact in development locations in Brentwood Borough, so it can be clear in policy terms how negative impacts are being mitigated and therefore prove that the Plan's spatial choices are reasonable in sustainability terms. It is questionable whether it can be adequately demonstrated by the Brentwood Local Plan that the allocations chosen, represent the most sustainable option without identifying and testing the viability of specific highway mitigation measures that will be necessary to make them deliverable and sustainable. Without this work, Brentwood Borough could find its ability to unlock the capacity to deliver new communities and homes, particularly at an accelerated pace as suggested in Appendix 1, becomes hindered by a lack of infrastructure capacity and outline solutions to overcome them. It is not considered that Policy BE11 is therefore effective at delivering the Plan's Strategic Objectives.
It is noted that Paragraph 5.106-5.107 acknowledges the Lower Thames Crossing and the outline concept of its preferred route and that it is not expected to have a direct impact on Brentwood Borough in terms of land safeguarding. It is however suggested that the Plan also acknowledges that following the engagement of authorities in Essex, including Basildon Borough Council, Highways England has accepted that its impact modelling was deficient in determining how driver behaviour in South Essex and further afield could alter when the scheme opens. This is particularly an issue for this Plan, as its includes land allocations in West Horndon and the DHGV along the A127 corridor, which will be within a reasonable proximity to the Lower Thames Crossing and could therefore be impacted by it. It should be recognised that Highways England are now taking steps to incorporate growth proposals set out in Local Plans in the vicinity to address this point and identify any measures needed to the scheme or nearby routes to mitigate any adverse impacts. The Council therefore objects to Policy BE11 and Paragraphs 5.106.
Modification: 1) BE11 and the land allocations should have been informed by highway modelling that tests highway mitigation solutions to mitigate impact caused by development. This work should be repeated and the Plan amended in light of its findings.
2) Paragraph 5.106 should be amended to include reference that local authorities have secured additional testing within the Lower Thames Crossing modelling being undertaken by Highways England to determine the extent of local impacts on the road network arising from Local Plan growth.
Consultation Point: R01 & HP01
Soundness - Justified
The DHGV is within close proximity of the administrative boundaries with Basildon & Thurrock Boroughs and it is considered that there may be implications for the future geographical extent of both the Brentwood and South Essex Housing Market Areas as the housing markets evolve.
Furthermore, the policy requirements of the Plan are informed by data collected from Brentwood Borough, or its population; the significant majority of which is located away from this area to the north. Consequently, there is a difference in what might be delivered in DHGV compared to what could be delivered just slightly to the east in Basildon Borough; which might distort the housing markets as they adjust to the new development taking place around the boundary. The following table has been prepared using Figure 6.1 from the Plan and the South Essex Strategic Housing Market Assessment that has informed the Basildon Borough Local Plan 2014-2034 and it is considered both these SHMA's should instead be used to inform the housing mix policy for DHGV. The Council therefore objects to Policy R01 and HP01.
Modification: It is considered the stark contrast between the house size requirements for Basildon and Brentwood in DHGV, which is on a boundary location, means it needs to have taken into account the South Essex SHMA in determining the housing mix for DHGV so that it can better sit within the landscape of the strategic context of South Essex, which is not reflective of the wider Brentwood Borough HMA. Policy HP01 and R01 should be amended in light of this.
Consultation Point: R01(D)(h)
Soundness - Justified and consistent with national policy.
The Council has noted that Policy R01(D)(h) has set a target to retain 50% of the strategic allocation for green and blue infrastructure. Given the location is over 259ha, it is agreed that this helps enshrine the Garden Community values within the policies which will guide the masterplan and the site's development. However, the Council questions whether this is intended to be a permanent resource, given it also determines that a further 2,300 homes could be brought forward in the strategic location after 2033; taking its indicative total to around 4,000 homes. It is considered that if it is not explained clearly in any published evidence, as to whether any of the retained space for green and blue infrastructure would need to be used to meet this higher development scale after 2033. The Council's understanding of this, is frustrated by a lack of published evidence on DHGV, which would enable Basildon Borough to effectively understand the nature, extent and potential implications (positive or negative) of its proposals for DHGV. This would make the policy more justified and compliant with national policy. The Council therefore objects to Policy R01(D)(h).
Modification: Clarify within R01 and its supporting text whether the Green Infrastructure proposed to amount to 50% of the land area is a permanent resource or whether the projected growth in the area beyond the plan-period would need to utilise any of the green infrastructure for growth. If the latter, the percentage should be adjusted accordingly.
Consultation Point: SP02, R01 and Paragraph 8.83-8.84
Soundness - Justified
The Council welcomes the publication of the Brentwood Borough Green Belt Study 2018. It is acknowledged that this comprises two parts; Part 1 is a full Green Belt assessment parcelling up the Green Belt and Part 2 as a separate site assessment of individual sites promoted through the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA). This is a similar format to the Basildon Borough Green Belt Study.
For Part 1, a scale of high - low was used to assess the contribution 70 separate parcels made to the Green Belt. The DHGV parcel (17) score "Moderate - High". It was one of 21 parcels to score "Moderate - High". 19 parcels scored "High". The remainder scored lower.
In respect of the tests, Parcel 17 was assessed as follows:
* Purpose 1 - to check unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas: Not contained i.e. development would constitute urban sprawl (red)
* Purpose 2 - to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another: Important
countryside gap between settlements (amber)
Purpose 3 - to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment: Functional countryside (red)
Purpose 4 - to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns: Limited relationship with a historic town. (green)
The Council does not consider it to be clear however, from the published methodology, as to why having scored highly in relation to the Purpose 1 and Purpose 3, as to why this parcel is assessed as making a "moderate to high" contribution to Green Belt purposes, when there are other parcels which make high contributions towards two of the purposes have been assessed as making a "high" contribution towards Green Belt purposes; and are therefore valued to a greater degree as serving towards the purpose of Green Belt.
In respects of Part 2 assessment, the DHGV allocation (Site 200) was assessed alongside other HELAA sites. A total of 92 sites were assessed. The DHGV site assessment matches the entire Parcel 17 assessed in Part 1. Five sites were assessed as making a "high" contribution towards Green Belt purposes. A further 18 sites were assessed as making a "moderate to high contribution". Site 200 - 'Entire land east of A128, south of A127' was assessed as making a "moderate to high" contribution. The remaining 69 sites were assessed as making a less significant contribution to Green Belt purposes.
The DHGV site was assessed as follows:
* Purpose 1 - to check unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas: Not contained i.e. development would constitute urban sprawl (red)
* Purpose 2 - to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another: Would result in significant separation reduction (amber)
* Purpose 3 - to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment: Functional countryside (red)
* Purpose 4 - to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns: Limited relationship with historic town (green)
The outcomes of Part 2 are considered to be consistent with Part 1. However, it is not clear from the methodology as to why given the site scored highly in relation to Purpose 1 and Purpose 3,
this parcel is then assessed as only making a "moderate to high" contribution to Green Belt purposes, when it could potentially have been assessed as making a "high" contribution for those reasons.
The Council recognise that there is now, no longer an issue with missing evidence in this regard, which it had repeatedly raised in previous Regulation 18 consultation responses. However, the Council considers that the issue now is one of how the Green Belt evidence has informed the Plan. It is not clear how the policy judgements arrived at have considered that development in this strategic gap, which helps prevent settlement coalescence can be adequately mitigated. The Council does not believe that when accounting for this evidence that the Plan has reached a justified position in respects of whether the Green Belt evidence has informed the Local Plan policies, to the degree which the proposals in the DHGV area are set out. The Council therefore objects to Policy SP02, R01 and Paragraphs 8.83-8.84.
Modification: The Plan should demonstrate in more detail, through a tool such as a Topic Paper, how its site selection choices have been informed by the Green Belt Study 2018 and should any inconsistencies occurs the Plan's land use allocations and justification should be changed.
Consultation Point: Paragraph 9.36 and R01(II)
Soundness - Justified & Effective
Brentwood Council will be aware from joint Duty to Cooperate meetings with elected members and officers that during 2017, efforts were made by both Basildon and Brentwood Councils to determine whether a West Basildon urban extension could be delivered in the Basildon Borough Local Plan, alongside DHGV, whilst maintaining a sense of visual separation between both developments. To this end, a joint Dunton Area Landscape Corridor Design Options Study was commissioned by both Councils, which I have enclosed as evidence against this representation, to consider how both Council's Green Belt and land management policies, either side of the boundary, could be coordinated in this location going forward. This was to also help determine whether it was possible for DHGV to co-exist with development in West Basildon without causing harm to heritage and environmental assets within Basildon Borough.
The Council has noted that the Plan does now includes specific references that the joint borough boundary needs a degree of landscape and Green Belt treatment to maintain a visual separation with the edge of Basildon Borough, but it does not elaborate as to how this will be achieved. The Council therefore finds its disappointing that this joint study does not form part of the referenced and published evidence base for the Plan, nor do the outcomes from this work appear to have informed Policy R01(II) as sought through the earlier Duty to Cooperate engagement. The Council therefore objects to Policy R01(II) and Paragraph 9.36.
Modification: The measures set out in the Joint Dunton Area Landscape Corridor Design Options 2017 should be acknowledged in Paragraph 9.36 and incorporated into Policy 9.36 to make it more justified and effective at mitigating the impact the development would otherwise have on the Basildon Borough. This would lead to an effective policy outcome identified as being necessary during Duty to Cooperate engagement to manage this cross-boundary issue. It is considered that as a matter of principle, this would help address the Council's previous Regulation 18 objections as to how the boundary would be treated and how the new community could exist side by side the existing smaller settlement of Dunton Wayletts in the Basildon Borough.
Consultation Point: SP04 and R01(I)
Soundness - Effectiveness, Justified & Compliance with National Policy
It is noted that the Plan assumes that all commuters will use West Horndon railway station and other areas in Brentwood Borough to access a means of travelling to other places. It fails however to investigate the possible impacts on Basildon Borough's road and rail infrastructure, as a
neighbouring authority, arising from commuters or other road users choosing to access facilities within the Basildon Borough instead.
The Transport Assessment (PBA, 2018) discusses measures to ensure more effective bus access to and from West Horndon Station - serving an area including the new DHGV, as well as other employment sites within South Brentwood Growth Corridor. It is noted however that the need for new connections into Basildon Borough in terms of walking, cycling, public transport or road do not appear to be mentioned as being necessary to make it sustainable.
The Brentwood Borough IDP states that a new multi-modal interchange will be created at West Horndon Station. This will serve the DHGV, Childerditch, West Horndon and Enterprise Development sites. It also mentions the possibility that this could serve any future northern Thurrock developments. The Plan states that, the proposed DHGV settlement's transport mitigation measures will include potential dedicated bus route(s) connecting the development with West Horndon station and improvements at West Horndon station for vehicular, segregated cycle and public transport access from surrounding developments, as well as cycle storage and a bus interchange facility. The Council is therefore confused that in seeking to mitigate DHGV's impacts on the surrounding areas there is no mention of any impact being evaluated as spilling over into Basildon Borough and needing its own mitigation.
Laindon railway station, with three platforms and starter trains has greater commutable capacity than West Horndon and could become an alternative choice for residents within DHGV, despite a lack of new connections hampering their ability to make that choice easily without driving, via the A127. Whilst the Plan seeks to make provision for a new interchange at West Horndon to capture these movements more locally, should commuters still seek to use alternative stations including those outside of the Brentwood Borough such as Laindon, this will lead to increase demands on those stations' facilities, particularly parking, as well as the routes to get to them. Policy SP04 does set out the approach required by Paragraph 34 of the NPPF, but it does not explicitly mention that it has accounted for the spatial context of DHGV and the existing spatial form of the Brentwood Borough, where its higher-order settlements are further to the north. It does not state that it will support the possibility of developer contributions being used to mitigate this impact outside the Brentwood Borough in higher-order settlements which are closer that Brentwood Borough's own settlements, but outside the Brentwood Borough. This is considered to disregard how new residents living in the DHGV could behave in the future in seeking to access services and how this impact will therefore be adequately mitigated.
It seems that it an effort for the new DHGV to be self-sustaining, as set out in Paragraph 9.14, it has meant the Plan remains unclear, as to how it will relate to its neighbouring areas, particularly in terms of access and connectivity. This is considered a core sustainability principle for new developments and whether in exercising that choice, its residents will use what is to be provided within Brentwood Borough remains to be seen. They could use alternative routes (namely the A127 and West Mayne into Laindon) to access different facilities already available in closer higher order settlements outside Brentwood Borough. Considering that there are existing services that are already shared between the Borough's residents, e.g. schools, it is considered essential for a more practical and pragmatic approach to be adopted should the DHGV be permitted, including the policy reality that until such a time as the critical mass for new homes is established on-site, it is more likely that Basildon Borough's facilities in Laindon will be picking up the demands of new users arising from the neighbouring Brentwood Borough in the short-medium term.
There is no evidence presented by Brentwood Borough Council which indicates that DHGV's growth demands have been evaluated, in combination, with the projected demands arising from the Basildon Borough Local Plan. The Plan should not assume that such growth can just be absorbed by the nearby infrastructure and services in Basildon Borough and investment through developer contributions will be necessary. The infrastructure in the Basildon Borough has been evaluated for its capacity, its ability to grow and the scale of investment necessary to accommodate the growth in the Basildon Borough Local Plan to enable the Basildon growth to occur and there has not been enough information published during Regulation 18 (as set out in previous
representations) to be able to incorporate any testing of Brentwood's growth in as well. The Council therefore objects to Policy SP04 and R01(II).
Modification: The Plan should be modified to recognise that some impacts are likely to be cross-boundary and additional provisions should be incorporated into SP04 and RO1(I) that will support using S106/CIL arising from development in Brentwood Borough to be used for investment outside the Brentwood Borough, where it can be proven that there is reasonable likelihood of a direct or residual impacts otherwise being caused that need to be mitigated. This will make the Plan more effective, justified and in accordance with national policy.
Consultation Point: R01(I) and Appendix 1
Soundness - Justified & Effective
The Council notes the housing trajectory included within the Plan at Appendix 1. With regards to DHGV it is assumed that delivery will commence in 2022/23 (within the next five years) at a rate of 100 homes per annum, climbing to 300 homes per annum by 2026/27. As set out in earlier representations in respects of housing supply, this seems overly optimistic given that the allocation is currently within the extent of the Green Belt, requires masterplanning and will need to go through a planning application and elements of the condition discharge process before development on site can even commence. Development commencement on-site meanwhile, will be reliant on essential utility and infrastructure provision. No evidence is provided alongside the Plan, or within the associated Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA), as to how the housing trajectory in general has been developed. Furthermore, there is no specific evidence published setting out the evidence base, or any form of a development framework/ masterplan for the DHGV that explains how the proposed accelerated rate of delivery will be possible to achieve.
The Council considers that the speed and level of growth in this boundary location may have implications for Basildon Borough's own housing market and risks the ability for it to be able to deliver housing at the rates necessary for its own housing trajectory. Early residents of the DHGV will rely on some services and facilities outside the village to meet their initial needs, unless these facilities were all to be front-loaded and wait for the population to gradually build up to make full use of them. As an example, the DHGV will require new primary and secondary school provision. However, whilst the Brentwood IDP shows the primary provision in particular being delivered early, it is understood to not be economically viable to operate a school with low pupil numbers, and it may be the case that the village grows for a number of years with these pupils travelling to other schools in the locality (principally within the Basildon Borough), whilst operational primary and then secondary education provision is secured and the village becomes more self-sufficient. The Council therefore objects to Policy R01(I) and Appendix 1.
Modification: The Council therefore seeks for evidence to be provided demonstrating the realistic delivery trajectory for DHGV so that the potential short-medium term pressures on services and facilities in nearby settlements can be assessed, understood and planned for by service providers and neighbouring authorities. This will help ensure adequate mitigation provisions can be put in place to reduce any potential negative impacts on Basildon Borough residents living nearby. This will make the Plan justified and effective.
Consultation Point: R01(II)
Soundness - Effectiveness
Notwithstanding that the Council objects to many of the fundamental soundness principles of the DHGV, the Council would like to seek assurances written into Policy R01(II) that it will be invited by Brentwood Borough Council to become more involved in the detailed design and delivery of the new village. This will ensure that the strategic and cross-boundary impacts covered by the Duty to Cooperate and raised during the Council's response to the Plan at Regulation 18 and 19 stages are managed effectively during the development's implementation stages (assuming it is
considered sound), alongside the Basildon Borough Local Plan's own implementation. The Council therefore objects to Policy R01(II).
Modification: The Council would like a criterion added into Policy R01(II) under a new heading "Collaborative Approach" that will make it a requirement for neighbouring authorities to be engaged during the detailed design stages of DHGV to ensure strategic and cross boundary impacts are managed effectively during implementation.
This concludes the Council's representation.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 23122

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Basildon Borough Council

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation:

Challenge whether the SA has informed the choices made in the Spatial Strategy, given it states that there was an early intention by Brentwood Council to deliver at least one new large-scale strategic site, which could be judged as artificially limiting the exploration of other plausible and deliverable urban/ village extensions. The lack of a HELAA between 2011-2018 has negatively impacted upon previous Reg18 drafts, which could have evolved differently having been informed by such evidence, demonstrating that other suitable, available and deliverable site options were present. This is unjustified, inconsistent with SO1 and not in accordance with the NPPF.

Change suggested by respondent:

The Sustainability Appraisal should be reviewed to test an alternative strategy which does not include the artificial assumption that at least one new large scale strategic site should be incorporated into the Local Plan and then it should be amended accordingly. The Plan should then be reviewed informed by the outcome.

Full text:

This letter serves as the approved response from Basildon Borough Council to the Brentwood Borough Council's Local Plan Regulation 19 public consultation.
Please be advised that for all of the consultation points below, the Council would like to attend the future oral hearings as part of the Plan's Examination in Public.
As a neighbouring authority, a Duty to Cooperate public body and a key partner in the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA), Basildon Borough Council has taken the opportunity to review and consider the potential implications for the Basildon Borough that may arise from Brentwood Borough Council's Local Plan and determine whether it considers it to be compliant with necessary legislation and whether it meets the tests of soundness.
1) Is the Brentwood Borough Local Plan 2016-2033 legally compliant?
The Council has reviewed the Brentwood Borough Local Plan 2016-2033 and supporting documents. It considers that whilst it disagrees with aspects of the Plan from a soundness perspective that it is however legally compliant.
2) Does the Brentwood Borough Local Plan 2016-2033 meet the tests of soundness?
The Council does not believe that the Brentwood Borough Local Plan 2016-2033 meets the tests of soundness in all of its policy areas. It therefore makes the following 1 representation in support of an aspect of the Plan and 17 representations where it considers the Local Plan is unsound and requires modifications to make it sound.
Supporting Representations
Consultation Point: Chapter 1
Soundness - Effectiveness & Compliance with National Policy
Paragraph 26 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) asserts that effective and on-going joint working between strategic policymaking authorities and relevant bodies is integral to the production of a positively prepared and justified strategy. In particular, it considers that joint working should help to determine where additional infrastructure is necessary, and whether development needs that cannot be met wholly within a particular plan area could be met elsewhere. To demonstrate effective and on-going joint working, strategic policy-making authorities should
planning.policy@brentwood.gov.uk
SERVED BY EMAIL ONLY
prepare and maintain one or more Statements of Common Ground, documenting the cross-boundary matters being addressed and progress in cooperating to address these.
A major step forward for effective cooperation has been the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Essex County, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock Councils to form the ASELA. This has ensured that there is now a more coordinated, collective working on a 'place vision' for the sub region, which recognises one of the key delivery tools will be a statutory Joint Strategic Plan (JSP). A Statement of Common Ground has also been agreed between the ASELA to ensure it is embedded into the Local Development Schemes of all the local planning authorities with resources committed to its preparation during 2019/2021. This will ensure it sets the foundations for planning at a broader spatial level, determining how growth and infrastructure can be better coordinated to positively influence place-making in South Essex and provide a more prosperous area for people to live, work, study and visit. The Statement of Common Ground recognises that the planning landscape of South Essex is not perfect and not all authorities can wait for the JSP to be completed before their Local Plans are advanced. It accepts that the JSP will have to be mindful, in particular of Basildon, Brentwood and Castle Point's and the reality that their Local Plans are already too advanced to be paused.
The Council has noted Brentwood Council's commitment in paragraph 1.13 to work as a member of ASELA on a process to develop a long-term growth ambition that would underpin strategic spatial, infrastructure and economic priorities across the wider sub-region. It is acknowledged that this is in accordance with the South Essex JSP Statement of Common Ground - June 2018; of which Basildon and Brentwood Borough Councils are one of the seven joint signatories.
Work on the JSP is at an early stage with Regulation 18 consultation due to take place during 2019, followed by Regulation 19 in 2020, with examination in public and adoption not expected to be until 2020/2021. It will cover a longer plan period extending to 2038; slightly longer than both the Basildon and Brentwood Local Plans. Paragraph 1.38 of the Brentwood Borough Local Plan references that its own allocations can contribute towards some of the delivery of early growth during the JSP plan-period; a position that is also applicable for the soon to be submitted Basildon Borough Local Plan 2014-2034. It is welcomed that the Brentwood Borough Local Plan has mirrored the intent of the Basildon Borough Local Plan in Paragraphs 1.35-1.38 that following the adoption of the JSP, it may be necessary to review the Plan, at least in part, to ensure any opportunities for additional growth and infrastructure provision in the Borough, that may otherwise be additionally identified in the JSP, can be realised. The Council fundamentally supports this policy approach as meeting the soundness tests of being a) effective and b) in accordance with national policy.
The Council considers this to be compatible to its own position and underpins the collective efforts to get an "effective mechanism" in place to address strategic, cross boundary matters in a more holistic and planned manner that has greater potential to realise positive outcomes to South Essex communities. Looking ahead, the Council embraces the opportunity presented by Brentwood Borough Council being part of the ASELA and the JSP, in order to tackle strategic, cross-boundary matters holistically to ensure sustainable growth solutions are achieved that benefit all communities.
Objecting Representations
Consultation Point: Whole Plan
Soundness - Effectiveness, Justified & Compliance with National Policy
Paragraph 26 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) asserts that effective and on-going joint working between strategic policymaking authorities and relevant bodies is integral to the production of a positively prepared and justified strategy. The Council, as a neighbouring Borough and Duty to Cooperate body, has reviewed and considered previous versions of the Local Plan and its preparatory documents and submitted relevant representations under Regulation 18 consultations. The Council formally wishes to express its disappointment that given fundamental
evidence has been 'in development', but not published during much of its preparation. It has been significantly difficult, therefore, to digest the Plan's rationale and approach as it has evolved. This includes the entire Green Belt Review, Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment, Landscape Sensitivity and Capacity Study, Local Plan Viability Assessment and Transport Assessment which were not published until the month before Brentwood Council considered the Publication Local Plan in November 2018. It is accepted that not all evidence can be completed by each consultation stage and much may remain as a continual draft until Regulation 19, however it is considered this has created a lack of transparency during critical plan-making stages and contributed to the scale of representations from Basildon Council for its Regulation 19 response.
During 2017/2018, officers from Basildon, Thurrock and Essex County Councils, facilitated by an officer from Rochford District Council, jointly sought to understand and address with Brentwood Borough Council how the Brentwood Borough Local Plan, in particular the Dunton Hills Garden Village (DHGV) strategic allocation, could impact on neighbouring authority areas, particularly in terms of infrastructure and service provision. Meetings were held, and correspondence exchanged, in an effort to seek solutions and resolutions to previous Regulation 18 objections/ observations from all three Councils. The intention was to appreciate the evidenced rationale for identifying the DHGV strategic allocation and ensuring neighbouring authorities could engage more effectively to identify and manage cross-boundary impacts. Despite this engagement, it is considered that not all information and assurances sought from Brentwood Borough Council have been provided and this brings into question the soundness of the rationale and choices made in the Brentwood Borough Local Plan.
.
As such, all of Basildon Council's previous responses to Regulation 18 consultations are enclosed as supplementary evidence to the Regulation 19 consultation; affirming that many of the comments made in respects this consultation response have been raised previously, but remain unanswered or inadequately addressed. It is uncertain how the Plan has been informed by this previous input. It is considered that this is not a justified approach and has resulted in a Plan which is less effective at tackling strategic, cross-boundary issues.
Consultation Point: SP02: Managing Growth, Paragraphs 4.15-4.16 and Appendix 1
Soundness - Effectiveness, Justified & Compliance with National Policy
It is acknowledged that Brentwood Borough Council commissioned David Couttie Associates (DCA) in 2013 to undertake a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) and define its Housing Market Area (HMA). This concluded that Brentwood Borough's administrative area was a self-contained HMA. This is different to the Basildon Borough, which is a sub-area (with Castle Point) of the much larger South Essex HMA, which also incorporates Rochford, Southend on Sea and Thurrock. The Brentwood SHMA, which was most recently updated in November 2018, forms part of the evidence base for identifying the Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) for housing in Brentwood Borough. However, NPPF/2019 (published after the Publication Local Plan was approved by Brentwood Borough Council in November 2018, in February 2019) now requires housing needs to be calculated in accordance with the Standard Methodology set out in national Planning Practice Guidance.
Basildon Borough Council has acknowledged that this has seen the OAN for Brentwood Borough change three times over the course of the last year as follows:
* In January 2018, the Brentwood SHMA January 2018 identified an OAN for Brentwood of 380. This was calculated using the SHMA Planning Practice Guidance that underpinned the NPPF/2012;
* In July 2018, NPPF/2018 was launched introducing the standard methodology for calculating objectively assessed housing need. The standard methodology requires the use of the most recently published household projections as the starting point. At that time, the 2014-based CLG Household Projections formed that starting point resulting in an OAN for Brentwood of 452 homes per annum; and
* In September 2018, 2016-based ONS Household Projections were published, revising the starting point for the standard method calculation. For Brentwood Borough, these projections showed a reduced rate of household growth going forward, resulting in a reduced housing requirement for Brentwood of 350 homes per annum.
It has been noted by Basildon Council that the Brentwood Borough Local Plan uses this latest 2016 projection to define the minimum OAN target.
The reduced rate of household growth in the 2016-based ONS Household Projections was highlighted as a nation-wide issue driving down the OAN calculations in around two-thirds of authorities, although not Basildon. This resulted in the standard methodology only identifying around 215,000 homes per annum supply for England against a national policy target of 300,000 homes per annum. Consequently, in October 2018 MHCLG launched a consultation on technical changes to the standard methodology, seeking for authorities to continue using the 2014-based CLG Household Projections in the interim. On the 19 February 2019, the Government's response to this consultation was published indicating that the Government will be making clear in national Planning Practice Guidance that the 2016-based ONS Household Projections should not be used for the standard methodology calculation, and the 2014-based CLG Household Projections should be used instead.
The Brentwood Local Plan therefore, which makes provision for 456 homes per annum does meet just over its full OAN for housing, having regard to the standard methodology calculation of need based on the 2014 CLG Household Projections (452 homes per annum), as explained in required by Planning Practice Guidance (Paragraph: 004 Reference ID: 2a-004-20190220 and Paragraph: 005 Reference ID: 2a-005-20190220) that has been adjusted following the Government's response to the technical consultation.
The Brentwood Local Plan, however, as drafted and approved by Brentwood Council in November 2018, sets out in Paragraphs 4.15-4.16 that the housing target for Brentwood is set at 350 homes per annum and it proposes an annual housing supply buffer of 20% taking total supply of 456 homes per annum. This was considered at the time as offering additional flexibility throughout the plan period. This is now not the case as the 2016-based ONS Household Projections must be discounted, as above, with the baseline reverting to the 2014-based projections. This results in a Plan which will now have an insignificant flexibility in its land supply; a component which was considered justified and fundamental to the Plan's strategy when it was approved in November 2018.
When this new position is viewed alongside the variable housing target, it is considered this could cause the plan to be less effective and justified. The initial housing target of 310 homes per annum between 2016 and 2023, should, according to the Plan, increase to 584 homes per annum beyond 2023. It is noted that this increase is substantially reliant on the new Dunton Hills Garden Village (DHGV) in the Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor, which according to the Housing Trajectory set out in Appendix 1 is expected to commence housing delivery in 2023/24, within the first five years of the Plan. That scheme is expected to deliver at the initial ambitious rate of 100 homes per annum upwards from thereon, reaching 300 homes per annum by 2026. These are considered to be overly optimistic delivery assumptions for such a large scale Green Belt allocation, which whilst mostly in a single land ownership that could facilitate delivery, still requires for the boundaries of the Green Belt to be amended on adoption of the Plan (assuming it is found lawful and sound), detailed masterplanning, essential infrastructure programming on-site and off-site to ensure sustainable development can be achieved. It is not clear from any published evidence how such a delivery rate has been formulated having acknowledged these issues and therefore this is challenged in terms that it is not justified.
Summary: As a result in the change to the NPPF, the Plan also now has very little flexibility within its land supply should anything happen to cause delivery of homes to become delayed during the plan period; which was a fundamental principle to the Plan's strategy approved in November 2018. There is an unjustified over-reliance on DHGV in the Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor to
contribute towards supply at an accelerated rate. The Council therefore objects to Policy SP02, 4.15-4.16 and Appendix 1
Modification: 1) The Local Plan must be adjusted to incorporate previously discounted development sites, particularly in the Central Brentwood Growth Corridor to restore the flexibility in site supply across a broader range of spatial locations, thereby improving the Plan's effectiveness and deliverability. 2) The methodology to the Local Plan's Housing Trajectory needs to be published and open for comment and challenge of its assumptions.
Consultation Point: PC02 and PC03
Soundness - Effectiveness, Justified & Compliance with National Policy
Paragraph 80 of the NPPF establishes that planning policies should help create the conditions in which businesses can invest, expand and adapt. The Council notes the new employment land requirements and job growth needs evidence undertaken by Lichfields in 2018. It is considered the amount of new employment land being provided is broadly sufficient to ensure that the Brentwood Borough meets its overall forecast employment land needs, including forecast new needs and losses from allocations and structural change.
It is considered however that the policy makes the assumption that there are no capacity issues for existing infrastructure, or any needs for supporting infrastructure to be provided and it is considered that this lack of clarity will make the policy ineffective, unjustified and will counteract creating conditions to support business growth which the NPPF seeks. As the Local Plan does with its housing target in Policy SP02 and Appendix 1, PC02 and PC03 should therefore incorporate additional provisions to manage the release and expansion of the locations within the Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor, supported by an Employment Land Trajectory in a new Appendix, to make it more effective, justified and consistent with national policy. The Council therefore objects to Policy PC02 and PC03.
Modifications: PC02 and PC03 should be amended to incorporate a staggered delivery target for new employment land, supported by a new Employment Land Trajectory within the Plan's Appendices, to coordinate the phased release of new and expanded employment land to ensure it can be linked to specific and necessary upgrades to supporting infrastructure. This will minimise the impact growth will have on existing highway routes in particular, which could otherwise impact on cross-boundary issues within the wider South Essex economic corridor.
Specialist Accommodation
Consultation Point: HP07
Soundness - Effectiveness
The Council has noted that the Brentwood Gypsy and Traveller Local Needs Accommodation Assessment 2018 (GTAA) assessed the need for Gypsy and Traveller pitches in Brentwood Borough for the period 2016 to 2033 as being 13 pitches. It acknowledges that there were no Travelling Showpeople identified as living in the Brentwood Borough, so there are no current or future accommodation needs for this community.
The evidence is noted as identifying a requirement of 11 additional Gypsy and Traveller pitches (5 total current need and 6 total future need) to be developed between the period 2016 to 2033 and makes a further 10% allowance for Gypsy and Traveller households whose travelling status was recorded as being "unknown", increasing the need to 12 pitches. It is acknowledged that since the completion of the evidence, one Gypsy and Traveller pitch has been lost through an approved change of use application and to replace this lost pitch, the Plan has added an additional pitch to its target, meaning the total requirement of Gypsy and Traveller pitches is 13 pitches.
Whilst it is noted that Brentwood Council proposes to meet this need through the incorporation of
a minimum 5 Gypsy and Traveller pitches as part of the Dunton Hills Garden Village allocation and through the regularisation of 8 existing pitches elsewhere in the Brentwood Borough. This however implies that 8 pitches will contribute towards meeting current need and only 5 pitches towards future need, when 6 are in fact required. The Council therefore objects to Policy HP07.
Modification: The GTAA identified the need for an additional pitch to meet future needs and therefore whilst the Policy HP07 quotes a minimum of 5 new pitches to be provided within its minimum target, the Plan could be more effective by setting 6 pitches as the target.
Consultation Point: Paragraphs 6.52-6.62
Soundness - Positively Prepared & Effectiveness.
The Council is concerned that there is no acknowledgement in the supporting text to the Brentwood Local Plan as to how it will address any unmet needs arising from Greater Essex authorities for the provision of accommodation for Gypsies, Travellers & Travelling Showpeople should it arise. The Plan should therefore recognise and support the principle of this approach going forward, to ensure that there will be a technical approach in place to support any neighbouring authorities with any potential unmet Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople need. This will ensure that the same process is applied throughout Essex therefore making the plan more positively prepared and effective for Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople communities. The Council therefore objects to Paragraphs 6.52-6.62.
Modification: The Essex Planning Officers' Association Protocol for Unmet Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Needs 2018 has been developed collaboratively across Essex under the Duty to Cooperate, including with Brentwood Borough Council. It should be referenced in the supporting text to Policy HP07 - within Paragraphs 6.52-6.62. This will help ensure that the Plan recognises and supports the principle of this approach going forward, underling the technical approach in place to support how any requests from neighbouring authorities with any potential unmet Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling will be considered in the future and then addressed as necessary through the Plan review process.
Consultation Point: Paragraphs 6.52-6.62
Soundness - Effectiveness and consistent with national policy.
Paragraph 9 of the Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (PPTS) establishes that "...local planning authorities should set pitch targets...which address the likely permanent and transit site accommodation needs of travellers in their area, working collaboratively with neighbouring local planning authorities." There is also no mention however in the Brentwood Local Plan of the strategic and cross-boundary matter of Transit Sites, for which there is a study underway during 2019/2020 by the Essex Planning Officers' Association on behalf of all Greater Essex local planning authorities, including Brentwood Borough. Whilst it has not yet been possible to robustly assess the need for transit sites in Essex due to data inconsistencies across Greater Essex, changes have been made to the unauthorised encampment data collection process and an update to Essex Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Local Needs Accommodation Assessment will follow during 2019/2020 to determine whether any transit sites are needed in Greater Essex to help manage development pressures.
Whilst this cannot be included within Policy HE07 due to uncertainty, given that it is a current strategic matter for the Duty to Cooperate, with work in train to seek a resolution, it is considered more effective, for the Plan as a whole, to indicate how any such needs identified in future updates to the GTAA will be dealt with to make it more effective and consistent with the PPTS. The Council therefore objects to Paragraphs 6.52-6.62.
Modification: The Council considers the Local Plan would be more effective and more consistent with the PPTS if the strategic, cross-boundary issue of transit sites, covered by the Duty to
Cooperate were to be supported by a new paragraph explaining the context behind the issue and that it will be addressed as part of its first review.
Consultation Point: PC08 and Figure 7.7
Soundness - Justified & Effective
The Council notes that Nathaniel Litchfield & Partners prepared a Retail and Commercial Leisure Study (RCLS14) for Brentwood Council in 2014. The study identifies that Brentwood Town Centre as the main shopping centre in Brentwood Borough, with Shenfield, Ingatestone and Warley Hill providing smaller scale District Centres offering more local services, whilst smaller communities are supported by a number of village shops/local parades. The relationship between Brentwood Town Centre and larger competing centres including Basildon Town Centre is also noted, which is consistent with the Council's own evidence set out in the South Essex Retail Study 2017.
It is also acknowledged however that the Local Plan's settlement hierarchy proposes that DHGV Village and West Horndon will incorporate District Centres, similar in scale and role to Shenfield and Ingatestone. Figure 7.7 suggests this will apply to just DHGV, but caveats that this may change as a result of masterplanning or new evidence. Whilst the Council accepts that some form of local centre provision that could provide local shopping, community facilities and healthcare facilities would be a sustainable approach to the planning of any new community, helping to reduce the need to travel to larger centres to meet community needs, the positioning of the Garden Village needs to consider how it could impact on other centres and facilities in the locality, including those outside the Brentwood Borough, which may be closer and higher-order than other Brentwood Borough alternatives.
The Council cannot determine from any of Brentwood's published evidence as to what assessments have been carried out to determine the likely impact of installing new District Centres in West Hordon or DHGV on Basildon Borough's Laindon Town Centre. Assuming a central location within the site, DHGV District Centre would be around 2km to its west and West Hordon is only one stop by rail. Laindon Town Centre is the Basildon Borough's smallest town centre, which is currently undergoing a multi-million pound regeneration by Swan Housing Association to redevelop it into a new mixed use commercial and residential development called Laindon Place. It already provides a health centre, community centre, police station and library, which are all set to remain.
It is not considered acceptable as set out in footnote 10 to Figure 7.7 that the "the designation of the DHGV service centre(s) as a District Shopping Centre and/or Local Centre(s) and any subsequent Primary Shopping Area could be altered further by the South Brentwood Masterplan as this should remain a function of policy and not be delegated. The Council therefore objects to Policy PC08 and Figure 7.7.
Modification: Footnote 10 of Figure 7.7 should be amended to remove reference to the South Brentwood Masterplan as the role and order of the designated centre should be established by policy only. The Plan should have been informed by evidence which has tested cross-boundary impacts of installing new District Centres in close proximity to nearby centres including Laindon Town Centre and what measures will be taken in policy to limit any impact. If this evidence does not exist, the District Centre should be removed from DHGV, retaining some local centre provision to ensure DHGV can be sustainable and to enable the Plan to be effective and justified.
Consultation Point: Chapter 3, Chapter 6, Chapter 7 and Sustainability Appraisal
Soundness - Justified and consistent with national policy.
Paragraph 16 of the NPPF advises amongst other things that Plans should be prepared with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. The Local Plan's Spatial Strategy is termed "Transit-orientated Growth", concentrating growth in the Local Plan in two transit corridors running through the borough. The 'Central Brentwood Growth Corridor', with the
A12, the Great Eastern Main Line to London Liverpool Street Station, and the Elizabeth Line; and the 'Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor', with the A127 and the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway to London Fenchurch Street Station.
The Local Plan states that the site selection process for the housing allocations has been based upon the Spatial Strategy, and a sequential approach to selecting sites for development. It is accepted that this approach is intended to maximise brownfield redevelopment opportunities and support growth within compatible locations.
The Council acknowledges that Brentwood Borough Council has now published much of its previously missing evidence as set out in previous Regulation 18 representations. The Council is not satisfied that the Plan has been adequately informed by its evidence, and it questions whether the Spatial Strategy reached is therefore justified and consistent with national policy.
The Council has noted the two Growth Corridors. It has reflected however that there are fundamental distinctions between them, which do not appear to have influenced site selection choices in a justified way. The Central Brentwood Growth Corridor is the location of nationally and regionally managed and maintained infrastructure - the A12 & M25 (Highways England) and Elizabeth Line (maintained by Network Rail and operated by Transport for London) and East Anglia Line (maintained by Network Rail and operated by Abellio East Anglia), which helps to put this investment into use through the growth locations. The South Brentwood Growth Corridor, whilst at its far west includes the M25, the remainder of the corridor consists the A127 (maintained by Essex County Council) and Essex Thameside Line (maintained by Network Rail and operated by c2c). It is not considered they offer comparable choices in terms of the capacity of these transport connections and the Central Brentwood Growth Corridor, by the presence of nationally and regionally maintained infrastructure.
In reviewing the appropriateness of the Spatial Strategy, an important element of the Plan's Sustainability Appraisal involves appraising 'reasonable alternatives' to inform development of the Plan. Four reasonable site alternatives in the Central Brentwood Corridor have been disregarded (AECOM Sustainability Apprial - Table 5.2), despite having few constraints and being able to tap into the potential for movement capacity offered by this superior corridor. This is considered to be in conflict with sustainable development when sites which have significant constraints to development or delivery have been included within the Plan, at the expense of sites which have fewer constraints. This raises fundamental concerns about the Plan's spatial distribution of growth and whether it has made the most of the capacity in this alternative corridor, before embarking on a new standalone settlement at DHGV in the Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor. The Council has noted that four sites on Table 5.2 of the Sustainability Appraisal have the potential to deliver 2,200 homes through extensions to villages, thereby questioning the need for a new settlement of the scale envisaged to deal with growth in the plan-period, which it considers means the Spatial Strategy is unjustified. The Council therefore objects to Chapter 3, the Sustainability Appraisal and land use allocations in Chapter 6 and 7.
Modification: Using the Sustainability Appraisal and other evidence, the Plan should select sites within the Central Brentwood Growth Corridor that provide opportunity for extensions to towns and villages that can encourage more sustainable travel choices and take advantage of the superior infrastructure available. This should help encourage commuting behaviour to shift away from private car use and therefore make this location a more sustainable and viable option to concentrate growth. Chapter 3 should be modified as a result along with all land use allocations in Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.
Consultation Point: Sustainability Appraisal
Soundness - Justified and consistent with national policy.
Paragraph 16 of the NPPF advises amongst other things that Plans should be prepared with the objective of contribution to the achievement of sustainable development. The Council challenges whether the Sustainability Appraisal has informed the choices made in the Spatial Strategy as
required by national policy, given it states that there was an early intention by Brentwood Council to deliver at least one new large-scale strategic site, which could be judged as artificially limiting the exploration of other plausible and deliverable urban/ village extensions. It is considered that Brentwood Council's lack of a Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) between 2011 and 2018 has negatively impacted upon previous Regulation 18 drafts, which could have evolved differently having been informed by such evidence, demonstrating that other suitable, available and deliverable site options were present. This is unjustified, not consistent with the Plan's Strategic Objective SO1 and not in accordance with the NPPF. The Council therefore objects to the Sustainability Appraisal.
Modification: The Sustainability Appraisal should be reviewed to test an alternative strategy which does not include the artificial assumption that at least one new large scale strategic site should be incorporated into the Local Plan and then it should be amended accordingly. The Plan should then be reviewed informed by the outcome.
Consultation Point: BE11 and Paragraphs 5.106
The Council has reviewed the Brentwood Borough Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) accompanying the Local Plan. It is acknowledged that this is intended to be a 'live' working document, much the same as the Basildon Borough IDP.
Paragraph 5.105 acknowledges that in respects of the South Brentwood Growth Corridor "...the provision of sustainable transport in this area is poor". The Council considers that it is surprising therefore that there are no specific highway mitigation measures provided in the Plan, just a statement that "the Council will work proactively with developers, key stakeholder and service providers to implement...new measures which would seek to mitigate transport impacts of sites on the highway infrastructure...". Whilst it is acknowledged within the Plan of the joint working being undertaken by ASELA, and the A127 Task Force for the Route Management Strategies and Joint Strategic Plan, both of which are supported by Basildon Council. The Council does however consider that highway modelling should have been tested to determine impact in development locations in Brentwood Borough, so it can be clear in policy terms how negative impacts are being mitigated and therefore prove that the Plan's spatial choices are reasonable in sustainability terms. It is questionable whether it can be adequately demonstrated by the Brentwood Local Plan that the allocations chosen, represent the most sustainable option without identifying and testing the viability of specific highway mitigation measures that will be necessary to make them deliverable and sustainable. Without this work, Brentwood Borough could find its ability to unlock the capacity to deliver new communities and homes, particularly at an accelerated pace as suggested in Appendix 1, becomes hindered by a lack of infrastructure capacity and outline solutions to overcome them. It is not considered that Policy BE11 is therefore effective at delivering the Plan's Strategic Objectives.
It is noted that Paragraph 5.106-5.107 acknowledges the Lower Thames Crossing and the outline concept of its preferred route and that it is not expected to have a direct impact on Brentwood Borough in terms of land safeguarding. It is however suggested that the Plan also acknowledges that following the engagement of authorities in Essex, including Basildon Borough Council, Highways England has accepted that its impact modelling was deficient in determining how driver behaviour in South Essex and further afield could alter when the scheme opens. This is particularly an issue for this Plan, as its includes land allocations in West Horndon and the DHGV along the A127 corridor, which will be within a reasonable proximity to the Lower Thames Crossing and could therefore be impacted by it. It should be recognised that Highways England are now taking steps to incorporate growth proposals set out in Local Plans in the vicinity to address this point and identify any measures needed to the scheme or nearby routes to mitigate any adverse impacts. The Council therefore objects to Policy BE11 and Paragraphs 5.106.
Modification: 1) BE11 and the land allocations should have been informed by highway modelling that tests highway mitigation solutions to mitigate impact caused by development. This work should be repeated and the Plan amended in light of its findings.
2) Paragraph 5.106 should be amended to include reference that local authorities have secured additional testing within the Lower Thames Crossing modelling being undertaken by Highways England to determine the extent of local impacts on the road network arising from Local Plan growth.
Consultation Point: R01 & HP01
Soundness - Justified
The DHGV is within close proximity of the administrative boundaries with Basildon & Thurrock Boroughs and it is considered that there may be implications for the future geographical extent of both the Brentwood and South Essex Housing Market Areas as the housing markets evolve.
Furthermore, the policy requirements of the Plan are informed by data collected from Brentwood Borough, or its population; the significant majority of which is located away from this area to the north. Consequently, there is a difference in what might be delivered in DHGV compared to what could be delivered just slightly to the east in Basildon Borough; which might distort the housing markets as they adjust to the new development taking place around the boundary. The following table has been prepared using Figure 6.1 from the Plan and the South Essex Strategic Housing Market Assessment that has informed the Basildon Borough Local Plan 2014-2034 and it is considered both these SHMA's should instead be used to inform the housing mix policy for DHGV. The Council therefore objects to Policy R01 and HP01.
Modification: It is considered the stark contrast between the house size requirements for Basildon and Brentwood in DHGV, which is on a boundary location, means it needs to have taken into account the South Essex SHMA in determining the housing mix for DHGV so that it can better sit within the landscape of the strategic context of South Essex, which is not reflective of the wider Brentwood Borough HMA. Policy HP01 and R01 should be amended in light of this.
Consultation Point: R01(D)(h)
Soundness - Justified and consistent with national policy.
The Council has noted that Policy R01(D)(h) has set a target to retain 50% of the strategic allocation for green and blue infrastructure. Given the location is over 259ha, it is agreed that this helps enshrine the Garden Community values within the policies which will guide the masterplan and the site's development. However, the Council questions whether this is intended to be a permanent resource, given it also determines that a further 2,300 homes could be brought forward in the strategic location after 2033; taking its indicative total to around 4,000 homes. It is considered that if it is not explained clearly in any published evidence, as to whether any of the retained space for green and blue infrastructure would need to be used to meet this higher development scale after 2033. The Council's understanding of this, is frustrated by a lack of published evidence on DHGV, which would enable Basildon Borough to effectively understand the nature, extent and potential implications (positive or negative) of its proposals for DHGV. This would make the policy more justified and compliant with national policy. The Council therefore objects to Policy R01(D)(h).
Modification: Clarify within R01 and its supporting text whether the Green Infrastructure proposed to amount to 50% of the land area is a permanent resource or whether the projected growth in the area beyond the plan-period would need to utilise any of the green infrastructure for growth. If the latter, the percentage should be adjusted accordingly.
Consultation Point: SP02, R01 and Paragraph 8.83-8.84
Soundness - Justified
The Council welcomes the publication of the Brentwood Borough Green Belt Study 2018. It is acknowledged that this comprises two parts; Part 1 is a full Green Belt assessment parcelling up the Green Belt and Part 2 as a separate site assessment of individual sites promoted through the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA). This is a similar format to the Basildon Borough Green Belt Study.
For Part 1, a scale of high - low was used to assess the contribution 70 separate parcels made to the Green Belt. The DHGV parcel (17) score "Moderate - High". It was one of 21 parcels to score "Moderate - High". 19 parcels scored "High". The remainder scored lower.
In respect of the tests, Parcel 17 was assessed as follows:
* Purpose 1 - to check unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas: Not contained i.e. development would constitute urban sprawl (red)
* Purpose 2 - to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another: Important
countryside gap between settlements (amber)
Purpose 3 - to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment: Functional countryside (red)
Purpose 4 - to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns: Limited relationship with a historic town. (green)
The Council does not consider it to be clear however, from the published methodology, as to why having scored highly in relation to the Purpose 1 and Purpose 3, as to why this parcel is assessed as making a "moderate to high" contribution to Green Belt purposes, when there are other parcels which make high contributions towards two of the purposes have been assessed as making a "high" contribution towards Green Belt purposes; and are therefore valued to a greater degree as serving towards the purpose of Green Belt.
In respects of Part 2 assessment, the DHGV allocation (Site 200) was assessed alongside other HELAA sites. A total of 92 sites were assessed. The DHGV site assessment matches the entire Parcel 17 assessed in Part 1. Five sites were assessed as making a "high" contribution towards Green Belt purposes. A further 18 sites were assessed as making a "moderate to high contribution". Site 200 - 'Entire land east of A128, south of A127' was assessed as making a "moderate to high" contribution. The remaining 69 sites were assessed as making a less significant contribution to Green Belt purposes.
The DHGV site was assessed as follows:
* Purpose 1 - to check unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas: Not contained i.e. development would constitute urban sprawl (red)
* Purpose 2 - to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another: Would result in significant separation reduction (amber)
* Purpose 3 - to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment: Functional countryside (red)
* Purpose 4 - to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns: Limited relationship with historic town (green)
The outcomes of Part 2 are considered to be consistent with Part 1. However, it is not clear from the methodology as to why given the site scored highly in relation to Purpose 1 and Purpose 3,
this parcel is then assessed as only making a "moderate to high" contribution to Green Belt purposes, when it could potentially have been assessed as making a "high" contribution for those reasons.
The Council recognise that there is now, no longer an issue with missing evidence in this regard, which it had repeatedly raised in previous Regulation 18 consultation responses. However, the Council considers that the issue now is one of how the Green Belt evidence has informed the Plan. It is not clear how the policy judgements arrived at have considered that development in this strategic gap, which helps prevent settlement coalescence can be adequately mitigated. The Council does not believe that when accounting for this evidence that the Plan has reached a justified position in respects of whether the Green Belt evidence has informed the Local Plan policies, to the degree which the proposals in the DHGV area are set out. The Council therefore objects to Policy SP02, R01 and Paragraphs 8.83-8.84.
Modification: The Plan should demonstrate in more detail, through a tool such as a Topic Paper, how its site selection choices have been informed by the Green Belt Study 2018 and should any inconsistencies occurs the Plan's land use allocations and justification should be changed.
Consultation Point: Paragraph 9.36 and R01(II)
Soundness - Justified & Effective
Brentwood Council will be aware from joint Duty to Cooperate meetings with elected members and officers that during 2017, efforts were made by both Basildon and Brentwood Councils to determine whether a West Basildon urban extension could be delivered in the Basildon Borough Local Plan, alongside DHGV, whilst maintaining a sense of visual separation between both developments. To this end, a joint Dunton Area Landscape Corridor Design Options Study was commissioned by both Councils, which I have enclosed as evidence against this representation, to consider how both Council's Green Belt and land management policies, either side of the boundary, could be coordinated in this location going forward. This was to also help determine whether it was possible for DHGV to co-exist with development in West Basildon without causing harm to heritage and environmental assets within Basildon Borough.
The Council has noted that the Plan does now includes specific references that the joint borough boundary needs a degree of landscape and Green Belt treatment to maintain a visual separation with the edge of Basildon Borough, but it does not elaborate as to how this will be achieved. The Council therefore finds its disappointing that this joint study does not form part of the referenced and published evidence base for the Plan, nor do the outcomes from this work appear to have informed Policy R01(II) as sought through the earlier Duty to Cooperate engagement. The Council therefore objects to Policy R01(II) and Paragraph 9.36.
Modification: The measures set out in the Joint Dunton Area Landscape Corridor Design Options 2017 should be acknowledged in Paragraph 9.36 and incorporated into Policy 9.36 to make it more justified and effective at mitigating the impact the development would otherwise have on the Basildon Borough. This would lead to an effective policy outcome identified as being necessary during Duty to Cooperate engagement to manage this cross-boundary issue. It is considered that as a matter of principle, this would help address the Council's previous Regulation 18 objections as to how the boundary would be treated and how the new community could exist side by side the existing smaller settlement of Dunton Wayletts in the Basildon Borough.
Consultation Point: SP04 and R01(I)
Soundness - Effectiveness, Justified & Compliance with National Policy
It is noted that the Plan assumes that all commuters will use West Horndon railway station and other areas in Brentwood Borough to access a means of travelling to other places. It fails however to investigate the possible impacts on Basildon Borough's road and rail infrastructure, as a
neighbouring authority, arising from commuters or other road users choosing to access facilities within the Basildon Borough instead.
The Transport Assessment (PBA, 2018) discusses measures to ensure more effective bus access to and from West Horndon Station - serving an area including the new DHGV, as well as other employment sites within South Brentwood Growth Corridor. It is noted however that the need for new connections into Basildon Borough in terms of walking, cycling, public transport or road do not appear to be mentioned as being necessary to make it sustainable.
The Brentwood Borough IDP states that a new multi-modal interchange will be created at West Horndon Station. This will serve the DHGV, Childerditch, West Horndon and Enterprise Development sites. It also mentions the possibility that this could serve any future northern Thurrock developments. The Plan states that, the proposed DHGV settlement's transport mitigation measures will include potential dedicated bus route(s) connecting the development with West Horndon station and improvements at West Horndon station for vehicular, segregated cycle and public transport access from surrounding developments, as well as cycle storage and a bus interchange facility. The Council is therefore confused that in seeking to mitigate DHGV's impacts on the surrounding areas there is no mention of any impact being evaluated as spilling over into Basildon Borough and needing its own mitigation.
Laindon railway station, with three platforms and starter trains has greater commutable capacity than West Horndon and could become an alternative choice for residents within DHGV, despite a lack of new connections hampering their ability to make that choice easily without driving, via the A127. Whilst the Plan seeks to make provision for a new interchange at West Horndon to capture these movements more locally, should commuters still seek to use alternative stations including those outside of the Brentwood Borough such as Laindon, this will lead to increase demands on those stations' facilities, particularly parking, as well as the routes to get to them. Policy SP04 does set out the approach required by Paragraph 34 of the NPPF, but it does not explicitly mention that it has accounted for the spatial context of DHGV and the existing spatial form of the Brentwood Borough, where its higher-order settlements are further to the north. It does not state that it will support the possibility of developer contributions being used to mitigate this impact outside the Brentwood Borough in higher-order settlements which are closer that Brentwood Borough's own settlements, but outside the Brentwood Borough. This is considered to disregard how new residents living in the DHGV could behave in the future in seeking to access services and how this impact will therefore be adequately mitigated.
It seems that it an effort for the new DHGV to be self-sustaining, as set out in Paragraph 9.14, it has meant the Plan remains unclear, as to how it will relate to its neighbouring areas, particularly in terms of access and connectivity. This is considered a core sustainability principle for new developments and whether in exercising that choice, its residents will use what is to be provided within Brentwood Borough remains to be seen. They could use alternative routes (namely the A127 and West Mayne into Laindon) to access different facilities already available in closer higher order settlements outside Brentwood Borough. Considering that there are existing services that are already shared between the Borough's residents, e.g. schools, it is considered essential for a more practical and pragmatic approach to be adopted should the DHGV be permitted, including the policy reality that until such a time as the critical mass for new homes is established on-site, it is more likely that Basildon Borough's facilities in Laindon will be picking up the demands of new users arising from the neighbouring Brentwood Borough in the short-medium term.
There is no evidence presented by Brentwood Borough Council which indicates that DHGV's growth demands have been evaluated, in combination, with the projected demands arising from the Basildon Borough Local Plan. The Plan should not assume that such growth can just be absorbed by the nearby infrastructure and services in Basildon Borough and investment through developer contributions will be necessary. The infrastructure in the Basildon Borough has been evaluated for its capacity, its ability to grow and the scale of investment necessary to accommodate the growth in the Basildon Borough Local Plan to enable the Basildon growth to occur and there has not been enough information published during Regulation 18 (as set out in previous
representations) to be able to incorporate any testing of Brentwood's growth in as well. The Council therefore objects to Policy SP04 and R01(II).
Modification: The Plan should be modified to recognise that some impacts are likely to be cross-boundary and additional provisions should be incorporated into SP04 and RO1(I) that will support using S106/CIL arising from development in Brentwood Borough to be used for investment outside the Brentwood Borough, where it can be proven that there is reasonable likelihood of a direct or residual impacts otherwise being caused that need to be mitigated. This will make the Plan more effective, justified and in accordance with national policy.
Consultation Point: R01(I) and Appendix 1
Soundness - Justified & Effective
The Council notes the housing trajectory included within the Plan at Appendix 1. With regards to DHGV it is assumed that delivery will commence in 2022/23 (within the next five years) at a rate of 100 homes per annum, climbing to 300 homes per annum by 2026/27. As set out in earlier representations in respects of housing supply, this seems overly optimistic given that the allocation is currently within the extent of the Green Belt, requires masterplanning and will need to go through a planning application and elements of the condition discharge process before development on site can even commence. Development commencement on-site meanwhile, will be reliant on essential utility and infrastructure provision. No evidence is provided alongside the Plan, or within the associated Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA), as to how the housing trajectory in general has been developed. Furthermore, there is no specific evidence published setting out the evidence base, or any form of a development framework/ masterplan for the DHGV that explains how the proposed accelerated rate of delivery will be possible to achieve.
The Council considers that the speed and level of growth in this boundary location may have implications for Basildon Borough's own housing market and risks the ability for it to be able to deliver housing at the rates necessary for its own housing trajectory. Early residents of the DHGV will rely on some services and facilities outside the village to meet their initial needs, unless these facilities were all to be front-loaded and wait for the population to gradually build up to make full use of them. As an example, the DHGV will require new primary and secondary school provision. However, whilst the Brentwood IDP shows the primary provision in particular being delivered early, it is understood to not be economically viable to operate a school with low pupil numbers, and it may be the case that the village grows for a number of years with these pupils travelling to other schools in the locality (principally within the Basildon Borough), whilst operational primary and then secondary education provision is secured and the village becomes more self-sufficient. The Council therefore objects to Policy R01(I) and Appendix 1.
Modification: The Council therefore seeks for evidence to be provided demonstrating the realistic delivery trajectory for DHGV so that the potential short-medium term pressures on services and facilities in nearby settlements can be assessed, understood and planned for by service providers and neighbouring authorities. This will help ensure adequate mitigation provisions can be put in place to reduce any potential negative impacts on Basildon Borough residents living nearby. This will make the Plan justified and effective.
Consultation Point: R01(II)
Soundness - Effectiveness
Notwithstanding that the Council objects to many of the fundamental soundness principles of the DHGV, the Council would like to seek assurances written into Policy R01(II) that it will be invited by Brentwood Borough Council to become more involved in the detailed design and delivery of the new village. This will ensure that the strategic and cross-boundary impacts covered by the Duty to Cooperate and raised during the Council's response to the Plan at Regulation 18 and 19 stages are managed effectively during the development's implementation stages (assuming it is
considered sound), alongside the Basildon Borough Local Plan's own implementation. The Council therefore objects to Policy R01(II).
Modification: The Council would like a criterion added into Policy R01(II) under a new heading "Collaborative Approach" that will make it a requirement for neighbouring authorities to be engaged during the detailed design stages of DHGV to ensure strategic and cross boundary impacts are managed effectively during implementation.
This concludes the Council's representation.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 23639

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Countryside Properties

Agent: Andrew Martin Planning Ltd

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation:

The SA does not fully support the proposed spatial strategy and cannot be said to have informed the Plan. Throughout the preparation of the Plan, the Council has maintained its intention to deliver at least one large-scale, strategic site for a mixed scheme of housing and employment. The SA identifies two options: West Horndon and DHGV. DHGV was chosen as the preferred option mainly as a result of the Council despite this is contrary to the accompanying evidence base which appears to lend greater support to growth adjoinging the existing settlement of West Horndon.

Change suggested by respondent:

The SA and evidence base do not support the spatial strategy for growth set out in the Local Plan. The Local Plan process should be suspended to allow a fundamental review of the SA.

Full text:

We find the plan to be unsound, not legally compliant and failing in its Duty to Cooperate, as set out in the statement below.

1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1.1 Work on the emerging Local Plan for Brentwood Borough commenced back in 2009. Andrew Martin-Planning has made representations to each key stage in the plan-making process on behalf of Countryside Properties, in respect of land to the east of West Horndon. We attach past representations as appendices because they continue to be relevant and demonstrate that land at West Horndon represents the most sustainable location for strategic growth in the Borough to meet development needs over the Plan period 2016 - 2033.
1.2 Representations to date have argued that Brentwood Borough Council (BBC) has progressed its local plan without the benefit of a complete, robust and up-to-date evidence base. Furthermore the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) does not fully support the spatial strategy for growth proposed in the Local Plan. The SA cannot be said to have informed the production of the Pre-Submission Local Plan. We submit that this continues to be the position.
1.3 The emerging Local Plan has struggled to identify land for strategic growth in a Borough where 89% lies within the Green Belt. The latest version of the Plan acknowledges that it is not possible to identify a 5-year housing land supply (paragraph 4.18). A greater proportion of the required homes will therefore have to be delivered beyond 2023.
1.4 The Council's problem in identifying land for housing is compounded by recent sanctions imposed by the Government under the 2018 Housing Delivery Test introduced in the revised National Planning Policy Framework. The total number of homes required in the Borough over a three year period up to April 2018 was 933. The Council only delivered 474 homes, i.e. 51% of its target. Consequently it is now required to produce an Action Plan showing how it intends to boost delivery and must have a 20% buffer on its housing land supply.
1.5 Throughout the preparation of the Plan the Council has maintained its intention to deliver at least one large-scale, strategic site for a mixed scheme of housing and employment. Various strategic site options have been examined over the years and the latest SA to the Brentwood Local Plan Pre-Submission document, February 2019, confirms :
"there is now a refined understanding of those sites that are genuine ('reasonable') contenders for allocation through the Local Plan. Specifically at the current time there is a need to give close consideration to two options:
* Dunton Hills Garden Village (DHGV)....
* West Horndon..."
1.6 Although these two sites are said to remain in contention, the Local Plan has chosen DHGV as its preferred option for growth. This is contrary to the accompanying evidence base which appears to lend greater support to growth adjoinging the existing settlement of West Horndon. We argue that the Local Plan is unsound because it is not accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal that supports the Brentwood Local Plan spatial strategy for growth. The SA prepared by AECOM is quite simply unable to rule out strategic development at West Horndon as a viable alternative solution to growth in the Borough. It therefore remains in contention. The SA finds favour in DHGV over West Horndon, only in terms of the scale of housing that can be provided. We and others submit that there is no evidence to suggest that the scale of development proposed at Dunton Hills can be delivered.
1.7 A Joint Spatial Plan for authorities in South Essex (Including Brentwood, Thurrock, Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford and Southend on Sea ) is in the early stages of preparation. This will be an important document that encompasses several local authorities that are struggling to meet their growth needs in predominantly Green Belt areas. Brentwood Borough Council's attempts to create a cross boundary settlement with Basildon at Dunton Hills has failed, but more recent proposals for a new settlement on land at Thurrock, centred on West Horndon, are a feasible alternative as proposed in Thurrock Council's emerging Local Plan (Issues and Options Stage 2). It provides the opportunity to address the need for housing in the context of a probable shortfall across the South Essex Strategic Housing Market Area. Through the Duty to Cooperate procedure authorities like Thurrock could contribute towards meeting any unmet housing needs from Brentwood within a proposed new settlement centred on West Horndon.
1.8 Growth at West Horndon rather than Dunton Hills has historically been supported by Thurrock and Basildon in their response to the emerging Plan for Brentwood. Reasons include its proximity to existing infrastructure such as a railway station, less impact in landscape terms and in relation to the key purposes of the Green Belt, such as coalescence (with Basildon). Crucially, land at West Horndon would be able to deliver much needed housing in the first five years of the Local Plan.
1.9 Strategic infrastructure proposals for Brentwood or Thurrock should not be considered in isolation from wider strategic infrastructure proposals, specifically the options and final decision on the Lower Thames Crossing.

2.0 LOCAL PLAN HOUSING REQUIREMENT
2.1 The Brentwood Local Plan, February 2019 maintains that housing need in the Borough, based on the NPPF July 2018, should be set at a minimum of 350 homes per annum. With an uplift of 20% this rises to 456 dwellings per annum. Given recent poor performance in reaching its housing target (over the three year period to April 2018 it delivered only 51% of its required housing), the Government has identified the Authority as one that must put in place an Action Plan to state how it will boost housing and apply a 20% uplift.
2.2 Whilst Local Housing need will be the subject of ongoing debate and analysis through the examination of the Local Plan, what the Plan does not dispute is its current failure to identify a five year housing land supply as required by government guidance. Consequently a greater proportion of required homes will be delivered beyond 2023 (paragraphs 4.18 to 4.21).
2.3 From an overall minimum requirement of 7752 homes over the plan period, some 35% (2,700 homes) is proposed to be located within a new settlement at Dunton Hills, which is not supported by evidence to demonstrate deliverability and viability. As more need is identified in the Borough this proposed new settlement is being called upon to absorb an ever increasing number of new homes. In November 2018 when the Regulation 19 Plan was considered by Full Council, some 19 amendments were proposed including ones to remove certain housing allocations such as land at Honeypot Lane, resolving simply to reallocate lost housing (some 200+ homes) to DHGV "so that there is no net loss to the overall plan". Discussion between members simply referred to the promoters of DHGV stating that they have agreed to accommodate the extra number of homes. The proper justification for such a significant change to the plan is absent.
2.4 The Plan places great emphasis on the fact that DHGV was announced by the Government as one of 14 proposed Garden Villages back in January 2017 and that the Council received funding to take this forward. In reality such an investment is made at the risk of the planning and legal processes which may conclude that the proposals go no further. This has been demonstrated in the case of the North Essex new settlement proposals where a Local Plan inspector found that significant further work is required to justify the Garden Community proposals. They have not been shown to be viable and deliverable. It could be argued that the proposals for DHGV will suffer the same problems.
2.5 Lessons can be learned from emerging Local Plans for nearby/adjoining authorities and their proposals for key strategic sites. A Post Hearing Note issued by the Local Plan Inspector appointed to examine the London Borough of Havering Plan casts doubt over the spatial strategy for growth and issues surrounding housing land supply. It queries the SA and various options examined, together with the assessment of the alternatives. The evidence drawn upon by the Council to reach its conclusions is queried. The Inspector has also expressed concern that the Plan does not demonstrate sufficient housing land supply to cover the 15 year period, nor has the Council been able to demonstrate that it has sufficient sites to provide a 5 year supply. The Housing Trajectory is queried. The Council is asked to justify its expectations in relation to delivery of key sites and assumptions in relation to infrastructure requirements. Brentwood could be accused of being similarly vague in terms of the proposed delivery of DHGV, on several counts.
2.6 The Uttlesford Local Plan has recently been submitted for examination and initial questions by the appointed Inspectors raise concerns about potential gaps in the timing and funding of large critical infrastructure associated with the proposed Garden Communities that are central to the overarching strategy of the Plan, in particular the delivery of housing. DHGV is beset with the same problem of a lack of technical evidence to support the proposed new settlement.
2.7 As the 2019 SA of the Brentwood Plan confirms, the adjoining authority of Basildon questions whether the scale of development proposed at Dunton, which amounts to over a third of the Borough's entire housing provision for the plan period, could be supported by infrastructure, in the absence of a clear delivery plan. The adjacent authority of Thurrock cites a lack of technical evidence and failure to test fully all the reasonable options given the decision to rely on a new settlement rather than urban extensions closer to existing infrastructure.
2.7 There is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the Local Plan housing requirement can be met by the spatial strategy for growth proposed in the Draft Local Plan.

3.0 SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL
3.1 The SA is clear that both DHGV and West Horndon remain in contention as strategic site options to meet growth needs in Brentwood. The SA has been undertaken by AECOM who clarifiy in the section entitled "Establishing the Preferred Option" that it comprises text that "is the response of Council Officers to the alternatives appraisal". As we have stated in previous representations to the emerging Plan, the only real support for DHGV to justify its elevation to a 'preferred allocation' is that the scheme is supported by the Council. Consultation on DHGV has led to wide-scale objection from the public and key stakeholders which the Council has chosen to ignore. Various positives and negatives of DHGV and West Horndon are set out in the SA, concluding that Dunton Hills provides the opportunity for a larger and comprehensive scheme. The SA acknowledges proposals for a new settlement in the north of Thurrock where it adjoins West Horndon but rejects these on the basis that "this proposal is at such an early stage of formulation that it cannot be considered to be a potential issue or constraint in delivering DHGV".
3.2 It has been difficult for the Council and its advisers to dismiss land at West Horndon as a reasonable alternative because it represents a more sustainable location for growth than DHGV, as confirmed in various evidence base documents and summarised in the SA. Unlike DHGV, it can deliver houses in the first five years of the plan and in conjunction with land in Thurrock is capable of exceeding housing need going forward.
3.3 The only reason DHGV is selected as the preferred option for growth is its perceived ability to provide a greater number of new homes. As we have stated above there is no firm evidence to demonstrate this.
3.4 AECOM has recently been appointed by Uttlesford District Council to review the SA to its Local Plan. This follows the report of the Inspector who considered the Joint Section One Plan for the North Essex Authorities and his concerns regarding the SA process it was subject to. UDC felt that a review of its SA was necessary because of similarities between the NEA Plan and Uttlesford in terms of their reliance on Garden Communities. AECOM identified a number of concerns in relation to the objectivity of the SA for the Uttlesford Local Plan, and assumptions made for its Garden Community options. In particular the SA is said to have relied on what was being proposed by developers/promoters of the key strategic sites, raising concerns about the fairness and consistency of the appraisal. The same criticism could be levelled at the SA of the Brentwood Plan that relies without question upon the word of CEG as the promoter of DHGV.
3.5 Representations to the Draft Local Plan, Sustainability Appraisal and evidence base submitted by AM-P on behalf of Countryside Properties in March 2018 are attached at Appendix 1. These refer to the Interim SAR of January 2018 and 2016, and remain relevant. Appraisal of the spatial strategy alternatives in versions of the SA over time, demonstrate differing results for which there is no justification. By way of example we compare the summary tables from the 2016 SAR and that for January 2019. Under several topics the score for West Horndon has been downgraded in the most recent appraisal, without proper explanation. Despite this it has still not been possible for the Council and its technical advisors to dismiss West Horndon as a sustainable location for growth. In landscape terms development at West Horndon would have significantly less impact than that at Dunton. DHGV continues to be preferred (albeit AECOM confirm this as an officer view) because it is seen as an answer to the Council's housing supply problems. The latest proposals by Thurrock on land to the south of West Horndon throw a different light on the SA conclusions.

4.0 THE EVIDENCE BASE
4.1 The evidence base to the Local Plan is in part outdated, and incomplete.
Transportation
4.2 The Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) has no date on it. The chapter on transport and movement refers to ongoing studies on the A12 and A127 key routes and the proposed route of the Lower Thames Crossing. Work so far finds that main junctions on the A127 are operating significantly over capacity.
4.3 The SA confirms that ECC withholds support until the appropriate highway modelling has been undertaken to assess site specific and cumulative impacts of developments on the local and wider highway network. Furthermore, highway network considerations must be a foremost consideration when arriving at reasonable spatial strategy alternatives.
4.4 The Transport Assessment of the Brentwood Local Plan was undertaken by Peter Brett Associates in October 2018. This confirms in paragraphs 1.2.3 to 1.2.5 that in respect of the A127 corridor for growth, a number of studies are progressing, being led by ECC. Within the A127 Corridor for Growth Study there are individual pieces of work which are currently at different stages of planning and development. Where information is available, this has been used to inform modelling. The final outcomes of the study are not yet known and continued working with ECC and other neighbouring authorities will be important.
4.5 The Local Plan confirms the incomplete status of the transport assessment by stating that A127/A128 studies by ECC are "to be fed into the plan". Policy does however aim to maximise the value of railway connectivity and recognises the important role for West Horndon station in future transport provision.
4.6 An Amendment Note to the Transport Assessment dated January 2019, confirms the further information that is to be provided. This includes amongst other things additional junction studies, further trip distribution plots, cross boundary impacts, reassignment impacts and proposed highway mitigation.
4.7 The SA confirms that Highways England's work is not complete in terms of the transport study, that ECC question the use of the A127 corridor over the A12 and Basildon Council has concerns over infrastructure provision relative to DHGV. Thurrock Council favours growth at West Horndon which is closer to existing infrastructure.

Green Belt/Landscape
4.8 When the emerging Plan was last consulted on in early 2018 the Green Belt study was in draft form and had not influenced the site selection process. However, back in 2016 a Landscape Study by Crestwood had identified that Dunton was one of 7 sites out of 203 assessed that makes a 'high contribution' to the Green Belt. The analysis found that "This expansive agricultural site if wholly developed would significantly reduce the gap between West Horndon and Basildon, as well as presenting large scale development along the A127 leading east from the M25." The site was found to be "not contained", to have "significant separation reduction" and a harmful effect on functional countryside. Land at West Horndon is found to make only a 'moderate' contribution to the Green Belt. Development on land to the east of the settlement would decrease the gap to Basildon but still retain a functional open space with very limited or no visual linkages. There would be some loss of countryside if developed. Land to the north-east would lead to larger encroachment of the countryside but not to the coalescence with other towns.
4.9 By 2018 work by Crestwood reached a different conclusion on the contribution made to the Green Belt by land at Dunton Hills. Its importance in terms of contribution to the Green Belt went from 'high' status to 'moderate to high'. Land at West Horndon remained classified as 'moderate'. In our previous representations we submitted that the findings were contrived. We considered that they had been retrospectively prepared to justify the Council's wish to promote DHGV. Detailed site assessment still remained to be undertaken.
4.10 A Green Belt Study Part III was published in January 2019 alongside the Regulation 19 Plan. This maintains that the scope of study did not extend to the identification of sites that should be prioritised for allocation for housing, employment or mixed use. Its conclusions were the same for land at Dunton Hills ('moderate to high' contribution to the Green Belt ) although part of the land at west Horndon (to the east) was altered from a previous moderate status to 'moderate to high'. Once again we find these results to be contrived to fit the Council's desire to promote DHGV.
4.11 Immediately following the previous round of consultation on the emerging Local Plan in January 2018, we became aware of an evidence base document entitled "The Dunton Area Landscape Corridor Design options Local Plan Green Infrastructure", dated 07/11/2017. This was undertaken by Essex Place Services and commissioned jointly by Basildon District Council and Brentwood Borough Council. The purpose of this document was stated to be "to undertake a broad scale landscape assessment and present proposals for a landscape buffer and green corridor that could encompass the borough boundaries and give visual separation between two potential residential development sites." i.e. an urban extension to Basildon on its west side and a new Garden Village settlement based on the Dunton Hills area (see appendix 2 which is a plan from this report showing the extent of a landscape buffer that would be required in respect of residential development at Dunton Hills
4.12 Key conclusions of this assessment were:
* an assessment of the landscape as "particularly sensitive landscape areas";
* "Views of the project area from the north, west and south west are likely to be particularly notable due to the gently rising land form";
* "In order to mitigate what could be adverse landscape and visual impacts arising from development, the retention of landscape features and the provision of new landscapes, both green and blue infrastructure are likely to be a significant element of any development";
* "There will also be a need to ensure that residential areas are well protected from the busy transport corridor routes in terms of noise, visual impacts and pollution. The landscape infrastructure required to achieve this will be in addition to the landscape corridor required to provide settlement separation and the potential for connectivity to the wider countryside"; and
* Three landscape corridor Options are considered within the report, concluding that Scheme 3 - i.e. that proposing the maximum land-take - is recommended. This considerable land take within the wider assessment area is proposed to "ensure a good outcome in terms of preventing visual settlement coalescence, allow for diverse landscapes and the ecological enhancements to be achieved".
4.13 Despite the fact that Brentwood Borough Council did jointly commission this evidence base report, it does not feature on its website as an evidence base to the emerging Local Plan. A key finding of this assessment was that landscape mitigation works required would crucially not leave sufficient land for development to accommodate 2,500 new homes at that time proposed in the Draft Plan for Dunton Hills Garden Village, let alone the potentially higher figure of 4,000 beyond the plan period.

APPENDICES
1. Brentwood Draft Local Plan - Preferred Site Allocations, Sustainability Appraisal and evidence base. Representations on behalf of Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd in respect of land to the east of West Horndon. March 2018.
2 Extract from "The Dunton Area Landscape Corridor Design Options Local Plan Green Infrastructure", by Essex Place Services for Basildon and Brentwood Councils, 07/11/2017. Appendix 3, Plan showing the extent of a landscape buffer that would be required in respect of residential proposals on land at Dunton Hills.
and
An extract from the Bid document to the Government for Dunton Hills Garden Village which shows how much proposed development could be lost to landscaping.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 23640

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Countryside Properties

Agent: Andrew Martin Planning Ltd

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation:

The SA seems to have relied on what was being proposed by developers/promoters of the key strategic sites, raising concerns about the fairness and consistency of the appraisal. Particularly it relies without question upon the word of CEG as the promoter of DHGV. In contrast, the SA acknowledges proposals for a new settlement in the north of Thurrock where it adjoins West Horndon but rejects these on the basis that "this proposal is at such an early stage of formulation that it cannot be considered to be a potential issue or constraint in delivering DHGV".

Change suggested by respondent:

The SA and evidence base do not support the spatial strategy for growth set out in the Local Plan. The Local Plan process should be suspended to allow a fundamental review of the SA.

Full text:

We find the plan to be unsound, not legally compliant and failing in its Duty to Cooperate, as set out in the statement below.

1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1.1 Work on the emerging Local Plan for Brentwood Borough commenced back in 2009. Andrew Martin-Planning has made representations to each key stage in the plan-making process on behalf of Countryside Properties, in respect of land to the east of West Horndon. We attach past representations as appendices because they continue to be relevant and demonstrate that land at West Horndon represents the most sustainable location for strategic growth in the Borough to meet development needs over the Plan period 2016 - 2033.
1.2 Representations to date have argued that Brentwood Borough Council (BBC) has progressed its local plan without the benefit of a complete, robust and up-to-date evidence base. Furthermore the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) does not fully support the spatial strategy for growth proposed in the Local Plan. The SA cannot be said to have informed the production of the Pre-Submission Local Plan. We submit that this continues to be the position.
1.3 The emerging Local Plan has struggled to identify land for strategic growth in a Borough where 89% lies within the Green Belt. The latest version of the Plan acknowledges that it is not possible to identify a 5-year housing land supply (paragraph 4.18). A greater proportion of the required homes will therefore have to be delivered beyond 2023.
1.4 The Council's problem in identifying land for housing is compounded by recent sanctions imposed by the Government under the 2018 Housing Delivery Test introduced in the revised National Planning Policy Framework. The total number of homes required in the Borough over a three year period up to April 2018 was 933. The Council only delivered 474 homes, i.e. 51% of its target. Consequently it is now required to produce an Action Plan showing how it intends to boost delivery and must have a 20% buffer on its housing land supply.
1.5 Throughout the preparation of the Plan the Council has maintained its intention to deliver at least one large-scale, strategic site for a mixed scheme of housing and employment. Various strategic site options have been examined over the years and the latest SA to the Brentwood Local Plan Pre-Submission document, February 2019, confirms :
"there is now a refined understanding of those sites that are genuine ('reasonable') contenders for allocation through the Local Plan. Specifically at the current time there is a need to give close consideration to two options:
* Dunton Hills Garden Village (DHGV)....
* West Horndon..."
1.6 Although these two sites are said to remain in contention, the Local Plan has chosen DHGV as its preferred option for growth. This is contrary to the accompanying evidence base which appears to lend greater support to growth adjoinging the existing settlement of West Horndon. We argue that the Local Plan is unsound because it is not accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal that supports the Brentwood Local Plan spatial strategy for growth. The SA prepared by AECOM is quite simply unable to rule out strategic development at West Horndon as a viable alternative solution to growth in the Borough. It therefore remains in contention. The SA finds favour in DHGV over West Horndon, only in terms of the scale of housing that can be provided. We and others submit that there is no evidence to suggest that the scale of development proposed at Dunton Hills can be delivered.
1.7 A Joint Spatial Plan for authorities in South Essex (Including Brentwood, Thurrock, Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford and Southend on Sea ) is in the early stages of preparation. This will be an important document that encompasses several local authorities that are struggling to meet their growth needs in predominantly Green Belt areas. Brentwood Borough Council's attempts to create a cross boundary settlement with Basildon at Dunton Hills has failed, but more recent proposals for a new settlement on land at Thurrock, centred on West Horndon, are a feasible alternative as proposed in Thurrock Council's emerging Local Plan (Issues and Options Stage 2). It provides the opportunity to address the need for housing in the context of a probable shortfall across the South Essex Strategic Housing Market Area. Through the Duty to Cooperate procedure authorities like Thurrock could contribute towards meeting any unmet housing needs from Brentwood within a proposed new settlement centred on West Horndon.
1.8 Growth at West Horndon rather than Dunton Hills has historically been supported by Thurrock and Basildon in their response to the emerging Plan for Brentwood. Reasons include its proximity to existing infrastructure such as a railway station, less impact in landscape terms and in relation to the key purposes of the Green Belt, such as coalescence (with Basildon). Crucially, land at West Horndon would be able to deliver much needed housing in the first five years of the Local Plan.
1.9 Strategic infrastructure proposals for Brentwood or Thurrock should not be considered in isolation from wider strategic infrastructure proposals, specifically the options and final decision on the Lower Thames Crossing.

2.0 LOCAL PLAN HOUSING REQUIREMENT
2.1 The Brentwood Local Plan, February 2019 maintains that housing need in the Borough, based on the NPPF July 2018, should be set at a minimum of 350 homes per annum. With an uplift of 20% this rises to 456 dwellings per annum. Given recent poor performance in reaching its housing target (over the three year period to April 2018 it delivered only 51% of its required housing), the Government has identified the Authority as one that must put in place an Action Plan to state how it will boost housing and apply a 20% uplift.
2.2 Whilst Local Housing need will be the subject of ongoing debate and analysis through the examination of the Local Plan, what the Plan does not dispute is its current failure to identify a five year housing land supply as required by government guidance. Consequently a greater proportion of required homes will be delivered beyond 2023 (paragraphs 4.18 to 4.21).
2.3 From an overall minimum requirement of 7752 homes over the plan period, some 35% (2,700 homes) is proposed to be located within a new settlement at Dunton Hills, which is not supported by evidence to demonstrate deliverability and viability. As more need is identified in the Borough this proposed new settlement is being called upon to absorb an ever increasing number of new homes. In November 2018 when the Regulation 19 Plan was considered by Full Council, some 19 amendments were proposed including ones to remove certain housing allocations such as land at Honeypot Lane, resolving simply to reallocate lost housing (some 200+ homes) to DHGV "so that there is no net loss to the overall plan". Discussion between members simply referred to the promoters of DHGV stating that they have agreed to accommodate the extra number of homes. The proper justification for such a significant change to the plan is absent.
2.4 The Plan places great emphasis on the fact that DHGV was announced by the Government as one of 14 proposed Garden Villages back in January 2017 and that the Council received funding to take this forward. In reality such an investment is made at the risk of the planning and legal processes which may conclude that the proposals go no further. This has been demonstrated in the case of the North Essex new settlement proposals where a Local Plan inspector found that significant further work is required to justify the Garden Community proposals. They have not been shown to be viable and deliverable. It could be argued that the proposals for DHGV will suffer the same problems.
2.5 Lessons can be learned from emerging Local Plans for nearby/adjoining authorities and their proposals for key strategic sites. A Post Hearing Note issued by the Local Plan Inspector appointed to examine the London Borough of Havering Plan casts doubt over the spatial strategy for growth and issues surrounding housing land supply. It queries the SA and various options examined, together with the assessment of the alternatives. The evidence drawn upon by the Council to reach its conclusions is queried. The Inspector has also expressed concern that the Plan does not demonstrate sufficient housing land supply to cover the 15 year period, nor has the Council been able to demonstrate that it has sufficient sites to provide a 5 year supply. The Housing Trajectory is queried. The Council is asked to justify its expectations in relation to delivery of key sites and assumptions in relation to infrastructure requirements. Brentwood could be accused of being similarly vague in terms of the proposed delivery of DHGV, on several counts.
2.6 The Uttlesford Local Plan has recently been submitted for examination and initial questions by the appointed Inspectors raise concerns about potential gaps in the timing and funding of large critical infrastructure associated with the proposed Garden Communities that are central to the overarching strategy of the Plan, in particular the delivery of housing. DHGV is beset with the same problem of a lack of technical evidence to support the proposed new settlement.
2.7 As the 2019 SA of the Brentwood Plan confirms, the adjoining authority of Basildon questions whether the scale of development proposed at Dunton, which amounts to over a third of the Borough's entire housing provision for the plan period, could be supported by infrastructure, in the absence of a clear delivery plan. The adjacent authority of Thurrock cites a lack of technical evidence and failure to test fully all the reasonable options given the decision to rely on a new settlement rather than urban extensions closer to existing infrastructure.
2.7 There is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the Local Plan housing requirement can be met by the spatial strategy for growth proposed in the Draft Local Plan.

3.0 SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL
3.1 The SA is clear that both DHGV and West Horndon remain in contention as strategic site options to meet growth needs in Brentwood. The SA has been undertaken by AECOM who clarifiy in the section entitled "Establishing the Preferred Option" that it comprises text that "is the response of Council Officers to the alternatives appraisal". As we have stated in previous representations to the emerging Plan, the only real support for DHGV to justify its elevation to a 'preferred allocation' is that the scheme is supported by the Council. Consultation on DHGV has led to wide-scale objection from the public and key stakeholders which the Council has chosen to ignore. Various positives and negatives of DHGV and West Horndon are set out in the SA, concluding that Dunton Hills provides the opportunity for a larger and comprehensive scheme. The SA acknowledges proposals for a new settlement in the north of Thurrock where it adjoins West Horndon but rejects these on the basis that "this proposal is at such an early stage of formulation that it cannot be considered to be a potential issue or constraint in delivering DHGV".
3.2 It has been difficult for the Council and its advisers to dismiss land at West Horndon as a reasonable alternative because it represents a more sustainable location for growth than DHGV, as confirmed in various evidence base documents and summarised in the SA. Unlike DHGV, it can deliver houses in the first five years of the plan and in conjunction with land in Thurrock is capable of exceeding housing need going forward.
3.3 The only reason DHGV is selected as the preferred option for growth is its perceived ability to provide a greater number of new homes. As we have stated above there is no firm evidence to demonstrate this.
3.4 AECOM has recently been appointed by Uttlesford District Council to review the SA to its Local Plan. This follows the report of the Inspector who considered the Joint Section One Plan for the North Essex Authorities and his concerns regarding the SA process it was subject to. UDC felt that a review of its SA was necessary because of similarities between the NEA Plan and Uttlesford in terms of their reliance on Garden Communities. AECOM identified a number of concerns in relation to the objectivity of the SA for the Uttlesford Local Plan, and assumptions made for its Garden Community options. In particular the SA is said to have relied on what was being proposed by developers/promoters of the key strategic sites, raising concerns about the fairness and consistency of the appraisal. The same criticism could be levelled at the SA of the Brentwood Plan that relies without question upon the word of CEG as the promoter of DHGV.
3.5 Representations to the Draft Local Plan, Sustainability Appraisal and evidence base submitted by AM-P on behalf of Countryside Properties in March 2018 are attached at Appendix 1. These refer to the Interim SAR of January 2018 and 2016, and remain relevant. Appraisal of the spatial strategy alternatives in versions of the SA over time, demonstrate differing results for which there is no justification. By way of example we compare the summary tables from the 2016 SAR and that for January 2019. Under several topics the score for West Horndon has been downgraded in the most recent appraisal, without proper explanation. Despite this it has still not been possible for the Council and its technical advisors to dismiss West Horndon as a sustainable location for growth. In landscape terms development at West Horndon would have significantly less impact than that at Dunton. DHGV continues to be preferred (albeit AECOM confirm this as an officer view) because it is seen as an answer to the Council's housing supply problems. The latest proposals by Thurrock on land to the south of West Horndon throw a different light on the SA conclusions.

4.0 THE EVIDENCE BASE
4.1 The evidence base to the Local Plan is in part outdated, and incomplete.
Transportation
4.2 The Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) has no date on it. The chapter on transport and movement refers to ongoing studies on the A12 and A127 key routes and the proposed route of the Lower Thames Crossing. Work so far finds that main junctions on the A127 are operating significantly over capacity.
4.3 The SA confirms that ECC withholds support until the appropriate highway modelling has been undertaken to assess site specific and cumulative impacts of developments on the local and wider highway network. Furthermore, highway network considerations must be a foremost consideration when arriving at reasonable spatial strategy alternatives.
4.4 The Transport Assessment of the Brentwood Local Plan was undertaken by Peter Brett Associates in October 2018. This confirms in paragraphs 1.2.3 to 1.2.5 that in respect of the A127 corridor for growth, a number of studies are progressing, being led by ECC. Within the A127 Corridor for Growth Study there are individual pieces of work which are currently at different stages of planning and development. Where information is available, this has been used to inform modelling. The final outcomes of the study are not yet known and continued working with ECC and other neighbouring authorities will be important.
4.5 The Local Plan confirms the incomplete status of the transport assessment by stating that A127/A128 studies by ECC are "to be fed into the plan". Policy does however aim to maximise the value of railway connectivity and recognises the important role for West Horndon station in future transport provision.
4.6 An Amendment Note to the Transport Assessment dated January 2019, confirms the further information that is to be provided. This includes amongst other things additional junction studies, further trip distribution plots, cross boundary impacts, reassignment impacts and proposed highway mitigation.
4.7 The SA confirms that Highways England's work is not complete in terms of the transport study, that ECC question the use of the A127 corridor over the A12 and Basildon Council has concerns over infrastructure provision relative to DHGV. Thurrock Council favours growth at West Horndon which is closer to existing infrastructure.

Green Belt/Landscape
4.8 When the emerging Plan was last consulted on in early 2018 the Green Belt study was in draft form and had not influenced the site selection process. However, back in 2016 a Landscape Study by Crestwood had identified that Dunton was one of 7 sites out of 203 assessed that makes a 'high contribution' to the Green Belt. The analysis found that "This expansive agricultural site if wholly developed would significantly reduce the gap between West Horndon and Basildon, as well as presenting large scale development along the A127 leading east from the M25." The site was found to be "not contained", to have "significant separation reduction" and a harmful effect on functional countryside. Land at West Horndon is found to make only a 'moderate' contribution to the Green Belt. Development on land to the east of the settlement would decrease the gap to Basildon but still retain a functional open space with very limited or no visual linkages. There would be some loss of countryside if developed. Land to the north-east would lead to larger encroachment of the countryside but not to the coalescence with other towns.
4.9 By 2018 work by Crestwood reached a different conclusion on the contribution made to the Green Belt by land at Dunton Hills. Its importance in terms of contribution to the Green Belt went from 'high' status to 'moderate to high'. Land at West Horndon remained classified as 'moderate'. In our previous representations we submitted that the findings were contrived. We considered that they had been retrospectively prepared to justify the Council's wish to promote DHGV. Detailed site assessment still remained to be undertaken.
4.10 A Green Belt Study Part III was published in January 2019 alongside the Regulation 19 Plan. This maintains that the scope of study did not extend to the identification of sites that should be prioritised for allocation for housing, employment or mixed use. Its conclusions were the same for land at Dunton Hills ('moderate to high' contribution to the Green Belt ) although part of the land at west Horndon (to the east) was altered from a previous moderate status to 'moderate to high'. Once again we find these results to be contrived to fit the Council's desire to promote DHGV.
4.11 Immediately following the previous round of consultation on the emerging Local Plan in January 2018, we became aware of an evidence base document entitled "The Dunton Area Landscape Corridor Design options Local Plan Green Infrastructure", dated 07/11/2017. This was undertaken by Essex Place Services and commissioned jointly by Basildon District Council and Brentwood Borough Council. The purpose of this document was stated to be "to undertake a broad scale landscape assessment and present proposals for a landscape buffer and green corridor that could encompass the borough boundaries and give visual separation between two potential residential development sites." i.e. an urban extension to Basildon on its west side and a new Garden Village settlement based on the Dunton Hills area (see appendix 2 which is a plan from this report showing the extent of a landscape buffer that would be required in respect of residential development at Dunton Hills
4.12 Key conclusions of this assessment were:
* an assessment of the landscape as "particularly sensitive landscape areas";
* "Views of the project area from the north, west and south west are likely to be particularly notable due to the gently rising land form";
* "In order to mitigate what could be adverse landscape and visual impacts arising from development, the retention of landscape features and the provision of new landscapes, both green and blue infrastructure are likely to be a significant element of any development";
* "There will also be a need to ensure that residential areas are well protected from the busy transport corridor routes in terms of noise, visual impacts and pollution. The landscape infrastructure required to achieve this will be in addition to the landscape corridor required to provide settlement separation and the potential for connectivity to the wider countryside"; and
* Three landscape corridor Options are considered within the report, concluding that Scheme 3 - i.e. that proposing the maximum land-take - is recommended. This considerable land take within the wider assessment area is proposed to "ensure a good outcome in terms of preventing visual settlement coalescence, allow for diverse landscapes and the ecological enhancements to be achieved".
4.13 Despite the fact that Brentwood Borough Council did jointly commission this evidence base report, it does not feature on its website as an evidence base to the emerging Local Plan. A key finding of this assessment was that landscape mitigation works required would crucially not leave sufficient land for development to accommodate 2,500 new homes at that time proposed in the Draft Plan for Dunton Hills Garden Village, let alone the potentially higher figure of 4,000 beyond the plan period.

APPENDICES
1. Brentwood Draft Local Plan - Preferred Site Allocations, Sustainability Appraisal and evidence base. Representations on behalf of Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd in respect of land to the east of West Horndon. March 2018.
2 Extract from "The Dunton Area Landscape Corridor Design Options Local Plan Green Infrastructure", by Essex Place Services for Basildon and Brentwood Councils, 07/11/2017. Appendix 3, Plan showing the extent of a landscape buffer that would be required in respect of residential proposals on land at Dunton Hills.
and
An extract from the Bid document to the Government for Dunton Hills Garden Village which shows how much proposed development could be lost to landscaping.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 23641

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Countryside Properties

Agent: Andrew Martin Planning Ltd

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation:

Appraisal of the spatial strategy alternatives in versions of the SA over time, demonstrate differing results for which there is no justification. Under several topics the score for West Horndon has been downgraded in the most recent appraisal, without proper explanation (see appendix 1). The latest proposals by Thurrock on land to the south of West Horndon throw a different light on the SA conclusions.

Change suggested by respondent:

The Local Plan process should be suspended to allow a fundamental review of the SA.

Full text:

We find the plan to be unsound, not legally compliant and failing in its Duty to Cooperate, as set out in the statement below.

1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1.1 Work on the emerging Local Plan for Brentwood Borough commenced back in 2009. Andrew Martin-Planning has made representations to each key stage in the plan-making process on behalf of Countryside Properties, in respect of land to the east of West Horndon. We attach past representations as appendices because they continue to be relevant and demonstrate that land at West Horndon represents the most sustainable location for strategic growth in the Borough to meet development needs over the Plan period 2016 - 2033.
1.2 Representations to date have argued that Brentwood Borough Council (BBC) has progressed its local plan without the benefit of a complete, robust and up-to-date evidence base. Furthermore the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) does not fully support the spatial strategy for growth proposed in the Local Plan. The SA cannot be said to have informed the production of the Pre-Submission Local Plan. We submit that this continues to be the position.
1.3 The emerging Local Plan has struggled to identify land for strategic growth in a Borough where 89% lies within the Green Belt. The latest version of the Plan acknowledges that it is not possible to identify a 5-year housing land supply (paragraph 4.18). A greater proportion of the required homes will therefore have to be delivered beyond 2023.
1.4 The Council's problem in identifying land for housing is compounded by recent sanctions imposed by the Government under the 2018 Housing Delivery Test introduced in the revised National Planning Policy Framework. The total number of homes required in the Borough over a three year period up to April 2018 was 933. The Council only delivered 474 homes, i.e. 51% of its target. Consequently it is now required to produce an Action Plan showing how it intends to boost delivery and must have a 20% buffer on its housing land supply.
1.5 Throughout the preparation of the Plan the Council has maintained its intention to deliver at least one large-scale, strategic site for a mixed scheme of housing and employment. Various strategic site options have been examined over the years and the latest SA to the Brentwood Local Plan Pre-Submission document, February 2019, confirms :
"there is now a refined understanding of those sites that are genuine ('reasonable') contenders for allocation through the Local Plan. Specifically at the current time there is a need to give close consideration to two options:
* Dunton Hills Garden Village (DHGV)....
* West Horndon..."
1.6 Although these two sites are said to remain in contention, the Local Plan has chosen DHGV as its preferred option for growth. This is contrary to the accompanying evidence base which appears to lend greater support to growth adjoinging the existing settlement of West Horndon. We argue that the Local Plan is unsound because it is not accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal that supports the Brentwood Local Plan spatial strategy for growth. The SA prepared by AECOM is quite simply unable to rule out strategic development at West Horndon as a viable alternative solution to growth in the Borough. It therefore remains in contention. The SA finds favour in DHGV over West Horndon, only in terms of the scale of housing that can be provided. We and others submit that there is no evidence to suggest that the scale of development proposed at Dunton Hills can be delivered.
1.7 A Joint Spatial Plan for authorities in South Essex (Including Brentwood, Thurrock, Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford and Southend on Sea ) is in the early stages of preparation. This will be an important document that encompasses several local authorities that are struggling to meet their growth needs in predominantly Green Belt areas. Brentwood Borough Council's attempts to create a cross boundary settlement with Basildon at Dunton Hills has failed, but more recent proposals for a new settlement on land at Thurrock, centred on West Horndon, are a feasible alternative as proposed in Thurrock Council's emerging Local Plan (Issues and Options Stage 2). It provides the opportunity to address the need for housing in the context of a probable shortfall across the South Essex Strategic Housing Market Area. Through the Duty to Cooperate procedure authorities like Thurrock could contribute towards meeting any unmet housing needs from Brentwood within a proposed new settlement centred on West Horndon.
1.8 Growth at West Horndon rather than Dunton Hills has historically been supported by Thurrock and Basildon in their response to the emerging Plan for Brentwood. Reasons include its proximity to existing infrastructure such as a railway station, less impact in landscape terms and in relation to the key purposes of the Green Belt, such as coalescence (with Basildon). Crucially, land at West Horndon would be able to deliver much needed housing in the first five years of the Local Plan.
1.9 Strategic infrastructure proposals for Brentwood or Thurrock should not be considered in isolation from wider strategic infrastructure proposals, specifically the options and final decision on the Lower Thames Crossing.

2.0 LOCAL PLAN HOUSING REQUIREMENT
2.1 The Brentwood Local Plan, February 2019 maintains that housing need in the Borough, based on the NPPF July 2018, should be set at a minimum of 350 homes per annum. With an uplift of 20% this rises to 456 dwellings per annum. Given recent poor performance in reaching its housing target (over the three year period to April 2018 it delivered only 51% of its required housing), the Government has identified the Authority as one that must put in place an Action Plan to state how it will boost housing and apply a 20% uplift.
2.2 Whilst Local Housing need will be the subject of ongoing debate and analysis through the examination of the Local Plan, what the Plan does not dispute is its current failure to identify a five year housing land supply as required by government guidance. Consequently a greater proportion of required homes will be delivered beyond 2023 (paragraphs 4.18 to 4.21).
2.3 From an overall minimum requirement of 7752 homes over the plan period, some 35% (2,700 homes) is proposed to be located within a new settlement at Dunton Hills, which is not supported by evidence to demonstrate deliverability and viability. As more need is identified in the Borough this proposed new settlement is being called upon to absorb an ever increasing number of new homes. In November 2018 when the Regulation 19 Plan was considered by Full Council, some 19 amendments were proposed including ones to remove certain housing allocations such as land at Honeypot Lane, resolving simply to reallocate lost housing (some 200+ homes) to DHGV "so that there is no net loss to the overall plan". Discussion between members simply referred to the promoters of DHGV stating that they have agreed to accommodate the extra number of homes. The proper justification for such a significant change to the plan is absent.
2.4 The Plan places great emphasis on the fact that DHGV was announced by the Government as one of 14 proposed Garden Villages back in January 2017 and that the Council received funding to take this forward. In reality such an investment is made at the risk of the planning and legal processes which may conclude that the proposals go no further. This has been demonstrated in the case of the North Essex new settlement proposals where a Local Plan inspector found that significant further work is required to justify the Garden Community proposals. They have not been shown to be viable and deliverable. It could be argued that the proposals for DHGV will suffer the same problems.
2.5 Lessons can be learned from emerging Local Plans for nearby/adjoining authorities and their proposals for key strategic sites. A Post Hearing Note issued by the Local Plan Inspector appointed to examine the London Borough of Havering Plan casts doubt over the spatial strategy for growth and issues surrounding housing land supply. It queries the SA and various options examined, together with the assessment of the alternatives. The evidence drawn upon by the Council to reach its conclusions is queried. The Inspector has also expressed concern that the Plan does not demonstrate sufficient housing land supply to cover the 15 year period, nor has the Council been able to demonstrate that it has sufficient sites to provide a 5 year supply. The Housing Trajectory is queried. The Council is asked to justify its expectations in relation to delivery of key sites and assumptions in relation to infrastructure requirements. Brentwood could be accused of being similarly vague in terms of the proposed delivery of DHGV, on several counts.
2.6 The Uttlesford Local Plan has recently been submitted for examination and initial questions by the appointed Inspectors raise concerns about potential gaps in the timing and funding of large critical infrastructure associated with the proposed Garden Communities that are central to the overarching strategy of the Plan, in particular the delivery of housing. DHGV is beset with the same problem of a lack of technical evidence to support the proposed new settlement.
2.7 As the 2019 SA of the Brentwood Plan confirms, the adjoining authority of Basildon questions whether the scale of development proposed at Dunton, which amounts to over a third of the Borough's entire housing provision for the plan period, could be supported by infrastructure, in the absence of a clear delivery plan. The adjacent authority of Thurrock cites a lack of technical evidence and failure to test fully all the reasonable options given the decision to rely on a new settlement rather than urban extensions closer to existing infrastructure.
2.7 There is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the Local Plan housing requirement can be met by the spatial strategy for growth proposed in the Draft Local Plan.

3.0 SUSTAINABILITY APPRAISAL
3.1 The SA is clear that both DHGV and West Horndon remain in contention as strategic site options to meet growth needs in Brentwood. The SA has been undertaken by AECOM who clarifiy in the section entitled "Establishing the Preferred Option" that it comprises text that "is the response of Council Officers to the alternatives appraisal". As we have stated in previous representations to the emerging Plan, the only real support for DHGV to justify its elevation to a 'preferred allocation' is that the scheme is supported by the Council. Consultation on DHGV has led to wide-scale objection from the public and key stakeholders which the Council has chosen to ignore. Various positives and negatives of DHGV and West Horndon are set out in the SA, concluding that Dunton Hills provides the opportunity for a larger and comprehensive scheme. The SA acknowledges proposals for a new settlement in the north of Thurrock where it adjoins West Horndon but rejects these on the basis that "this proposal is at such an early stage of formulation that it cannot be considered to be a potential issue or constraint in delivering DHGV".
3.2 It has been difficult for the Council and its advisers to dismiss land at West Horndon as a reasonable alternative because it represents a more sustainable location for growth than DHGV, as confirmed in various evidence base documents and summarised in the SA. Unlike DHGV, it can deliver houses in the first five years of the plan and in conjunction with land in Thurrock is capable of exceeding housing need going forward.
3.3 The only reason DHGV is selected as the preferred option for growth is its perceived ability to provide a greater number of new homes. As we have stated above there is no firm evidence to demonstrate this.
3.4 AECOM has recently been appointed by Uttlesford District Council to review the SA to its Local Plan. This follows the report of the Inspector who considered the Joint Section One Plan for the North Essex Authorities and his concerns regarding the SA process it was subject to. UDC felt that a review of its SA was necessary because of similarities between the NEA Plan and Uttlesford in terms of their reliance on Garden Communities. AECOM identified a number of concerns in relation to the objectivity of the SA for the Uttlesford Local Plan, and assumptions made for its Garden Community options. In particular the SA is said to have relied on what was being proposed by developers/promoters of the key strategic sites, raising concerns about the fairness and consistency of the appraisal. The same criticism could be levelled at the SA of the Brentwood Plan that relies without question upon the word of CEG as the promoter of DHGV.
3.5 Representations to the Draft Local Plan, Sustainability Appraisal and evidence base submitted by AM-P on behalf of Countryside Properties in March 2018 are attached at Appendix 1. These refer to the Interim SAR of January 2018 and 2016, and remain relevant. Appraisal of the spatial strategy alternatives in versions of the SA over time, demonstrate differing results for which there is no justification. By way of example we compare the summary tables from the 2016 SAR and that for January 2019. Under several topics the score for West Horndon has been downgraded in the most recent appraisal, without proper explanation. Despite this it has still not been possible for the Council and its technical advisors to dismiss West Horndon as a sustainable location for growth. In landscape terms development at West Horndon would have significantly less impact than that at Dunton. DHGV continues to be preferred (albeit AECOM confirm this as an officer view) because it is seen as an answer to the Council's housing supply problems. The latest proposals by Thurrock on land to the south of West Horndon throw a different light on the SA conclusions.

4.0 THE EVIDENCE BASE
4.1 The evidence base to the Local Plan is in part outdated, and incomplete.
Transportation
4.2 The Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) has no date on it. The chapter on transport and movement refers to ongoing studies on the A12 and A127 key routes and the proposed route of the Lower Thames Crossing. Work so far finds that main junctions on the A127 are operating significantly over capacity.
4.3 The SA confirms that ECC withholds support until the appropriate highway modelling has been undertaken to assess site specific and cumulative impacts of developments on the local and wider highway network. Furthermore, highway network considerations must be a foremost consideration when arriving at reasonable spatial strategy alternatives.
4.4 The Transport Assessment of the Brentwood Local Plan was undertaken by Peter Brett Associates in October 2018. This confirms in paragraphs 1.2.3 to 1.2.5 that in respect of the A127 corridor for growth, a number of studies are progressing, being led by ECC. Within the A127 Corridor for Growth Study there are individual pieces of work which are currently at different stages of planning and development. Where information is available, this has been used to inform modelling. The final outcomes of the study are not yet known and continued working with ECC and other neighbouring authorities will be important.
4.5 The Local Plan confirms the incomplete status of the transport assessment by stating that A127/A128 studies by ECC are "to be fed into the plan". Policy does however aim to maximise the value of railway connectivity and recognises the important role for West Horndon station in future transport provision.
4.6 An Amendment Note to the Transport Assessment dated January 2019, confirms the further information that is to be provided. This includes amongst other things additional junction studies, further trip distribution plots, cross boundary impacts, reassignment impacts and proposed highway mitigation.
4.7 The SA confirms that Highways England's work is not complete in terms of the transport study, that ECC question the use of the A127 corridor over the A12 and Basildon Council has concerns over infrastructure provision relative to DHGV. Thurrock Council favours growth at West Horndon which is closer to existing infrastructure.

Green Belt/Landscape
4.8 When the emerging Plan was last consulted on in early 2018 the Green Belt study was in draft form and had not influenced the site selection process. However, back in 2016 a Landscape Study by Crestwood had identified that Dunton was one of 7 sites out of 203 assessed that makes a 'high contribution' to the Green Belt. The analysis found that "This expansive agricultural site if wholly developed would significantly reduce the gap between West Horndon and Basildon, as well as presenting large scale development along the A127 leading east from the M25." The site was found to be "not contained", to have "significant separation reduction" and a harmful effect on functional countryside. Land at West Horndon is found to make only a 'moderate' contribution to the Green Belt. Development on land to the east of the settlement would decrease the gap to Basildon but still retain a functional open space with very limited or no visual linkages. There would be some loss of countryside if developed. Land to the north-east would lead to larger encroachment of the countryside but not to the coalescence with other towns.
4.9 By 2018 work by Crestwood reached a different conclusion on the contribution made to the Green Belt by land at Dunton Hills. Its importance in terms of contribution to the Green Belt went from 'high' status to 'moderate to high'. Land at West Horndon remained classified as 'moderate'. In our previous representations we submitted that the findings were contrived. We considered that they had been retrospectively prepared to justify the Council's wish to promote DHGV. Detailed site assessment still remained to be undertaken.
4.10 A Green Belt Study Part III was published in January 2019 alongside the Regulation 19 Plan. This maintains that the scope of study did not extend to the identification of sites that should be prioritised for allocation for housing, employment or mixed use. Its conclusions were the same for land at Dunton Hills ('moderate to high' contribution to the Green Belt ) although part of the land at west Horndon (to the east) was altered from a previous moderate status to 'moderate to high'. Once again we find these results to be contrived to fit the Council's desire to promote DHGV.
4.11 Immediately following the previous round of consultation on the emerging Local Plan in January 2018, we became aware of an evidence base document entitled "The Dunton Area Landscape Corridor Design options Local Plan Green Infrastructure", dated 07/11/2017. This was undertaken by Essex Place Services and commissioned jointly by Basildon District Council and Brentwood Borough Council. The purpose of this document was stated to be "to undertake a broad scale landscape assessment and present proposals for a landscape buffer and green corridor that could encompass the borough boundaries and give visual separation between two potential residential development sites." i.e. an urban extension to Basildon on its west side and a new Garden Village settlement based on the Dunton Hills area (see appendix 2 which is a plan from this report showing the extent of a landscape buffer that would be required in respect of residential development at Dunton Hills
4.12 Key conclusions of this assessment were:
* an assessment of the landscape as "particularly sensitive landscape areas";
* "Views of the project area from the north, west and south west are likely to be particularly notable due to the gently rising land form";
* "In order to mitigate what could be adverse landscape and visual impacts arising from development, the retention of landscape features and the provision of new landscapes, both green and blue infrastructure are likely to be a significant element of any development";
* "There will also be a need to ensure that residential areas are well protected from the busy transport corridor routes in terms of noise, visual impacts and pollution. The landscape infrastructure required to achieve this will be in addition to the landscape corridor required to provide settlement separation and the potential for connectivity to the wider countryside"; and
* Three landscape corridor Options are considered within the report, concluding that Scheme 3 - i.e. that proposing the maximum land-take - is recommended. This considerable land take within the wider assessment area is proposed to "ensure a good outcome in terms of preventing visual settlement coalescence, allow for diverse landscapes and the ecological enhancements to be achieved".
4.13 Despite the fact that Brentwood Borough Council did jointly commission this evidence base report, it does not feature on its website as an evidence base to the emerging Local Plan. A key finding of this assessment was that landscape mitigation works required would crucially not leave sufficient land for development to accommodate 2,500 new homes at that time proposed in the Draft Plan for Dunton Hills Garden Village, let alone the potentially higher figure of 4,000 beyond the plan period.

APPENDICES
1. Brentwood Draft Local Plan - Preferred Site Allocations, Sustainability Appraisal and evidence base. Representations on behalf of Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd in respect of land to the east of West Horndon. March 2018.
2 Extract from "The Dunton Area Landscape Corridor Design Options Local Plan Green Infrastructure", by Essex Place Services for Basildon and Brentwood Councils, 07/11/2017. Appendix 3, Plan showing the extent of a landscape buffer that would be required in respect of residential proposals on land at Dunton Hills.
and
An extract from the Bid document to the Government for Dunton Hills Garden Village which shows how much proposed development could be lost to landscaping.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 23669

Received: 26/04/2019

Respondent: Gladman Developments

Agent: Gladman Developments

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation:

The Council should ensure that the future results of the SA clearly justify its policy choices. In meeting the development needs of the area, it should be clear from the results of this assessment why some policy options have progressed, and others have been rejected. This must be undertaken through a comparative and equal assessment of each reasonable alternative, in the same level of detail for both chosen and rejected alternatives. The Council's decision-making and scoring should be robust, justified and transparent.

Change suggested by respondent:

Further work on the SA is needed.

Full text:

Brentwood Local Plan
Pre-Submission Document

CONTENTS
1 Introduction 2
1.1 Introduction 2
1.2 Context 2
2 National Planning Policy 3
2.1 National Planning Policy Framework 3
2.2 Planning Practice Guidance 4
3 Legal Requirements 7
3.1 Duty to Cooperate 7
3.2 Sustainability Appraisal 8
4 Spatial Strategy 9
4.1 Vision and Strategic Objectives 9
5 Managing Growth 10
5.1 Policy SP02: Managing Growth 10
5.2 Policy SP04: Developer Contributions 11
6 Resilient Built Environment 12
6.1 Policy BE02: Sustainable Construction and Resource Efficiency 12
7 Housing Provision 13
7.1 Policy HP01: Housing Mix 13
7.2 Policy HP06: Standards for New Housing 13
8 Conclusion 15
8.1 Overall Conclusion 15

1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction
1.1.1 These representations are submitted by Gladman in response to the current consultation on the Brentwood Local Plan Pre-Submission Document. Gladman specialise in the promotion of strategic land for residential development with associated community infrastructure.
1.1.2 Gladman has considerable experience in the development industry across a number of sectors, including residential and employment development. From that experience, we understand the need for the planning system to provide local communities with the homes and jobs that are needed to ensure that residents have access to a decent home and employment opportunities.
1.1.3 Gladman also has a wealth of experience in contributing to the Development Plan preparation process, having made representations on numerous local planning documents throughout the UK and having participated in many Local Plan public examinations. It is on the basis of that experience that the comments are made in this representation.
1.1.4 Through this submission, Gladman have sought to highlight a number of issues with the Brentwood Local Plan. Gladman submit that the Council will need to carefully consider some of its policy choices and ensure that its evidence base is up-to-date and robust in light of changing circumstances and the changes brought about by the Revised National Planning Policy Framework (2019).
1.2 Context
1.2.1 The Revised Framework (2019) sets out four tests that must be met for Local Plans to be considered sound. In this regard, we submit that in order for it to be sound it is fundamental that the Thurrock Local Plan is:
* Positively prepared - providing a strategy which, as a minimum, seeks to meet the area's objectively assessed needs; and is informed by agreements with other authorities, so that unmet need from neighbouring areas is accommodated where it is practical to do so and is consistent with achieving sustainable development;
* Justified - an appropriate strategy, taking into account the reasonable alternatives, and based on proportionate evidence;
* Effective - deliverable over the plan period, and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic matters that have been dealt with rather than deferred, as evidenced by the statement of common ground; and
* Consistent with national policy - enabling the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework.

2 NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY
2.1 National Planning Policy Framework
2.1.1 On 24th July 2018, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published the Revised National Planning Policy Framework which was subsequently updated in February 2019. These publications form the first revisions of the Framework since 2012 and implement changes that have been informed through the Housing White Paper, The Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places consultation and the draft Revised Framework consultation.
2.1.2 The Revised Framework (2019) introduces a number of major changes to national policy and provides further clarification to national planning policy as well as new measures on a range of matters. Crucially, the changes to national policy reaffirms the Government's commitment to ensuring up-to-date plans are in place which provide a positive vision for the areas which they are responsible for to address the housing, economic, social and environmental priorities to help shape future local communities for future generations. In particular, paragraph 16 of the Revised Framework (2019) states that Plans should:
a) Be prepared with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development;
b) Be prepared positively, in a way that is aspirational but deliverable;
c) Be shaped by early, proportionate and effective engagement between plan-makers and communities, local organisations, businesses, infrastructure providers and operators and statutory consultees;
d) Contain policies that are clearly written and unambiguous, so it is evident how a decision maker should react to development proposals;
e) Be accessible through the use of digital tools to assist public involvement and policy presentation; and
f) Serve a clear purpose, avoiding unnecessary duplication of policies that apply to a particular area (including policies in this Framework, where relevant).
2.1.3 To support the Government's continued objective of significantly boosting the supply of homes, it is important that the Local Plan provides a sufficient amount and variety of land that can come forward where it is needed, that the needs of groups with specific housing requirements are addressed and that land with permission is developed without unnecessary delay .
2.1.4 In determining the minimum number of homes needed, strategic plans should be based upon a local housing need assessment, conducted using the standard method as set out in the PPG unless exceptional circumstances justify an alternative approach. It is imperative that the emerging Local Plan is formulated on the basis of meeting this requirement as a minimum.
2.1.5 Once the minimum number of homes that is required is identified, the planning authority should have a clear understanding of the land available in their area through the preparation of a strategic housing land availability assessment. In this regard, paragraph 67 sets out specific guidance that local planning authorities should take into account when identifying and meeting their housing need. It states:
"Strategic policy-making authorities should have a clear understanding of the land available in their areas through the preparation of a strategic housing land availability assessment. From this planning policies should identify a sufficient supply and mix of sites, taking into account their availability, suitability and likely economic viability. Strategic plans should identify a supply of:
a) specific, deliverable sites for years one to five of the plan , and
b) specific, developable sites or broad locations for growth, for years 6-10 and, where possible, for years 11-15 of the plan.
2.1.6 Once a local planning authority has identified its housing needs, these needs should be met in full, unless any adverse impacts would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of doing so . Local planning authorities should seek to achieve each of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, resulting in net gains across all three. Adverse impacts on any of these dimensions should be avoided, where significant adverse impacts are unavoidable, suitable mitigation measures should be proposed or, where this is not possible, compensatory measures should be considered.
2.1.7 To be considered sound at Examination the emerging Local Plan will need to meet all four of the soundness tests set out in paragraph 35 of the Revised Framework (2019).
2.2 Planning Practice Guidance
2.2.1 The Government published updates to its Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) on 13th September 2018. The updated PPG provides further clarity on how specific elements of the Revised Framework should be interpreted when preparing Local Plans. In particular, the updated Housing Needs Assessment chapter of the PPG confirms that the Revised Framework expects local planning authorities to follow the standard method for assessing local housing needs, and that the standard method identifies the minimum housing need figure and not a final housing requirement .
2.2.2 The calculation of objectively assessed needs (OAN) for housing has been a subject of much debate as part of Local Plan Examinations and s.78 appeals since its initial introduction through the Framework in 2012 with interested parties grappling with the issue of OAN with varying outcomes depending on local circumstances. To simplify the assessment the Government, through the Revised Framework has introduced the standardised method which should be undertaken through the 3-stage process outlined at paragraph 005 of the PPG .
2.2.3 Notwithstanding the above, it is important to note that whilst the standard methodology to assessing housing needs has been introduced, it is likely that this will be subject to further change. In this regard, it is currently anticipated that the standard method will be adjusted to ensure that the starting point in the plan-making process is consistent with the Government's proposals in Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places consultation, to ensure that 300,000 homes are built per annum by the mid-2020s. This follows the release of the 2016 based household projections in September 2018, which forecast a lower level of household growth than previously envisaged.
2.2.4 It is therefore important that future iterations of the Local Plan take account of any changes to the standard method for calculating housing needs during the course of their preparation.
2.2.5 Whilst the PPG advises that the standard method is not mandatory, there is a possibility that other methods can be used in exceptional circumstances based on robust evidence in order to deviate from the standard method. Indeed, the PPG is clear that the standard method only identifies the minimum number of homes required to meet population needs and does not take into account the variety of factors which may influence the housing required in local areas such as changing economic circumstances or other factors which may change demographic behaviour. Where additional growth above historic trends are likely to occur, then local planning authorities should include an appropriate uplift to the housing numbers to meet the need in full. It is important that this uplift is undertaken prior to and separate from the consideration of the demographic baseline assessment of need and how much of this need can be accommodated in a housing requirement figure. Circumstances where the need to apply an uplift may be appropriate include, but are not limited to:
- Where growth strategies are in place, particularly where those growth strategies identify that additional housing above historic trends is needed to support growth or funding is in place to promote and facilitate growth (e.g. housing deals);
- Where strategic infrastructure improvements are planned that would support new homes;
- Where an authority has agreed to take on unmet need, calculated using the standard method from neighbouring authorities, as set out in a statement of common ground;
- Historic delivery levels where previous delivery has exceeded the minimum need identified it should be considered whether the level of delivery is indicative of greater housing need; and
- Where recent assessments such as Strategic Housing Market Assessments suggest higher levels of need than those proposed by a strategic policy making authority, an assessment of lower need should be justified.
2.2.6 In addition, it is important for local planning authorities to consider the implications of the standard method on delivering affordable housing need in full. The PPG is clear that the total affordable housing need should be considered in the context of its likely delivery as a proportion of mixed market and affordable housing developments, taking into account the probable percentage of affordable housing to be delivered by open market housing development. If it becomes clear that affordable housing need will not be delivered in full, then an increase to the total housing figures included in the plan should be considered where it could help to deliver the required number of the affordable homes.
2.2.7 In the event that an alternative approach is used it should only be considered sound if it exceeds the minimum starting point. The PPG is clear that any alternative approach with results in lower housing need figure than the standard method should be considered unsound as it does not meet the minimum housing need required.  
3 LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
3.1 Duty to Cooperate
3.1.1 The Duty to Cooperate (DtC) is a legal requirement established through section 33(A) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, as amended by Section 110 of the Localism Act. The DtC requires local planning authorities to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis with neighbouring authorities on cross-boundary strategic issues through the process of ongoing engagement and collaboration.
3.1.2 The Revised Framework (2019) has introduced a number of significant changes for how local planning authorities are expected to cooperate including the preparation of Statement(s) of Common Ground (SOCG) which are required to demonstrate that a plan is based on effective cooperation and has been based on agreements made by neighbouring authorities where cross boundary strategic issues are likely to exist. The Revised Framework (2019) sets out that local planning authorities should produce, maintain, and update one or more Statement(s) of Common Ground (SOCG), throughout the plan making process . The SOCG(s) should provide a written record of the progress made by the strategic planning authorities during the process of planning for strategic cross-boundary matters and will need to demonstrate the measures local authorities have taken to ensure cross boundary matters have been considered and what actions are required to ensure issues are proactively dealt with e.g. unmet housing needs.
3.1.3 As demonstrated through the outcome of the Coventry, Mid Sussex, Castle Point and St Albans examinations, if a Council fails to satisfactorily discharge its DtC a Planning Inspector must recommend non-adoption of the Plan. This cannot be rectified through modifications.
3.1.4 Gladman welcome the South Essex Authorities' commitment to the preparation of a Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) covering Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock. All of these authorities have significant strategic issues to contend with not least, the delivery of substantial housing and economic growth and the need to review Green Belt boundaries at a strategic scale.
3.1.5 It is however disappointing, that the JSP will not allocate specific sites which will be left for the individual Local Plans to take forward. The level of housing need in South Essex is significant and delivery has fallen substantially behind need for a long period of time. There is therefore an immediate need to address this situation; and for Local Plans to have to await the adoption of the JSP before sites are taken through the Local Plan process and finally released from the Green Belt, is simply going to result in inevitable further delay.
3.1.6 The JSP could release the strategic sites for development in partnership with the constituent authorities leaving a certain proportion of housing need to be addressed by the Local Plans on non-strategic sites. This would allow the release of Green Belt for development as early in the process as possible, thus meeting urgent need in an expedient manner.
3.1.7 The JSP also needs to follow a statutory plan preparation process with requisite consultation and examination to ensure that it has full weight in the planning process and to guide the preparation of the Local Plans on a formal basis. If the JSP is simply a non-statutory document, then there is the potential for changes over time in the other authorities to cause significant issues.
3.1.8 Beyond this commitment, there is very little evidence available setting out how Brentwood has discharged its Duty to Cooperate and what outcomes have been achieved through this process. This is especially pertinent because of the need to address unmet housing needs across the HMA.
3.2 Sustainability Appraisal
3.2.1 In accordance with Section 19 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, policies set out in Local Plans must be subject to a Sustainability Appraisal (SA), and also incorporate the requirements of the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004 (the SEA regulations).
3.2.2 The SA/SEA is a systematic process that should be undertaken at each stage of the Plan's preparation, assessing the effects of the emerging Local Plan Review proposals on sustainable development when judged against all reasonable alternatives. The Council should ensure that the future results of the SA clearly justify its policy choices. In meeting the development needs of the area, it should be clear from the results of this assessment why some policy options have progressed, and others have been rejected. This must be undertaken through a comparative and equal assessment of each reasonable alternative, in the same level of detail for both chosen and rejected alternatives. The Council's decision-making and scoring should be robust, justified and transparent.

4 SPATIAL STRATEGY
4.1 Vision and Strategic Objectives
4.1.1 Gladman has concerns with certain elements of the Spatial Strategy that is being pursued through the Brentwood Local Plan (BLP).
4.1.2 The Plan sets out that one of the overarching driving factors behind the BLP is meeting the housing needs of the borough. However, the Council are using the 2016 Household Projections to calculate the housing needs of the borough which the Government have now confirmed is the incorrect data set to rely upon. Use of the 2014 Household Projections is likely to yield a higher housing requirement and therefore, the Council will need to address this issue before the Plan gets to Examination.
4.1.3 They also set out within the Settlement Hierarchy in Table 2.3 that the development of brownfield land will be prioritised. This requirement has no support in National Policy as Para 117 of the Revised Framework (2019) simply states that substantial weight should be given to the value of using suitable brownfield land. This requirement should therefore be changed to reflect Government guidance.
4.1.4 The prioritisation of brownfield land is also repeated in the Spatial Development Principles section under Paragraph 3.23 which similarly needs amending.
4.1.5 It is also disappointing that in the Vision and the Strategic Objectives, no mention is made of providing housing to meet the needs of the local population or of addressing one of the key challenges facing Brentwood, that of tackling housing affordability. It is therefore suggested that given the emphasis being placed by the Government on fixing the broken housing market, a further Strategic Objective is added to the Plan that specifically relates to the delivery of housing.

5 MANAGING GROWTH
5.1 Policy SP02: Managing Growth
5.1.1 The Council sets out in the pre-amble to Policy SP02 that they consider the housing need figure using the Standard Methodology is 350 dwellings per annum using the 2016 Household Projections published by ONS.
5.1.2 However, since the Local Plan was published, the Government has clearly set out that the 2016 Household Projections should not be used for the purposes of establishing the housing need figure under the standard methodology and that the 2014 Household Projections should be used instead.
5.1.3 The Council therefore needs to recalculate the housing need figure using the correct set of data so that it accords with the Framework and is not immediately found unsound on this basis.
5.1.4 It must also be recognised that the standard method only identifies the minimum number of homes required to meet population needs and does not take into account the variety of factors which may influence the housing required in a local area such as changing economic circumstances or other factors which may change demographic behaviour. Where additional growth above historic trends is likely to occur, then local planning authorities should include an appropriate uplift to the housing numbers to meet the need in full. It is important that this uplift is undertaken prior to and separate from, the consideration of how much of this need can be accommodated in the housing requirement.
5.1.5 The Council are seeking to provide an uplift to the base level of housing needs established through the Standard Method but this is intended to provide a buffer in the housing supply to ensure that the housing requirement is met or surpassed. It is not an uplift to take account of the circumstances listed in the PPG (see paragraph 3.1.5 above).
5.1.6 Gladman support the Council's inclusion of a 20% buffer in order to provide flexibility in supply as this will allow the Local Plan to adapt to changes in circumstances such as stalled sites, delay in delivery and sites which do not come forward as envisaged. This is especially important where Local Plans are predicated on the delivery of a small number of large-scale strategic sites.
5.1.7 However, we also consider that the housing requirement included within the Local Plan is not representative of the full housing needs of the area and that factors such as the high housing affordability ratio (11.23 in 2017), continuing economic growth and proximity to London should lead the Council to uplift the housing requirement figure above the minimum identified through the Standard Method. The Council would then still need to include a 20% buffer above this figure, in order to provide the flexibility needed to ensure the housing requirement is met or surpassed.
5.1.8 Gladman also has concerns regarding the Sequential Land Use approach which is set out in Paragraph 4.22 of the Local Plan. This is intended to be used as a Development Management tool to appraise proposals against a sequential land use hierarchy. However, we consider that this goes beyond the guidance set out in National Policy which seeks to maximise the use of brownfield land where possible and where it does not conflict with other policies in the Framework. It is also difficult to see how this approach would work in a Development Management context as applicants would have to demonstrate that there are no other suitable alternative sites which could accommodate the proposed development.
5.1.9 Policy SP02 also sets out a stepped approach to housing delivery within Brentwood which would equate to 310 dwellings per annum 2016-2023 and 584 dwellings per annum from 2023 onwards. Given that Brentwood has struggled to deliver homes over recent years and has in fact, failed to meet the requirements of the recently published Housing Delivery Test, resulting in the need for a 20% buffer to be applied, coupled with the fact that housing affordability in the borough is severe, must lead the Council to the conclusion that it has to address the backlog of housing needs as quickly as possible.
5.1.10 Implementing a stepped approach to the housing requirement will only lead to people having to wait longer for their housing needs to be met which, in the face of the Government's push to address the housing crisis, must be unacceptable.
5.1.11 The Council point to the fact that given the level of Green Belt constraint facing the borough, it is extremely difficult to achieve a five-year housing land supply. However, if the Council allocate a sufficient range and type of site in various locations across the borough, including small scale Green Belt releases, then there is no reason why housing needs cannot be met quicker thus maintaining a 5-year housing land supply.
5.1.12 Gladman do not consider that the Council has sufficient evidence to justify the implementation of a stepped approach to housing delivery and therefore consider the Local Plan to be unsound in this respect.
5.2 Policy SP04: Developer Contributions
5.2.1 Whilst Gladman has no specific comments on the content of Policy SP04, we would wish to voice concern over the myriad of policies contained in the Local Plan which may have implications for development viability. Many of the policies such as Policy SP05, BE01, BE02, BE03, BE09, BE10 etc have requirements within them that will impact on the viability of development schemes. It is unclear from the evidence provided whether the cumulative impact of all of these requirements has been considered through the Viability Study, which is a requirement set out at Paragraph 34 of the Framework to ensure that such policies do not undermine the deliverability of the Plan. This gap in evidence needs to be addressed by the Council to ensure that these policies are justified.

6 RESILIENT BUILT ENVIRONMENT
6.1 Policy BE02: Sustainable Construction and Resource Efficiency
6.1.1 Gladman are concerned with part (f) of Policy BE02 as it is too onerous and goes beyond National Policy. Part (f) requires all proposals to include commercial and domestic scale renewable energy and decentralised energy as part of new development. This is an extremely onerous requirement, particularly for small schemes where it may not be technically feasible. It could also have a huge impact on development viability.
6.1.2 Paragraph 153 of the Framework allows for planning policies to require development to include decentralised energy supply. However, it also provides a caveat that this is only where it is viable and feasible. Part (f) of Policy BE02 should therefore be amended to reflect this guidance.

7 HOUSING PROVISION
7.1 Policy HP01: Housing Mix
7.1.1 Policy HP01 contains a number of development requirements which would be applied to all new development including housing mix, accessible and adaptable dwellings and self and custom build homes.
7.1.2 If the Council wishes to adopt the discretionary accessible and adaptable homes standards as a policy requirement, then this should only be done in accordance with the Revised Framework footnote 46 i.e. where this would address an identified need for such properties and where the standards can be justified. The Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) dated 25th March 2015 stated that "the optional new national technical standards should only be required through any new Local Plan policies if they address a clearly evidenced need, and where their impact on viability has been considered, in accordance with the NPPG".
7.1.3 All new homes are built to Building Regulations Part M Category 1 Standards which include such adaptions as level approach routes, accessible front doors and wider internal doors and corridors. If the Government had intended that evidence of an aging population alone justified the adoption of the higher Part M Category 2 or 3 optional standard, then these would have been incorporated as mandatory into the Building Regulations.
7.1.4 We have been unable to locate where the evidence of a need for these standards is contained within the evidence base. Without this evidence, these requirements should be removed from the Local Plan.
7.1.5 Whilst the concept of Self Build and Custom Build Housing is supported, the inclusion of plots on large scale sites does not add to the supply of houses overall (it merely changes the housing mix from one product to another). It is also difficult to assess how it will be implemented given issues around working hours, site access, health and safety etc. that are associated with large scale development sites. The percentage of provision on sites should also be determined on detailed evidence of need and the provision of these plots should also be subject to viability testing.
7.2 Policy HP06: Standards for New Housing
7.2.1 Policy HP06 requires all residential development to have to comply with the Nationally Described Space Standards (NDDS).
7.2.2 If the Council wishes to adopt the NDSS as a policy requirement, then this should only be done in accordance with the Revised Framework footnote 46 i.e. where this would address an identified need for such properties and where the standards can be justified. The WMS dated 25th March 2015 stated that "the optional new national technical standards should only be required through any new Local Plan policies if they address a clearly evidenced need, and where their impact on viability has been considered, in accordance with the NPPG".
7.2.3 We have been unable to locate where the evidence of a need for these standards is contained within the evidence base. Without this evidence, these requirements should be removed from the Local Plan.


8 CONCLUSION
8.1 Overall Conclusion
8.1.1 Critical to the success of the South Essex area will be the timely production of the JSP which will define the major growth areas to meet the housing and employment needs across the area and will inform the preparation of the individual Local Plans.
8.1.2 It is essential that through this process, the full needs for housing and employment are met in the areas that people want to live. It is also imperative that the major policy constraint of Green Belt is reviewed in a strategic manner which allows full need to be met and ensures that the new boundaries endure beyond the JSP plan period.
8.1.3 The impact of London will have a heavy influence on the future developments needs of the area and this must also be taken fully into account through the preparation of the JSP.
8.1.4 It is also considered that in order to give the JSP the weight it needs to ensure that the constituent Local Plans deliver its outcomes, the JSP should be a statutory plan which follows the requisite plan preparation process of consultation and subsequent examination.
8.1.5 Gladman have some fundamental concerns with the BLP, particularly with the identification of the level of housing need in the Plan and the implementation of a stepped approach to housing delivery, which would render the BLP unsound if they are not addressed.
8.1.6 Gladman therefore request the right to participate in any forthcoming Local Plan Examination to discuss these concerns orally.

Attachments:

Support

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 23761

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: St Modwen Properties PLC

Agent: Strutt & Parker LLP

Representation:

With regards to scoring of Brentwood Enterprise Park, in the SA a number of the assessed criteria could be more accurately represented. Table B: in respect of its effect on Air Quality Management Areas, medium score would be more appropriate; in respect of proximity to County Wildlife Sides and Ancient Semi Natural Woodlands, a medium score would be more appropriate; in respect of its proximity to services the score should be 'NA'. As such, the current SA may suggest the proposed BEP is less sustainable than it actually is and this references should be updated.

Full text:

1. Introduction
1.1 These representations have been prepared by Strutt & Parker on behalf of St Modwen Developments Limited ("St Modwen"). They are submitted pursuant to Brentwood Borough Council's (BBC) Pre-submission Version of the Regulation 19 Consultation Draft Local Plan ("Draft Local Plan"), and in particular, with regard to the proposed allocation of the Land south of the A127 at Junction 29 as the proposed Brentwood Enterprise Park (BEP).
1.2 This representation sets out St Modwen's position in relation to the commercial site specific allocation ("BEP Site") which is proposed by Policy E11 in the Draft Local Plan. St Modwen has an interest in the BEP Site pursuant to a development agreement dated 23 June 2015. The freehold owner of the BEP Site is Christopher Scott Padfield.
1.3 The draft allocation proposed by Policy E11 is the single largest employment allocation within the Draft Local Plan, comprising a developable area of 25.85ha of employment land. The BEP seeks to deliver approximately 2,000 jobs in a sustainable location. The BEP Site therefore plays a particularly important role in providing a significant element of BBC's employment land requirements. The BEP site will contribute significantly to the provision of jobs to support the growth of the borough.
1.4 Representations have previously been made on behalf of S&J Padfield and St. Modwen in respect of this site throughout the plan making process and most recently to the 2018 Draft Local Plan - Preferred Site Allocations Consultation.
1.5 The BEP Site is located at M25 Junction 29 to the south of the A127. It should be noted that another employment site included within the Draft Local Plan, at Policy E10 (Codham Hall Farm), is situated to the north of the A127.
1.6 This Regulation 19 representation is focussed on the soundness of the Local Plan, as per paragraph 35 of the NPPF (i.e. whether this draft Local Plan is positively prepared; justified; effective, and consistent with national policy); and legal compliance.
1.7 The Draft Local Plan represents the proposed final version of the Local Plan for the borough, and is supported by a raft of technical studies and evidence.
1.8 Due to the binary nature of consultation at this stage (which is recognised is a function of the regulations1) where changes are suggested to ensure the Local Plan is sound and / or legally compliant, these are expressed as objections. However, we wish to stress that fundamentally, and particularly in relation to the proposed allocation of new employment land at the BEP Site, we support the Draft Local Plan.
Brentwood Enterprise Park
1.9 The BEP provides in the region of 26ha of employment land as part of a successfully masterplanned proposal within a wider site of 35.5ha, to also include ancillary landscaping works. It is intended that the proposed development at the BEP Site will provide new floorspace for a range of B-use classes, supporting jobs and employment growth in a range of sectors including (but not necessarily limited to) storage & distribution, office space, and professional services.
1.10 The following sections set out the proposals in the context of the Draft Local Plan and provide commentary on the draft policies insofar as they are relevant to the delivery of new employment floorspace, and particular in respect of the BEP Site allocation at Policy E11.
1.11 Where any concerns are raised, specific changes to the relevant policies are sought and these are indicated in the following representations in order to assist BBC in ensuring the Local Plan is sound, in terms of being positively prepared, effective, justified and consistent with national policy.
1.12 St. Modwen requests the right for its professional advisors to provide further responses on any matters appropriate to their land interests at the relevant sessions of the examination of the submitted Local Plan.
2. Policy E11 - Brentwood Enterprise Park
2.1 We wish to make clear that we support the principle of this policy and the vast majority of it is sound. However, we consider there are elements of this policy which are not effective and justified, and therefore require modification. As such, and given the binary nature of consultation at this stage, this response is expressed as an objection.
Policy E11 part C d)
2.2 We do not concur with part C d) of Policy E11. This part of the policy presently requires that the public right of way is preserved and enhanced. Whilst it is recognised that the right of way will need to be maintained, this may be through appropriate diversion if required. The policy wording presently is ambiguous in this regard and may imply that the right of way must be preserved in its current form. This could pose a risk to delivery and would not be a justified and effective approach in accordance with the tests of soundness set out at paragraph 35 of the NPPF. Accordingly, we request that sub-paragraph 'd.' of part C of Policy E11 be amended so that it reads as follows:
"preserve, through diversion if necessary, and where appropriate enhance the existing Public Right of Way through the site".
Policy E11 part D c), d) and e)
2.3 Furthermore, we consider that the references to infrastructure requirements in sub-paragraphs c., d. and e. of part D of Policy E11 should be amended to make clear that such provision will be required where appropriate. The wording at present is overly prescriptive and lacks flexibility would not therefore be a justified and effective approach in accordance with the tests of soundness set out at paragraph 35 of the NPPF. It may not, for example, be appropriate to provide direct walking connection towards junction 29 and the western site boundary.
2.4 With regards to public transport links we consider it important to recognise the site is one of a number of growth locations and should not be responsible for provision of new transport links alone. As identified in the transport work undertaken by Atkins on behalf of St Modwen, there is potential for accessibility to be provided through private shuttle bus services for example rather than formal public transport or buses. We consider that this part of the policy is not adequately justified, and while provision for bus access and links to external walkways and cycle ways is supported in principle, the implementation of a wider strategy for sustainable travel and public transport should be delivered by the appropriate local authorities, with relevant contributions sought from developers where the legal tests relating to planning obligations (i.e. regulation 122(2) of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010) are met. In this regard, we are aware of the strategy put forward for public transport in this area, as outlined in Appendix G of the Transport Assessment. This is discussed later in the representation, and the wider interaction with other allocations in the Southern Growth Corridor concerning the implementation of this strategy is supported.
2.5 We consider this part of the policy should be amended to read:
c. provide well-connected internal road layouts which allow good accessibility for bus services or sustainable transport measures where appropriate
d. potential travel planning measures and connection to new public transport links with the surrounding area; and
e. provision for walking and cycling connections within the site and to the surrounding area where appropriate
Delivery of the BEP
2.6 The landowners and St. Modwen are committed to delivering the BEP scheme and continue to actively engage with the Council on a pre-application basis, and in terms of the delivery of the development proposals generally.
2.7 The reference in Appendix 2 to the BEP Site's delivery forecasting being "Years 5-15" should be amended instead to state: "Years 1 - 15" in order to reflect the intentions of the landowners and St Modwen and in particular the potential for early delivery of a phase of development using the existing access arrangements.
2.8 Importantly, as set out later in this representation, amendments to the allocation area and policies map are also required in order to provide for flexibility with regards to access options.
2.9 Other relevant policy considerations with regards to the allocation at Policy E11 and the supporting evidence base are set out below.
Green Belt
2.10 Firstly, addressing the principle of Green Belt release, this is considered justified and consistent with national policy in the case of Policy E11; as well as being necessary to ensure the Local Plan is sound.
2.11 The NPPF states that if Green Belt boundaries are to be altered then this should be done through preparation or updating of plans (see paragraph 136), and only when exceptional circumstances are fully evidenced and justified.
2.12 The NPPF does not define what constitutes 'exceptional circumstances'. However, case law does provide assistance in this regard. In particular, the judgment of the High Court in Calverton Parish Council v Nottingham City Council & Ors. [2015] EWHC 1078 (Admin) suggests (see paragraph 51 of the judgment) the following matters are relevant in the consideration of whether exceptional circumstances exist:
(i) the scale of the objectively assessed need;
(ii) constraints on supply/availability of land with the potential to accommodate sustainable development;
(iii) difficulties in achieving sustainable development without impinging on the Green Belt;
(iv) the nature and extent of the harm to the Green Belt; and
(v) the extent to which impacts on the purposes of the Green Belt may be mitigated as far as practicable.
2.13 In respect of the first three points, through the plan-making process, BBC has evidenced a substantial need for development; and there are clearly severe limitations on options to meet this need without altering the Green Belt. Similarly, options to deliver sustainable development - including through the realising the opportunities the Brentwood Enterprise Park presents - without amendments to the Green Belt boundary are very limited.
Landscaping
2.14 In addition, the allocation also seeks to deliver landscaping and groundworks to further improve the visual amenity between the site and the surrounding landscape. Given the Green Belt location of the site, we consider that provisions for landscaping within the site allocation policy is reasonably justified.
2.15 Furthermore, the Landscape Sensitivity and Landscape Capacity Study: Potential and Strategic Allocation Options report by Crestwood on behalf of BBC is supported. We note in particular Appendix L3 of the Landscape Sensitivity and Capacity Study finds that the site is Low Landscape Sensitivity, Low Landscape Value, with a resultant High Landscape Capacity (a high capacity site being more readily able to accommodate development).
2.16 Appendix L4, the Landscape Character Assessment (LCA), states Moderate Overall Sensitivity to Change, and considers the Site within the LCA as being Low (as L3 above). Appendix L5 summarises the capacity for development as High (the highest it can be). We agree that the site should be preferentially prioritised for development when considering effects on the landscape, and consider that the site is justified for inclusion in the plan on this basis. Further, it is considered the plan has been positively prepared in the way it has considered and identified sites that have are shown to have capacity in terms of effect on the surrounding landscape.
Economic Evidence Base
2.17 The Draft Local Plan evidence base includes input on the economic forecasts for the Council, including commentary on job growth, employment land requirements and how they relate with growth in other areas. The provision of around 2,000 jobs will undoubtedly aid in achieving the social aspect of sustainability in respect of the NPPF, providing employment opportunities to facilitate the growth of the borough.
2.18 The number of jobs and job capacity is largely derived from the estimate of employment floorspace. The Economic Futures document has estimated the number of jobs to be provided on the basis that all employment allocations come forward, while also stating that the purported numbers are indicative. Paragraph 4.1 sets out the methodology for calculating job capacity, with the report going on to state that BEP will provide a total of 4,070 new jobs. We do not consider this figure to be justified, principally because it is based on an over-assumption of the amount of office space that may be provided. The number of jobs will depend on final mix of uses however estimates based on employment density guidance indicates in the region of 2,000 jobs, due mainly to the lower estimation for the amount of office space to be provided by the scheme.
2.19 The economic evidence base supporting the quantum and location of employment land is considered in more detail in Section 5 of this representation in the context of Policy PC03 - Job Growth & Employment Land.
Transport and Access
2.20 The BEP Site allocation is ideally located to provide direct access to the strategic road network for the commercial vehicles that will be generated by the proposed business uses on the site. This will avoid the adverse impacts of commercial vehicles, including HGVs, on the local road network and local residents, that would be likely to occur if these business uses were located on an alternative site or sites that did not have direct access to the strategic road network.
2.21 As further discussed within this representation, studies have shown that access to the strategic road network for BEP which is compatible with the LTC proposals for J29 is achievable, and therefore the allocation of the BEP is not compromised by the LTC, should it be delivered.
2.22 The transport assessment undertaken to assess the potential impact of the Local Plan on the road network adopts a methodology that forecasts future demand based predominantly on historic trends, in terms of trip generation and background traffic growth. It does not fully account for the likely demand suppression that will occur due to worsening traffic congestion on the road network, i.e. constrained network capacity, which is known to be taking place and driving changes in travel behaviour including:
a. Fewer and short journeys being undertaken through more working from home, combining trips, ordering of goods and services over the internet, etc.
b. Shift to using alternative modes of transport such as public transport, walking and cycling
c. Changes in the timing of journeys to avoid the most congested period
2.23 Additionally, emerging internet based services, such as ride sharing, mobility as a service and demand responsive public transport, are likely to further change the way that people choose to travel in the future, all of which are forecast to temper or lessen future traffic growth. The transport assessment undertaken in support of the Local Plan recognises that these changes in how people are travelling are already taking place and are likely to accelerate, with evidence of this now being seen in the most recent travel statistics.
2.24 Consequently, the cumulative traffic demand on the road network forecast in the Local Plan should not be interpreted as the likely outcome of the Local Plan site allocations. Instead it should be considered as an indicator of overall travel demand to inform future policy aimed at accommodating it in a more sustainable way that avoids the 'very worst case' forecast traffic growth. The traffic forecasts in the transport assessment should not, therefore, be relied upon to inform specific requirements for road network capacity enhancement schemes, since to do so would very likely result in unnecessarily excessive and expensive schemes.
2.25 It is also noted that the trip generation forecast for BEP used in the Local Plan transport assessment is based on the site having an employment capacity of approximately 3,000 jobs, which is considered to be an over estimate. Based on industry standard employment densities for the likely mix of business uses on the BEP Site which is proposed by St Modwen, the employment capacity is forecast to be approximately 2,000 jobs. Therefore, the Local Plan transport assessment overestimates the likely trip generation for BEP by as much as 50%.
2.26 The indicative plan of potential sustainable transport linkages shown in Figure 3.14 - Southern Growth Corridor: Sustainable Transport, included in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan should only be seen as an example of how the proposed development sites along the A127 could possibly be linked by a package of sustainable transport measures. It should not be seen as representing the specific measures that will be implemented. This is because further detailed evaluation is required to establish if they represent the most appropriate proposals, taking account of the wide range of sustainable transport measures that could be adopted by the different sites, and to confirm their deliverability (recent discussions with other parties involved with land along the A127 have mentioned the use of compulsory purchase powers, which can be a costly and lengthy process).
2.27 While recent engagement with David Ubaka Placemakers and other stakeholders in the Southern Growth Corridor has shed further light on the proposed sustainable transport measures, there is considered to be more work required before a detailed solution is available. It should therefore be recognised that the package of sustainable transport measures that will be implemented for the sites along the Southern Growth Corridor may ultimately be different to those presented in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan. The IDP itself is acknowledged to be a 'live' working document (see paragraph 1.2) and hence the final package of sustainable transport measures will be agreed at the planning application stage for the relevant development sites along the Southern Growth Corridor.
2.28 Fundamentally however, the allocation of sites including BEP, Childerditch Industrial Estate, West Horndon and DHGV along the A127 all make a strong business case for the implementation of a robust and efficient package of sustainable transport measures.
Lower Thames Crossing & Additional Land Required for Access
2.29 The BEP Site benefits from existing access to M25 junction 29 that can provide for a first phase of development and, in enhanced form, for access on a permanent basis should the Lower Thames Crossing not proceed.
2.30 Should the Lower Thames Crossing come forward, it is noted that latest proposals include potential slip roads at junction 29. This includes one running from the A127 westbound onto the M25 southbound at junction 29. The current proposals for the LTC would therefore conflict with both the existing and currently proposed access arrangements for the BEP.
2.31 Extensive liaison has been undertaken and will continue to be undertaken with representatives from Lower Thames Crossing, Highways England, Essex County Council, Peter Brett Associates and all other relevant parties. The Highways England LTC team have confirmed their commitment to proactively find solutions to allow BEP and the LTC to come forward in a manner which is mutually acceptable.
2.32 Key to this is an acknowledgement that certain land around junction 29 and the A127 will likely be needed for transport works should the LTC project proceed as currently envisaged. Accordingly, such land should be acknowledged in the Local Plan as being released from the Green Belt should it be required to provide works to allow for access to the BEP Site.
2.33 The plan at Appendix B shows the additional land that may be necessary to be released from the Green Belt in order for it to be developed for transport works to facilitate access to the BEP Site. Such release would only take effect if the land was needed for transport works to deliver access to the BEP Site.
2.34 At present, the options set out in Appendix B include land to facilitate access to junction 29, or to facilitate access to the BEP Site from the B186/Warley Street. This will likely include additional land to the north of the A127 to allow for potential access via junction 29 linking via an improved bridge, as well as land to the east including around the A127/B186 junction to allow for potential junction and slip road improvements. This includes land to the south along Warley Street to allow for potential realignment of the road / roundabout to provide access to the site.
2.35 Policy E11 must therefore be amended to acknowledge the above access options and to provide for the land to be released from the Green Belt for such purposes should that be required.
2.36 It is proposed that the policy wording seeks to ensure that works on this land are kept to the minimum necessary to facilitate the required access and highway improvements. It should also be noted that access infrastructure is likely to be at grade (or below) existing levels and would not add any significant volume/built structures to the land, and therefore any impact on openness would therefore be limited.
2.37 The need to maintain the possibility of achieving safe, satisfactory access arrangements to the largest employment land allocation in the borough in the context of the LTC is considered an exceptional circumstance, and therefore warrants this additional land to be removed from the Green Belt if required.
2.38 Further, Paragraph 146 of the NPPF sets out the forms of development that are not inappropriate in the Green Belt, provided the preserve openness and do not conflict with the purposes of including land within it. This includes, at point c), local transport infrastructure which can demonstrate a requirement for a Green Belt location.
2.39 This approach has been used in the nearby East Herts District, where the recently adopted East Herts District Plan 2018 found that in order to provide necessary highway capacity to meet the wider needs of existing residents and businesses, as well as for future growth, the connectivity over the River Stort requires significant improving. In accordance with the NPPF, the Council considered it appropriate for new crossings to be located across Green Belt land, and as a result of the adopted plan, East Herts District Council are working with other LPAs and Authorities to explore landownership associated with the delivery of additional transport capacity, and also reviewed the use of CPO powers if deemed necessary. Whilst this approach could also be adopted in Brentwood there is a need for the Local Plan to provide for release of land from the Green Belt for access should this be required.
2.40 It is additionally noted the Brentwood IDP indicates the potential implementation of sustainable transport measures around the site. The release and identification of such land on the proposals map is therefore an important requirement for the Local Plan.
2.41 In order to achieve the above, we request that the first paragraph of Policy E11 is amended to read as follows:
"Land south east of M25 Junction 29, as shown on Appendix 2, is allocated to provide high quality employment development and a significant number of jobs.
In addition, the areas of land (shown on the plan at Appendix 2) shall be released from the Green Belt for works to provide access to the site should this be necessary. The final extent of the land that is released for such works shall be identified in a planning application and shall be kept to the minimum necessary to provide an appropriate and safe access to the Brentwood Enterprise Park Site along with any associated highway and infrastructure works.
Development proposals for the Brentwood Enterprise Park site should consider the following:"
2.42 The plan at Appendix 2 to the Draft Local Plan will need to be updated to be in line with the plan attached at Appendix B of these representations.
3. Section 3 Spatial Strategy, Vision and Strategic Objectives
SO1: Manage Growth Sustainably
3.1 We support strategic objective SO1. In order for the Local Plan to be sound, it is essential that it ensures the borough's growth is managed, and in a sustainable manner. As per the NPPF (paragraph 8), achieving sustainable development means pursuing environmental, social and economic objectives; recognising these objectives are interdependent and mutually supportive. It is critical that these objectives are carried forward into the detailed policies and allocations of the Local Plan.
SO3: Deliver Sustainable Communities with Diverse Economic & Social-cultural Opportunities for All
3.2 We support strategic objective SO3. In particular, we welcome its recognition of the importance of the economic climate to the borough's communities. We support the recognition of the importance of identifying opportunities for economic growth - the NPPF is clear on the need for Local Plans to look to realise opportunities for development.
3.3 Also set out in the Strategic Objectives section is the reasoning behind the identified key growth areas. We broadly support the identified key growth areas and the strategy, which seeks to deliver growth along the established transport corridors of the A127 and A12. Paragraph 3.21 part b) sets out the proposals for delivering employment growth in the M25/A127 areas.
Growth Areas
3.4 We support the identification of the opportunity to provide a strategic employment allocation at the BEP Site. Such an approach accords with the Draft Local Plan's strategic objectives pertaining to the identification of economic growth opportunities, and thereby assists in ensuring this objective is effective. The BEP would deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits, allowing it to come forward as a sustainable growth location to support the growth of the borough.
3.5 Fundamentally, the provision of employment land provides job opportunities and space to deliver economic growth not just in Brentwood, but throughout the region. The well-connected highway network and provisions for sustainable transport links will ensure that the BEP Site provides employment space that will make best use of its location, set within easy reach of London, DP World, the Dartford Crossing and other notable businesses and employment centres. It is recognised in the plan that other proposed infrastructure projects, such as the Lower Thames Crossing, are most beneficial to distributors and companies that are of a certain scale, who will require larger spaces and facilities from which to run their businesses. As such, employment proposals such as BEP are required not just to provide economic growth and opportunity in their own right, but also to harness the opportunities granted by future infrastructure.
3.6 The provision of jobs and employment to support the borough's population is key and the social benefits of the BEP development would principally derive from the number of jobs provided by the development, enabling future and existing residents of the borough to live and work within the locality. It is intended that a planning application will be progressed immediately and delivery on site can come forward over the next 1-15-year period, potentially providing several years' worth of construction jobs and contracts in the construction sector alone.
3.7 Currently, St. Modwen's strategy continues to be for a planning application to be prepared for submission alongside the examination in 2019, targeting determination following receipt of the Inspector's Report and adoption of the Local Plan. This pro-active approach, if reflected in an amendment to the BEP Site's delivery forecast, will lead to an effective plan that can allow for the site to come forward expediently to address the borough's employment land needs.
3.8 The site is a sustainable location for development for employment uses owing to its location adjacent to the strategic highway network. Supporting large-scale employment growth here negates the need for the delivery of further employment uses in less sustainable and less suitable locations.
Figure 3.1 - Key Diagram
3.9 The identification of an employment-led development in the south-west of the borough is supported. Such a location is well-connected to the strategic highway network, which as set out above, facilitates connections to other key employment centres. As such, the proposed approach in this regard is justified. The allocation of the BEP Site for new employment development is clearly very much consistent with national policy; and will make a significant contribution to ensuring the Local Plan is positively prepared. Indeed, if the Key Diagram were not to identify and promote realisation of such an opportunity, we consider that such an approach could not be consistent with national policy or justified.
4. Section 5 - Transport and Connectivity
4.1 Successful delivery of the allocated development within the growth areas requires a grounded appreciation of the transport issues along the various corridors. Section 5 of the Draft Local Plan covers how the Plan seeks to develop a resilient built environment. Page 92 sets out the Transport and Connectivity related policies.
4.2 We support part C of Policy BE11: Strategic Transport Infrastructure, which sets out how the Council will continue to liaise with Highways Authorities and other key stakeholders to ensure the necessary improvements to ensure highway infrastructure capacity is maintained. We welcome BBC's proactive approach in this respect.
4.3 We support the wording in Paragraph 5.105 relating to the South Brentwood Growth Corridor, particularly the intent for BBC to work proactively with developers and stakeholders along the A127. We recognise the need to work collaboratively to address any transport impacts the BEP development may have on the highway network.
4.4 We concur with paragraph 5.107, which raises doubt on the scale and timelines associated with the impacts of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing. Having liaised extensively with the LTC teams, we are aware of the proposals and their relationship with the Brentwood Enterprise Park. We can confirm that the LTC teams and ourselves are committed to the realisation of both projects in a mutually acceptable manner and discussions are on-going in this regard.
4.5 Policy BE13 should acknowledge that site specific policies provide details of how sustainable travel opportunities will be achieved in respect of each site. Accordingly, Policy BE13 should be amended so that it is made clear that it does not have the effect of imposing any requirements on the allocated sites that are in addition to those set out in the individual site allocation policies.
5. Section 7 - Prosperous Communities
5.1 The Economic Aims and Strategy priorities set out within Section 7.3 are supported. We consider these will help facilitate sustainable development, which is of course required to ensure the Local Plan is sound.
5.2 The Brentwood Enterprise Park will provide a range of employment types in a sustainable location. The proposals have been designed to reflect the need for a greater proportion of B-type use classes, supporting jobs in a range of industries that will make the most of the site's location adjacent to an established highways network, fundamentally meeting Economic Aim A1.
5.3 The scheme will provide in the region of 2,000 jobs on an area that makes up around 54% of the land identified for employment use within the Draft Local Plan. Economic Aim E2 seeks the provision of high value, diverse employment uses that will provide a significant number of high skilled and quality jobs.
PC02: Job Growth and Employment Land
5.4 The Draft Local Plan has as part of its evidence base a document entitled 'Brentwood Economic Futures 2013-2033', prepared by Lichfields, which sets out the economic evidence base in support of the Local Plan. We have reviewed the available economic evidence and also considered the conclusions drawn from that document, in particular how it determines the amount of employment land required to support the needs of the borough throughout the next plan period.
5.5 Principally, we have some reservations as to the quantum of employment land that is proposed under the various scenarios considered as part of the study. While each of the scenarios has considered relevant factors conducive to understanding the amount of employment land required, we consider that the Council should be considering the Experian based forecasts set out under Scenario A as a minimum requirement of employment land. The other scenarios do not provide an adequately robust assessment of the land required to support the necessary employment growth.
5.6 In terms of the quantum discussed within the evidence base, the Local Plan forecasts a need between 20.3 ha (Scenario A) and 8.1 ha (Scenario D) for land to be used for B-class employment uses. The Plan seeks to allocate an additional 47.4ha (with BEP accounting for around 55% of this total allocation), allowing for the compensation of the loss of 21.ha of current employment land to other uses. While it is positive that the Council has sought to address the loss of existing land, while also seeking to provide over and above the highest amount required by the Scenario A (Experian figures generated using SHMA data), we would consider the Council could be more proactive by allowing for a greater buffer beyond the requirement of land set out under Scenario A. Such a buffer would ensure flexibility, and therefore effectiveness, should any of the smaller site allocations not be delivered within the timescales envisaged.
5.7 The site's location on the outskirts of London is also considered to assist in addressing the trend for the reduction in B-class land uses within the capital. Situated adjacent to the M25 and A127, the site presents an attractive destination for London firms requiring B1c/B2 and B8 floorspace. Elsewhere in Brentwood, this ability to capitalise on the migration of such employment uses from London is not being realised, as the supply of land for industrial uses is below any of the closest competing Boroughs (Brentwood's supply of industrial land was just 205,000 sq m in 2015/16). In order to attract industrial employers and capture employment opportunities migrating from London, sites like Brentwood Enterprise Park are required to provide the required space and land uses.
5.8 Therefore, not only is BEP the foremost important asset for the Borough in terms of employment land, but especially as an option for the development of B1c, B2, and B8. The loss of the land allocation at BEP would seriously impede the borough's ability to grow in the future, and to take advantage of likely future geographical changes in location and demand for B-class employment uses.
5.9 When further considering and allocations required to deliver the number of jobs to be provided, it is critical that the Local Plan:
a) Provides for sufficient flexibility to be able to respond to rapid change (as required by paragraph 11 of the NPPF); and
b) Does so in a manner that ensures the Green Belt boundary will not need to be reviewed before the end of the plan period (paragraph 136 of the NPPF).
5.10 In respect of this, it must be recognised that the borough is predominantly Green Belt. The Council has evidenced that the current Green Belt boundaries are required to be amended by the new Local Plan (which is appropriate, as per paragraph 136 of the NPPF). In reviewing the Green Belt boundaries at this juncture, it is important that the Council is confident that the amended Green Belt will not have to be altered again in five years, when the Local Plan is required to be reviewed. As such, in considering the scale of land to be allocated to meet development needs through this Local Plan, it is important that a precautionary approach is taken so that the amount of land that is released from the Green Belt is sufficient to ensure delivery of the sites that are allocated in the Local Plan for development.
5.11 We therefore object to Policy PC02, on the basis that at the very least it should be amended such that land allocations are expressed as minimums. If Policy PC02 is amended to state that the allocation of 47.39 ha of new employment land is a minimum this will ensure that the plan is positively prepared, effective and consistent with national policy.
7.19 and 7.20 Employment Land Provision
5.12 Having regard to our comments in respect of Policy PC02 - the need to ensure flexibility; and the need to ensure the revised Green Belt boundary will be capable of enduring beyond the plan period - the Local Plan must use the higher growth forecasts and plan accordingly. In addition, it is important that the Council is satisfied the proposed allocation of employment land is sufficient in respect of the requirements outlined in our response to Policy PC02 regarding the need for both flexibility and for the Green Belt to be able to endure during the plan period.
Policy PC03: Employment Land Allocations
5.13 Policy PC03 sets out a number of considerations which are intended to relate to existing and proposed employment sites identified in Figure 7.6. Brentwood Enterprise Park is listed as one such site in Figure 7.6 of the Draft Local Plan.
5.14 The Draft Local Plan also proposes a specific site allocation policy for the BEP, (Policy E11).
5.15 Policy PC03 contains a prescriptive list of the circumstances when non B-class uses will be permitted in respect of "Redevelopment or change of use of business, office, general industry and distribution". Given that Policy E11 refers to the possibility of development for uses other than B-class uses i.e. for "any associated employment generating sui generis uses" we assume this part of Policy PC03 relates only to existing employment sites. However, in order for the policy to be effective, the policy should be amended so that the opening paragraph reads as follows:
"Within those areas allocated for general employment and office development, set out in Figure 7.6 and on the Brentwood Policies Map, the Council will seek to achieve and retain a wide range of employment opportunities. Further details in this regard are set out in the individual site allocation policies.
In relation to existing employment sites redevelopment for non B-class uses will only be permitted where:"
Paragraph 7.23 - b) part i)
5.16 The reference to BEP within the context of opportunities for growth within the South Brentwood Growth Corridor is welcomed and supported. However, in our view the reference to "redeveloping brownfield land" in sub-paragraph (b)(i) is unnecessary given that the BEP Site has been assessed by the Council and considered to be suitable for strategic employment development. Accordingly, for purposes of clarity we request that sub-paragraph b. i. is reworded to read as follows: "developing land at Brentwood Enterprise Park (see Policy E11)". This would also correct the typographical error of "Site E01" which should instead refer to E11.
Paragraph 7.25
5.17 The NPPF calls for Local Plans to make use of development opportunities. The recognition that the Lower Thames Crossing represents an opportunity which Brentwood Enterprise Park will realise is supported, as this is consistent with relevant national planning policy.
PC05 - Replicates Site Specific policies
5.18 As currently worded, the Draft Local Plan is ambiguous as to whether this policy is intended to apply to proposed as well as existing employment land. If it is intended to apply to new allocations, then similar concerns to those that we expressed in relation to policy PC03 also apply here. To ensure the Local Plan is effective, to avoid inconsistency, and so that it is clear how a decision maker should react to development proposes, Policy PC05 should be amended to make clear it does not apply to the new employment site allocations because these policies have (as applicable) clear 'Development Principles' and 'Infrastructure Requirements'.
6. Section 8 - Natural Environment
NE08 - Lighting Restrictions
6.1 We support what we have inferred is the intended objective of this policy: to ensure lighting schemes are appropriate for the use to which they are associated, and potential harm arising from lighting schemes is minimised. In respect of policy BE08 A a) we suggest that, order to provide greater clarity as to how a decision maker should react to development proposals, it is acknowledged that employment land may well require the provision of lighting for security and operational purposes.
Policy NE9: Green Belt
6.2 It is considered necessary (in respect of the effectiveness of the Local Plan and compliance with the NPPF, in relation to the need to ensure policies are not ambiguous) that the Local Plan makes clear where land is being removed from the Green Belt (such as in respect of the allocation contained in Policy E11). It is suggested that text is added to this policy to clarify that the Local Plan is altering the Green Belt boundaries.
Policy NE13: Site Allocations in the Green Belt
6.3 The policy should be amended to provide clarity that sites are being removed to enable employment needs to be met, in addition to housing. It should be recognised that the development of employment uses has intrinsic community benefits, with resultant social and economic gains.
Potential additional land required for access to Brentwood Enterprise Park
6.4 As covered in elsewhere in our representation, owing to factors arising from the proposals for the Lower Thames Crossing (LTC), it is considered that additional land may need to be released from the Green Belt in order to ensure appropriate access to the BEP Site can be provided.
7. Strategic Environmental Assessment / Sustainability Appraisal
7.1 The Draft Local Plan is accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal that has been prepared by AECOM, which assesses all sites put forward against a number of criteria in order to ascertain an overview of the sustainability credentials of a site or location. The SA concludes that the BEP Site is suitable for the intended proposals when considered on its own merits and when considered against other options within the borough.
7.2 Turning to the more specific aspects of the proposed allocation, the SA finds that the site scores moderately well when considered against other options for growth put forward at the various stages of plan preparation. While we agree with the allocation, and consider that the SA supports the sustainability of the site location, we consider that a number of the assessed criteria could be more accurately represented.
7.3 The SA broadly supports the inclusion of the Brentwood Enterprise Park within the plan, stating all sites will have good or excellent access onto the strategic highway network, and Brentwood Enterprise Park will provide an opportunity for high-end modern premises, along with appropriate ancillary uses, e.g. a hotel.
7.4 Table C from the Sustainability Appraisal is included above, showing how the BEP site (ref 101Aii) has been assessed against the criteria set out within the plan. It is noted that the site has been scored low in respect of relationship to Local Wildlife Sites, Ancient woodland and also with regard to Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).
7.5 It is noted that the criteria in Table B of the SA state that the thresholds have been selected on the basis that County Wildlife Sides and Ancient Semi Natural Woodlands have a relatively low sensitivity. However, the proposed allocation at Brentwood Enterprise Park is adjacent to the Hobbs Hole, and does not directly intersect with it. While a medium score would be more appropriate in this regard, it is important to note that the proposed scheme also provide opportunities for the enhancement of the Hobbs Hole site through the provision of effective landscaping schemes and ecological management.
7.6 The criteria set out in Table B stipulates that a low score is given to sites in or adjacent to an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), and a medium score will be given if located within a kilometre of an AQMA. Despite not satisfying either of these criteria, the site has scored low in respect of its effect on Air Quality Management Areas. The Assessment justifies this, noting that growth along the A127 corridor can be expected to lead to increased traffic in the Brentwood town centre Air Quality Management Area, which is located some 5km to the north.
7.7 The SA does however follow this up by stating that "there is some uncertainty in respect of this conclusion, given the potential to deliver significant upgrades to walking/cycling and public transport infrastructure through a focus at DHGV, as well as to deliver employment and a local centre (to include a secondary school) on-site." We support this view, and concur that the growth locations identified in the southern corridor cumulatively make a strong business case for the implementation of sustainable transport linkages and necessary infrastructure that will ultimately lessen the perceived effect on the nearest AQMAs. As such, we feel that a medium score would be more appropriate in this regard.
7.8 Finally, on the SA, it is considered to be ineffective to judge the merits of a site for employment use with regard to its proximity to services such as a GP, Primary School and Secondary School. While these services may be considered key to the delivery of successful residential allocations, they are not relevant indicators of sustainability of potential employment sites. The site has been scored low in all three aspects, due to the distance it is located from these services, and we also consider that these scores should be 'NA'.
7.9 As such, the current SA may suggest the proposed BEP is less sustainable than it actually is and this references should be updated. However, it is also relevant to note that the SA is still considered this site as a merited allocation despite this.
8. Summary
8.1 This representation has considered the Brentwood Borough Council Regulation 19 Draft Local Plan against the test of soundness as set out at Paragraph 35 of the NPPF, with specific reference made to the allocation of land for the development of the Brentwood Enterprise Park scheme.
8.2 The representation sets out how the plan, whilst fundamentally sound, is not completely justified or effective with regard to ensuring the adequate delivery of sufficient employment land to support the planned growth of the borough. Furthermore, references to certain of the draft policies and supporting evidence show that the plan should be amended to be more positively prepared and consistent with National Planning Policy.
8.3 Proposed modifications to the plan to address these matters are set out including in relation to Policy E11.
8.4 We request that we be invited to attend the relevant sessions of the forthcoming examination hearings in order that we can provide the Inspector with further oral evidence and explanation in support of these representations.
Appendix A - Letter from Highways England regarding Lower Thames Crossing
Appendix B - Potential land required for access solutions (ref: 5183535-ATK-ZZ-DR-D-0001)

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 23840

Received: 03/03/2019

Respondent: Strutt & Parker LLP

Agent: Strutt & Parker LLP

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation:

Paragraph 5.5.31 of the SA confirms that Site 078 is listed as 1 of 5 omission sites in the HELAA as it is "deliverable or developable". The SA confirms that the two sites with the greatest potential for allocation are the adjacent "Parklands" Sites. The SA states that the accompanying Green Belt Review found that both sites contribute to the purposes of the Green Belt to a 'moderate' extent, however neither site is fully contained in the landscape. The SA concludes that the option of adding one or more omission sites was determined
as "unreasonable", for the purposes of establishing reasonable spatial alternatives. The SA does not provide a justified reason for the rejection of the site.

Full text:

This representation on the Brentwood Borough Proposed Submission Local Plan
(February 2019) (PSLP) is submitted by Strutt & Parker on behalf of Barnoaks
Management Ltd. The representation is made in relation to Land south of the B1002,
Ingatestone. The site is referenced as 078 in the Council's plan making process. A location plan showing the site is provided at Appendix A of this representation. The site has previously been submitted through the Council's Call for Sites (2011) and
the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) (Ref: GO20). In the
SHLAA, the site was defined as a 'greenfield parcel with potential'. More recently, the site was submitted through the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) (2018) (Ref: 078). The site was defined in the HELAA as a suitable, achievable and available site for residential development, which could come forward within 1 - 5 years. Representations were also submitted to Brentwood Borough Council through the Regulation 18 Consultation (2018). The site measures at approximately 1.8ha and could support the delivery of up to 54 dwellings. The site is located adjacent to the eastern edge of the settlement boundary of Ingatestone, on land, which is currently allocated as Green Belt. Currently, the site is not proposed to be allocated for residential development. The
rejection of the site for allocation is considered unjustified. The allocation of land south of the B1002, Ingatestone, for residential development would represent a sustainable and deliverable proposal to help meet housing needs over the coming plan period. The proposed plan period runs until 2033. Assuming - optimistically - adoption in 2019, this means that the Local Plan will address development needs for a maximum of 14 years. The NPPF (Paragraph 22) is clear that strategic policies should look ahead over a minimum of 15 years from the date of adoption. This deficiency in the PSLP is of particular relevance given that the Borough is predominately Green Belt, and failure to ensure that development needs are planned
for over a sufficient period of time would likely result in an early review of the Green Belt being required - contrary to the NPPF (paragraph 136); and undermining one of the two essential characteristics of the Green Belt; its permanence (NPPF, Paragraph 133). At paragraph 4.13 of the PSLP, it states that the Borough's housing requirement it plans for is 350 dwellings per annum. At paragraph 4.12 it states that this figure has been calculated using the Standard Method (as per the NPPF and accompanying PPG). However, this does not appear to be the case having regard to updated guidance. The PPG now confirms that 2014-based subnational household projections should be used to calculate the housing requirement using the Standard Method. The relevant subnational population projections indicate an average annual increase of 293.2 households in the Borough between 2019 and 2029. The latest (2017) ratio of median house price to median gross annual workplace-based earnings for the Borough published by the ONS is 11.23. Once the Standard Method is applied using these figures this result in a requirement of 452 dwellings per annum, not 350. The Local Plan is required to meet this need as a minimum (NPPF paragraph 35); and with sufficient flexibility to be able to respond to rapid change (NPPF paragraph 11). In addition, the Local Plan is required to ensure that the revised Green Belt can endure beyond the plan period (NPPF paragraph 136), i.e. in amending the Green Belt boundary, the Local Plan should account for development needs beyond 2033 (or, more appropriately, a revised later end to the plan period, which will ensure strategic policies will cover at least 15 years). A further factor is the need to consider unmet needs of neighbouring authorities (NPPF paragraph 35). In this respect, we note in particular that Epping Forest District Council is at an advanced stage in the preparation of a Local Plan (at the time of writing it is currently being examined) which proposes to deliver 11,400 dwellings between 2011 and 2033 (518 dwellings per annum), against a requirement (based on the Standard Method) of 944 dwellings per annum. We are not aware of Brentwood Borough Council having objected to this approach, but neither is there any indication that the PSLP addresses any of this unmet need. The PSLP considers it appropriate to apply a 20% uplift to the identified housing target of 350 dwellings per annum, resulting in a proposed target of 456 dwellings per annum. The PSLP's rationale for this buffer is somewhat unclear: it states at Figure 4.1 that the buffer allows for an additional housing land supply to be maintained in the Borough throughout the plan period; but states at footnote 2 that the housing supply buffer serves to safeguard against any potential uplift to the standard methodology for calculating housing need, pending the outcome of the Government's 'Technical consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance'. In any case, the uplift means that the proposed annual housing target in the PSLP is only fractionally above the minimum housing requirement derived from the Standard Method, and does not provide any flexibility to ensure needs are met; does not ensure the Green Belt will endure beyond the plan period; and does not account for unmet need in neighbouring authorities. Further to our comments in respect of the plan period, and the PSLP's failure to ensure strategic policies are in place to cover at least 15 years from adoption, as an absolute minimum the PSLP must be amended to ensure an additional years' worth of housing need can be accommodated. Given likely timescales for adoption of the Local Plan, we suggest a plan period to 2035 should be treated as a minimum, and an additional two years' worth of development needs to that which the PSLP currently seeks to address should be planned for. Whilst we suggest 2035 should be the treated as the earliest end to the plan period, it should also be recognised that the authority is predominantly Green Belt. The NPPF requires this Local Plan to ensure the Green Belt will endure beyond the plan period. As such, we suggest the PSLP that even if the plan period is extended until 2035, policies should account for potential development needs beyond this period. The Council is required to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply at any point in the plan period. In terms of the five-year housing requirement, the NPPF (paragraph 73) confirms a 20% buffer should be applied to the initial calculation in the event the results of the Housing Delivery Test show that delivery has fallen below 85% of the requirement. The PPG confirms the requirement to apply such a buffer in such circumstances also applies where the Local Planning Authority are seeking to confirm their five-year housing land supply through a recently adopted Local Plan. The 2018 Housing Delivery Test measurement for Brentwood Borough shows that only 51% of the Borough's housing requirements were met over the last three years; well below the figure required to avoid a 20% buffer having to be applied. The Borough's most recent reported five-year housing land supply (Five Year Housing Land Supply Statement as at 31 March 2018 (November 2018) ('HLSS') is 4.1 years. However, this is predicated on a requirement which, when considered in relation to the latest guidance, understates need; and a supply which, again when considered in relation to latest guidance, overstates supply. As such, the actual housing land supply is considerably less. Looking at this in detail, the HLSS considers an annual need of 343 dwellings, resulting in a total requirement once the 20% has been applied of 2,058 dwellings. However, applying the latest guidance and the Standard Method, the Borough's housing requirement is 452 dwellings per annum. Applying the 20% buffer, this results in a five year requirement of 2,712 dwellings. In terms of supply, the HLSS includes sites without detailed planning permission and
without evidence such sites will be delivered within five years. As per the NPPF, such
sites cannot be considerable deliverable for the purposes of the five-year housing land supply. Table 1 of the HLSS suggests that at least 1,042 dwellings in the reported supply did not have planning permission. Once these are removed from the supply calculation, the five-year supply comprises just 653 dwellings. It is unclear how many of the dwellings categorised as having extant planning permission are on major sites which only benefit from outline permission. Such sites would also have to be discounted. As such, the figure of 653 dwellings may overstate housing supply. A five-year supply of 653 dwellings compared to a requirement of 2,712 represents a 1.2-year housing land supply. The acute housing land supply shortage underlines the importance of allocating sites through the Local Plan which can deliver early in the plan period, and the need to avoid over reliance on large strategic sites which inevitably take a considerable time to bring forward. The housing trajectory provided as Appendix 1 to the PSLP projects that it will enable completion of 2,305 dwellings between 2019/20 and 2023/24 (or, to be precise, it projects 2,305.1 dwellings). Having regard to the Standard Method and the need to apply a 20% buffer to the housing requirement, the total five-year requirement for the Borough is 2,712 dwellings. Therefore, even before critical review of the supply, the PSLP will not provide a five-year supply of housing. Furthermore, and in respect of the projected supply, we are concerned to note that
Dunton Hills Garden Village is projected to delivery housing completions from 2022/23, i.e. falling within the first five years of the plan. Dunton Hills Garden Village is a proposed major strategic development, intended to provide 4,000 dwellings, 5.5 hectares of employment land, two new primary schools, secondary school, new village shopping centre, new transport infrastructure, and new community and health infrastructure. Delivery will require the coordination and input of multiple landowners, developers, infrastructure providers and other stakeholders. The site has yet to even be allocated. Once allocated, the PSLP proposes a masterplan and design guidance will be required to be prepared. Following this, an outline application will need to be prepared, submitted, and determined; followed by reserved matters. It will also be necessary to discharge all planning conditions and S106 obligations. All of this before development has even begun. The ability of larger sites to come forward quickly has been the subject of recent assessments in the Independent Review of Build Out, the Letwin review (2018) and issues with their complexity have been ably set out in the Lichfield Study From Start to Finish (2016). Both provide empirical evidence that the early delivery of such sites can be problematic due to a range of factors, including establishing the required infrastructure, and the timings of housing delivery associated with those requirements as well as the prolonged or protracted nature of the planning process. The Litchfield's report confirms that the planning process takes on average 2.5yrs for the planning application determination period for schemes of up to 500 units, but that this can double for sites over 1,000 units. For the above reasons it is unrealistic to project that 100 homes will be completed at
Dunton Hills Garden Village as early as 2022/23. This does not in itself mean that
Dunton Hills Garden Village proposals cannot form part of a sound Local Plan, but it
does mean that additional smaller sites capable of providing homes in the early years of the plan period also need to be allocated in order to ensure the Local Plan is sound. The strategic sites are expected to deliver 1555 dwellings within 5yrs of adoption. Given the matters set out above, this is unrealistic and it would not be justified to rely on these sites to meet short term housing delivery. This emphasises the need to review sites such as ref. 078 to provide for more homes which have a far greater prospect for short term delivery, to ensure the plan is Sound. Ingatestone is defined as a Category 2 Settlement. The Borough defines Category 2
settlements as larger villages in a rural setting, with high levels of accessibility and public transport provision, including rail services. These settlements provide a range of services and facilities to the immediate residential areas and nearby settlements. The PSLP states that appropriate urban extension and brownfield development
opportunities will be encouraged to meet local needs. In 2011, Ingatestone had a population of 4,812 (Census; 2011). It is the Borough's largest village, with a modest level of facilities, including a secondary school. Furthermore, Ingatestone Railway Station is located within the village, and provides frequent railway services to London Liverpool Street, Stratford (London), Chelmsford, Colchester and other surrounding settlements. The PSLP confirms that although Ingatestone has relatively good facilities, a modest level of development is envisaged, due to infrastructure constraints and a lack of suitable sites. As such, only two sites have been allocated for residential development in the PSLP -R21 and R22. This results in a total of 218 dwellings for Ingatestone over the plan period. Site 078 has previously been defined in the HELAA (2018) as suitable, available and achievable site for residential development. The PSLP in this case is flawed, as it doesn't appropriately consider Site 078 as a suitable site for residential development. It is considered that the PSLP fails to support the sustainable growth of Ingatestone. The
failure to thoroughly consider Site 078 for residential development is unjustified. To ensure the Local Plan is sound, further suitable sites within Ingatestone should be
allocated to ensure the sustainable growth of Ingatestone. The site measures at approximately 1.8ha and could support the development of up to 54 dwellings. The site is located adjacent to the eastern edge of the settlement boundary, on land,
which is currently allocated as Green Belt. The site is bounded by existing residential development to the north and south and the B1002 to the west. To the eastern boundary of the site are agricultural fields. A considerable amount of technical work has been undertaken in respect of land south of the B1002 and has previously been submitted to the Council through previous stages of the plan-making process. The technical work undertaken demonstrates that the site is sustainable, suitable, available and achievable and its development would help meet the Borough's housing need. Work undertaken, and previously provided is included in this representation for completeness: * Proposed Site Plan prepared by Grafik (Appendix B); * Landscape and Visual Issues Scoping Report prepared by Nigel Cowlin (Appendix C); * Landscape Advisory Plan prepared by Nigel Cowlin (Appendix D); * Access Appraisal by Ardent Engineers (Appendix E). In previous representations submitted to the Council, we have commented specifically on the proposals for layout and landscaping, providing that the site would be allocated for residential development by the Council. A Feasibility Layout prepared by Graffik Architecture has previously been submitted to the Council and is included within this representation for completeness. The feasibility study demonstrates how 54 dwellings could be accommodated on the site. The layout illustrates how the site could provide infill development to the already existing settlement of Ingatestone, without adversely harming the landscape character of the area or the character of Ingatestone itself. The Feasibility Layout also shows the potential proposals for landscaping on site. These proposals have been formed through careful consideration of the existing landscape character of Ingatestone and in line with the Landscape and Visual Issues Scoping Report and Landscape Advisory Plan which has been prepared by Nigel Cowlin. The report and plan also accompany this representation. As set out above, a Landscape and Visual Issues Scoping Report and Landscaping Advisory Plan has been prepared by Nigel Cowlin and accompanies this representation. It is proposed that there is to be retained and enhanced landscaping on site, specifically to the eastern and southern boundaries. This landscaping proposal takes into account the Grade II Listed Building - Rays - which is located beyond the eastern boundary of the site. By proposing dense planting at this boundary, it will ensure that the development proposal has no adverse effect on the nearby listed building. The Feasibility Layout also illustrates that planting will be retained at the western boundary of the site at the High Street, where access to the site is proposed. Furthermore, it is illustrated that the existing oak tree at the western part of the site will be retained to provide a substantial area of open space on the site. The Scoping Report suggests that these simple design controls and landscape mitigation measures, such as the protection of existing field boundary hedgerows, along with retaining an open space around the mature Oak Tree at the front of the site, would help to ensure that the proposed development would be as successful as possible in landscape and visual terms. The Scoping Report found that the visual influence of the site to surrounding locations was found to be limited due to the built up nature of the surrounding area, for example the ribbon development to the north and the settlement edge of Ingatestone to the south. The report states that development of the site should be considered as a logical area for infill development along the B1002. The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations (2004) requires SA/SEAs to inter alia set out the reasons for the selection of preferred alternatives, and the rejections of others, be made set out. In addition, the Planning Practice Guidance4 makes clear that the strategic
environmental assessment should outline the reasons the alternatives were selected,
the reasons the rejected options were not taken forward and the reasons for selecting the preferred approach in light of the alternatives. Sustainability Appraisal of the PSLP has been published: the Sustainability Appraisal of the Brentwood Local Plan January 2019 (the SA). Paragraph 5.5.31 of the SA confirms that Site 078 is listed as 1 of 5 omission sites in the HELAA as it is "deliverable or developable". The SA confirms that the two sites with the greatest potential for allocation are the adjacent "Parklands" Sites (Ref: 078 and Ref: 243), at the northern boundary of the village. The SA states that the accompanying Green Belt Review found that both sites contribute to the purposes of the Green Belt to a 'moderate' extent, however neither site is fully contained in the landscape. The SA concludes that the option of adding one or more omission sites was determined as "unreasonable", for the purposes of establishing reasonable spatial alternatives. No details are provided to explain in what way Site 078 is considered not to be fully contained in the landscape. Furthermore, as per Section 3 of this representation, the accompanying Landscape and Visual Issues Scoping Report confirms that further planting can be provided on site at all boundaries, thus ensuring it is a contained site. The proposed planting would be effective in appropriately screening the proposed development and ensuring the village character of Ingatestone is retained. In short, the SA does not provide a justified reason for the rejection of the site. Turning to the specifics of the SA assessment of the site, these are set out in Table C of the SA. This provides a 'traffic light' assessment of sites' sustainability. Green indicates sites perform well; amber - poorly; red- particularly poorly; against specific criteria. Our first point in relation to the approach taken is that it is very simplistic - the assessment of site appears to be based purely on physical distance to various features / facilities / designations. For example, in relation to criteria 10 (Conservation Area), our site is considered to score 'poorly'. Part of Ingatestone High Street is defined as a Conservation Area, however site 078 is not within this designation and is located at least 400m from the defined Conservation Area. As such, it is considered that the proposed development of the site would not unacceptably impact the Conservation Area. Furthermore, in relation to criteria 1 (Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)), the site is considered to score 'poorly'. The site is located approximately 1 mile from AQMA BRW6 at the A12/Fryerning Lane. It is considered that the AQMA will not be adversely impacted by the site, given the distance between the two. In relation to criteria 8 (Primary School), the site is considered to score 'poorly'. The site is located 0.5 miles from both an infant and junior school. It is considered that the primary school provisions within Ingatestone are within walking distance to the site and the site should not be scored as 'poorly' in relation to this criterion. As per the reasons above, we therefore consider the SA's assessment to be flawed. A Green Belt Study and Assessment has been undertaken by Crestwood Environmental
Ltd as part of the Regulation 19 Consultation. The Assessment looks to assess specific green belt parcels in relation to the 4 purposes of the Green Belt. These are: Purpose 1 - To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas; Purpose 2 - To prevent neighbouring towns merging in to one another; Purpose 3 - To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment; Purpose 4 - To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns. Following this assessment, the parcel is given an overall assessment rating. The ratings are; Low; Low-Moderate; Moderate; Moderate - High; High. Site 078 is within Parcel 9A of the Green Belt Assessment. Parcel 9a includes land to the northeast of Ingatestone. The parcel size is 41.94ha. Purpose 1: Parcel 9a is defined by the Council as 'Partly Contained', as it abuts a large built up area. The assessment states that the 'Partly Contained' sites have weak/degraded/unclear boundaries. This is an overall assessment of the parcel and not specifically of Site 078. Site 078 has clear natural boundaries at the east and to the south. Furthermore, as detailed at Section 3, further planting is proposed at the site in order to contain the proposed development. Purpose 2: Parcel 9a has been assessed as an 'Important Countryside Gap'. The Assessment
states that the parcel forms either a large proportion of countryside gaps between towns or the development of the site would result in the physical narrowing of the gap and potential visual coalescence. As per the accompanying Landscape and Visual Issues Scoping Report, it is considered that the site would result in a coherent infill development between two existing areas of developed land. The Scoping Report also confirms that the proposed development of the site wold not result in the coalescence of Margaretting and Ingatestone. Purpose 3: Parcel 9a has been assessed as 'Functional Countryside' (FC). This again, is an overall assessment of the parcel and not specifically of Site 078. As such, we do not agree that Site 078 can be defined as Functional Countryside. The site is between existing development and can therefore be considered as an infill site. Purpose 4: The assessment states that Parcel 9A has a 'limited relationship with Historic Town'. We agree with this assessment. Overall Brentwood Borough Council have assessed Parcel 9a, as having a 'moderate' contribution to the 4 purposes of Green Belt. The above review of Parcel 9a recognises that this assessment is not necessarily reflective of the qualities of every site within the parcel. In respect of this, we wish to highlight the findings of the Inspector in the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan Examination, which we consider helpful in the consideration of the PSLP. Following the Stage 1 and 2 hearing sessions at Welwyn Hatfield, the Inspector provided a note to the Council in December 2017 on its approach to review of the Green Belt (EX39 of the Welywn Hatfield Local Plan Examination). Within this note, the Inspector stated: "The Council has suggested that it is unable to meet its housing need because of
Green Belt restrictions among other concerns. In my concluding remarks ... I pointed
out that I did not consider the development strategy put forward in the plan to be sound, in part because there was insufficient justification for the failure to identify sufficient developable sites within the Green Belt. That is largely because the phase 1 Green Belt Review was at such a strategic level as to render its findings on the extent of the potential harm to the purposes of the Green Belt, caused by development within the large parcels considered as a whole, debatable when applied to smaller individual potential development sites adjacent to the urban areas." "Additionally, the phase 2 Green Belt Review, which did look at a finer grain of sites,
does not appear to have examined all of the potential development sites adjacent to
the urban areas..." "The actual development strategy finally arrived at is a matter for the Council... However, if that strategy fails to meet the FOAHN and assuming that all realistic development opportunities outside of the Green Belt have been put forward in the plan, then it is effectively saying that there are no exceptional circumstances justifying a further release of additional land from the Green Belt and that presumably means for as long as current national green belt policy and its interpretation prevails. That may be the case but unless all of the Green Belt has been forensically analysed in some detail then it is difficult to prove." Having regard to all of the above, key issues to consider include: * Whether all potential sites' impact on the Green Belt has been assessed; * Whether such assessment was undertaken at a sufficiently fine grain to properly consider individual sites' impact on the Green Belt.In respect of the PSLP, it is clear that not all potential development sites were subject to a sufficiently detailed analysis which could enable BBC to justifiably conclude it has identified a reasonable strategy to meet its housing needs, particularly where the plan is not meeting those needs in full. At the very least, there was one site that was not properly assessed: Land to the South of the B1002, Ingatestone. The Council's own evidence base states that Site 078 is suitable, available and achievable for residential development. Development of the site is supported by technical evidence that confirms its suitability, including in relation to the lack of harm to the landscape and Green Belt. The reasons given for the rejection of the Site are based on erroneous conclusions in the evidence base and should be re-examined. The rejection of Site 078 is unjustified, and overlooks an opportunity to correct other soundness deficiencies in respect of the Local Plan, including in relation to the overall quantum of housing proposed in Ingatestone. The allocation of Site 078 for development will assist in curing defects in respect of the
Local Plan, enabling it to be a sound plan.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 23949

Received: 14/05/2019

Respondent: CEG Land Promotions Limited

Agent: Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation:

Sustainability Appraisal (Local Plan, page 15) & Interim Sustainability Appraisal (January 2019)
The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 makes clear that local planning authorities must carry out a process of sustainability appraisal alongside plan making. This approach is reinforced in the NPPF which states that local plans and spatial development strategies should be informed throughout their preparation by a sustainability appraisal that meets the relevant statutory tests. Sustainability appraisals are required to demonstrate how the plan has addressed relevant economic, social and environmental objectives and avoid significant adverse impacts, wherever possible.
The Council has prepared Interim Sustainability Appraisals throughout the preparation of the Local Plan and this has informed the Spatial Strategy. The latest Interim Sustainability Appraisal explains the seven alternative development scenarios considered and the reasons for supporting some scenarios over others. There is an assessment of each scenario against economic, social and environmental topics based upon the relevant evidence base for each topic. This assessment explains why some scenarios rank higher than others. The Interim Sustainability Appraisal is sound and has been prepared in accordance with legislative requirements and the NPPF.
CEG supports the conclusion regarding DHGV but considers that the Council should supplement the assessment of the options - this could be more empirical and provide a fuller explanation of the conclusions reached, with more cross reference to the outcomes of other evidence base. Furthermore, in considering landscape issues the assessment does not deal with the landscape capacity of sites or areas to accommodate new development.

Change suggested by respondent:

Sustainability Appraisal (page 15)

CEG considers a supplementary note or the like should be prepared by the Council to provide a fuller explanation of the conclusions reached in the Interim Sustainability Appraisal and how this has informed the Spatial Strategy which has been adopted.

Full text:

6 Submitted forms, commenting on the SA and on the Local Plan.
Form A:Chapters 1-3,
Form B Chapter 4,
Form C Chapter 5,
Form D Chapter 6,
Form E Chapter 7,
Form F Chapter 9
These representations deal with the following chapters in the Plan:
* Chapter 1. Introduction
* Chapter 2. Borough of Villages
* Chapter 3. Spatial Strategy - Vision and Strategic Objectives
In relation to Chapter 1, under Sustainability Appraisal, we also comment on the Sustainability Appraisal report (AECOM, January 2019).

Within our response to question no. 5 below, reference is made to specific pages, paragraphs and/or policies.

Chapter 1. Introduction

Duty to Cooperate (page 14)

Paragraphs 1.11 to 1.15 of the Local Plan briefly describe the Duty to Cooperate, its legal requirements in this regard and its commitment to cooperating with neighbouring authorities and key organisations on strategic planning issues. Paragraph 1.14 indicates the Council will publish a Duty to Cooperate Position Statement to describe the ongoing engagement and provide an update on the activities undertaken so far.
The Duty to Cooperate was introduced by the Localism Act 2011, and is set out in section 33A of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It places a legal duty on local planning authorities to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis to maximise the effectiveness of local plan preparation in the context of strategic cross boundary matters. This is picked up in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which makes it clear that (paragraphs 25 - 27):
(a) strategic policy-making authorities should collaborate to identify the strategic matters of relevance;
(b) effective and ongoing joint working between strategic policy-making authorities and relevant authorities is integral to the production of a positively prepared and justified strategy; and
(c) in order to demonstrate this, statements of common ground should be produced (in accordance with the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) and made publicly available so as to ensure transparency.

The Position Statement makes it clear that engagement with a wide range of stakeholders has taken place over several years which is noted and supported, as it demonstrates a significant effort has been made. CEG can confirm such an effort has been made by the Council with them over the Dunton Hills Strategic Allocation. However, at present CEG is not convinced that the Position Statement demonstrates that the Council has complied with the duty. The Council itself describes the document as a 'snapshot' and an 'initial summary' suggesting more is being done.
The PPG places much more emphasis on statements of common ground as how strategic policy making authorities can demonstrate that a plan is based on effective cooperation and that they have sought to produce a strategy based on agreements with other authorities. The Council has not yet provided the level of detail set out in the PPG and this will need to be worked up in due course.
The PPG also indicates that as the duty relates to the preparation of the plan it cannot be rectified post-submission so if the Inspector finds that the duty has not been complied with the examination would not proceed further. It might well be the case that there is further evidence, to which the Council can point in demonstrating compliance with a duty but it does not appear to be publicly available.
CEG understands that discussions with various authorities and prescribed bodies are well advanced and that an updated Position Statement will be prepared prior to submission to fully document the level of cooperation and the extent of agreement reached.
It is noted that the Position Statement refers to Dunton Hills Garden Village (DHGV) and consultation with Homes England but makes no reference to consultation with other relevant authorities or prescribed bodies which CEG knows has occurred. The updated Position Statement and relevant Statements of Common Ground should explain the full extent of the cooperation and agreement that has been reached in relation to this Strategic Allocation, as CEG is aware that it has been very extensive.
Sustainability Appraisal (Local Plan, page 15) & Interim Sustainability Appraisal (January 2019)
The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 makes clear that local planning authorities must carry out a process of sustainability appraisal alongside plan making. This approach is reinforced in the NPPF which states that local plans and spatial development strategies should be informed throughout their preparation by a sustainability appraisal that meets the relevant statutory tests. Sustainability appraisals are required to demonstrate how the plan has addressed relevant economic, social and environmental objectives and avoid significant adverse impacts, wherever possible.
The Council has prepared Interim Sustainability Appraisals throughout the preparation of the Local Plan and this has informed the Spatial Strategy. The latest Interim Sustainability Appraisal explains the seven alternative development scenarios considered and the reasons for supporting some scenarios over others. There is an assessment of each scenario against economic, social and environmental topics based upon the relevant evidence base for each topic. This assessment explains why some scenarios rank higher than others. The Interim Sustainability Appraisal is sound and has been prepared in accordance with legislative requirements and the NPPF.
CEG supports the conclusion regarding DHGV but considers that the Council should supplement the assessment of the options - this could be more empirical and provide a fuller explanation of the conclusions reached, with more cross reference to the outcomes of other evidence base. Furthermore, in considering landscape issues the assessment does not deal with the landscape capacity of sites or areas to accommodate new development.
South Essex Joint Strategic Plan (page 17 - 18)

The Council helpfully explains the progress that has been made on the Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) and the collaboration that has occurred on this. However, CEG considers that the relationship between the Local Plan and the JSP should be made clearer. It should be clearly explained that adoption of the JSP will only occur after the adoption of the Brentwood Local Plan and because of the timing the Brentwood Local Plan will contribute towards some of the growth requirements of the JSP. To address this, some modifications are suggested in response to question no. 6 below.
Chapter 2. Borough of Villages

CEG supports the characterisation of Brentwood as a Borough of Villages and the Borough Profile (February 2019) evidence base which describes the unique nature of a market town and surrounding villages set amongst countryside as fundamental to the Borough's character. CEG considers that it is entirely appropriate that this characterisation forms a central part of the Vision set out in Chapter 3 of the Local Plan.

Fig. 2.2 (Brentwood Borough Hierarchy) in the Local Plan draws from the existing and proposed settlement hierarchy diagrams set out in the Borough Profile, and shows in plan form how well the Local Plan proposals reflect the Borough of Villages character. This includes the DHGV proposal, which presents a very positive response to meet the Borough's housing needs and will fit into the hierarchy of settlements in the future as set out in Fig. 2.3 (Settlement Hierarchy) in the Local Plan.

Chapter 3. Spatial Strategy - Vision and Strategic Objectives

The Spatial Strategy identifies two growth areas which align with transport corridors; the Central Brentwood Growth Corridor and the South Brentwood Growth Corridor, within which DHGV is proposed. Development outside of these corridors will be limited to retain the local character of the Borough (paragraph 3.21).

The NPPF recognises that the supply of a large number of homes can often best be achieved through planning for larger scale development, such as new settlements or significant extensions to existing villages and towns (paragraph 72). The approach of planning for DHGV is consistent with this and retaining the local character of the Borough.

CEG supports the Vison, the Driving Factors, the Overarching Aims, Strategic Objectives and the Strategic Allocation of DHGV as part of the South Brentwood Growth Corridor set out in Chapter 3. The Spatial Strategy and Development Principles will deliver the Vision. Given the importance attributed to Brentwood as a Borough of Villages and the need for Brentwood to meet its housing needs, the Spatial Strategy is sound; it is positively prepared, justified and consistent with national policy.



Attachments:

Support

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 24009

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Croudace Strategic Ltd

Agent: Barton Willmore LLP

Representation:

We support the overall approach to the Sustainability Appraisal, insofar as:
* It follows a robust process in evaluating alternative options for growth as well as specific site options;
* The approach to individual site options is considered to be sound; and
* It is considered to be "sound" in that it arrives at the most reasonable option for growth

Full text:

1.0 INTRODUCTION
1.1 These Representations on the Brentwood Borough Council Reg 19 draft Local Plan have been prepared on behalf of Croudace Homes who are promoting their site (Officers Meadows - site number 034), which falls within the broader allocation of "Land North of Shenfield". The allocation encompasses several land ownerships, including Sites 158, 235, 087, 263 and 276, as well as the "Officer's Meadow" site (034), all of which make up the allocation Policy R03. It should be noted that Croudace Homes has controlling land interest in Site 034 only, therefore whilst development proposals have taken the other sites into account, this document is in respect of the "Officer's Meadow" site.
1.2 "Land North of Shenfield" was previously promoted through the Reg 18 Local Plan process (see Site Allocations Map Jan 2016 which supported the Draft Local Plan) historically as one of three separate strategic sites, now shown in the Reg 19 draft Local Plan site allocation as one site, "Officer's Meadow and surrounding land" (ref. Policy R03) allocated for residential development. The "Officer's Meadow" site is the focus of these Representations to the Reg 19 draft Local Plan and is hereby referred to as "the Site".
1.3 These representations are submitted to the Local Plan consultation document and set out our support for the Brentwood Borough Council (BBC) Local Plan in terms of the proposed spatial strategy and the identification of the Site as an allocation for growth.
1.4 These representations are focused on the Site allocation and demonstrate that the allocation is "sound" and deliverable having regard to National policy and a number of technical matters for the Site. It also reviews the Local Plan in terms of soundness of the Duty to Co-operate, the proposed spatial strategy (inc. Sustainability Appraisal) and other policies in the Plan including for Development Management purposes.
1.5 These representations are supported by technical reports included as appendices, which, on behalf of Croudace Homes, provide the background evidence to support the allocation and demonstrates it is "suitable", "available", "achievable" and therefore "deliverable". This will be referred to in these representations and it has regard to BBC's Evidence Base. The technical reports prepared by the consultant team, detail matters concerning:
* Transport;
* Landscape/Green Belt;
* Drainage;
* Noise
* Ecology;
* Archaeology; and
* Masterplanning.
* Shenfield High School "All through" education provision proposals.
1.6 The following sections of these representations are set out as follows:
* Section 2.0 - National Policy;
* Section 3.0 - Duty to Co-operate;
* Section 4.0 - Local Plan Strategy;
* Section 5.0 - Policy LP R03 -Land North of Shenfield (Officer's Meadow);
* Section 6.0 - Delivery of Land North of Shenfield (Officer's Meadow);
* Section 7.0 - Soundness of other policies in the Local Plan; and
* Section 8.0 - Conclusion.
2.0 NATIONAL POLICY
2.1 This section provides an overview of the NPPF with particular regard to plan-making. Other policies in the NPPF will also be referred to later in these representations.
i) National Planning Policy Framework
2.2 On 24 July 2018, the revised National Planning Policy Framework (2018 NPPF) was published by National Government, setting out the planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied in both plan-making and decision-taking. Post 24 January 2019 any plans submitted after this date must refer to the revised NPPF. This document therefore focusses on the revised 2018 NPPF.
2.3 The revised NPPF introduces the Government's standardised methodology for assessing housing needs. For those LPAs which do not submit plans within the NPPF's transitional period, the standard method will apply as a starting point for assessing housing needs.
a) Plan-Making
2.4 The NPPF 2018 (Para 35) sets out the requirement for Local Plans to be examined by an independent Inspector whose role is to assess whether the Plan has been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements, and whether it is "sound". An LPA should submit a Plan for Examination which it considers is "sound" - namely that it is:
* Positively prepared (as a minimum seeking to meet the area's objectively assessed needs);
* Justified;
* Effective; and
* Consistent with national policy.
2.5 These representations will assess the Pre-Submission Local Plan against the tests of soundness, as above. The next section details the Duty to Co-operate in this regard.
3.0 DUTY TO CO-OPERATE
3.1 This section considers the legal compliance and procedural matters associated with the Local Plan with regard to the "Duty to Co-operate".
i) Policy Framework
3.2 The "Duty to Co-operate" as provided for in Section 110 of the Localism Act 2011 came into effect on 15 Nov 2011. The "duty" was introduced under the 2011 Act to address the impact of the loss of the "top-down" effect from the Regional Strategy and to offer a transparent way in which LPAs should relate to one another on cross boundary issues. The "duty" is now shared between LPAs requiring them to collaborate on cross-boundary matters and issues of sub-regional and regional importance, especially housing provision and infrastructure issues.
3.3 The NPPF 2018 (Paras 24-27) is clear in directing LPAs as to the importance of the "Duty to Co-Operate" and the pro-active approach necessary to ensure a collaborative approach to reflect individual local plans.
ii) BBC's 'Duty to Co-Operate' (DtC)
3.4 The NPPF recommends that where a Housing Market Area (HMA) extends across more than one local authority plan makers should assess need for housing for the whole HMA, rather than just the individual authority. The SHMA (Oct 2018) sets out that Brentwood District is a self-contained Housing Market Area (HMA). On this basis, no further joint evidence base documents were commissioned, but strategic work continues with South Essex Councils.
3.5 The Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) for BBC amounts to 380 dwellings per annum (dpa) as the SHMA advises that the Council plans on the previous OAN evidence (despite referring to 350 dwellings per annum (dpa) following the current guidance, for the period 2019-2029). In addition, the Council propose additional land allocations over and above "need" (20% above 380 dpa). This approach is welcomed in the SHMA guidance, as overprovision should provide additional flexibility in the supply and delivery of sites.
3.6 Since the draft Brentwood Borough Council Reg 19 Local Plan has been published, the PPG HENA details the standard method for assessing housing need and now clarifies that the 2014-based household projections published by the Office for National Statistics should be used to set the 'baseline' for the standard method calculation. The standard method number for Brentwood is 452 dpa.
3.7 The OAN is 7,752 dwellings during the Plan period (2016 - 2033) and it is welcomed that the Local Plan is seeking to meet this need in full (and potentially overprovide). This is addressed further in the housing strategy section to follow. The Plan also provides an equitable distribution of new homes across the HMA and this will be addressed under the Sustainability Appraisal.
3.8 It is evident that BBC has engaged with neighbouring authorities regarding cross-boundary matters as well as meeting housing need, as set out in the Duty to Co-operate Brentwood Position Statement (February 2019).
3.9 As part of the DtC the Borough would normally need to consider whether it is a sustainable location for unmet cross boundary need. However, as Brentwood is a Green Belt authority (89% is Green Belt), it is unlikely that Brentwood will be in a position to accept any unmet housing need from the South Essex housing market area. The Essex neighbours (Chelmsford and Epping Forest) both have plans submitted for examination that are not reliant on Brentwood accepting any of their housing growth.
3.10 Ongoing Duty to Cooperate work continues with South Essex as part of a strategic growth study and participation in a Joint Strategic Plan.
3.11 The Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) memorandum of understanding was recently signed by Basildon Borough Council, Brentwood Borough Council, Castle Point Borough Council, Essex County Council, Rochford District Council, Southend on Sea Brough Council and Thurrock Borough Council (Jan 2018). This highlights the constraints and challenges facing other local authorities in terms of meeting their housing needs, and emphasises the importance upon BBC in terms of meeting its own needs in full. We therefore welcome BBC's aspirations in seeking to meet its own needs and indeed in seeking to provide to some flexibility too.
3.12 Duty to Co-operate discussions have confirmed that immediate neighbouring authorities are aiming to meet OAHN within their boundaries, but some will have difficulties in this regard. However, as Brentwood is a Green Belt authority, it is unlikely that Brentwood will be in a position to accept any unmet housing need from the South Essex housing market area.
3.13 To ensure the Local Plan is justified and effective (NPPF, para 35), it is considered that the above issues should continue to be updated in the evolving DtC Statement (February 2019).
3.14 The Council needs to continue to have regard to neighbouring authority plans and adequately co-operate with neighbouring authorities, rather than awaiting the future joint strategic plan, as well as Essex County Council plans, and strategies of other relevant bodies.
3.15 This working can be further supported by the Duty to Cooperate meetings dealing with the strategic planning issues relating to the South East Essex 2050 Programme. Also, the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) Statement of Common Ground which includes a commitment to joint working through the preparation of a Joint Strategic Plan for South Essex.
3.16 It is recommended that BBC continues to embrace opportunities to work with the other members of ASELA, as well as producing statements of common ground with its neighbouring authorities, which is a key element of plan preparation, in order to secure a "sound" Local Plan which meets the requirements of the Duty to Co-operate.
4.0 LOCAL PLAN STRATEGY
4.1 This section examines and provides commentary on the proposed spatial strategy in the Local Plan, insofar that it relates to the housing and employment provision, and the allocation of strategic sites for growth including within the Green Belt.
4.2 First, we set out our representations on the Sustainability Appraisal for the Local Plan.
a) Sustainability Appraisal
4.3 The BBC Sustainability Appraisal (incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment) provides an assessment as to how the spatial strategy for the Local Plan was arrived (identifying, describing and evaluating the likely significant effects of implementing the plan).
4.4 The strategy has evolved from the early 'Pathway to a Sustainable Brentwood' Issues and Options document (2009), which set out a series of strategic objectives. The overarching priorities set out in the Interim SA (Jan 2018) are:
* Environment and Housing Management;
* Community and Health;
* Economic Development;
* Planning & Licensing; and
* Transformation.
4.5 In order to achieve these priorities the following plan themes have been set out (with associated objectives as set out in the SA):
* Managing Growth;
* Sustainable communities;
* Economic prosperity;
* Environmental protection and enhancement;
* Quality of Life and community infrastructure; and
* Transport and Movement.
4.6 Having regard to these themes and objectives, 10 No. reasonable spatial strategy alternatives were drawn up in the SA. The desire to deliver at least one large-scale, strategic site (likely for a mix of uses, to include both housing and employment) is quite well established, recognising: A) limited opportunities within settlements; B) no potential to export 'unmet needs' (as discussed); and C) the alternative of piecemeal Green Belt development dispersed widely has significant draw-backs (this option was appraised within the 2013 Interim SA Report).
4.7 A number of strategic site options have been examined over recent years, including through consultation and SA work, such that there is now a refined understanding of those sites that are genuine contenders for allocation through the Local Plan - There is specific mention of North of Brentwood and ....' the potential for expansion to impact 'in-combination' with other potential extensions to the urban Brentwood/Shenfield area, most notably the potential 825 homes on land at Officers Meadow (directly to the east)'.
4.8 The SA goes on to note that there is a need to give careful consideration to growth opportunities at Brentwood/Shenfield urban area.......Brownfield opportunities are limited; hence there is a need to examine Green Belt urban extension options. All land around the urban area is given brief consideration, with reference to the site options and the designated constraints that exist. Specifically:
North of Shenfield
A large area of land is bounded by the railway line to the east, and the A1023 to the west; plus there is a parcel of land to the north of the A1023, bounded by the A12. There are relatively few designated constraints, although considerations include a spur of Arnolds Wood Local Wildlife Site (LWS), and proximity to the railway and main roads. This land parcel comprises three HELAA sites, all of which are preferred allocations at the current time (Officer's Meadow; Land east of A1023; and Land north of A1023).
[SA of Brentwood Local Plan, January 2019 - page 113]
4.9 Of the options considered, the SA concluded that "Option 3" Dunton Hills Garden Village only, in addition to the sites that are a 'constant' across the reasonable alternatives, was the preferred option for growth as it performs well in terms of the majority of sustainability objectives. Furthermore, the option of identifying the delivery of 'constant' sites was also preferred with the objective of meeting both short and long-term needs.
4.10 We fully support and consider the approach of the Sustainability Appraisal to be "sound" in terms of alternative strategies assessed for the Local Plan and consider that the most sustainable option has been arrived at.
4.11 The SA reviewed site options that could deliver the proposed spatial strategy. This includes "suitable" sites as derived from the SHLAA against a series of 12No SA criteria including Housing, Landscape, Community and well-being and other sustainability considerations. This included a "red, amber, green" assessment of sites as against the selected 12No criteria. We support this approach and consider it to meet the requirements of the SEA in terms of the assessment of environmental impacts - this includes BBC's assessment of the Site at North of Shenfield for which we also fully support and consider to be "sound".
4.12 The process allowed for two strategic site options to be discounted (considered 'unreasonable') given planning/sustainability considerations and deliverability considerations. The extent of reasonable sites has been restricted to balance the need to meet housing needs as well as ensuring that pressure will not be put on infrastructure nor pose a serious risk to air quality, local amenity, natural and heritage assets and biodiversity.
4.13 Our Client's considerations of the Council's Sustainability Appraisal have been informed by the accompanying "Review of Sustainability Appraisal" (Barton Willmore EIA, March 2019), which is attached to these representations. (See Appendix 01).
4.14 The preferred approach is Option 3, which involves allocating Dunton Hills Garden Village only, in addition to the sites that are a 'constant' across the reasonable alternatives (including Officers Meadows), and thereby putting in place an overall land supply sufficient to provide the required housing target dpa (assuming no delayed delivery).
4.15 We support the overall approach to the Sustainability Appraisal, insofar as:
* It follows a robust process in evaluating alternative options for growth as well as specific site options;
* The approach to individual site options is considered to be sound; and
* It is considered to be "sound" in that it arrives at the most reasonable option for growth - Dunton Hills Garden Village in addition to the sites that are 'constant' across the reasonable alternatives- as encompassing the allocation at Land North of Shenfield (034).
b) Housing Strategy
4.16 On 19 February 2019, MHCLG published the long-awaited outcome of the 'Technical consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance', which clarifies the methodology for assessing housing need incorporated in the updated Housing and Economic Needs Assessment (HENA) Published on 20 Feb 2019. The standard method for assessing housing need is detailed in the PPG HENA and now clarifies that the 2014-based household projections published by the Office for National Statistics should be used to set the 'baseline' for the standard method calculation. The standard method number for Brentwood is 452 dpa.
4.17 In order to provide flexibility in the supply of housing sites, help boost delivery and to aim towards the standard method figure, the Council has proposed a further 20% supply buffer when allocating development sites in the Local Plan above the established annual housing figure of 380 dwellings per year, as set out in the SHMA. The buffer allows for an additional housing supply in the borough to be maintained throughout the Local Plan period and is supported in national planning guidance. The Reg 19 Draft Local Plan refers to 456 dpa based on the 20% SHMA uplift on 380 dpa.
4.18 The Local Plan sets out (Policy SP02) the OAN for housing in the Borough as being 7,752 dwellings during the Plan period (2016 - 2033); which when projected across the 17-year plan period gives an annualised housing delivery target of 456 new homes per year. The Council has not been able to identify a 5-yr HLS that delivers this current annualised requirement. When calculating HLS for our representations we have based our assumptions on 452 dpa which is the most up to date guidance (February 2019).
4.19 As a result of 89% of the Borough being designated Green Belt, the Council advises it is difficult to achieve a five-year supply, as many allocated sites within the Green Belt will not be available until the adoption of the Plan. On this basis a larger proportion of sites will not be delivered until after 2023, when they begin to benefit from detailed planning consent.
4.20 Therefore, a stepped trajectory is proposed, with an initial housing delivery target of 310 dpa to 2023 has been set, followed by a higher target of 584 dpa thereafter, which totals 7,752 homes overall in accordance with Policy SP02.
4.21 The Local Plan (Chapter 4, Policy SP02: Managing Growth) indicates that the residual requirement will be sought largely through new development being directed towards the site allocations set out in Chapter 8; and highly accessible locations along transit/growth corridors. These are as follows and seek to deliver circa. 4,500 units up to 2033:
Table 4: Strategic Sites [see attachment]
4.22 In terms of the allocation at Land North of Shenfield ("Officers Meadow"), this includes an overall requirement across the whole site allocation at Policy R03 for 825 units to be delivered in the Plan period. This delivery schedule is supported and is addressed further in the next section.
4.23 We support the housing strategy for the Local Plan and welcome that BBC is seeking to meet its housing needs in full. This is particularly important having regard to the likely inability of adjacent authorities (referred to on page 5) to meet their own needs. We therefore consider the housing strategy in the Plan to be "sound" in accordance with the NPPF (Para 35).
c) Employment Strategy
4.24 Policy PC02: Job Growth and Employment Land identifies that provision is made for at least 47.39ha of new employment land (B-use) to address the needs of the Borough up to 2033. To ensure that the Plan is more effective, it is recommended that this is followed by supporting text setting out the extent of need as derived from the Brentwood Economic Futures report (2018) and Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2018).
4.25 This need is proposed to be met through allocations set out at Policy PC03: Employment Land Allocations. This includes provision of appropriate new employment development on North of A1023 (part of the Land North of Shenfield R03 land use allocation). We fully support this aspect of the Plan including the broad strategy underpinning both the housing and employment allocations. The employment strategy for the Local Plan is justified and "sound" in line with the NPPF (para 35).
d) Five-Year Housing Land Supply
4.26 The Local Plan is unclear in terms of being able to demonstrate a 5-yr HLS of housing land for the purposes of the Plan.
4.27 The most recent AMR (Nov 2018) demonstrates that BBC currently has a supply of 4.1 years - against requirement of 411.6dpa (2,058 units over 5-years) which encompasses a 20% buffer as required by the NPPF and Housing Delivery Test. This is as a result of persistent under delivery, as delivery is currently calculated as 50.83% for BBC, below the 85% requirement.
4.28 The AMR 5-yr supply relates to the period 2018/19 - 2023 and concerns, inter-alia, sites with planning permission, existing commitments and strategic sites at Dunton Hills Garden Village, West Hordon Industrial Estate, Ford Headquarters, etc. The Plan's trajectory details the delivery at proposed allocated sites (2016/17 - 2032/33) amounting to 6,088 units.
4.29 The 2018 AMR suggests the delivery of 819 units (Allocations, Reg 19 Local Plan) within the same timeframe (2018-2023). The figure is derived from existing permissions, developments, allocations and commitments, as well as the 20% buffer, is 1,694.7 units, and concludes the supply is 4.1 years (as set out below):
Table 6: Five Year Supply Position (2018-2023) [see attachment]
4.30 The AMR 2018 refers to the PPPG: HELAA, which sets out how a 5-yr HLS is measured where LPAs have a "stepped" rather than annual average requirements; it states:
Five-year land supply is measured across the plan period against the specific stepped requirements for the particular 5-year period. Stepped trajectories will need to ensure that planned housing requirements are met fully within the plan period.
[Paragraph 017, Reference ID: 2a-017-20180913]
4.31 The AMR 2018 sets out (Table 4: Comparison of annualised housing delivery target and projected completions) a housing delivery target of 7,752 homes (456 dpa over the 17-year Plan period), together with annualised projected housing completions. The report states that from a comparison of this data an initial stepped requirement of 310dpa to 2023, followed by a higher stepped up requirement of 584dpa for the remainder of the Plan period, is a logical approach to reach 7,752 homes by 2033.
4.32 As a result of the high proportion of Green Belt in the Borough, it is extremely difficult to achieve the annualised 5-yr HLS requirement. This is because, as set out in the AMR 2018, sites on the edge of settlements currently within the Green Belt are not available for development purposes until the emerging Local Plan is adopted. Therefore, the potential for a stepped trajectory has been proposed, which delivers a greater proportion of the required homes beyond 2023.
4.33 The above demonstrates that BBC is not fully able to demonstrate a 5-yr HLS for Local Plan purposes. This position could be expedited by allowing allocated sites, such as "Officers Meadow" to come forward 1-2 years sooner, within the present 5-year period, to help meet the required 5-yr HLS position.
5.0 LAND NORTH OF SHENFIELD - POLICY R03
5.1 Land North of Shenfield (Policy R03: Strategic Site - Land North of Shenfield) is allocated in the Pre-submission Reg 19 Local Plan and the extent of the allocation is shown below:
Figure 1: Land North of Shenfield- Allocation Area [see attachment]
5.2 This shows the Site area as allocated as a whole; despite Land North of Shenfield having 6 land parcels within it, namely Site parcels 034, 158, 235, 087,263 and 276, as identified at Appendix 1: Housing Trajectory in the Reg 19 Local Plan and previously set out in earlier iterations of the Reg 18 Local Plan suite of documentation.
5.3 We set out below our comments on Policy RO3 and Appendix 1- Housing Trajectory in regard to the proposed delivery rates. This is largely supportive, however there are some aspects we do not consider to be "sound".
i) Amount and Type of Development:
a. Provision for around 825 new homes of mixed size and type, including affordable housing.
5.4 This criterion is supported/considered to be sound and "effective" in accordance with the objectives of the NPPF (para 61) relating to creating mixed and balance communities. The proposals for the Site will therefore be able to be delivered in accordance with this policy objective.
b. Provision of land (circa 2.1 hectares) for a co-located 2FE [additional text] primary school and early years and childcare nursery (Use Class D1). To be located adjacent to Alexander Lane. [additional text]
5.5 We largely support this criterion, albeit consider it should be amended (as above) to provide for greater clarity. Therefore as presently worded, we object to this criterion.
5.6 Forecasted figures contained in 'Commissioning School Places in Essex 2016-2021' indicate that there will be a deficit in pupil places by 2020/21 when accounting for demographic factors and the proposed uplift in residential development.
5.7 Earlier/recent work undertaken by the High School (and others) considered the anticipated need for a new 1FE Primary School. The proposed policy wording should clarify that it is now proposing a 2FE Primary School. We have prepared an accompanying note (Appendix 02) that reflects are discussions in this regard.
5.8 Consideration should be given to the location of the Primary School. Again, the recent work undertaken by the High School has examined this, inc the early years facility and nursery element, and that it should ideally be located on the existing school playing fields, just north of Alexander Lane. This would enable the Shenfield High School to deliver an 'all through' school provision, comprehensively expanding the educational offer available on-site.
5.9 The NPPF (para 94) seeks that LPAs take a proactive, positive and collaborative approach to meeting school place requirement and to development that will widen choice in education. The principles of this element of Policy R03 is therefore "consistent" with the NPPF, but the wording should be clarified further. We would be happy to continue discussions with Shenfield High School, BBC & ECC Officers in respect of seeking to agree the most suitable location for the primary school provision.
5.10 In terms of its own generated education requirements, the allocation would give rise to a need for a 1FE Primary School and financial contributions towards secondary school provision. Through positive discussions with Shenfield High School, we have been working closely towards its objective of becoming a "through-school" (by encompassing Primary provision) and contributing towards secondary provision (at the High School) on a pro-rata basis.
c. Provision for a residential care home (around 60 bed scheme as part of the overall allocation).
5.11 The principle of this criterion is supported/ considered to be sound and a care home could be accommodated on the 'Officer's Meadow' site, however this should be subject to the balanced and reasonable distribution of other infrastructure across the Site allocation as a whole. The NPPF (section 5) on "Delivering a Sufficient Supply of Homes" requires that housing need for different groups in the community should be assessed and reflected in planning policies. The provision of a residential care home in Policy R03 would contribute towards the offer of care for older people in Shenfield and is therefore "consistent" with the NPPF, in accordance with national policy and is deemed sound.
d. Provision for up to [additional text] 5% self-build and custom build across the entire allocation area.
5.12 The principle of this criterion is supported, but not as presently worded. We therefore object to this criterion in its present form.
5.13 Section 1 of the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016) requires each relevant authority to keep a register of individuals and associations seeking to acquire serviced plots for their own self-build and custom housebuilding. Whilst the provision of self-build and custom build should be considered, the evidence base for a 5% need across the entire allocation should be addressed against the local "needs register" and demand for such provision at the prevailing time.
5.14 In order to align with National policy, the evidence base and local need should be fully assessed before any commitment is made to the provision of this house type in this location. It is therefore considered that this element of Policy R03 is unsound.
5.15 It is recommended that this aspect of the policy is amended to "up to" 5% as shown above, to reflect prevailing "need" at the time.
e. Provision of 2ha of land for employment purposes.
5.16 The provision of 2ha of employment land as part of the wider allocation is agreed in principle. Employment land situated on land north of Chelmsford Road, as per the location identified in the BBC Site Analysis Overview report (Feb 2019), is supported, given its location adjacent the A12. This is the most appropriate location for such provision and is "consistent" with the NPPF (para 20). Therefore, and if situated in this location, this criterion is considered sound.
ii) Development Principles:
a. Comprehensive masterplan and phasing strategy to be prepared and considered as planning applications come forward.
5.17 We support this criterion and it is confirmed that development can come forward and be delivered within the timescale as shown in the housing trajectory. We also support a comprehensive masterplan and phasing strategy to set out effective phasing of the requisite infrastructure, as identified in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) is "consistent" with the NPPF and is considered sound.
5.18 The overall needs of development must have regard to potential considerations in terms of viability in order to be fully "justified", something not yet addressed in the IDP, which should be rectified in the next iteration of the IDP.
b. Site is identified as a key gateway location and development should reflect this in terms of design quality particularly on land near to Junction 12, A12.
5.19 We broadly support these provisions and the concept masterplan sets out conceptually the land take for development in this location, including the key gateway employment location and residential, however this land is not within our Client's control and as such will be the subject of a separate planning application and detailed framework masterplan. In principle, and from an overall design perspective, this key gateway location is consistent with Section 12 of the NPPF and is "justified" and therefore considered sound.
c. Vehicular access via Chelmsford Road (A1023) and Alexander Lane.
5.20 It is recognised that the delivery of vehicular access via Chelmsford road and Alexander Lane is a necessity as part of these proposals. Our Client's accompanying Transport Strategy (Vectos, March 2019) provides evidence to support the development of the Officer's Meadow Site in terms of reducing the need to travel and providing opportunities for non-car travel. This is "consistent" with the NPPF, in particular Section 9 on "Promoting Sustainable Transport". The provision of access via both Chelmsford Road (A1023) and Alexander Lane allows for flexibility in terms of phasing and means that development can take place simultaneously in more than one location on the Site. It is therefore considered that this criteria is sound.
d. Potential for diversion of Alexander Lane, creating a quiet lane for pedestrians and cyclists, with the provision for new and improved route through the development site linking to Chelmsford Road.
5.21 The potential diversion of Alexander Lane is welcomed in terms of pedestrian safety and improved access. This is because a quieter Alexander Lane will improve access to local schools, pedestrian and cycle infrastructure and the existing PRoW, encouraging active mobility. This policy is therefore considered "justified" in light of the NPPF (para 102).
e. Enhancing sustainable links with Shenfield station and local services and facilities in the wider area.
5.22 The accompanying (Vectos) Transport Strategy confirms that the travel opportunities afforded by the service at Shenfield Railway Station and local bus routes will ensure that travel by public transport is a realistic option for future residents. The NPPF (para 102) states that opportunities to promote public transport use should be identified and pursued by Local Plans. This policy is therefore considered to be "consistent" with the objectives of the NPPF and is sound.
f. Provide well-connected internal road layouts which allow for good accessibility.
5.23 The development of Officer's Meadow would provide opportunities to encourage walking and cycling through new and improved routes and crossing facilities. Improving the accessibility within an already sustainable setting will also help to minimise vehicular traffic, in accordance with National policy. This is "consistent" with the NPPF objectives set out in both Section 8 "Promoting Healthy and Safe Communities" and Section 9 "Promoting Sustainable Transport" .
g. Provision for new multi-functional green infrastructure including public open space.
5.24 The provision of green infrastructure and open space throughout the Site is supported. The development of Officer's Meadow introduces the opportunity to introduce ecological corridors, open space and green infrastructure linkages, as well as enhancing the recreational resource and connectivity value of the Site. The NPPF (para 181) states that planning policies should maximise opportunities for green infrastructure provision and enhancement. This policy is therefore considered "effective" in terms of meeting the requirements set out in the NPPF.
h. Maintain and enhance Public Right of Way within the site and to the wider area.
5.25 Our Client's accompanying Landscape Assessment (Barton Willmore, March 2019) provides information to support the maintenance and enhancement of the existing PRoW on site. Although limiting development, this PRoW allows for the opportunity to introduce ecological corridors, open space and green infrastructure linkages. The NPPF (para 98) states that policies should protect and enhance the PRoW, including taking opportunities to provide better facilities for users. It is therefore considered that this policy is "consistent" and sound in accordance with the NPPF.
i. Protect and where appropriate enhance the Local Wildlife Site (Arnold's Wood).
5.26 Arnold's Wood comprises a narrow strip of Ancient Woodland to the north and the east of the Site. The accompanying Ecological Report (Aspect Ecology (March 2019) identifies this feature as a Local Wildlife Site, whereby appropriate conservation and enhancement through development is a priority. The NPPF (para 170) seeks that planning policies contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by protecting valued landscapes and sites of biodiversity value, such as area of ancient woodland. The protection and enhancement of the Local Wildlife Site is therefore "justified" with regard to the NPPF, leading to the consideration of this policy as sound.
j. Provide for appropriate landscaping and buffers along sensitive boundaries adjoining the A12 and railway line.
5.27 Our Client's emerging proposals have been informed by a series of technical reports, including the Landscape Report, which provides for a planted buffer to be provided along the A1023 Chelmsford Road to help soften views of the proposed residential development at Officer's Meadow. This policy is therefore "effective" in terms of protecting residential amenity and enhancing the natural environment. The use of appropriate landscaping buffers is also in accordance with the NPPF (Section 15) on "Conserving and Enhancing the Natural Environment", making this criterion sound.
iii) Infrastructure Requirements:
a. Provide pedestrian and cycle crossing points across Chelmsford Road (A1023) where appropriate.
5.28 The accompanying Transport Strategy (Vectos) provides for new and enhanced pedestrian and cycle connections within the Site and to the wider area. As individual development parcels are separated by Chelmsford Road, pedestrian and cycle crossings are required where appropriate to allow safe connection between parcels (as identified in by Infrastructure Requirements). This criteria is therefore supported as the provision of crossing points across Chelmsford Road (A1023) will help to maximise opportunities for sustainable transport modes throughout the Site, to Shenfield railway station and various local services. The NPPF (para 104) states that planning policies should provide for high quality walking and cycling networks. This policy is therefore considered "consistent" with national policy.
b. Provision for improved bus service.
5.29 The provision of an improved bus service, with reference to the IDP, is supported. This criterion is sound in the light of Para 110 of the NPPF. It is therefore "justified".
c. The Site is located within a Critical Drainage Area. This development may have the potential to impact on the Critical Drainage Area in respect of surface water flooding. As a result of this, the site is likely to require an individually designed mitigation scheme to address this issue.
5.30 The majority of the Site is located within Flood Zone 1. As referred to in the accompanying Drainage Report (JNP, March 2019), the critical drainage can be dealt with by the creation of a surface water storage basin/wetland area to attenuate and release the overland surface water flows from off site at a reduced rate. An individually designed mitigation scheme can be implemented on-site via a variety of SuDS, in accordance with the provisions of the NPPF (para 163). These components will also adequately provide for surface water flows generated by the proposed development. The above criteria is therefore considered to be sound and "effective".
5.31 In addition to the above elements of physical infrastructure, and as mentioned previously in respect of other aspects of Policy RO3 allocation, we are also mindful of accompanying social infrastructure - in particular the educational needs of the resultant residents and the relationship with the adjoining Shenfield High School. It is therefore appropriate to reiterate our Client's willingness to work closely with the High School in helping to deliver its aspirations in providing for a "through school" (with Primary provision) and our off-site educational financial contributions will be directed to support this.
5.32 In overall terms, we largely support the provisions of Policy RO3 and have sought to reflect this is the accompanying illustrative concept masterplan, which demonstrates the delivery of the requisite infrastructure for the Site Allocation as a whole including:
- Social infrastructure - primary school, early years and nursery care;
- Transport infrastructure - pedestrian and cycle crossing points;
- Critical drainage mitigation; and
- Blue and Green Infrastructure.
5.33 The above demonstrates our overall support for the allocation of the Site and we can confirm that the proposed development is deliverable within the timescales established by BBC. The delivery of Land North of Shenfield ("Officer's Meadows") is addressed in the next section.
6.0 DELIVERY OF LAND NORTH OF SHENFIELD
6.1 A range of technical work and evidence has been worked up for the Site and which demonstrates the deliverability of the proposals. This technical input is set out in full in the Technical Representations accompanying these submissions.
6.2 This report therefore does not seek to repeat the technical material in full, instead it provides a summary of the main disciplines and how they relate to the delivery of the project.
6.3 This includes work in relation to the following disciplines:
i) Transport (Vectos);
ii) Landscape/Green Belt Assessment (Barton Willmore Landscape);
iii) Drainage (JNP Group)
iv) Noise (Sharps Gayler)
v) Ecology (Aspect Ecology);
vi) Archaeology (Albion Archaeology); and
vii) Masterplan (Barton Willmore Design).
6.4 Below is a brief summary of each of the update reports submitted in terms of the delivery of the scheme.
i) Transport
6.5 The accompanying Transport Strategy (Vectos) (Appendix 03) sets out the principle of a sustainable transport strategy for Officer's Meadow, reducing the need to travel and providing opportunities for non-car journeys. The proximity of the Site to local services and the proposed 'all through' school across the wider site will reduce trip generation and promote sustainable communities.
6.6 The Transport Strategy identifies the junction location i.e. A1023 Chelmsford Road/A129 Hutton Road/A1023 Shenfield Road and the appropriate mitigation measures, which include the implementation of MOVA or similar as a mitigation, in order provide adequate capacity. The access and egress via Alexander Lane will be provided in the form of simple priority junctions.
6.7 The new access points/roundabouts can be fully accommodated within the Site area and/or on highway land. Highways improvements are therefore deliverable as part of the comprehensive development for the scheme. As such, Land North of Shenfield is suitable for allocation in the Local Plan, in terms of highways and transport constraints.
ii) Landscape and Visual Appraisal/Green Belt Review
6.8 A Landscape and Visual Appraisal (BW Landscape) (Appendix 04) has been undertaken to provide a review of the landscape character and visual amenity of the Site and surrounding area. These aspects have informed the parameters of the illustrative masterplan and have demonstrated that the Site is suitable to be released through 'exceptional circumstances' for development, as addressed below. It supports BBC's removal of Land North of Shenfield from the present Green Belt designation, which presently washes over the entire Site and its surrounding environs.
6.9 Direct adverse impacts of development on the wider Green Belt setting would be minimised by locating strategic open space on prominent land, particularly in the north east the Site. Low density housing could be located in the most prominent areas, framing the retained Ancient Woodland area to the north and east of the Site. A PRoW also traverses the Site, enabling the introduction of ecological corridors, open space and green infrastructure linkages, as well as enhancing the recreational resource and connectivity of the Site.
6.10 Development of the Site would form a logical extension that is in keeping with the existing settlement, better connecting the ribbon development between Chelmsford Road and the settlement edge of Alexander Lane. In terms of visibility, glimpses of the Site can be seen from elevated views to the west. However, the landform ensures that it is largely well contained by a combination of vegetation cover and built form, restricting long-distance views. A landscape-led approach to development within the Site would seek to ensure that existing defensible boundaries continue to prevent unrestricted sprawl.
6.11 The LVA concludes that allocation of the Site would result in successful assimilation and integration of new residential development, with the potential for adverse effects on the landscape setting moderated, as required by the NPPF. The Site is considered to be of "low sensitivity" as it is of a low landscape value and the localised visual envelope of the Site, coupled with the surrounding land uses, lends itself to residential development. The Site makes a minimal contribution towards the 5No purposes of the Green Belt, making it suitable for release and able to contribute towards a suitable pattern of development for Shenfield.
iii) Drainage
6.12 A Flood Risk and Drainage Note has been prepared (JNP Group) (Appendix 05). This confirms the location of the majority of the Site within Flood Zone 1, where there is the lowest probability of flooding and where new development should be steered. A small part of the Site is located within Zones 2 and 3. Built development (housing, social infrastructure, etc.) will avoid Flood Risk areas.
6.13 All proposed buildings within "Officer's Meadows" are to be located in Flood Zone 1. Essential infrastructure which passes through a small area designated as Flood Zone 3 will be subject to the "Exception Test" and site-specific flood risk assessment to demonstrate safe access & egress from the site and that the development does not increase flood risk both on and off site. Safe access & egress will be provided off Chelmsford Road A1023 and Alexander Lane. Where affected, allowance for flood compensation storage will be provided to ensure no net loss in flood storage.
6.14 The critical drainage can be dealt with by the creation of surface water storage basins/wetland areas to attenuate and release the overland surface water flows form off site at a reduced rate. Development generated surface water flows can be dealt with via SuDS components and a storage basin/wetland attenuation area. The Site is therefore suitable and deliverable from a flood risk and drainage perspective.
iv) Noise
6.15 An assessment of "likely noise constraints" has been undertaken (Sharps Gayler) (Appendix 06) to identify potential constraints relating to noise and vibration upon Officer's Meadow. The below conclusion is based on a desktop assessment, informed by computer modelling of transportation noise sources in the area (A12, A1023 and the mainline railway).
6.16 Whilst there is a low to medium risk on the boundaries of the Site with Chelmsford Road and the rail line, the majority of the Site presents a low risk. At low noise levels, the Site is likely to be acceptable from a noise perspective, provided that a good acoustic design process is followed at the detailed application stage, particularly for development within 50m of Chelmsford Road and the rail line.
6.17 The assessment concluded that there are no significant constraints on Site in relation to noise. Land North of Shenfield is therefore suitable and deliverable from an acoustic perspective.
v) Ecology
6.18 An Ecological Appraisal has been undertaken (Aspect Ecology) (Appendix 07). This report confirms that the Site comprises a range of habitats including arable, woodland, grassland, watercourse, hedgerows, scrub and lines of trees. The woodland at the north-east of the Site, the watercourse and the hedgerows are of elevated ecological value and are considered to be important ecological features.
6.19 Protected species such as bats, badgers, dormice and reptiles have not been identified within the vicinity of the site at this stage. Although thought to have 'good' suitability for Great Crested Newt, a DNA survey (2015) found the pond nearest to the Site unlikely to support a Great Crested Newt population. A further Great Crested Newt presence/absence survey of all relevant ponds associated with the Site is to be undertaken in 2019.
6.20 The habitats at the Site are currently unmanaged from an ecology point of view and the development proposal presents the opportunity of securing suitable management practices, appropriate mitigation and 'net gains' in terms of biodiversity. When considering ecological constraints, the Site is therefore both suitable and deliverable, subject to further survey work.
vi) Heritage Assessment
6.21 A Desk-based Heritage Assessment (Albion Archaeology) accompanies these representations, which has also been informed by a preliminary walk-over of the Site. The accompanying report (Appendix 08) reviews the potential for below ground archaeological interest and potential impact arising from development on such features; as well as an assessment of any direct impact on potential heritage assets.
6.22 No heritage assets other than the crop mark of a bomb crater, have been recorded in the proposed development area. Other heritage assets comprise former buildings, the postulated course of a Roman road, find-spots and historic settlement cores, whose setting will not be impacted by the proposed development. The adjacent railway lines, roads, buildings and vegetation suggest that the proposed new buildings are unlikely to be visible from these heritage assets. The potential impact on the setting is therefore assessed as "no change". The significance of this impact is "insignificant".
6.23 The potential for archaeological remains has been assessed covering prehistoric to modern periods. In general terms the "significance" of any remains is low to moderate. Any potential impact of the new development on potential buried archaeological remains could be mitigated by measures to investigate and record the presence/absence of potential archaeological assets. Officer's Meadows is thereby deliverable from an archaeological perspective.
vii) Masterplan
6.24 The accompanying illustrative concept masterplan (BW Design) (Appendix 09) has been developed in response to the above technical information prepared for the Site.
6.25 This demonstrates the ability of the Site itself to deliver:
* Circa 510 homes ("Officer's Meadow" site) inc. affordable provision;
* The proposed dwellings can be delivered within the timescale of the housing trajectory, with varying densities;
* Other potential linkages to Chelmsford Road (A1023) and Alexander Lane;
* A 60-bed care home;
* A Local Centre/ community facility;
* Multi-functional green and blue infrastructure; and
* Sustainable transport links.
6.26 Moreover, the illustrative concept masterplan also demonstrates the delivery of:
* Significant areas of Public Open Space encompassing:
- Natural and Semi-Natural Green Spaces;
- Outdoor Sports Facilities; and
- Children's/Young People's Play Area.
* Primary School provision on the adjoining Shenfield High School.
6.27 The above provides an overview of the technical inputs to the Land North of Shenfield (Officer's Meadow) and which confirms that the Site and proposals for it are deliverable within the Local Plan context. The proposals for the Site form part of an iterative process and further information will come to light in advance of a planning application to ascertain the detailed parameters for the Site.
6.28 These matters will be "screened" for a full Environmental Impact Assessment for a subsequent planning application, and it is envisaged the EIA Screening will be submitted later in 2019.
7.0 SOUNDNESS OF OTHER LOCAL PLAN POLICIES
7.1 This section does not seek to comment on other specific allocations/sites. Instead it focuses on policies of relevance within the Local Plan and sets out our comments and recommendations on these in terms of the tests of soundness in the NPPF.
7.2 Policy SP01: Sustainable Development takes a positive approach towards "Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development" and seeks to apply this in terms of planning applications, in accordance with the Development Plan. The NPPF (para 11) assumes a strong "Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development" in all planning related matters and places a responsibility on LPAs to positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area and to, as a minimum, provide for objectively assessed needs for housing and other uses. This policy is "consistent" with the NPPF and is therefore sound.
7.3 Policy SP02: Managing Growth seeks to support the delivery of homes by setting out provision for 7,752 new dwellings to be built over the Plan period 2016-2033, at an annual rate of 310 dwellings up to 2022/2023, followed by 584 dwellings from 2023/24-2033. This objective is not supported, as it is considered that this stepped trajectory which delivers a greater proportion of the required homes beyond 2023, could be reviewed to allow more housing to come forward from the period 2021 onwards. This is with particular reference to NPPF (para 23) which states that "strategic policies should provide a clear strategy for bringing sufficient land forward, and at a sufficient rate, to address objectively assessed needs". This policy is therefore "not consistent" with the NPPF and not sound.
7.4 We consider that in order to address this, the Council should review its housing trajectory and at the same time, clarify the new dwelling number ahead of the Local Plan submission, to align with the February 2019 agreed position on the 'baseline' for the standard method calculation.
7.5 The Council should, in addition, work with developers to bring applications forward in advance of the adoption of the Local Plan, to meet housing need.
7.6 Policy SP03: Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) states that Brentwood Borough Council is committed to ensuring all new developments promote healthier and inclusive environments. The majority of proposals will be required to assess their impacts on health and well-being upon the capacity of existing health care and social care services and facilities, the environmental impacts, and the promotion of health improvement activities, arising from the development. Developments of 50 or more units are required to submit a Health and Well-Being Impact Assessment, as required by the EPOA HIA Guidance Note.
7.7 This policy is considered to be unsound as it is not "justified". The requirement to undertake a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a superfluous burden on applicants. It should be down to the Local Plan to take into account wider health concerns in the local area and focus policies upon addressing these concerns. Health and well-being should be covered within the polices of the Local Plan and where a development aligns with these, an HIA should not be required.
7.8 Policy SPO4: Developer Contributions refers to the need for all new development to be supported by, and have good access to, all necessary infrastructure. Developers and land owners must work positively with the Council, neighbouring authorities and other infrastructure providers throughout the planning process to ensure that the cumulative impact of development is considered and then mitigated.
7.9 Applicants proposing new development will be expected to make direct provision or contribute towards the delivery of relevant infrastructure, as required by the development either alone or cumulatively with other developments. The Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) identifies the types of infrastructure required to support the anticipated growth in the borough and includes a summary of the current identified infrastructure projects.
7.10 Policy SPO4 should be more explicit on the exact nature of requirements that the developer may be required to meet to avoid overly onerous requirements or confusion over cumulative impact and phasing with other developments and therefore this policy is not "justified" and is unsound.
7.11 Policy SP05: Construction Management states that all major development should sign up to the Considerate Constructors Scheme, or equivalent. Major development must consider the cumulative impacts of other major development occurring in the vicinity, to reduce the cumulative impacts.
7.12 It is considered that this policy accords with the NPPF and is therefore found to be sound, with particular reference to NPPF (para 72) which refers to larger scale development supported by the necessary infrastructure and facilities.
7.13 Policy SP06: Effective Delivery of Development states that proposals for large allocation sites will be expected to be developed in partnership with the Council, infrastructure providers and other relevant organisations, through a collaborative masterplanning approach. Development proposals should submit a supporting statement setting out the sustainable long-term governance and stewardship arrangements for community assets including land, services and facilities such as village halls, community centres, libraries, parks, green spaces, and buildings for sports, leisure, healthcare, education, social, arts and cultural activities. This policy is overly onerous and therefore "unjustified". This policy is therefore considered to be unsound.
7.14 Policy BE02: Sustainable Construction and Resource Efficiency requires all development proposals to maximise the principles of energy conservation and efficiency. Whilst the NPPF (para 153) has regard to the inclusion of renewable and decentralised energy as part of a new development, it states that such features are only required where it is either feasible or viable. This policy is therefore not "consistent" with National Policy.
7.15 We therefore object to the policy in its present form. In order to ensure consistency with National policy, criteria (f) of Policy BE02 should be revised to mirror the NPPF position. Therefore, it is considered that proposed Policy BE02 is unsound.
7.16 Policy BE03: Carbon Reduction, Renewable Energy and Water Efficiency states that proposals for renewable, low carbon or decentralised energy schemes will be supported, subject to adverse cumulative and visual impacts, which cannot be satisfactorily addressed. Criteria (b) of the proposed policy sets out the minimum standards of sustainable construction and carbon reduction. It is Government policy to seek to deliver improvements to emissions from buildings through the application of building regulations. It is therefore considered that the table provided in proposed Policy BE03 is not required, and therefore this policy is "unjustified" and unsound.
7.17 Policy BE04: Establishing Low Carbon and Renewable Energy Infrastructure Network sets out that developments will be required to provide for the necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of the development, specifically stand-alone renewable energy infrastructure. The policy advises that new development of over 500 units, or where the clustering of neighbouring sites totals over 500 units, will be expected to incorporate decentralised energy infrastructure.
7.18 The supporting text refers to the need for District heating networks and the identification of Strategic allocations in the Brentwood IDP, including the Officers Meadow's masterplan area, that could provide opportunities for DH and CHP schemes as energy solutions for new development.
7.19 This policy is considered overly onerous and "unjustified" in relation to the NPPF and therefore unsound.
7.20 In order to make the policy more effective, it could set out that the delivery of renewable energy infrastructure should be required based on evidence of need and viability and a "viability assessment" (at the time planning applications are submitted/determined) - as per Policy SP04.
7.21 Policy BE08: Sustainable Drainage seeks that all developments should incorporate appropriate Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDs) for the disposal of surface water, in order to avoid any increase in flood risk or adverse impact on water quality. Larger sites over 1 hectare in Zone 1 must be accompanied by a Flood Risk Assessment. Water runoff will comply with the requirements of this policy by provision of SuDS in the surface water drainage strategy. The NPPF (para 163) refers to the need for local planning authorities to ensure that flood risk is not increased elsewhere. Where appropriate, applications should be supported by a site-specific flood-risk assessment. This aspect of the policy is therefore considered "consistent" with the NPPF.
7.22 Given the extensive nature of the development, opportunities exist to incorporate the above the SuDs management across the site both locally and site-wide. However, the requirement for prevention if run-off for all rainfall events up to 5mm is in excess of the SuDS manual and is therefore "unjustified". Unfortunately, this therefore renders the overall Policy BE08 to be unsound.
7.23 Policy BE10: Connecting new developments to digital infrastructure seeks to support Brentwood's economic growth and productivity by improving the offer of digital infrastructure available within the Borough. Whilst planning strives to achieve the highest possible standards of construction and performance for new dwellings, Council's should not seek higher standards than Building Regulations on any other technical standards. Proposed Policy BE10 is therefore "unjustified" in light of National policy and therefore unsound.
7.24 Policy BE11: Strategic Transport Infrastructure requires that development in proximity of the railway stations demonstrate how the scheme connects the surrounding walking, cycling and public transport links to the station, linking new developments with the fast high-capacity transport links into London from Shenfield and the improved linkages from the Elizabeth line. Development close to schools and early years childcare facilities should facilitate an attractive public realm that is safe for children and encourages walking and cycling to address the impacts of school run traffic, in line with ECC's Developers' Guide to Infrastructure Contributions. This aligns with the NPPF (section 9) on "Promoting Sustainable Transport". These considerations therefore appear to be "justified", in accordance with national planning policy and therefore the policy is sound.
7.25 Policy BE13: Sustainable Means of Travel and Walkable Streets and Policy BE16: Mitigating the Transport Impacts of Development refers to sustainable modes of transport that should be facilitated through new developments, promoting accessibility and integration into the wider community and existing networks. Any development requiring a new road or road access, walking and cycling facilities and public transport, will be required to have regard to the adopted ECC's Development Management Policies or successor documents.
7.26 The policies seek to secure developments that are, inter-alia, designed to make necessary contributions to the improvement of existing infrastructure and provision of new infrastructure; be consistent and contribute to the implementation of the Essex County Council's Development Management Policies and include Transport Assessments and Travel Plans. This aligns with the NPPF (section 9) "Promoting Sustainable Transport" and is therefore considered "justified" and sound.
7.27 Policy BE17: Parking Standards refers to the vehicle parking requirement set out in the most up-to-date Essex Parking Standards. The NPPF (para 105) states that when setting local parking standards policies should take into account: a) the accessibility of development b) the type, mix and use of development c) the availability of and opportunities for public transport d) local car ownership levels and e) the need to ensure an adequate provision of spaces for charging plug-in and ultra-low emission vehicles. This aligns with the flexibility allowed for in Policy BE17, whereby the imposed parking standards are subject to the site's ability to minimise pressure on land and encourage the use of alternative modes of transport.
7.28 However, Policy BE12 also deals with "parking matters", but is not aligned with Policy BE17. This adds further inconsistency, in addition to Policy BE17 itself being "inconsistent" with the NPPF. It is therefore presently unsound.
7.29 Policy BE18: Green and Blue Infrastructure requires that Brentwood's existing ecological networks, open spaces, and green/blue features within the built environment are protected, planned, enhanced and managed as a part of the Borough's wider network of green and blue infrastructure. Points A-I of Policy BE18 identify the measures by which development proposals can maximise opportunities to protect and enhance green and blue infrastructure, aligning with the NPPF (section 15) "Conserving and Enhancing the Natural Environment".
7.30 However, it is presently unclear how any net gains/losses and any associated requirements would be measured/calculated, or the mechanism by which the Council or developer would deliver this. This is therefore both "unjustified" and "inconsistent", and therefore unsound.
7.31 Our Client largely supports the principle of Policy BE18, but it also unfortunately includes the requirement for a developer to ensure there is sufficient foul capacity within the local network before a development commences. Whilst our Client would liaise with Anglican Water, it is ultimately the Water Authority's responsibility to ensure sufficient capacity. Therefore as presently worded, the policy is "unjustified" and is unsound.
7.32 Policy BE19: Access to Nature seeks that major developers provide direct access to nature and that this provision is protected, planned, designed and managed as an integrated feature of the landscape. Developments in areas that are more than 1km walking distance from an accessible green open space should also seek opportunities to improve resident's experience and interaction with nature by means of design. The NPPF (section 8) "Promoting Healthy and Safe Communities" states that planning policies should be based on robust and up-to-date assessments of the need for open space, this policy is therefore deemed to be "consistent" with the NPPF and sound.
7.33 Policy BE22: Open Space in New Development seeks that major developments provide functional on-site open space and/or recreational amenities, in accordance with standards set out in the Council's Open Space Standards (see Figure 5.4 Open Space Standards and Fig 5.5 Fields in Trust Children's Play Space Standards in the Reg 19 Local Plan). Maintenance Plans should be submitted at planning application stage for all new facilities provided for exercise or recreation purposes.
7.34 The Council's Open Space Standards seek proposals which meet the Fields in Trust (Guidance for Outdoor Play Space: Beyond the Six Acre Standard) minimum standards. The FiT standards relate to provision on the basis of hectares per 1,000 population generated. The Council's Open Space Standards are considered to be effective as they are based on FiT standards and are therefore "justified" and the policy is sound.
7.35 Policy BE23: Open Space, Sport and Recreational Facilities states that permissions will not be granted for the development of designated Protected Urban Open Space or Local Green Space unless it can be demonstrated that alternative and improved provision can be created, existing open space enhanced or no additional displacement within the Green Belt caused. As with Policy BE22, where appropriate all proposals will be required to comply with the Council's Open Space Standards which aim to meet those set out by FiT. It is therefore considered that policy BE22 is "justified" in line with national guidance and therefore sound.
7.36 Policy HP01: Housing Mix sets out that all new development should deliver an inclusive and accessible environment throughout. On development sites of 500 or more units, the Council will require an appropriate mix of dwelling types, sizes and tenures to meet the identified housing needs in the borough as set out in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA). Each dwelling is to be constructed to meet requirement M4(2) accessible and adaptable dwellings, unless built in line with M4(3) wheelchair adaptable dwellings. A minimum of 5% self-build homes is to be provided, which can include custom housebuilding and provision for Specialist Accommodation, taking account of local housing need in accordance with the criteria set out in Policy HP04 Specialist Accommodation. Where a development site has been divided into parts, or is being delivered in phases, the area to be used for determining whether this policy applies will be the whole original site.
7.37 The objective of securing accessible and adaptable homes is supported, however, it is unclear as to how the "each dwelling to be constructed to meet requirement M4(2) accessible and adaptable dwellings, unless it is built in line with M4(3) wheelchair adaptable dwellings" is a fair and reasonable request.
7.38 The supporting text refers to DCLG research which shows that, based on English Partnerships figures from 2011-2012, nearly 30% of households have at least one person with a long-term illness and over 3% have one or more wheelchair user. While nationally 3.3% of households have a wheelchair user, for households living in affordable housing this rises to 7.1%. The rates are also higher for older households and, given that the number of older person households in the borough is set to increase over the period to 2033, the Council seeks to ensure 5% of affordable housing development on proposals of 60 or more dwellings archives requirement M4(3) wheelchair accessible dwellings.
7.39 This need for "all developments" to meet this target is not set out in the evidence or in the NPPG (referred to in the supporting text) and is therefore "unjustified" and unsound.
7.40 Policy HP03: Residential Density sets out that residential development proposals will generally be expected to achieve a net density of at least 35 dwellings per hectare net or higher. Proposals for new residential development should take a design-led approach to density which ensures schemes are sympathetic to local character and make efficient use of land. Proposals for housing developments should "Make an Effective Use of Land" in line with NPPF (Section 11). This policy is therefore "consistent" with the NPPF and sound, but must provide for a degree of flexibility to allow for local circumstances.
7.41 Policy HPO4: Specialist Accommodation the Council encourages and supports proposals which contribute to the delivery of Specialist Accommodation, as referenced in the Land North of Shenfield Site allocation "other types of specialist housing (to be provided) in accordance with the Council's policy requirements". This form of accommodation includes, but is not limited to, housing for older people such as Independent Living schemes for the frail elderly.
7.42 The Council's SHMA indicates that, if occupation patterns of Specialist Residential Accommodation for older people remain at current levels, there will be a requirement for 494 additional specialist units to 2033, aligning with the requirement in the Land North of Shenfield site allocation for provision of a residential care home (a 60-bed scheme as part of the overall allocation). This policy is also "consistent" with the NPPF section 5 (para 64 b) and is therefore considered to be sound.
7.43 Policy HPO5: Affordable Housing seeks to provide a portion of affordable housing on residential developments of 11 dwellings or more or on those which have a combined gross floorspace of greater than 1,000 sq. m (gross internal area).
7.44 The affordable housing requirement relates to 35% provision in all areas of the Borough. The Council requires that the tenure split be made up of 86% Affordable/Social Rent and 14% as other forms of affordable housing (this includes starter homes, intermediate homes and shared ownership and all other forms of affordable housing as described by national guidance or legislation) or regard to the most up to date SHMA. The affordable housing is to be designed in such a way as to be seamlessly integrated to that of market housing elements of a scheme and distributed throughout the development, so as to avoid the over concentration in one area.
7.45 Viability is referred to, but the policy does not go far enough. We would recommend that the policy includes a clause which requires a viability assessment to be submitted and considered whereby schemes are unable to meet the full affordable provision, which is not included at present. The policy is therefore "unjustified" and unsound.
7.46 Policy HP06: Standards for New Housing requires that all major residential developments meet the Government's nationally described space standard. It is considered that the standard is an appropriate tool to use when considering the provision of good housing. However, this should not be limited to major development, but should instead extend to all emerging residential development, whilst allowing for the consideration of local circumstances and site-specific conditions, in order to accord the NPPF (Section 12, Achieving Well-Designed Places). The policy is therefore "unjustified" in relation to need and viability (our emphasis) in accordance with the NPPF. The adoption of nationally described space standards is also at the discretion of the LPA and should be decided upon in a local context. The policy is therefore considered unsound.
7.47 Policy HP12: Planning for Inclusive Communities refers to the need to plan for and build inclusive environments that support communities. Proposals should provide access to good quality community spaces, services and infrastructure, encouraging social interaction, ensuring inclusivity and promoting safety. The policy is deemed "consistent" with NPPF (section 8) "Promoting Healthy and Safe Communities" which states that planning policies should aim to achieve healthy, inclusive and safe places which promote social interaction, are safe and accessible, and support healthy lifestyles. The policy is therefore considered sound.
7.48 Policy HP13: Creating Successful Places seeks that proposals meet high design standards, in order to deliver safe, inclusive, attractive and accessible places. Elements A-M of policy HP13 identify measures considered to create successful places, in accordance with section 12 of the NPPF on "Achieving Well-Designed Places". The NPPF (para 128) states that design quality should be considered throughout the evolution and assessment of individual proposals. Policy HP13 is therefore considered to be "consistent" with the NPPF and sound.
7.49 Policy HP16: Buildings Design seeks for development to be well designed and of a high quality, having regard to Development Management criteria including scale, density, layout, siting, character and appearance. This policy is considered to be "consistent" with the NPPF having particular regard to Section 12 on "Achieving Well-Designed Places" and therefore sound.
7.50 Policy PC02: Job Growth and Employment Land seeks that provision is made for 5,000 additional jobs in the Borough over the Plan period at a rate of 250 per year. NPPF Section 6 on "Building a Strong, Competitive Economy" sets out that planning policies should support economic growth, in order to create jobs and prosperity by taking a positive approach to sustainable new development. The strategic allocation at Land North of Shenfield supports economic growth and creates new opportunities and is "consistent" with national guidance and is sound.
7.51 Policy PC03: Employment Land Allocations highlights areas allocated by the Council for general employment and office development. Para 82 of the NPPF states that planning policies should recognise and address the specific locational requirements of different employment sectors. The allocations set out in policy PC03 are informed by the wider spatial strategy, which aims to retain the Borough's character and encourage employment growth in suitable locations, in accordance with national planning policy. This policy is therefore deemed to be "consistent" with the NPPF and considered to be sound.
7.52 Policies NE01: Protecting and Enhancing the Natural Environment (inc SSSIs) and NE03: Trees, Woodland, Hedgerows (inc Local Wildlife Site, Local Nature Reserves) work to restrict development that would have a detrimental effect on, or result in the loss of, significant landscape heritage or a feature of ecological importance.
7.53 Our Client wholly supports the principles of both of these policies, albeit as presently worded, they both contain contradictory requirements: Policy NE01 (para B) states that proposals that lead to deterioration or loss of the Borough's designated and non-designated biodiversity assets will not be permitted; whereas Policy NE01 (para C) goes on to state that where adverse impacts are unavoidable they must be adequately and proportionally mitigated (ie it appears to allow for deterioration where they are unavoidable and can be suitably mitigated).
7.54 Policy NE03 (para A) contains a similar contradictory approach to the provisions of the remainder of the policy - as with Policy NE01.
7.55 In the light of this both Policy NE01 and Policy NE03 are not inconsistent with each other, they are also "inconsistent" with National policy, "unjustified" and therefore unsound.
7.56 Policy NE05: Air Quality seeks to restrict development, which would directly or indirectly, impact air quality within the Borough. Measures to offset or mitigate those impacts are introduced as part of proposals to ensure that receptors would not be subject to unacceptable risk as a result of poor air quality. This policy is "consistent" with the objectives of the NPPF (para 181) and is therefore considered sound.
7.57 Policy NE06: Flood Risk requires that development avoid flood risk to people and property, managing any residual risk and taking account of the impacts of climate change. Developments should be located in areas with the lowest probability of flooding (Flood Zones 1 & 2). Where development is located within Flood Zone 3, the Exception Test will apply.
7.58 The NPPF (section 14) "Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change, Flooding and Coastal Change" states that inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from the areas at the highest risk. The majority of Policy NE06 therefore aligns with National guidance and therefore mostly sound. However, and as presently worded, it suggests tat applicants may be obligated to set aside land to provide flood management to benefit areas outside of that development. This is unduly onerous, inconsistent with National policy and therefore unsound.
7.59 Similarly, the entirety of a development area does not need to remain operational at times of flood (such as access roads), if there is an alternative safe means of escape that is provided. Subsection c) of Policy NE06 is therefore not justified and also unsound.
7.60 Policy NE09: Green Belt seeks that the Metropolitan Green Belt within Brentwood Borough will be preserved from inappropriate development so that it continues to main openness and serve key functions. Policy NE09 states that all development proposals within the Green Belt will be considered in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the NPPF on "Protecting Green Belt Land". It is therefore considered that policy NE09 is "justified" and sound, in the light of national policy.
7.61 Policy NE13: Site Allocations in the Green Belt states that sites allocated to meet housing need, within the Green Belt, will be expected to provide significant community benefits. These are the "exceptional circumstances" for sites to be removed from the Green Belt to allow development to take place, providing new defensible boundaries and protecting the open countryside. The NPPF (para 138) states that, where it has been concluded necessary to release Green Belt land for development, plans should give first consideration to land which has been previously-developed and/or is well-served by public transport.
7.62 The allocated "Officer's Meadow" site provides opportunities for sustainable development and transport modes to be maximised, with its close proximity to Shenfield railway station, in accordance with National policy, leading to the consideration of Policy NE13 as "consistent" with the NPPF and sound.
7.63 The overall approach within the Development Management related policies is supported, however amendments to policy/Appendices of Local Plan is recommended in places as set out above. This would ensure robustness in terms of delivering a sound Local Plan that is positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national planning policy.
8.0 CONCLUSION
8.1 The Regulation 19 "Pre-Submission Local Plan" consultation document is supported. These representations fully support the allocation of Land North of Shenfield, which includes our Client's land at "Officer's Meadow". These representations focus mostly on land within our Client's control and are supported by a series of accompanying technical reports that support the proposed allocation.
8.2 Our Client supports the wider and comprehensive development of Policy RO3: Land North of Shenfield, which could ultimately for circa 825 dwellings (inc affordable provision).
8.3 Specifically, the land controlled by our Client represents the largest area of land within Policy RO3 and is largely supportive of the policy requirements set out in the Local Plan. Our Client is keen to work closely with the Borough Council and adjoining landowners to provide a comprehensive approach to development, and our Client's elements would comprise:
* Circa 510 dwellings (inc. Affordable provision)
* A new Local Centre, inc. potential healthcare;
* A 60-bed care home
* Significant areas of "Green" and "Blue" Infrastructure;
* Other community facilities, inc. sports provision.
8.4 These representations have also set out our Client's support of working closely with the adjoining Shenfield High School to provide for enhanced educational facilities. This would be in the form of funding towards on-site Primary provision to help create a "through-school", plus financial contributions to existing secondary provision (if required).
8.5 We would welcome the opportunity of discussing our concerns, with suggested amendments with BBC and ECC Officers at the earliest opportunity.
8.6 Subject to a number of modifications as recommended in this report, we consider the Local Plan to be largely sound in accordance with the NPPF.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 24069

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Countryside Properties

Agent: Strutt & Parker LLP

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation:

The SA Report is simplistic in its approach to individual site assessment. It has used a predominantly spatial or 'GIS' approach to the assessment of each criteria, and no consideration for the positive contribution that the development of sites can make to the natural environment and local facilities. The assumption made within the Sustainability Appraisal that sites will only negatively impact the Green Belt and other landscape and natural environment designations has contributed to the unjustified omission of sites from allocation, such as site 030A.

Full text:

1. Introduction
1.1 These representations are submitted by Strutt & Parker on behalf of Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd in relation to the Brentwood Borough Council Pre-Submission Local Plan (Regulation 19) (PSLP), and in particular with regards to our clients' land at 030A, Land at Bayley's Mead, Hutton, Brentwood. A plan showing the site is provided as Appendix A to this representation.
1.2 Countryside was founded in Essex 60 years ago by Alan Cherry and has since established a reputation for delivering high quality developments. With the ethos 'creating places people love', Countryside's achievements are exemplified through having won more Housing Design Awards than any other house builder.
1.3 Countryside is a major development and place-maker, having secured planning permission and building out developments in varying scales: from smaller 30 dwelling schemes on the edge of village's through to large urban extensions of 3,500 new homes plus associated community facilities. Countryside has a proven track record of delivery. The company is headquartered in Brentwood and has a proud legacy of local sites such as Clements Park and the Square on Hart Street.
1.4 As the Council will be aware, representations have previously been made on behalf of Countryside Properties and in respect of both sites 030A on the Preferred Options Consultation in October 2013 and the Strategic Growth Options Consultation February 2015, and the Regulation 18 Local Plan in March 2018.
1.5 Site 030A measures approximately 2.36 hectares. The Council have previously confirmed the net developable area of the site as 1.66 hectares, with the ability to provide an estimated 30 dwellings on site. The site is situated within the Green Belt.
1.6 Whilst the Plan is considered effective in meeting the minimum housing requirements through the proposed allocations, an unjustified lack of housing provision to exceed the minimum requirements, and to provide an appropriate buffer and flexibility for the future, does prevent the Plan from being considered sound as a whole.
1.7 Site 030A has been discounted as a site for residential development through the Local Plan process, for reasons which are considered in more detail later within this representation. We consider the rejection of the site to be unjustified, and to result in a PSLP which does not promote sustainable development and as such is unsound.
1.8 The allocation of the site, at Bayley's Mead, Hutton, for residential development would represent a sustainable and deliverable proposal to help meet housing need over the coming plan period and ensure the soundness of the Local Plan.
1.9 As a minimum, the site should be safeguarded for potential future release from the Green Belt to ensure that the Green Belt remains protected throughout the entire plan period, in accordance with Paragraph 139 of the NPPF.
1.10 This representation set out comments on the Regulation 19 Draft Local Plan, as well as providing detail on the sustainability and deliverability of the site with regards to technical considerations and latest assessment work.
2. Brentwood Local Plan Regulation 19 Consultation
Plan Period
2.1. The Draft Local Plan is proposed to guide development in the Borough of Brentwood until 2033. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF, 2019) makes clear at Paragraph 22 that strategic policies within Local Plans should look ahead over a minimum of 15 years.
2.2. At this stage it would be optimistic to assume that adoption of the Draft Plan, which forms the subject of this representation, will happen within 2019 and therefore the plan will only address development needs in the area for a maximum of 14 years.
2.3. This shortfall is particularly relevant in respect of Green Belt, whereby a failure to ensure that development needs are planned for over a sufficient period of time would likely result in an early review of Green Belt being required. This review ahead of a new Local Plan would be contrary to the NPPF (paragraph 136), and also undermine one of the two essential characteristics of the Green Belt: its permanence (NPPF, Paragraph 133).
Total Housing Requirement
2.4. Paragraph 4.13 of the PSLP states that the Borough's housing requirement is 350 dwellings per annum. Paragraph 4.12 confirms that this figure is calculated using the Standard Method (as per the NPPF and respective Planning Practice Guidance(PPG)). We note that the PPG now confirms that the 2014-based subnational household projection should be used to calculate housing requirements using the Standard Method (Paragraph: 004 Reference ID: 2a-004-20190220).
2.5. On this basis, the relevant subnational population projections indicate an average annual increase of 293.2 households in the Borough between 2019 and 2029. The latest (2017) ratio of median house price to median gross annual workplace-based earnings for the Borough published by the ONS is 11.23. Once the Standard Method is applied using these figures, the result is a requirement of 452 dwellings per annum.
2.6. The NPPF requires for Local Plans to meet this need as a minimum, whilst also allowing sufficient flexibility to be able to respond to rapid change.
2.7. As mentioned previously, the Plan should also ensure that any revised Green Belt boundary should be robust enough to be maintained beyond the Plan period and therefore account for development needs beyond 2033 (or a revised later end date to the Plan period to ensure strategic policies will cover at least 15 years).
2.8. A further factor is the need to consider unmet needs of neighbouring authorities (NPPF paragraph 35). Councils have a duty to cooperate with one another on strategic matters, including on unmet housing needs (paragraphs 24 to 27 of the NPPF). The PSLP does not make an allowance for any unmet needs from neighbouring authorities.
2.9. Whilst the South Essex authorities are working together on a joint strategic plan, the Local Plans for each authority must still demonstrate joint working and a consideration of unmet needs where required. A number of nearby authorities have identified difficulties in meeting their own housing needs, including Castle Point, Rochford and Southend. We also not that Epping Forest District Council in particualr is at an advanced stage in the preparation of a Local Plan (at the time of writing it is currently being examined) which proposes to deliver 11,400 dwellings between 2011 and 2033 (518 dwellings per annum), against a requirement (based on the Standard Method) of 944 dwellings per annum.
2.10. Furthermore, the Borough is located within close proximity of London, with the emerging Local Plan identifying high housing delivery on outer London Boroughs and that London will fall short of meeting its housing needs by 10,000 homes over the next ten years. Unmet need from London could therefore be required to be met by nearby authorities, including Brentwood.
2.11. Whilst no authority has formally approached Brentwood in relation to unmet need, it is not inconceivable that an authority will do. Under the current PSLP there is no flexibility to meet any unmet needs from neighbouring authorities, requiring a plan review should a request to meet unmet needs be received once the plan is adopted.
2.12. Allocating additional sites would provide greater flexibility should a request to meet unmet needs be forthcoming, avoiding the need for an early plan review. This flexibility should also be provided in accordance with paragraph 11 of the NPPF and to accommodate additional need arising from extending the plan period.
2.13. The PSLP considers it appropriate to apply a 20% uplift to the identified housing target of 350 dwellings per annum, resulting in a proposed target of 456 dwellings per annum. The rationale for this buffer is unclear with separate references to the buffer advising that it allows for an additional housing land supply to be maintained, but also that it serves to safeguard against any potential uplift to the standard methodology for calculating housing need, pending the outcome of the Government's 'Technical consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance'.
2.14. Despite the outcome of the technical consultation now having been confirmed, the proposed annual housing target of the PSLP only fractionally exceeds the minimum housing requirement derived from the Standard Method, and therefore does not provide any flexibility, Green Belt protection or unmet need from neighbouring authorities in addition to the minimum requirement. The plan is therefore considered ineffective in its current form and has not been positively prepared to provide an appropriate level of contingency in terms of housing delivery, or to comply with national planning policies. As such we consider the PSLP to be unsound.
2.15. As a minimum, we consider that the PSLP's housing need should be amended to at least ensure that an additional year's worth of housing need can be accommodated, and so that the relevant strategic policies of the Plan cover at 15 years from adoption. Realistically, we expect that an additional 2 years' worth of housing may be required to support a plan period up to 2035. Moreover, in respect of the fact that the authority is predominantly Green Belt, even if the plan period is extended until 2035, policies should account for potential development needs beyond this period. The allocation of sites for housing in Hutton, including that at Bayleys Mead, would provide for additional housing delivery in a sustainable location and help to ensure that the Plan can be found sound.
Five-year Housing Land Supply and Housing Trajectory
2.16. The Council is required to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply at any point in the plan period (Paragraph: 038 Reference ID: 3-038-20180913).
2.17. The NPPF (Paragraph 73) confirms that a 20% buffer should be applied to the initial calculation for a five year housing land supply requirement, in the event that the results of the Housing Delivery Test show that there has been significant under delivery of housing over the previous three years, to improve the prospect of achieving the planned supply. From November 2018 significant under delivery indicates that delivery was below 85% of the requirement for the Borough. The PPG (Paragraph: 037 Reference ID: 3-037-20180913) also confirms that the requirement for a 20% buffer also applies where a Local Planning Authority are seeking to confirm their five-year housing land supply through a recently adopted Local Plan.
2.18. The results of the 2018 Housing Delivery Test confirmed that Brentwood have delivered just 50% of the housing requirement over the last three years and this is therefore well below the threshold for the 20% buffer requirement.
2.19. The Borough's most recent reported five-year housing land supply (Five Year Housing Land Supply Statement as at 31 March 2018 (November 2018)) ('HLSS') is 4.1 years. This is predicated on a requirement which, when considered in relation to the latest guidance, understates need; and a supply which, again when considered in relation to latest guidance, overstates supply. As such, the actual housing land supply is considerably less.
2.20. Looking at this in detail, the HLSS considers an annual need of 343 dwellings, resulting in a total requirement once the 20% has been applied of 2,058 dwellings. However, applying the latest guidance and the Standard Method, the Borough's housing requirement is 452 dwellings per annum. Applying the 20% buffer, this results in a five-year requirement of 2,712 dwellings.
2.21. In terms of supply, the HLSS includes sites without detailed planning permission and without evidence such sites will be delivered within five years. As per the Glossary contained within Annex 2 of the NPPF, such sites cannot be considered deliverable for the purposes of the five-year housing land supply. Table 1 of the HLSS suggests that at least 1,042 dwellings in the reported supply did not have planning permission. Once these are removed from the supply calculation, the five-year supply comprises 653 dwellings. It is unclear if and how many of the dwellings categorised as having extant planning permission are on major sites which only benefit from outline permission. Such sites would also have to be discounted. As such, the figure of 653 dwellings may overstate housing supply.
2.22. A five-year supply of 653 dwellings compared to a requirement of 2,712 represents a 1.2-year housing land supply. This acute housing land supply shortage demonstrates the importance of allocating sites through the Local Plan which can be delivered early in the plan period, and support the existing supply of housing. It also emphasises the need to avoid over-reliance on large strategic sites which inevitably take longer to deliver.
2.23. The housing trajectory provided as Appendix 1 to the PSLP projects that it will enable completion of 2,305 dwellings between 2019/20 and 2023/24.
2.24. Having regard to the Standard Method and the need to apply a 20% buffer to the housing requirement, the total five-year requirement for the Borough is 2,712 dwellings. Therefore, even before critical review of the supply, the PSLP will not provide a five-year supply of housing.
2.25. Furthermore, Dunton Hills Garden Village is a proposed major strategic development, intended to provide 4,000 dwellings, 5.5 hectares of employment land, two new primary schools, secondary school, new village shopping centre, new transport infrastructure, and new community and health infrastructure. Delivery will require the coordination and input of multiple landowners, developers, infrastructure providers and other stakeholders.
2.26. Once allocated, the PSLP proposes a masterplan and design guidance will be required to be prepared. Following this, an outline application will need to be prepared, submitted, and determined; followed by reserved matters. It will also be necessary to discharge all planning conditions and S106 obligations.
2.27. As such, we question the likelihood of 100 homes being completed at Dunton Hills Garden Village as early as 2022/23. This does not in itself mean that Dunton Hills Garden Village proposals cannot form part of a sound Local Plan, but it does demonstrate the unsuitability of relying on large strategic sites for short term housing delivery, and means that additional smaller sites capable of providing homes in the early years of the plan period also need to be allocated in order to ensure the Local Plan is sound.
2.28. It is evident that whilst the Plan can demonstrate housing delivery appropriate to meet minimum recognised requirements, the suggested inability of the Plan to ensure a consistent five-year supply is inconsistent with national policy, which requires that local planning authorities should identify and update annually a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide a minimum of five years' worth of housing against their housing requirement set out in adopted strategic policies. The PSLP should therefore support this requirement through the allocation of smaller scale sites that can be delivered over short timescales to be found sound. Land at Bayleys Mead is a site that would cater to this need, with its deliverability discussed in greater detail later on in this representation.
Proposed Approach to Hutton
2.29. Within the PSLP, the Borough's settlement hierarchy identifies Hutton as Category 1 - an 'urban neighbourhood'. A Category 1 settlement is defined as having a wide range of services, and are typically highly accessible and well served by public transport provision. Hutton has an established local centre which benefits from a range of services, facilities, access to public transport, and employment opportunities.
2.30. The town is situated approximately 30km from Central London, 12km from Chelmsford and well-connected in respect of regional and national infrastructure. Brentwood and Shenfield are accessible along the A12 corridor.
2.31. Hutton is a highly sustainable location, and therefore well-placed to accommodate a proportion of the Borough's housing need. In addition, the Local Plan should manage growth of such settlements to sustain and enhance their vitality.
2.32. Irrespective of the above, the PSLP proposes no growth for Hutton, in contrast to the level of growth afforded to other settlements identified as Category 1 settlements, or also those below Hutton, within the Borough's settlement hierarchy. We have concerns therefore that the PSLP fails to support the sustainable growth of Hutton and that this omission is unjustified and inconsistent with national policy.
2.33. To ensure the soundness of the Local Plan, land should be allocated in Hutton to protect the future of this settlement and ensure sustainable growth.
Green Belt
2.34. A Green Belt Study (November 2018) supports the PSLP. This study provides an assessment of Green Belt parcels against the five purposes of the Green Belt, as set out within the NPPF.
2.35. The study includes an 'assessment of Housing Sites (being considered as part of the SHLAA) within the Green Belt and their relative contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt designation'.
2.36. The site has been assessed against the five purposes of the Green Belt, as part of the Green Belt Study methodology as follows:
Purpose 1: To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas
Parcel 14 is defined by the Council as 'partly contained', and recognises that it abuts a large built up area. This categorisation does however advise that the boundary is 'weak/degraded/unclear'. The site 030A is contained on two out of four boundaries by built form however and on remaining boundaries by established vegetation and hedgerows that could be incorporated and enhanced as part of a landscaping scheme that would support the redevelopment of the site. We consider that the site boundaries are clearly defined and the site is therefore well-contained. A conclusion of containment should not consider built form exclusively.
Purpose 2: To prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another
The site is adjacent the eastern limit of Hutton Mount and the Green Belt Study correctly recognises that its development would retain separation from neighbouring towns. The next settlement to the east is Billericay and this is some distance away with a large green gap between the two. Other parts of Hutton already extend closer to Billericay without posing any risk of merging.
Purpose 3: To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment
The site is defined by the Council as 'Functional Countryside' (FC). The assessment defines Functional Countryside as "access land, public area (park), high number of PRoW and important routes e.g. National Trail'. The site itself is overgrown, in private ownership, covered in dense vegetation, and not suitable for public access. It is not agricultural and is therefore not functional and this assessment of the site is incorrect.
Purpose 4: To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
Brentwood Borough Council have recognised that site 030A has no physical of visual relationship with the Historic Town. It is some distance from the town centre with no direct relationship. It is directly associated with contemporary housing developments at Bayley's Mead and surrounding roads, which present limited historic character.
Purpose 5: To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land
Brentwood Borough Council have not provided an analysis for Purpose 5.
2.37. Overall, Brentwood Borough Council have assessed the site as having a moderate overall contribution to the Green Belt, despite the favourable assessment of the site. Where the site was assessed to have an important role on the Green Belt, we have outlined above that these elements of the assessment are incorrect and not reflective of the sites true characteristics.
2.38. The development of this Green Belt site, which has limited environmental value and offers a minimal contribution to the Green Belt when assessed against its five intended purposes, would help to support housing delivery in a sustainable location in the Brentwood Borough, whilst protecting other Green Belt sites of much higher environmental value.
2.39. The weaknesses and inconsistencies recognised in the individual site assessments made demonstrate a potential flaw in the evidence base for the Local Plan and could result in the unjustified omission of Green Belt sites from consideration for allocation as part of the new Local Plan.
2.40. The above analysis of land at Bayleys Mead, Hutton demonstrates that there remains small scale opportunities for sustainable development within the Green Belt and that the Local Plan should give consideration to the allocation of such sites alongside larger scale areas of release.
Strategic Environmental Assessment/Sustainability Appraisal (SEA/SA)
2.41. The PSLP is supported by a range of technical work, including the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) January 2019. The SA presents a number of sustainability issues/objectives which have been established through SA scoping. Together, these sustainability topics and objectives provide a methodological framework for the appraisal of potential allocation sites - including site 030A.
2.42. The SA indicates that the allocation of site 030A would have positive effects in relation to the SA objectives. The SA analysis states that site 030A is in good proximity to a secondary school (less than 1.5km), but in 'red' proximity from a GP surgery and a primary school. Willowbrook Primary School is located within 1 mile of the site, which is considered to be within walking distance to the site. The nearest GP Surgery, Mount Avenue Surgery is located 1.5 miles from the site. Mount Avenue Surgery is defined in the Regulation 18 document to be 1 of 3 surgeries within the District which has an average of 0.58 GPs per 1,000 patients, which is the national average. Furthermore, Mount Avenue Surgery has a large catchment area, therefore it is considered that it would provide service to those living at the site. Furthermore, Brentwood Community Hospital is located less than 3 miles from the site.
2.43. The SA, through its analysis also states that the site at Bayley's Mead is in an area that 'performs poorly' in respect of its proximity to Ancient Woodland, Local Wildlife Site, Woodland and Green Belt. The proposed development of the site will not unacceptably impact on Ancient Woodland, Woodland or a Local Wildlife Site. This scoring is considered to be highly assumptive and rules out the potential of sites being landscaping led and providing opportunities for the enhancement such features and local biodiversity. Being within 400m of a local wildlife site does not necessarily mean that there will be direct impacts on the site.
2.44. In relation to Green Belt, the assessment is binary in it's approach - if a potential site falls within the defined Green Belt, it will be given an 'Amber' score. Whilst the methodology notes that the Green Belt is not specifically a landscape designation, and as such potential effects on the setting have not been appraised, a blanket 'amber' score on anything seems arbitrary.
2.45. A Green Belt Review of the Borough, and the contribution that each individual site makes to the Green Belt has been undertaken and this is discussed in more detail in the following section of this representation. This recognition of differing value across individual sites should have influenced scoring for this element of the SA, and replaced the non-conducive binary approach taken.
2.46. In general, we consider that the SA Report is simplistic in its approach to individual site assessment. The SA has used a predominantly spatial or 'GIS' (use of Geographical Information Systems) approach to the assessment of each criteria, using the distance between the site and various factors to judge the extent to which it either achieves or opposes certain objectives. It has had no consideration for the positive contribution that the development of sites can make to the natural environment and local facilities.
2.47. The assumption made within the Sustainability Appraisal that sites will only negatively impact the Green Belt and other landscape and natural environment designations has contributed to the unjustified omission of sites from allocation as part of the Local Plan which has subsequently resulted in the plan being unsound.
3. Site Deliverability
3.1. The site represents a deliverable, sustainable and achievable site for residential development. There have been technical reports and associated documents completed which demonstrate this. The below section provides a summary of these documents.
Access & Connectivity
3.2. The site is considered to have good access and connectivity to the surrounding area. The vehicular and pedestrian access to the site is proposed to be from Bayley's Mead. The access arrangement was considered as satisfactory through the 2013 Draft Site Assessment.
3.3. The site is approximately 1.3 miles from Shenfield Station (approximately a 25 minute walk / 8 minute cycle). Shenfield Station provides frequent services to London Liverpool Street, Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich and settlements between. These destinations also provide connections to the wider national transport network. Shenfield Station is also the terminus for the new Elizabeth Line which is part of Crossrail. Crossrail provides frequent services into Central London.
3.4. A public bus stop is located approximately 200m from the site. This bus stop provides frequent services to Basildon Town Centre, Brentwood High Street, Billericay and Shenfield Rail Station, amongst services to smaller neighbouring settlements.
3.5. The site is well connected to the surrounding road network. The site is located approximately 2.5 miles from the A12. The A12 provides efficient access to settlements across Essex and East Anglia such as Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich, as well as a direct connection to the M25.
3.6. The site is immediately adjacent St Martin's School, a large seconday school and sixth form. There are also a number of primary schools in the area, including Willowbrook Primary School and Hutton All Saints Primary School which are both less than a mile from the site.
3.7. Given the high access and connectivity levels of the site, it is evident that Site 030A is within a sustainable location and should therefore be considered as a site for residential development.
Ecology
3.8. An ecological appraisal was undertaken by Green Environmental Consultants Ltd. In September 2013.
3.9. The ecological appraisal states that the site is abandoned farmland which is being colonised by scrub and tree species from woody boundary habitats. There are mature trees, mostly on two of the boundaries which may be used by bats of nesting birds. Otherwise the potential of the site is poor.
3.10. The ecological appraisal recommends further bat survey work to be undertaken on site and for the mature boundary trees to be protected and enhanced.
3.11. The ecological appraisal concludes that there are no significant or major impacts on a significant resource to be expected through the development of the site, but recognises that loss of scrub and some trees is likely to occur. This could be easily mitigated and enhanced through a landscaping scheme to support any future development on the site.
Geo-Environmental/Engineering
3.12. A preliminary engineering appraisal was undertaken in February 2013. This appraisal includes details on foundations, highways, drainage and contamination.
3.13. The geo-environmental appraisal concludes that there are no significant physical geo-environmental constraints to development on the site.
Drainage
3.14. The preliminary engineering appraisal states that foul water from the proposed development would discharge to the existing pumping facility and thereafter to the sewer in Hanging Hill Lane.
3.15. The appraisal states that storm run-off from the developed site would discharge at the ditch.
3.16. The existing surface water catchment for the local residential area drains into a 600mm diameter pipe which discharges via a headwall into the western end of the northernmost ditch within the site. This ditch runs across the site and continues eastwards beyond. The Environment Agency map indicates that an interconnecting ditch system eventually outfalls to the River Can. The appraisal states that drainage storage is likely to be provided through the design of a sustainable urban drainage system which may include a combination of contributing elements, swales, ponds and underground cellular storage.
Contamination
3.17. The preliminary engineering appraisal states that an intrusive soil investigation will be required to confirm whether the soil on site is contaminated. The appraisal states that in view of the perceived history of the land, this is unlikely to be the case.
Highways
3.18. The preliminary engineering appraisal states that the current width of Bayley's Mead is 5.5m which could support a development of 30 dwellings.
3.19. The appraisal states that the sight line visibility from Bayley's Mead onto Hanging Hill Lane is about 2.4m x 65m to the right hand side with the 'y' distance being much greater to the left. The requirement for a 30mph road is 2.4 x 43m. Even if measured vehicle speeds in Hanging Hill Lane are greater, for example up to 37mph, then the visibility requirement for that speed (2.4 x 59m) is still achieved.
3.20. The appraisal concludes that there is no objective reason as to why the existing access road could not support the development of Site 030A.
4. Summary
4.1. Whilst the current proposed allocations and strategic policies of the PSLP appropriately address the minimum requirement of housing recognised for the Plan period, we have reason to query the appropriate length of the Plan period, and a lack of flexibility in the housing provision and such consider the Plan unsound due to its inability to comply with national planning policy, the unjustified omission of a housing supply which exceeds minimum requirements, and given that the Plan has not been positively prepared to account for potential changes to the market and housing requirements beyond those forecast.
4.2. There is evidently a case for Site 030A to be further considered as a sustainable opportunity in respect of Brentwood Borough Council needing to further increase their housing delivery over the plan period. The development of this site would not impact the function of the Green Belt in this location and is immediately adjacent to Hutton, a 'main town' with facilities and services that could support sustainable growth. Development here would also accord with the Brentwood Borough Council Spatial Strategy which directs growth towards the A12 transport corridor.
4.3. The analysis and content within the accompanying studies evidence the deliverability, achievability and suitability of the site for development and why it should therefore be allocated by Brentwood Borough Council as a site for residential development to aid the Plan in being sound. We consider there to be outstanding opportunities for the plan to identify sustainable sites that are suitable for delivering housing over short timescales to ensure that the Plan is flexible and robust, and well-prepared to meet housing needs over the entirety of the plan period.
4.4. Development of the site is supported by a wealth of technical evidence that confirms its suitability, including in relation to the lack of harm to its development to the purposes of the Green Belt. The reasons given for the rejection of the Site are therefore based on a number of assumptions and simplistic conclusions.
4.5. The exclusion of Site 030A is unjustified, and overlooks an opportunity to correct other soundness deficiencies in respect of the Local Plan, including in relation to the overall quantum of housing proposed and the lack of support for any growth of Hutton. The allocation of Site 030A for development will assist in correcting shortfalls in respect of the Local Plan, enabling it to be a sound plan.
4.6. We note the requirements set out under Paragraph 139 which confirms that when defining Green Belt boundaries and where sites may not be allocated for development at the present time, plans should "identify areas of safeguarded land between the urban area and the Green Belt, in order to meet longer-term development needs stretching well beyond the plan period".
4.7. As a minimum therefore, land at Bayleys Mead should be safeguarded for future Green Belt release as and when a need may arise given its highly sustainable location and suitability to be developed without incurring encroachment between Hutton and the main Brentwood urban area.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 24078

Received: 20/05/2019

Respondent: LaSalle Land Limited Partnership

Agent: Chilmark Consulting Limited

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation:

Object to the omission of Honeypot Lane from the Brnetwood Pre-Submission Local Plan. Honeypot Lane is a sustainable development location in close proximity and easy access and integration with new jobs, community facilities, services and greenspace as a principal tier 1 category settlement; it would contribute to the five year housing supply; it has already been tested by the Sustainability Appraisal. Removal is not justified. Should further note the SA assessment: 8 criteria score as Green , 9 amber, 0 red. Have reviewed Amber scores and positively comment on the following: Air Quality management Areas; SSSIs; Local Wildlife Site; Woodland; Green Belt; Special Landscape Area; Agricultural Land, General Practice Surgery, Primary school and Secondary School.

Change suggested by respondent:

LLLP conclude that the Plan needs to be modified to identify and allocate Land at Honeypot Lane, Brentwood (ref: 022) for residential development of up to 250 new dwellings with associated transport, community and green infrastructure. The Brentwood Borough Local Plan: Pre-Submission, January 2019. Allocation of Honeypot Lane must include its removal from the Green Belt and the appropriate revision of the boundaries of that designated area. The Plan's proposed Housing Trajectory (Appendix 1), the Key Diagram and the list of proposed allocation sites should be updated to include Land at Honeypot Lane accordingly.

Full text:

Representations for and on LaSalle Land Limited Partnership
Omission Site - Land at Honeypot Lane, Brentwood
March 2019
Introduction
1. Chilmark Consulting Ltd. (CCL) are instructed by and write for and on behalf of
LaSalle Land Limited Partnership (LLLP) with respect to the Brentwood Borough
Local Plan: Pre-Submission Plan (BBLP) published for consultation by Brentwood
Borough Council (BBC) in January 2019.
2. This representation is concerned with the omission of LLLP's land interest Land at
Honeypot Lane, Brentwood (ref: 022) from the list of proposed housing allocations
and the Plan Proposals Map in the Pre-Submission Local Plan.
3. This representation must be read in conjunction with the other representations
submitted by LLLP dealing with related matters.
Nature of Representation
Overview
4. The Honeypot Lane site was included as a proposed residential allocation at the
earlier stages of the plan-making process, including the Draft Local Plan (February
2016). The site was previously allocated for up to 250 new dwellings and LLLP
had supported its inclusion and designation in the Plan as an available, suitable
and achievable residential site.
5. LLLP object to the omission of the site now and its exclusion from the Pre-
Submission Local Plan and set out the grounds for this in greater detail below.
Brentwood Borough Local Plan: Pre-Submission, January 2019
Representation for and on behalf of LaSalle Land Limited Partnership
2
Honeypot Lane, Brentwood: A Sustainable Development Location
6. Land at Honeypot Lane extends to some 10.9 hectares and is situated to the
west/south-west of Brentwood adjacent to the existing built-edge of residential
properties on Honeypot Lane and on Hill Road and South Weald Road to the
south. To the west, the site is bounded by the A12 (with Weald Park beyond) and
Weald Road to the north. Honeypot Lane provides a link between the A1023
London Road to the south and Weald Road to the north.
7. The site is enveloped on three sides by the existing built-form of Brentwood. It is
also contained within the existing landscape and topographical structure of the
western part of Brentwood, the A12 and Weald Lane. The site is situated below
the hill crestlines of Brentwood and South Weald (to the west of the A12).
8. The site is not currently actively used, comprising pasture land and is largely clear
of significant vegetation other than at its boundary edges.
9. The Brentwood Local Plan needs to positively address national policies to boost
housing delivery, economic growth and sustainable development. This should
include supporting the role and function of Brentwood as the highest order
settlement in the Borough and be the focus for future growth through the release of
sites because:
* it is the settlement with the largest existing population in the Borough;
* it contains the main employment areas (Brentwood Town Centre, Brentwood
Station and Warley Business Park);
* it contains the main retail areas (focused on the High Street);
* it has excellent rail accessibility and connectivity (that will be further enhanced
with the Queen Elizabeth rail line development); and
* it is the focus of the main identified public transport routes and services within
the Borough.
10. Given the extensive Green Belt designation covering much of the Borough, new
dwellings have historically been provided by increasingly scarce opportunities from
Brentwood Borough Local Plan: Pre-Submission, January 2019
Representation for and on behalf of LaSalle Land Limited Partnership
3
the redevelopment of larger brownfield sites, with the remainder comprising
contributions from a sizeable number of small infill developments within defined
settlement boundaries. For the future, these development opportunities are either
limited (i.e. an increasing shortage in available brownfield sites or under-used
employment land), or have site specific challenges such as being too small to
make a significant contribution to sustainability objectives, particularly where their
development would result in an over-intensive land use pattern.
11. The Plan must, in LLLP's view, support greater levels of development in
sustainable locations in Brentwood where:
* there is close proximity between jobs, homes and open spaces, capable of
being accessed by public transport, on foot or by bicycle;
* sites are readily deliverable;
* development would not damage the distinctive character of Brentwood, or the
overriding contribution of the Green Belt to Brentwood's quality of life,
biodiversity and environment, which are highly valued by the local community,
and which give it its character and distinctiveness;
* the Green Belt boundary can be reviewed and re-aligned using physical
features that are readily recognisable would continue to form a logical longterm
and defensible boundary for the urban extent of the Borough.
12. Land at Honeypot Lane (022) offers a significant opportunity to secure new homes
early in the plan period and to achieve a wholly sustainable form of development
that aligns with the spatial strategy and enhances the role and function of
Brentwood as a Category 1 Settlement with the highest order role and function in
the Borough.
13. Failure to include the site in the Local Plan now represents a failure to plan
positively and is not justified.
Brentwood Borough Local Plan: Pre-Submission, January 2019
Representation for and on behalf of LaSalle Land Limited Partnership
4
Contribution to Five Year Housing Land Supply
14. LLLP has set out its concerns with regard to the failure of the Pre-Submission
Local Plan to effectively identify or meet the Local Housing Need of the Borough
(see LLLP's separate representation for Policy SP02: Managing Growth).
15. A choice and mix of housing sites of different characters, locations and sizes is
critical to enable the Borough to meet identified housing requirements, secure a
continuous five year land supply and to support the Plan's stated Strategic
Objectives (including SO1 in particular).
16. The continued lack of a five year housing land supply in Brentwood has, and will
continue, to lead to acute shortfalls in new housing provision with a very significant
risk that the Borough will continue to fail to meet the requirements of the NPPF at
paragraph 67 and also to fail to meet the Government's Housing Delivery Test
measures.
17. The Borough Council's decision to remove Land at Honeypot Lane as a residential
development allocation in the Local Plan was taken at the Council's Extraordinary
Committee Meeting on 8th November 2019 (purportedly on highway access
grounds despite not being based on any clear, properly presented, tested and
considered transport and highways evidence). Furthermore Officers were
prevented by the Council's standing orders relating to the management of
Extraordinary Full Council Meetings from speaking at the Meeting. If they had they
would have been able to advise Members that the Local Highway Authority (Essex
County Council) had raised no highways objections relating to the site's allocation
for housing development within the Plan at that time.
18. The removal of Honeypot Lane and the re-allocation of the dwellings into the
Dunton Hills Garden Village site (by increasing the quantum of that allocation)
serves to seriously and materially erode the Plan's ability to deliver necessary new
housing, offer a choice and mix of sites in the early part of the plan period, or to
make best use of available, sustainable sites in existing settlements.
19. Land at Honeypot Lane, Brentwood offers a significant opportunity deliver homes
now, contributing to the five year housing land supply position and to do so in a
sustainable urban location.
Brentwood Borough Local Plan: Pre-Submission, January 2019
Representation for and on behalf of LaSalle Land Limited Partnership
5
20. The Borough Council has, in previous iterations of the Local Plan, clearly and
explicitly supported the site for release from Green Belt and recognised it as a
suitable, available and achievable location for housing to be delivered in the short
term contributing significantly to the five year land supply position
21. Indeed, the Honeypot Lane was assessed through the Borough's Strategic
Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) as a clear example of a site that
fulfils all of the criteria for release from Green Belt and has the ability to make a
significant, positive contribution to sustainable development and growth of
Brentwood early in the plan period.
22. Furthermore, the Plan's Sustainability Appraisal (including earlier iterations of the
SA) has identified Honeypot Lane as a preferred development site and a
sustainable location for new residential development. Nothing has changed in this
respect and the site remains a wholly sustainable location for residential
development with wide and positive benefits for Brentwood town and the Borough.
Sustainability Appraisal
23. The Local Plan's Sustainability Appraisal (January 2019) includes a site options
appraisal at Appendix 3.
24. Table C, from page 97) sets out detailed site options appraisal testing for each site
in the Pre-Submission Local Plan. Details of the methodology for appraising
individual sites is set out from page 92 onwards with 17 distinct criteria used in the
assessment using a RAG (Red, Amber Green) scoring model to "aid
differentiation, i.e. to highlight instances of site options performing well/poorly. The
intention is not to indicate whether a 'significant' effect is predicted" according to
footnote 70 on page 93.
25. Page 99 sets out the SA assessment of 022, Honeypot Lane, Brentwood. LLLP
has reviewed the SA assessment of the site and concludes the following:
* 8 criteria are scored as Green or are not covered in the scoring, indicating that
the site performs well against those criteria;
* 9 criteria scored as Amber; and
Brentwood Borough Local Plan: Pre-Submission, January 2019
Representation for and on behalf of LaSalle Land Limited Partnership
6
* 0 criteria scored Red.
26. The site has no red criterion scores and performs well in comparison with all other
proposed allocations.
27. LLLP has reviewed in more detail those criteria for Honeypot Lane that are scored
Amber in the assessment and comment as follows in relation to the SA findings
and the criteria and their thresholds set out in Table B:
* Air Quality Management Area - the SA notes for this criterion that the impact
thresholds are unknown. The Amber score is for sites that are <1km from an
AQMA. In this case the AQMA is the Town Centre of Brentwood. However
Honeypot Lane is well situated in relation to the town centre to offer access by
cycling and walking rather than use of the private motor vehicle and the site is
not known, from any analysis or evidence available to LLLP, to have any
problematic air quality issue.
* Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) - the Amber score is for sites that
are >800m but <2km from an SSSI. While Honeypot Lane falls within 2km of
a defined SSSI and is therefore within the SSSI Impact Risk Zone, the SSSI in
question is to the south of Brentwood town centre at Thorndon Park (a public
amenity and open space area of Woodland) and well away from Honeypot
Lane. The Opportunity for impact on the SSSI in this area arising from the
site's development is unclear from the SA and there is, in reality, unlikely to be
any material adverse impact arising from development of Honeypot Lane on a
SSSI located some 2.9 km away from the site by road. Any identified adverse
effects arising from Honeypot Lane's development could of course be subject
to appropriate mitigation measures and would not preclude development.
LLLP do not consider that Honeypot Lane should be scored Amber in relation
to the Thorndon Park SSSI on this basis.
* Local Wildlife Site - this criterion scores Amber if the site is <400m from a
designated Local Wildlife Site (LWS). Such sites are considered to have a
relatively low sensitivity according to the SA. In the case of Honeypot Lane,
the LWS in question is located to the north of the A12 at Weald Country Park
an established public country park location intended specifically to
accommodate and provide informal open space and recreation opportunities
Brentwood Borough Local Plan: Pre-Submission, January 2019
Representation for and on behalf of LaSalle Land Limited Partnership
7
for the local community. It is not clear to LLLP why Honeypot Lane is scored
Amber in this regard as the site is neither within 400m of the Park entrance (it
is some 2.2km by road) nor does residential development of the site
necessarily adversely affect the Park. Any identified adverse effects could of
course be subject to appropriate mitigation measures and would not preclude
development. LLLP do not consider that Honeypot Lane should be scored
Amber in relation to a designated LWS on this basis.
* Woodland - an Amber score is recorded for sites that 'intersect' with
woodland (i.e. have the feature on-site). Such non-designated woodland sites
are of low sensitivity. In this case, Honeypot Lane has some existing trees at
its boundaries but there is not an area of Woodland on-site or adjacent to it. It
is not clear to LLLP why the site is scored Amber in this situation. In any
event, the development of Honeypot Lane would include appropriate survey
and protection for existing trees where possible as well as a landscape
strategy to support the provision and enhancement of trees and other
vegetation offering a positive benefit. The Amber score is not supported for
Honeypot Lane.
* Green Belt - sites score Amber where they intersect with the Green Belt. It is
noted that there is no Red or Green score for this criterion set out in Table B.
Honeypot Lane is within the Green Belt, but extensive analysis of the role and
function of the Green Belt in this location has been undertaken by LLLP which
supported the Borough Council's positive support for release of the site from
the Green Belt to assist with meeting evident housing needs as well as
providing a new, long-term, defensible boundary for the Green Belt along the
A12 road corridor in this location. The Amber score is correct but should not
be viewed as a significant determinative factor in the ability of the site to be
sustainably developed.
* Special Landscape Area - the criterion is listed as scoring Amber if the site
intersects with such areas. It is noted that there is no Red or Green score for
this criterion set out in Table B. It is not clear to LLLP what landscape
designation is considered under this criterion. There is no defined landscape
quality designation applicable to Honeypot Lane. Change to the existing
landscape character is a factor of development and Honeypot Lane's
Brentwood Borough Local Plan: Pre-Submission, January 2019
Representation for and on behalf of LaSalle Land Limited Partnership
8
development would be subject to a detailed masterplan and landscape
strategy and supported by a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment setting
out any residual effects and a mitigation strategy. LLLP do not agree that
Honeypot Lane should be scored Amber in relation to the Special Landscape
Area criteria.
* Agricultural Land - the SA classifies Grade 2 Agricultural Land (the Best and
Most Versatile) as Red, while Grade 3 land is scored Amber. Honeypot Lane
is a large site but has no agricultural land of Grade 1 or 2. The site is Grade
3b or below and it is noted that the SA criterion makes no distinction between
Grade 3a and Grade 3b, with the deficiency that Grade 3b is not usually
considered to be good quality agricultural land. The criterion is considered to
be crude in its assessment and fails to allow, for larger sites in particular, such
as Honeypot Lane, that there may be distinct areas of better and poorer
quality agricultural land. Agricultural land classification is not, in LLLP's view a
significant determinative factor in whether a site is capable of sustainable
development.
* General Practice Surgery, Primary School and Secondary School - these
three criteria are all based on walkable distances for those accessing
schooling or general practice surgery healthcare. Amber scores for GP
Surgery and Primary School are given for sites between 800m and 1.5km
walking distance to the nearest facility. For Secondary schools, the Amber
score is for sites of between 1.5km and 3km walking distance. This analysis is
far too simplistic as it fails to recognise: the potential for sites to bring forward
contributions to the development of school or GP surgery facilities either on or
near to the site; the level of capacity now and in future for existing nearby
facilities; or the ability of such existing facilities to expand in future. For
Honeypot Lane, there is an evident opportunity to contribute to the provision of
expanded school or GP surgery facilities to be located off-site as appropriate
in accordance with the CIL Regulations. In this respect, LLLP conclude that
the Site should be scored Green rather than Amber to the extent that this
criterion is capable of offering a meaningful assessment of sustainability in
relation to primary healthcare or schooling. A simplistic distance measure is
insufficient and it is LLLP's view that this indicator should not be weighed as
having the same importance as others in the SA site assessment.
Brentwood Borough Local Plan: Pre-Submission, January 2019
Representation for and on behalf of LaSalle Land Limited Partnership
9
28. In conclusion, LLLP recognise that the SA sites assessment testing is intended to
offer a relatively high level analysis of the potential sustainability of individual sites.
However, from closer and more detailed review it is clear that there are significant
flaws in the individual scoring criteria and obvious mis-application of the scoring
methodology to LLLP's Honeypot Lane site such that the scoring is misleading.
29. As demonstrated throughout this representation, Honeypot Lane is a sustainable
site and compares well, if not better than other potential and proposed housing
allocation sites including the long term development of Dunton Hills Garden
Village.
30. Indeed, the SA itself concludes in Appendix IV (page 114) that Honeypot Lane
makes only a "low-moderate contribution to the Green Belt purposes" which was "a
key reason why this site was a preferred allocation".
31. Setting aside the fundamental problems identified with the SA's site assessment, it
is clear that LLLP's land at Honeypot Lane, is a sustainable site for development
and that this position is further enhanced when full regard is had to the identified
Local Housing Needs of the Borough and the ability to bring forward new sites to
support residential development in the short term.
Conclusions
32. Land at Honeypot Lane, Brentwood (022) should be included once again within the
Local Plan as a residential allocation as it offers, inter alia:
* a sustainable site that is readily deliverable for high quality new homes now
and which can contribute significantly early in the plan (within the immediate
five year period) offering an improved choice of residential development sites;
* the ability to deliver a significant level of new homes for Brentwood in order to
help meet housing needs and is not reliant on the provision of extensive new
transport or other infrastructure;
* close proximity and easy access and integration of the new homes with jobs,
community facilities, services and greenspaces in Brentwood as a principal
Tier 1 Category settlement;
Brentwood Borough Local Plan: Pre-Submission, January 2019
Representation for and on behalf of LaSalle Land Limited Partnership
10
* support for the distinctive character of Brentwood and the contribution of the
wider Green Belt to Brentwood's quality of life, biodiversity and environment;
* a contribution to community and green infrastructure proposals for Brentwood
town in keeping with the landscape character of the area;
* capability to be easily accessed by a range of means including by bus, foot,
cycle as well as by road as supported by discussions with Essex County
Council as the Highway who have raised no objection as to the transport
sustainability of the site or any highway effects arising;
* easy connection to utilities and site services;
* a development opportunity that will support and contribute to Brentwood's
quality of life, biodiversity and environmental character;
* the opportunity to refine and re-align the Green Belt boundary forming a long
term, logical and defensible Belt boundary for Brentwood's urban area that is
contiguous with the A12 road and relates to recognisable physical features.
33. LLLP object to Pre-Submission Local Plan because of the omission of the
Honeypot Lane site. The Plan is unsound as it is not positively prepared. The
removal of Honeypot Lane as an allocated site is not justified in the context of the
Borough's pressing housing needs and the sustainable pattern of development
sought.
34. The Plan is not effective due to its failure to maintain the allocation of Honeypot
Lane and to exclude it from the proposed residential development allocations. It
does not represent the most effective or sustainable use of land and fails to reflect
the site's inherent sustainability and ability to contribute significantly to the acute
and persistent lack of housing land supply.
Modifications Required
35. LLLP conclude that the Plan needs to be modified to identify and allocate Land at
Honeypot Lane, Brentwood (ref: 022) for residential development of up to 250 new
dwellings with associated transport, community and green infrastructure. The
Brentwood Borough Local Plan: Pre-Submission, January 2019
Representation for and on behalf of LaSalle Land Limited Partnership
11
allocation of Honeypot Lane must include its removal from the Green Belt and the
appropriate revision of the boundaries of that designated area.
36. The Plan's proposed Housing Trajectory (Appendix 1), the Key Diagram and the
list of proposed allocation sites should be updated to include Land at Honeypot
Lane accordingly.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 24113

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Marden Homes Ltd

Agent: Strutt & Parker LLP

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation:

The SA Report is simplistic in its approach to individual site assessment. The SA has used a predominantly spatial or 'GIS' approach to the assessment of each criteria. It has had no consideration for the positive contribution that the development of sites can make to the natural environment and local facilities, such as in the case of Site 284. The assumption made within the SA that sites will only negatively impact the Green Belt and other landscape and natural environment designations leading to the unjustified omission of sites from allocation, has resulted in the Local Plan being unsound.

Full text:

1. Introduction
1.1 These representations are submitted by Strutt & Parker on behalf of Marden Homes Ltd in relation to the Brentwood Borough Council Consultation Draft Local Plan (Regulation 19), and in particular with regards to our client's land adjacent to 7 Hanging Hill Lane, Hutton, Brentwood (ref. 284). A plan showing the site is provided at Appendix 1 of this representation.
1.2 Representations have previously been made on behalf of Marden Homes Ltd and in respect of Site 284 land adjacent to 7 Hanging Hill Lane on the Brentwood Borough Council Preferred Site Allocation Consultation Document (Regulation 18) in March 2018.
1.3 Site 284 lies to the south of Hutton and is adjacent to existing development. It measures approximately 0.9ha and it is proposed that the majority of the site is suitable for development. The front of the site is made up of a number of derelict sheds and structures which are single storey in height, along with dense vegetation. The majority of the site comprises grassland. The site is situated within the Green Belt.
1.4 Site 284 has been discounted as a site for residential development through the Local Plan process, for reasons which are considered in further detail later within this representation. We consider the rejection of the site to be unjustified, and to result in a Pre-Submission Local Plan (PSLP) which does not promote sustainable development.
1.5 The allocation of the site at Hanging Hill Lane, Hutton, would represent a sustainable and deliverable proposal for residential development to help meet housing need over the coming plan period. This representation sets out comments on the Regulation 19 Draft Local Plan, as well as providing detail on the sustainability and deliverability of the site with regards to technical considerations and the latest assessment work.
2. Brentwood Local Plan Regulation 19 Consultation
Plan Period
2.1. The Draft Local Plan is proposed to guide development in the Brentwood Borough until 2033. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF, 2019) clearly states at Paragraph 22 that strategic policies within Local Plans should look ahead over a minimum of 15 years.
2.2. At this stage it would be optimistic to assume that the adoption of the Draft Plan which forms the subject of this representation will happen within 2019 and therefore the plan will only address development needs in the area for a maximum of 14 years.
2.3. This shortfall is particularly relevant in respect of Green Belt, whereby a failure to ensure that development needs are planned for over a sufficient period of time would likely result in an early review of Green Belt being required. This review ahead of a new Local Plan would be contrary to the NPPF (paragraph 136), and also undermines one of the two essential characteristics of the Green Belt: its permanence (NPPF, Paragraph 133).
Total Housing Requirement
2.4. The required housing need figures as calculated through the Borough's SHMA, follows national guidance using the Standard Method (as per the NPPF and respective Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) 2018). Paragraph 4.13 of the PSLP states that the Borough's housing requirement is 350 new homes per year.
2.5. However, the PPG now confirms that the 2014-based subnational household projection should be used to calculate housing requirements using the Standard Method (Paragraph: 004 Reference ID: 2a-004-20190220).
2.6. On this basis, the relevant subnational population projections indicate an average annual increase of 293.2 households in the Borough between 2019 and 2029. The latest (2017) ratio of median house price to median gross annual workplace-based earnings for the Borough published by the ONS is 11.23. Once the Standard Method is applied using these figures this results in a requirement of 452 dwellings per annum.
2.7. The NPPF requires for Local Plans to meet this need as a minimum, whilst also allowing sufficient flexibility to be able to respond to rapid change.
2.8. As mentioned previously, the Plan should also ensure that the revised Green Belt boundary should be robust enough to be maintained beyond the Plan period and therefore account for development needs beyond 2033 (or a revised later end to the Plan period to ensure strategic policies will cover at least 15 years).
2.9. A further factor is the need to consider unmet needs of neighbouring authorities (NPPF paragraph 35). In respect of this, we note in particular that Epping Forest District Council is at an advanced stage in the preparation of a Local Plan (at the time of writing it is currently being examined) which proposes to deliver 11,400 dwellings between 011 and 2033 (518 dwellings per annum), against a requirement (based on the Standard Method) of 944 dwellings per annum. We are not aware of any objection to this approach from Brentwood Borough Council, but neither is there any indication that the PSLP addresses any of this unmet need.
2.10. The PSLP considers it appropriate to apply a 20% uplift to the identified housing target of 350 dwellings per annum, resulting in a proposed target of 456 dwellings per annum. The rationale for this buffer is unclear with separate references to the buffer advising that it allows for an additional housing land supply to be maintained, but also that it serves to safeguard against any potential uplift to the standard methodology for calculating housing need, pending the outcome of the Government's 'Technical consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance'.
2.11. Despite the outcome of the technical consultation now having been confirmed, the proposed annual housing target of the PSLP only fractionally exceeds the minimum housing requirement derived from the Standard Method, and therefore does not provide any flexibility, Green Belt protection or unmet need from neighbouring authorities in addition to the minimum requirement. We consider that the Plan in its current form is ineffective. It has not been positively prepared to provide for the appropriate level of contingency for housing delivery, nor does it comply with national planning policies in this regard. As such we consider the PSLP to be unsound.
2.12. We therefore consider that the housing need within the PSLP should be amended to at least ensure that an additional year's worth of housing can be accommodated for, and so that the relevant strategic policies of the Plan can cover 15 years from adoption. Realistically, we consider that the Council may actually need an additional 2 years worth of housing in order to support a plan which runs to 2035. Therefore one additional year should be regarded as the minimum.
2.13. Moreover, in respect of the fact that the authority is predominantly Green Belt, even if the plan period is extended until 2035, policies should account for potential development needs beyond this period. Allocating further sites for housing, like sites at Hanging Hill Lane, would provide additional housing delivery in a sustainable location, and would therefore help to ensure that the Draft Local Plan can be found sound.
Five-year Housing Land Supply and Housing Trajectory
2.14. Councils are required to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply at any point in the plan period (Paragraph: 038 Reference ID: 3-038-20180913).
2.15. At paragraph 73 of the NPPF it confirms that a 20% buffer should be applied to the initial calculation for a five year housing land supply requirement, in the event that the results of the Housing Delivery Test show for delivery to have fallen below 85% of the requirement for the Borough. The PPG (Paragraph: 037 Reference ID: 3-037- 20180913) also confirms that the requirement for a 20% buffer also applies where a Local Planning Authority are seeking to confirm their five-year housing land supply through a recently adopted Local Plan.
2.16. The results of the 2018 Housing Delivery Test showed that Brentwood Borough Council delivered just 50% of its housing requirements over the last three years. This is well below the threshold of 20% as required by national guidance.
2.17. The Borough's most recent five-year housing land supply figure, as reported in their' Five Year Housing Land Supply Statement as at 31 March 2018' (November 2018) ('HLSS') is 4.1 years. This is predicated on a requirement which, when considered in relation to the latest guidance, understates need; and a supply which, again when considered in relation to latest guidance, overstates supply. As such, the actual housing land supply is considerably less.
2.18. Looking at this in detail, the HLSS considers an annual need of 343 dwellings, resulting in a total requirement once the 20% has been applied of 2,058 dwellings. However, applying the latest guidance and the Standard Method, the Borough's housing requirement is 452 dwellings per annum. Applying the 20% buffer, this results in a five-year requirement of 2,712 dwellings.
2.19. The HLSS includes sites without detailed planning permission within their supply and without evidence such sites will be delivered within five years. As per the NPPF, such sites cannot be considered deliverable for the purposes of the five-year housing land supply. Table 1 of the HLSS suggests that at least 1,042 dwellings in the reported supply did not have planning permission. Once these are removed from the supply calculation, the five-year supply comprises 653 dwellings. It is unclear if and how many of the dwellings categorised as having extant planning permission are on major sites which only benefit from outline permission. These sites would also have to be discounted. As such, the figure of 653 dwellings may overstate housing supply.
2.20. A five-year supply of 653 dwellings compared to a requirement of 2,712 represents a 1.2-year housing land supply. This acute housing land supply shortage demonstrates the importance of allocating sites through the Local Plan which can deliver early in the plan period, and support the existing supply of housing. It also emphasises the need to avoid over-reliance on large strategic sites which inevitably take longer to deliver.
2.21. The housing trajectory provided at Appendix 1 to the PSLP projects that it will enable completion of 2,305 dwellings between 2019/20 and 2023/24.
2.22. Having regard to the Standard Method and the need to apply a 20% buffer to the housing requirement, the total five-year requirement for the Borough is 2,712 dwellings. Therefore, even before critical review of the supply, the PSLP will not provide a five-year supply of housing.
2.23. Furthermore, Dunton Hills Garden Village is a proposed major strategic development that is intended to provide 4,000 dwellings, 5.5 hectares of employment land, two new primary schools, secondary school, new village shopping centre, new transport infrastructure and new community and health infrastructure. The delivery of Dunston Hills will be dependent on the coordination and input of multiple landowners, developers, infrastructure providers and other relevant stakeholders.
2.24. Once allocated, the PSLP proposed that a masterplan and design guidance will be required. Following this, an outline application will need to be prepared, submitted and determined; followed by reserved matters. It will also be necessary to discharge all planning conditions and S106 obligations.
2.25. We therefore question how likely the 100 homes at Dunton Hills will be completed by 2022/23. Of course, Dunton Hills can still form part of a sound Local Plan, however this does demonstrate that the reliance on large strategic sites for shorter term housing delivery is not appropriate. Additional smaller sites are capable of providing homes through the early years of a plan period and should be allocated through the PSLP to ensure the Local Plan is sound.
2.26. Whilst the plan can demonstrate housing delivery appropriate to meet minimum recognised requirements, it is evident that the suggested inability of the plan to ensure a consistent five-year supply is not consistent with national policy. National Policy requires that local planning authorities should identify and update a supply of specific deliverable sites sufficient to provide a minimum of five years' worth of housing against their housing requirement set out in the adopted strategic policies, on an annual basis.
The PSLP should support this requirement through the allocation of smaller scale sites that can be delivered over a shorter time period, in order to be found sound. Land at Hanging Hill Lane, could cater to this need. Its deliverability is discussed in greater detail in subsequent sections.
Proposed Approach to Hutton
2.27. Hutton is recognised as Category 1 - 'a main town' within the PLSP's settlement hierarchy. Hutton is the second largest settlement in the Borough, with an approximate population 15,578 (according to the 2011 Census). It has an established local centre which benefits, from a range of services, facilities, access to public transport, and employment opportunities.
2.28. Hutton is well-connected in respect of regional and national infrastructure, situated approximately 30km from Central London, 12km from Chelmsford, accessible from the A12 or national rail services.
2.29. Hutton is therefore a highly sustainable location, and makes it an ideal location to accommodate a proportion of Brentwood's housing need. The Local Plan should manage growth of such settlements to sustain and enhance their vitality.
2.30. The PSLP proposes no growth for Hutton, despite its identification as a Category 1 settlement. This is in direct contrast to the level of growth afforded to other settlements which are also identified as Category 1 or are below Hutton within the Borough's settlement hierarchy. We therefore have concerns that the PSLP is failing to support the sustainable growth of Hutton and this omission is unjustified and inconsistent with national policy.
2.31. Land at Hanging Hill Lane should be allocated in Hutton to ensure the sustainable growth of the settlement, and to ensure the soundness of the Local Plan.
Green Belt
2.32. A Green Belt Study (November 2018) supports the PSLP. This study provides an assessment of Green Belt parcels against the five purposes of the Green Belt, as set ut within the NPPF.
2.33. The study includes an 'assessment of Housing Sites (being considered as part of the SHLAA) within the Green Belt and their relative contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt designation'.
2.34. The site has been assessed against the five purposes of the Green Belt, as part of the Green Belt Study methodology as follows:
Purpose 1: To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas
Parcel 14 is defined by the Council as 'partly contained', and recognises that it abuts a large built up area. This categorisation does however advise that the boundary is 'weak/degraded/unclear'. Site 284 abuts a large built-up area on two out of four boundaries, the remaining boundaries are bounded by established vegetation that could be incorporated and enhanced as part of a landscaping scheme. We consider that the site boundaries are clearly defined and the site is well contained. A conclusion of containment should not consider built form exclusively.
Purpose 2: To prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another The site is adjacent to the eastern/south-eastern limit of Hutton Mount. The Green Belt Study correctly recognises that its development will retain separation between towns. The site sits at the eastern/south-eastern limit of Hutton mount, the nearest settlement to the east of the site is Billericay which is approximately 3 miles away. The green gap etween the two settlements is considerable. The rest of the settlement at Hutton Mount extends significantly further east than Site 284 in this regard and should be considered very low risk in terms of purpose 2, especially in the context of the other sites that have been assigned the 'Separation Retained' designation.
Purpose 3: To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment Site 284 is defined within the Green Belt Study as being 'Functional Countryside'. The assessment defines Functional Countryside as 'High degree or important public access'. Access is defined as 'access land, public right of ways and important routes'. The site itself, is in private ownership and does not provide access to the public. It is not used for agricultural purposes and therefore should not be considered 'functional countryside'. We therefore consider this assessment to be incorrect.
Purpose 4: To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns Brentwood Borough Council have recognised that site 284 has no physical or visual relationship with the Historic Town. The site is located some distance from the Town Centre with no direct relationship. The site is directly associated with the contemporary developments of the surrounding roads, which have limited historic character.
Purpose 5: To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land Brentwood Borough Council have not provided an analysis for Purpose 5.
2.35. Overall, Brentwood Borough Council have assessed the site as having a moderate overall contribution to the Green Belt, despite the favourable assessment of the site.
2.36. We have outlined above that where the site was assessed to have important role in the Green belt, that certain elements of the assessment are incorrect and are not a true reflection of the site's characteristics.
2.37. The development of this Green Belt site, which has limited environmental value and offers a minimal contribution to the Green Belt when assessed against its five intended purposes, would help to support housing delivery in a sustainable location in the Brentwood Borough, whilst protecting other Green Belt sites of much higher environmental value.
2.38. The weaknesses and inconsistencies recognised in the individual site assessments made, again demonstrate a flaw in the evidence base for the Local Plan and could again result in the unjustified omission of Green Belt sites from consideration for allocation as part of the new Local Plan.
2.39. The above analysis of Hanging Hill Lane, Hutton demonstrates that there remains small scale opportunities for sustainable development within the Green Belt and that the Local Plan should give consideration to the allocation of such sites alongside larger scale areas of release.
Strategic Environmental Assessment/Sustainability Appraisal (SEA/SA)
2.40. The PSLP is supported by a range of technical work, including the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) January 2019. The SA presents a number of sustainability issues/objectives which have been established through SA scoping. Together, these sustainability topics and objectives provide a methodological framework for the appraisal of potential allocation sites - including site 284.
2.41. The SA indicates that the allocation of Site 284 would have a positive effect in relation to one of the SA objectives. The SA analysis states that Site 284 is in good proximity to a secondary school (less than 1.5km), but in 'red' proximity from a GP surgery and a primary school. Willowbrook Primary School is located within 1.3 miles of the site, whilst Hogarth Primary School is also 1.5 miles from the site, both considered to be within walking distance from site. The nearest GP Surgery, Mount Avenue Surgery is located less than 1.5 miles away. Mount Avenue is defined in the Regulation 18 document to be 1 of 3 surgeries which has an average of 0.58 GPs per 1,000 patients, which is the national average. Furthermore, Mount Avenue Surgery has a large catchment area, therefore it is considered that it would provide service to those living at the site. Brentwood Community Hospital is also located less than 3 miles away.
2.42. The SA, through its analysis also states that the site at Hanging Hill Lane is an area that 'performs poorly' in respect of its proximity to an Ancient Woodland, SSSI, Local Wildlife Site, Listed Buildings and Agricultural Land. This scoring metric is considered to be highly assumptive and does not consider the potential opportunities for biological enhancement or mitigative measures of impact through landscape led schemes. The proximity of the site near these designations as referenced above, does not necessarily mean that there will be any direct impact to them from the development of the site.
2.43. In relation to Green Belt, the assessment is binary in its approach - if a potential site falls within the defined Green Belt, it will be given an 'Amber score'. The methodology notes that Green Belt is not a specific a landscape designation, as such the effects on the setting have not been appraised. Without appraising the effects on the setting, assigning a blanket 'amber' score to Green Belt sites, seem arbitrary.
2.44. As discussed above, a Green Belt Review of the Borough, and the contribution that each individual site makes to the Green Belt has been undertaken. This recognition that each individual site has differing values should have an influence on the scoring for the Green Belt element within the SA, rather than the binary approach taken.
2.45. In general, we consider that the SA Report is simplistic in its approach to individual site assessment. The SA has used a predominantly spatial or 'GIS' (use of Geographical Information Systems) approach to the assessment of each criteria, using the distance between the site and various factors to judge the extent to which it either achieves or opposes certain objectives. It has had no consideration for the positive contribution that the development of sites can make to the natural environment and local facilities.
2.46. The assumption made within the Sustainability Appraisal that sites will only negatively impact the Green Belt and other landscape and natural environment designations leading to the unjustified omission of sites from allocation, has resulted in the Local Plan being unsound.
3. Site Deliverability
3.1. Site 284 represents a deliverable, sustainable and achievable site for residential development. The below section provides overview of its deliverability and some of the technical reports that have been undertaken which help to demonstrate this.
Access & Connectivity
3.2. The site is considered to have a good access and connectivity to the surrounding area. The vehicular and pedestrian access to the site is proposed to be taken directly from Hanging Hill Lane, as existing.
3.3. The site is approximately 1.5 miles from Shenfield Station (less than a 30 minute walk). Shenfield Station provides frequent services to London Liverpool Street, Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich and settlements between. These destinations also provide connections to wider national transport network.
3.4. A public bus stop is located less than 13m from the site. This bus stop provides frequent services to Brentwood High Street, Basildon Town Centre, Billericay and Shenfield Rail Station, amongst other neighbouring settlements and the wider area.
3.5. The site is well-connected to the surrounding road network, and is approximately 2.5 miles from the A12. The A12 provides efficient access to settlements across Essex and East Anglia such as Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich, as well as direct connection to the M25.
3.6. Given the high access and connectivity levels of the site, it is evident that land at Hanging Hill Lane is within a sustainable location and should therefore be considered as one of a number of small sites around Hutton that would be suitable for accommodating growth that would be suitable for accommodating growth that would support the recognised housing needs of Brentwood.
Ecology
3.7. A full ecological appraisal of the site would be undertaken prior to any development. It is anticipated however that the development could easily mitigate potential impacts through retention of existing landscape features and replacement planting where appropriate, whilst also presenting an opportunity for enhancement of the ecological value of the site above the existing.
3.8. Any impacts could be easily mitigated and enhanced through a landscaping scheme to support any future development on the site.
Drainage
3.9. The site is adjacent to existing built development and it is anticipated that connections could therefore be made to the existing sewerage networks.
3.10. A sustainable urban strategy would form part of any design for the site to ensure the surface water run-off rates are maintained at the existing greenfield rates.
Contamination
3.11. The perceived history of the use of the site indicated that the site is unlikely to be contaminated.
Highways
3.12. There is an existing access to the site from Hanging Hill Lane which would be maintained and used to access any new development on the site. We understand that this access has good visibility splays and that it is therefore safe for continued use.
3.13. Any development on the site would be supported by a transport statement which consider the suitability of the local highway network to accommodate increased vehicular movements to and from the site.
3.14. It is however considered that sustainably located sites such as sites at Hanging Hill Lane will help provide new homes in locations where there is a minimal reliance on the use of the private car. There are direct footpath links to local convenience shops and schools in Hutton Mount, as well as further into the centre of Hutton. Other local services and facilities, including Shenfield station are also easily accessible by bike.
3.15. There have been no reasons recognised why existing highways and access arrangements should present a risk to the suitability and deliverability of the site.
Heritage
3.16. Grade II Listed Hare Hall is immediately to the south of the site. A Heritage Statement has been prepared by Architectural Management to assess the significance of this asset in respect of the potential residential development of the site, and accompanies this representation.
3.17. The assessment recognises that Hare Hall has been altered significantly over time and that the current building does not carry the level of significance which the original Hare Hall may have done.
3.18. In considering the setting of the listed building, the report also recognises that historically the Hall enjoyed an open outlook to the east and south and that the existing buildings on the site (subject of this rep), and its established vegetation means that the north of the site of has always been more enclosed with a limited outlook.
3.19. The report includes some specific recommendations towards site layout and design that will ensure that the development of this site will have no detrimental impact on the setting of Hare Hall.
4. Summary
4.1. Whilst the current proposed allocations and strategic polices of the PSLP appropriately address the minimum requirement of housing recognised for the Plan period, we query the length of the Plan period, and a lack of flexibility in the housing provision. As such we consider the Plan to be unsound due to its inability to comply with national policy, the unjustified omission of a housing supply which exceeds minimum requirements, and failure to positively prepare for potential changes to markets and housing requirements beyond these forecasts.
4.2. There is clearly a case for Site 284 to be further considered as a sustainable opportunity in respect of Brentwood Borough Council needing to further increase their housing delivery over the plan period. The development of the site would not impact the function of the Green belt in this location as it is immediately adjacent to Hutton, a 'main town' with the facilities and services that could support sustainable growth in Brentwood Borough. Development here would also accord with the Brentwood Borough Council Spatial Strategy which directs growth towards the A12 transport
corridor.
4.3. The accompanying studies evidence the deliverability, achievability and suitability of the site. It is anticipated that any impact on historical sites and settings, landscapes, ecology and ecological designations could be mitigated through appropriate measures. We therefore consider that the site should be allocated by Brentwood Borough Council as a site for residential development. There is an opportunity to identify sustainable sites that are suitable for delivering housing over short term timescales, and to ensure that the Plan is flexible and robust, and well prepared to meeting housing needs over the entirety of the Plan period.
4.4. Development of the site is supported by technical evidence that confirms its suitability, including in relation to the lack of harm the development would have to the purposes of the Green Belt. The reasons given for the rejection of the Site are therefore based on a number of assumptions and simplistic conclusions.
4.5. The exclusion of Site 284 is unjustified, and overlooks an opportunity to correct soundness deficiencies in respect of the Local plan, including in relation to the overall quantum of housing proposed and the lack of support for any growth at Hutton. The allocation of Site 284 for development will assist in resolving these deficiencies in respect of the Local Plan, enabling it to be found sound.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 24372

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Childerditch Properties

Agent: Strutt & Parker LLP

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation:

The SA forms only one part of the evidence base underlining the PSLP. The evidence base also includes documents such as the Brentwood Economic Futures 2013-2033 Report, Green Belt Study and Transport Assessment. In allocating additional land at Childerditch Industrial Estate, Brentwood Borough Council has taken a balanced judgement on the site constraints and the need to provide to create additional employment opportunities within the Borough. The SA is currently focused on a spatial approach to the assessment of each criterion, using the distance between the site and various factors to judge the extent to which it either achieves certain objectives or not. However, it is considered that the SA fails to fully consider the nature of each proposal or the likelihood in practice of effects in sustainability terms, where a 'broad brush' approach has instead been taken to sites regardless of their intended use. For example, in respect of distance to a GP Practice, the proposed employment allocations at Childerditch Industrial Estate have been scored in the same manner as a residential allocation. However, it is considered to be less important for an employment site to be located within close proximity to a GP practice than a residential site, given the nature of the uses. Therefore, Childerditch Industrial Estate should be considered against a different set of criteria more relevant to the proposed employment allocation. ). On review of the appraisal of Childerditch Industrial Estate, the site has not scored particularly well in relation to the criteria that has data available. However, it is considered that the SA, or at least the sustainability criteria, could be too sensitive when it comes to assessing sites against the criteria. The fact that no site performed 'particularly well' against any of the criteria suggests that the scope of the assessment makes many sites appear unsustainable, with limited opportunity to score 'green' in many of the objectives. We do not consider that the sustainability of the site has been considered in sufficient detail by the SA given the particular circumstances of the site and existing uses.

Change suggested by respondent:

The Childerditch Industrial Estate sites have additionally been scored 'amber' with regard to effect on agricultural land, with the methodology stating that any site in land classified as Grade 3 will be 'amber' and Grade 2 will be 'red'. While the assessment notes that the dataset used is of poor resolution, the assessment has failed to adequately consider the existing nature of the sites (with particular regard to site 112D), as well as differentiate between Grades 3a and 3b. We would consider that the criteria should be amended to be more in line with the aims of Government policy, and that the sites be assessed on the basis of whether their use for employment purposes would lead to the loss of the best of the best and most versatile land.

Full text:

These representations have been prepared by Strutt & Parker on behalf of Childerditch Properties for Brentwood Borough Council's (BBC) Regulation 19 Pre-Submission Consultation Local Plan (PSLP) and in particular, with regards to our client's land interest on the proposed allocation Childerditch Industrial Estate. Childerditch Properties request the right for Strutt & Parker or any other professional advisor acting on their behalf to provide further responses in Hearing Statements or at the relevant sessions of the Examination in Public following the submission of the PSLP. Childerditch Properties are the sole owners of Childerditch Industrial Estate. Representations have previously been made on their behalf in respect of the site throughout the Plan making process, including at the Call for Sites stage, as part of the 2013 Preferred Options Consultation and, most recently, as part of the 2018 Draft Local Plan Regulation 18 Consultation. At present, the Estate provides some 35 units and between 700 and 800 people are employed here. All of these units are occupied and our clients continue to receive enquiries for occupation. The Estate therefore currently plays an important role in providing a significant source of the Borough's employment land and the provision of jobs. The proposed allocations provided for in the PSLP would build on the success of the Estate by creating new employment land. Located two miles from Brentwood on the A127, the Estate is ideally placed to offer future employment opportunities in a highly sustainable location with excellent transport links. Childerditch Industrial Estate is an 'island' site within the surrounding countryside, comprising a range of B1, B2 and B8 employment uses and storage yards. The proposed allocation at Childerditch Industrial Estate is referred within Policy E12 of the PSLP. The proposed allocation of additional employment land, in combination with the existing Park, will provide a developable area of approximately 20.6 hectares of employment land. Accompanying these representations is a proposed masterplan prepared by CMP Architects which, whilst indicative at this stage, demonstrates how the Estate can be more efficiently and effectively developed. This document is copied to these representations at Appendix 1. An updated Access Appraisal prepared by Journey Transport Planning is also submitted with these representations and is copied at Appendix 2. Within this document, consideration is given to the existing Estate and proposed allocations, and the cumulative traffic impacts arising from other developments in the A127 corridor. The Appraisal also considers the access from Childerditch Hall Drive onto the A127, to confirm that the proposed allocation of the site is deliverable in the context of the existing and proposed allocations referred to above. Childerditch Industrial Estate is located just to the north of the A127, approximately halfway between Junction 29 of the M25 to the west, and the junction of the A127 and A128 to the east. Other sites proposed for allocation within the PSLP also found along this section of the A127 include Brentwood Enterprise Park (Policy E11) and Land at Codham Hall Farm (Policy E10), which are located to the south and north of the A127 respectively. Given the stage of the PSLP, these representations focus on the soundness of the Plan, in accordance with paragraph 35 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Paragraph 35 confirms that Plans are sound if they are positively prepared, justified, effective, and consistent with national policy. The PSLP is supported by an evidence base that includes a number of technical studies. These representations give regard to both the Pre-Submission Document and these studies. The following section of these representations provide comment on draft policies, with particular regard to Policy E12, and other supporting text relevant to the proposed allocation at Childerditch Industrial Estate. Our client's overall position is one of firm support for the PSLP and this is expressed where relevant in these representations. Where concerns are raised in respect of PSLP or its evidence base, specific changes will be noted to assist Brentwood Borough Council in ensuring that the Plan is sound. Regulation 19 Consultation Pre-Submission Document Section 3: Spatial Strategy - Vision and Strategic Objectives: The PSLP sets out the overarching aims of the Spatial Strategy, which includes an emphasis on 'Transit-orientated Growth'. This identifies two key transit corridors, including the 'Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor'. The PSLP focuses growth on land within the Borough's transport corridors, with strategic allocations along the A127 corridor for employment, which is justified given the aims and objectives of the Plan. The Council's strategy to direct development growth to the Borough's transport corridors is supported and has potential to provide for employment growth in locations where there is strong market demand, and to minimise environmental impacts on the wider Borough. The proposed allocation at Childerditch Industrial Estate will assist in meeting this objective, by bringing forward new business and employment opportunities along the A127 corridor. It will help support the planned residential growth within Borough. The Plan has been positively prepared in this respect. The Strategic Objectives identified within Section 3 of the PSLP are supported. Economic prosperity forms a key part of the objectives. In order to be considered sound, it is important the Plan is consistent with national policy, which seeks to enable the delivery of sustainable development. Strategic Objective SO1 seeks to direct development to the most sustainable locations and this links to the proposed allocation at Childerditch Industrial Estate. Strategic Objective SO3 supports opportunities that respond to the changing economic climate. Childerditch Industrial Estate is a traditional industrial estate that has developed over many years, as illustrated in the indicative proposed masterplan prepared by CMP Architects. It provides a mixture of B1, B2 and B8 uses across the site. The Estate will offer opportunities for a range of businesses seeking new premises within a highly sustainable location, which the A127 corridor offers through the proposed allocations. The indicative proposed masterplan sets out how the proposed allocation would allow for the redevelopment of the Estate and how this could come forward through a series of phased developments. This will be able to offer a number of units of varying sizes that would be suitable to a range of businesses, responding to the economic climate. The work undertaken by CMP Architects demonstrates how the Estate can be more efficiently and effectively developed, by providing a modern range of units for B1, B2 and B8 uses and associated infrastructure. Figure 3.1: Key Diagram: Figure 3.1 provides a visual aid in support of the Spatial Strategy. It identifies Junction 29 of the M25 as a key location for 'Employment-led development' (Brentwood Enterprise Park) and Childerditch Industrial Estate as a location for new 'Employment land', in addition to the strategic housing-led development at Dunton Hills and the redevelopment of West Horndon. A focus on employment growth along the A127 corridor will reduce the need for additional employment sites in less sustainable locations elsewhere in the Borough. This approach is fully supported and recognizes the importance of this location for new employment opportunities. This approach is justified and demonstrates that the Plan is consistent with national policy in this respect. Section 5: Resilient Built Environment: Policy BE11: Strategic Transport Infrastructure: We support part C of Policy BE11, which states that the Council will continue to work with the Highway Authority, statutory bodies and key stakeholders to deliver improvements to the ensure highway infrastructure capacity is maintained. Any future planning applications to be submitted in respect of new development at Childerditch Industrial Estate will be accompanied by the relevant transport studies. Paragraph 5.105: Paragraph 5.105 states that, within the South Brentwood Growth Corridor, there is a recognition that provision of sustainable transport in this area is poor. Since the Draft Local Plan Regulation 18 Consultation, the Council has published an Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) for the Borough. This includes, at Figure 3.14 of Chapter 3, a sustainable transport plan for the Southern Growth Corridor, which includes indicative locations for new cycle ways and a new bus route to connect Childerditch Industrial Estate, Brentwood Enterprise Park, Dunton Hills Garden Village and West Horndon Industrial Estate (to be redeveloped). We support the principle of improving walking and cycling links within the land owned by our client, which extends to Little Warley Hall Lane. However, we would question the extent to which these new cycle ways could be delivered along the A127 corridor, as this would require every land owner to be committed to this initiative and an identification of funding. It is also not clear within the IDP who would be responsible for delivering this infrastructure improvement i.e. would this be the responsibility of Essex County Council, Brentwood Borough Council or landowners. This point needs to be clarified. In respect of the new bus route loop that is shown within the IDP at Childerditch Industrial Estate, whilst our client broadly supports the principle of a bus service at the Estate, they consider that the circulatory route shown within the IDP is too prescriptive and misleading, and at this stage, a broad arrow would be sufficient within the IDP. Details of how the Estate could be served can be dealt with as part of the iterative masterplan process. If a bus service from the A127 were to drop off/pick up were to be brought forward, our client could support this if the bus were to stop outside the Estate, turn and move back down Childerditch Hall Drive. Section 7: Prosperous Communities: This section of the PSLP confirms Brentwood Borough Council's Economic Strategy, which includes a number of Economic Aims and Strategic Priorities. These will help facilitate sustainable development, which is required to ensure that the Plan is sound. Paragraph 7.1 of the Plan recognises the importance of the Borough as being a high-quality environment within close proximity to London. The economic aims include the desire to encourage high value, diverse, employment uses that will provide a significant number of skilled and high-quality jobs; and to encourage the better utilisation, upgrading and redevelopment of existing land and buildings. These aims are supported and are reflected in the indicative proposed masterplan accompanying these representations. Childerditch Industrial Estate has a unique employment offer, insofar as it comprises a range of B1, B2 and B8 employment uses and storage yards. The proposed allocation provides the opportunity to build on the success of the Estate, by creating additional employment opportunities with a range of businesses. The proposed allocations will also enable the upgrading of the existing units on site through increased investment. The accompanying indicative proposed masterplan prepared by CMP Architects sets out how the redevelopment of the Estate could come forward through a series of phased developments. The development of The Range North (previously identified as site 112D in the Regulation 18 Consultation) as a first phase will assist with the provision of funding to begin the process of upgrading the existing units and infrastructure at the Estate, and provide for the ability for reinvestment to develop the proposed southern extension (previously identified as site 112E in the Regulation 18 Consultation). This redevelopment would ensure compliance with the Economic Aims of the PSLP. In addition to the Economic Aims, the PSLP sets out a number of Strategic Priorities. Of these, Strategic Policies P1 and P6 are strongly supported. P1 seeks to support business development and growth. P6 seeks to promote Brentwood Borough as a place to visit and invest, thereby encouraging the visitor economy. Childerditch Industrial Estate would assist in meeting those objectives. Policy PC02: Job Growth and Employment Land In determining the employment land allocations necessary to ensure that an adequate number of jobs can be provided, it is important that the Plan is sufficiently flexible to adapt to rapid change (as required by Paragraph 11 of the NPPF), and that it does so in a manner that ensures that the boundary of the Green Belt will not need to be reviewed before the end of the Plan period (Paragraph 136 of the NPPF refers). As set out within Paragraph 2.54 of the PSLP, 89% of the Borough lies within the Metropolitan Green Belt. There is not sufficient land outside of the Green Belt for the Council to deliver the requisite level of housing and employment land. It is therefore necessary and justified to amend the boundary of the Green Belt as part of the Local Plan process. Paragraph 8.84 of the PSLP refers to the need to release land from the Green Belt in order to achieve the Council's growth strategy. This release has been carefully balanced to ensure that sustainable development can be achieved, whilst ensuring that the longer-term purpose, integrity and benefit of the Green Belt remains intact. We support the Council's approach insofar as our client's land interests are concerned and it is important to ensure that any changes to the Green Belt endure beyond the Plan period, having regard to its intended permanence, as required by Paragraph 136 of the NPPF. The PSLP is informed by an evidence base, including an assessment of the Functional Economic Market Area (FEMA) and the Brentwood Economic Futures 2013-2033 Report. The PSLP suggests a range of growth within the Borough, where at Paragraph 7.19(iv), it is stated that a range from 33.76 hectares to 45.96 hectares will be required. This includes land lost at existing allocations (i.e. at West Horndon). Childerditch Industrial Estate will therefore make a significant and important contribution towards the required land. It is well suited for businesses that may need to relocate as a result of sites that will come out of employment use to provide for housing. It is therefore considered the approach to Policy PC02 is justified in providing for 47.39 hectares of new employment land in excess of the higher forecasts; offering support for existing employment sites and the appropriate redevelopment of sites, to be able to adapt to rapid change and to remove the need for the Green Belt to be reviewed during the Plan period. The PSLP sets out the proposed allocation at Childerditch Industrial Estate can come forward over the next 1 to 10 years. The indicative proposed masterplan prepared by CMP Architects provides an illustrative approach as to how the proposed allocation could come forward in conjunction with the redevelopment of the existing Park. The land is available now and there are no overriding constraints to delivery. The Plan would be justified and effective in this respect. The Brentwood Economic Futures (2013-2033) Final Report sets out 4 scenarios for quantifying the potential requirement for jobs in order to support the growth of the Plan Period. The Report provides indicative job capacity figures, which have been based on assumptions, in terms of both site capacity and B1a/b, B1c/B2, and B8 split. (Refer to table in attached copy of full representation). In respect of Childerditch Industrial Estate however, the Report has not taken into account that the existing Park can be redeveloped in a more efficient and effective manner to provide more job growth, as provided for in these representations. Overall, the proposed allocation will enable the upgrading of the existing units on the site through increased investment. Policy PC03: Employment Land Allocations: Policy PC03 sets out a number of considerations that are intended to relate to existing and proposed employment sites identified in Figure 7.6 of the PSLP. This includes Childerditch Industrial Estate. However, the PSLP also includes a specific policy that relates to Childerditch Industrial Estate (Policy E12, which will be addressed later in these representations). Paragraph 7.23 of the PSLP states that due to the difficulties of accommodating the quantum of employment land within other parts of the Borough, the opportunity has been taken to capitalise on the strategic connections of the South Brentwood Growth Corridor by extending employment land around Childerditch Industrial Estate. This approach is considered to be justified and consistent with national policy, as the proposed allocation seeks to make efficient use of an existing, highly sustainable employment site. Proposed Modification: It is considered that greater clarification should be added to Paragraph 7.23, Part b. ii. on where Policy PC03 applies, as Policy E12 covers the entirety of Childerditch Industrial Estate. It should be added that the proposed allocation at Childerditch Industrial Estate allows for the redevelopment of the existing Estate and new development on the extended areas, which will provide a location for employment generating sui generis uses, as provided for by Policy E12. Policy PC05: Employment Development Criteria: Policy PC05 does not specify whether it applies to existing and/or new employment land. The policy simply refers to development for employment uses. The wording of Policy PC05 is therefore ambiguous and is more restrictive than the site specific policy for Childerditch Industrial Estate (Policy E12). For example, Policy E12 requires provision to be made for improved walking and cycling links within the surrounding area. Policy PC05 on the other hand states that employment uses will be encouraged provided that the proposal is accessible by public transport. At present, there are no public transport connections directly available to Childerditch Industrial Estate, and whilst this may change in the future, there is no guarantee of if and when this will happen. On this basis, we object to Policy PC05 in its current form as it would not allow for an effective Plan. Proposed Modification to Policy PC05: It is suggested that Policy PC05, Part A. a. be amended to state that proposals provide opportunities to be accessible by public transport, walking and cycling. At Childerditch Industrial Estate, opportunities are limited to provide public transport; however, in bringing forward proposals for the site, this issue can be reviewed with Brentwood Borough Council and Essex County Council. Section 8: Natural Environment Policy NE9: Green Belt: Policy NE9 is supported. The Council has recognised the need to release some land from the Green Belt in order to meet its housing and employment needs. However, the land that will remain within the Green Belt should be protected throughout the Plan period and Policy NE9 achieves this, in accordance with the NPPF. Policy NE13: Site Allocations in the Green Belt: It is considered that Policy NE13 should be removed from the PSLP. The criteria of the policy can be included other policies, such as the site specific policy for Childerditch Industrial Estate (Policy E12), and it is therefore not considered necessary to have a standalone policy duplicating these points. Furthermore, it is queried why the policy refers to the benefits of housing sites only and no other land uses. Section 9: Site Allocations Policy E12: Childerditch Industrial Estate: Policy E12 is supported. We consider that it is justified, effective, consistent with national policy and necessary for the reasons set out elsewhere in these representations. Policy E12 proposes to allocate land that has previously been promoted at the Range North (site 112D) and the land to the south (site 112E), in addition to the existing Childerditch Industrial Estate, to provide a total developable area of 20.64 hectares across the entire Estate. The release of these sites from the Green Belt is justified and will ensure that the Plan has been positively prepared. At present, Childerditch Industrial Estate offers some 35 units. As part of the work supporting these representations, CMP Architects have undertaken an analysis of the Estate to identify how the existing Park could be regenerated for existing occupiers, redeveloped in areas to maximise efficiency, and expanded for future employment growth demand. The proposed masterplan at Appendix 1 provided for indicative purposes to support these representations, demonstrates the deliverability of the site over a period of time. The proposed allocations will extend the size of the Estate and as a whole, it is considered that it has the potential to accommodate around 50 units following redevelopment. The development of The Range North (site 112D) as a first phase will assist with the provision of funding to begin the process of upgrading the existing units and infrastructure at the Estate, which will ultimately lead to the development of the southern extension. This infrastructure will include an improved primary route through the core of the site and a number of secondary routes stemming from this to provide access to the different areas of the site. In addition to the work undertaken by CMP Architects, an Access Appraisal is submitted with these representations. The Appraisal at Appendix 2 confirms that the proposed allocation is deliverable in the context of the existing and proposed highway infrastructure, and will not have a significant impact on the efficiency or safety of the local transport network. The Appraisal also confirms that cumulatively, the allocation can be accommodated with other employment allocations along the A127 corridor, including those at Brentwood Enterprise Park and Codham Hall Farm. The PSLP, at Appendix 2, confirms a delivery forecast of 1 to 10 years. Following the adoption of the Local Plan and confirmation that the proposed allocations at Childerditch Industrial Estate are removed from the Green Belt, a planning application supported by a package of technical information will be submitted to Brentwood Borough Council for the first phase of development at The Range North. Further applications will then follow for the subsequent phases. It is very much expected that development will commence on site within the first few years of the Plan period, given the known demand as referred to at Paragraph 1.4 of these representations. We are in agreement that the entirety of the proposed allocations will be delivered within the 10 year period, which will ensure that the Plan is effective. Our clients purchased the site in 1983 and have a long term investment in the site and a desire to deliver the proposed allocations and enhancements to the existing site, as shown in the indicative proposed masterplan. In respect of Part B, criterion b) of Policy E12, we support the principle of improving walking and cycling links within the land owned by our client, which extends to Little Warley Hall Lane. However, we object to Part B, criterion c) of Policy E12, as it is not considered to be necessary. The Access Appraisal copied at Appendix 2 does not identify a need to improve the junction where the A127 meets Childerditch Hall Drive. The Access Appraisal confirms that the additional traffic created by the proposed allocation will not have an impact on the A127 junction because due to the length of the access from the A127, vehicles will not be delayed on entry. On exit from Childerditch Hall Drive onto the A127, any queuing will be held on site and therefore the increase in vehicles will not have an impact on the A127. Proposed Amendment to Policy E12: In light of the comments set out in the above paragraph, Part B, criterion b) should be removed from Policy E12. Sustainability Appraisal: A Sustainability Appraisal (SA), published in January 2019, has been produced by AECOM on behalf of Brentwood Borough Council in support of the PSLP. The SA forms only one part of the evidence base underlining the PSLP. The evidence base also includes documents such as the Brentwood Economic Futures 2013-2033 Report, Green Belt Study and Transport Assessment. In allocating additional land at Childerditch Industrial Estate, Brentwood Borough Council has taken a balanced judgement on the site constraints and the need to provide to create additional employment opportunities within the Borough. The SA is currently focused on a spatial approach to the assessment of each criterion, using the distance between the site and various factors to judge the extent to which it either achieves certain objectives or not. However, it is considered that the SA fails to fully consider the nature of each proposal or the likelihood in practice of effects in sustainability terms, where a 'broad brush' approach has instead been taken to sites regardless of their intended use. For example, in respect of distance to a GP Practice, the proposed employment allocations at Childerditch Industrial Estate have been scored in the same manner as a residential allocation. However, it is considered to be less important for an employment site to be located within close proximity to a GP practice than a residential site, given the nature of the uses. Therefore, Childerditch Industrial Estate should be considered against a different set of criteria more relevant to the proposed employment allocation. Provided below is an extract from the SA showing the scoring for the proposed allocations at Childerditch Industrial Estate. The proposed allocation includes Sites 112A, 112D and 112E. Site 112A relates to the existing allocation at the Estate. Site 112D relates to the proposed allocation at The Range North, and site 112E relates to the proposed southern extension allocation. (Refer to table in attached representation). On review of the appraisal of Childerditch Industrial Estate, the site has not scored particularly well in relation to the criteria that has data available. However, it is considered that the SA, or at least the sustainability criteria, could be too sensitive when it comes to assessing sites against the criteria. The fact that no site performed 'particularly well' against any of the criteria suggests that the scope of the assessment makes many sites appear unsustainable, with limited opportunity to score 'green' in many of the objectives. The NPPF, at paragraph 81, states that the Government is committed to ensuring that the planning system does everything it can to support sustainable economic growth. Paragraph 16 of the NPPF states that Local Plans must be prepared with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. Paragraph 17 further adds that Local Plans should include strategic policies to deliver the homes and jobs needed in the area. Childerditch Industrial Estate is within a highly sustainable location, with excellent transport links in the form of the A127 and M25, which is a significant benefit to the occupiers of the site. The Estate is a successful employment site and the PSLP process provides a pragmatic response to the opportunity to build upon this success with further land being allocated. Indeed, as outlined above, the Council's own Spatial Strategy includes an emphasis on 'Transit-orientated Growth', which provides for new development along two key transit corridors in the Borough, including the Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor. It is noted that sites 112A, 112D and 112E are presently scored 'amber' (performs poorly) under the Green Belt criterion. We do not consider that this aspect has been considered in sufficient detail by the SA given the particular circumstances of the site and existing uses. Childerditch Industrial Estate is visually contained by the surrounding agricultural land. We note that within the Green Belt Study Part II: Green Belt Parcel Definition and Review Document updated in November 2018, Green Belt Parcel 20, which the Childerditch Industrial Estate is excluded from, has been scored as making a moderate contribution to Green Belt purposes. As the existing site (112A) is excluded from the Green Belt, it is considered that this site should instead be considered to have 'no issue' in the SA assessment. There would be no loss of Green Belt land that would otherwise meet established purposes. The Green Belt Study recognises that the primary land use within the Parcel is arable farmland, but that the secondary land use is an industrial estate (Childerditch) set within the Parcel. The Estate is an 'island site' excluded from this Green Belt Parcel. The Study considers that views across the Parcel are limited, where field boundaries with dense hedgerows reduce visibility. Whilst the Study considers that undulating fields facilitate some views from the north, it is considered that views of Childerditch Industrial Estate will be limited from the north. The northern portion of the site is constrained by its topography, with some significant level changes and mature landscaping screening the existing buildings within the Estate. The northern most section of the Estate is only used as open storage and is also screened by existing woodland. These areas of the Estate form part of the existing allocation in any instance. The work undertaken by CMP Architects has given consideration to wider views of the Estate. The proposed allocations at sites 112D and 112E are currently located within the Green Belt. However, as part of the Council's review of the Local Plan, the opportunity exists to review Green Belt boundaries, in accordance with paragraphs 138 and 139 of the NPPF. At paragraph 138 of the NPPF for example, it states that, when drawing up or reviewing Green Belt boundaries, local planning authorities should take account of the need to promote sustainable patterns of development. As part of the new Local Plan, the fringes of the existing Childerditch Industrial Estate can be released to provide a necessary and important contribution to employment land within the Borough within a highly sustainable location. Furthermore, it is considered that the areas proposed for allocation, adjacent to an existing employment site, are sequentially more appropriate than other sites in the Borough that currently have no employment use. This supports the Council's growth strategy, which requires land to be released from the Green Belt, and is therefore justified. The release of land has therefore been carefully considered taking all factors into account, to ensure that sustainable development can be achieved, whilst ensuring that the longer-term purpose, integrity and benefit of the Green Belt remains intact. The Childerditch Industrial Estate sites have additionally been scored 'amber' with regard to effect on agricultural land, with the methodology stating that any site in land classified as Grade 3 will be 'amber' and Grade 2 will be 'red'. While the assessment notes that the dataset used is of poor resolution, the assessment has failed to adequately consider the existing nature of the sites (with particular regard to site 112D), as well as differentiate between Grades 3a and 3b. We would consider that the criteria should be amended to be more in line with the aims of Government policy, and that the sites be assessed on the basis of whether their use for employment purposes would lead to the loss of the best of the best and most versatile land. Furthermore, if the locally defined employment requirement is to be met, building on agricultural land is necessary. The fact that no site performed 'particularly well' (scoring 'dark green') in any of the criteria, also suggests that the scope of the assessment was not sensitive to acknowledge the competing objectives of national and local policy, particularly that in the Green Belt, to meet needs for employment and other development. Ultimately, it is important to note that the SA, at paragraph 9.6.6 states that "... there is a strategic opportunity to develop the A127 corridor as an employment growth corridor, capitalising on connections to key economic centres in the region (including Tilbury Port, Southend Airport and those in Greater London). All sites will have good or excellent access onto the strategic highway network". Furthermore, at paragraph 9.6.7, it is stated that "... With regards to site specific policy, the policies for the four employment should support timely and effective delivery". We support this view and will continue to take a proactive approach regarding promotion of and extension to Childerditch Industrial Estate through to the adoption of the new Local Plan, including attending the relevant Hearing Sessions at the Examination in Public. Summary: The PSLP confirms that the Spatial Strategy substantially focuses on 'Transit-orientated growth', including the Southern Brentwood Growth Corridor, with strategic allocations along the A127 corridor for employment, which is supported. The proposed allocation at Childerditch Industrial Estate is a recognition of the role that the Estate has in providing employment for the Borough. The proposed allocation would assist in meeting Brentwood Borough Council's identified need, to provide employment land required to assist meeting the Strategic Objectives of the PSLP Plan for the Plan period. The Estate is ideally located along the A127 to provide excellent transport links for the businesses operating at the Estate, and this is reflected in the full occupation rate of the existing units. There is a strong market for additional units in this location. The proposed allocations at The Range North and the southern extension will provide additional land to build on the success of the existing Estate. This submission demonstrates how the Estate can be more efficiently and effectively developed, by providing a modern range of units for B1, B2 and B8 uses and associated infrastructure. In conclusion, we strongly support the proposed allocation at Childerditch Industrial Estate, as set out in the PSLP, and will continue to promote the Estate as the Plan progresses to Examination in Public, in consultation with Brentwood Borough Council and key stakeholders. We consider that the Plan is generally sound; however, we do object to two policies in their current form. These are Policies PC05 and E12, as set out at paragraphs 2.23 - 2.25 and 2.34 - 2.35 of these representations. However, within these representations, we have also set out suggested amendments to these policies that we consider would make the plan sound.

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 24396

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Chelmsford Diocesan Board of Finance

Agent: Stutt & Parker

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Not specified

Representation:

The Environment Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations (2004) requires SA/SEA to inter alia set out the reasons of preferred alternatives, and the rejection of others, be made set out. In addition, the Planning Practice Guidance4 makes clear that the strategic environmental assessment should outline the reasons the alternatives were selected, the reasons the rejected options were not taken forward and the reasons for selecting the preferred approach in light of the alternatives. Sustainability appraisal of the PSLP has been published: The Sustainability Appraisal of the Brentwood Local Plan January 2019 (the SA). Site 033 has been wholly discounted, failing to progress to 'shortlisted omission sites' nor the final shortlist. The SA explains that a number of sites were identified through the HELAA that were considered developable or deliverable, but are nevertheless not proposed to be allocated in the PSLP. The SA does not provide a justified reason for the rejection of the site. Paragraph: 038 Reference ID: 11-038-20150209.

Change suggested by respondent:

We seek modifications to refine the Site Appraisal Criteria contained in the SA of the Brentwood Local Plan, prepared by AECOM. The decision process for utilising the RAG scoring is unclear in regards to the weighting given to the overall scores, and how this results in a site being considered suitable for allocation or unsuitable. The criteria set out in Appendix B Table 3 must adopt a more refined approach to its scoring in order to be of use in the identification of which sites and more or less sustainable. Criteria 7, 8, 9 should take account of the capacity of existing facilities and the scale of a proposed site, as this will affect the ability to provide additional facilities, or to support existing facilities. Criteria 10, 12, 13, 15 each assume that closer proximity of a site will have a negative effect on the criteria, when this is not necessarily the case. Criteria 17 should not be included in the SA as the notes for this criteria (p.96) confirm the Agricultural Land Classification Maps are of a poor resolution. It is recommended that a more refined scoring system is required to improve the utility of the SA to the identification of sustainable sites. A more refined scoring system would more accurately reflect the sustainability of any potential allocation. Further, greater transparency is required in relation to how the individual RAG scores have been used to reach a decision to allocate or omit sites.

Full text:

These representations on the Brentwood Borough Proposed Submission Local Plan (February 2019) (PSLP) are submitted by Strutt and Parker on behalf of Chelmsford Diocesan Board of Finance (CDBF) and in relation to land to the south of Lodge Close, Hutton. Land to the south of Lodge Close, Hutton ('the Site') has previously been promoted as part of the Council's plan-making process, site reference 033. The site has been actively promoted by CDBF throughout the plan-making process. Previous representations have been made at various stages of the Local Plan, including in relation to call for sites exercises and consultations on iterations of the Local Plan. CDBF as the freehold owner of the site are actively promoting the Site for residential allocation in the Council's new Local Plan. A location plan for the site is provided as Appendix A. The proposed period runs until 2033. Assuming - optimistically - adoption in 2019 this means that the Local Plan will address development needs for a maximum of 14 years. The NPPF (paragraph 22) is clear that strategic policies should look ahead over a minimum of 15 years. This deficiency in the PSLP is of particular relevance given that the Borough is predominantly Green Belt, and failure to ensure that development needs are planned for over a sufficient period of time would likely result in an early review of the Green Belt being required - contrary to the NPPF (paragraph 136); and undermining one of the two essential characteristics of the Green Belt: its permanence (NPPF, paragraph 133). Commentary on the Total Housing Requirement: At paragraph 4.13 of the PSLP, it states that the Borough's housing requirement it plans for is 350 dwellings per annum. At paragraph 4.12, it states that this figure has been calculated using the Standard Method (as per the NPPF and accompanying Planning Practice Guidance [PPG). However, this does not appear to be the case having regard to updated guidance. The PPG now confirms that 2014-based subnational household projections should be used to calculate the housing requirement using the Standard Method. The relevant subnational population projections indicate an average annual increase of 293.2 households in the Borough between 2019 and 2029. The latest (2017) ratio of median house price to median gross annual workplace-based earnings for the Borough published by the ONS is 11.23. Once the Standard Method is applied using these figures this result in a requirement of 452 dwellings per annum. The Local Plan is required to meet this need as a minimum (NPPF paragraph 35); and with sufficient flexibility to be able to respond to rapid change (NPPF paragraph 11). In addition, the Local Plan is required to ensure that the revised Green Belt can endure beyond the plan period (NPPF paragraph 136), i.e. in amending the Green Belt boundary, the Local Plan should account for development needs beyond 2033 (or, more appropriately, a revised later end to the plan period, which will ensure strategic policies will cover at least 15 years). A further factor is the need to consider unmet needs of neighbouring authorities (NPPF paragraph 35). In this respect, we note in particular that Epping Forest District Council is at an advanced stage in the preparation of a Local Plan (at the time of writing it is currently being examined) which proposes to deliver 11,400 dwellings between 2011 and 2033 (518 dwellings per annum), against a requirement (based on the Standard Method) of 944 dwellings per annum. We are not aware of Brentwood Borough Council having objected to this approach, but neither is there any indication that the PSLP addresses any of this unmet need. The PSLP considers it appropriate to apply a 20% uplift to the identified housing target of 350 dwellings per annum, resulting in a proposed target of 456 dwellings per annum. The PSLP's rationale for this buffer is somewhat unclear: it states at Figure 4.1 that the buffer allows for an additional housing land supply to be maintained in the Borough throughout the plan period; but states at footnote 2 that the housing supply buffer serves to safeguard against any potential uplift to the standard methodology for calculating housing need, pending the outcome of the Government's 'Technical consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance'. In any case, the uplift means that the proposed annual housing target in the PSLP is only fractionally above the minimum housing requirement derived from the Standard Method, and does not provide any flexibility to ensure needs are met; does not ensure the Green Belt will endure beyond the plan period; and does not account for unmet need in neighbouring authorities. Further to our comments in respect of the plan period, and the PSLP's failure to ensure strategic policies are in place to cover at least 15 years from adoption, as an absolute minimum the PSLP must be amended to ensure an additional year's worth of housing need can be accommodated. Given likely timescales for adoption of the Local Plan, we suggest a plan period to 2035 should be treated as a minimum, and an additional two years' worth of development needs to that which the PSLP currently seeks to address should be planned for. Whilst we suggest 2035 should be the treated as the earliest end to the plan period, it should also be recognised that the authority is predominantly Green Belt. The NPPF requires this Local Plan to ensure the Green Belt will endure beyond the plan period. As such, we suggest the PSLP that even if the plan period is extended until 2035, policies should account for potential development needs beyond this period. Five-year housing land supply and housing trajectory: The Council is required to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply at any point in the plan period2. In terms of the five-year housing requirement, the NPPF (paragraph 73) confirms a 20% buffer should be applied to the initial calculation in the event the results of the Housing Delivery Test show that delivery has fallen below 85% of the requirement. The PPG confirms the requirement to apply such a buffer in such circumstances also applies where the Local Planning Authority are seeking to confirm their five-year housing land supply through a recently adopted Local Plan. The 2018 Housing Delivery Test measurement for Brentwood Borough shows that only 51% of the Borough's housing requirements were met over the last three years; well below the figure required to avoid a 20% buffer having to be applied. The Borough's most recent reported five-year housing land supply (Five Year Housing Land Supply Statement as at 31 March 2018 (November 2018) ('HLSS') is 4.1 years. However, this is predicated on a requirement which, when considered in relation to the latest guidance, understates need; and a supply which, again when considered in relation to latest guidance, overstates supply. As such, the actual housing land supply is considerably less. Looking at this in detail, the HLSS considers an annual need of 343 dwellings, resulting in a total requirement once the 20% has been applied of 2,058 dwellings. However, applying the latest guidance and the Standard Method, the Borough's housing requirement is 452 dwellings per annum. Applying the 20% buffer, this results in a five-year requirement of 2,712 dwellings. In terms of supply, the HLSS includes sites without detailed planning permission and without evidence such sites will be delivered within five years. As per the NPPF, such sites cannot be considerable deliverable for the purposes of the five-year housing land supply. Table 1 of the HLSS suggests that at least 1,042 dwellings in the reported supply; 2 Paragraph: 038 Reference ID: 3-038-20180913; 3 Paragraph: 037 Reference ID: 3-037-20180913; did not have planning permission. Once these are removed from the supply calculation, the five-year supply comprises 653 dwellings. It is unclear if and how many of the dwellings categorised as having extant planning permission are on major sites which only benefit from outline permission. Such sites would also have to be discounted. As such, the figure of 653 dwellings may overstate housing supply. A five-year supply of 653 dwellings compared to a requirement of 2,712 represents a 1.2-year housing land supply. The acute housing land supply shortage underlines the importance of allocating sites through the Local Plan which can deliver early in the plan period, and the need to avoid over reliance on large strategic sites which inevitably take a considerable time to bring forward. The housing trajectory provided as Appendix 1 to the PSLP projects that it will enable completion of 2,305 dwellings between 2019/20 and 2023/24 (or, to be precise, it projects 2,305.1 dwellings). Having regard to the Standard Method and the need to apply a 20% buffer to the housing requirement, the total five-year requirement for the Borough is 2,712 dwellings. Therefore, even before critical review of the supply, the PSLP will not provide a five-year supply of housing. Furthermore, and in respect of the projected supply, we are concerned to note that Dunton Hills Garden Village is projected to delivery housing completions from 2022/23, i.e. falling within the first five years of the plan. Dunton Hills Garden Village is a proposed major strategic development, intended to provide 4,000 dwellings, 5.5 hectares of employment land, two new primary schools, secondary school, new village shopping centre, new transport infrastructure, and new community and health infrastructure. Delivery will require the coordination and input of multiple landowners, developers, infrastructure providers and other stakeholders. The site has yet to even be allocated. Once allocated, the PSLP proposes a masterplan and design guidance will be required to be prepared. Following this, an outline application will need to be prepared, submitted, and determined; followed by reserved matters. It will also be necessary to discharge all planning conditions and S106 obligations. All of this before development has even begun. As such, it is totally unrealistic to project that 100 homes will be completed at Dunton Hills Garden Village as early as 2022/23. This does not in itself mean that Dunton Hills Garden Village proposals cannot form part of a sound Local Plan, but it does mean that additional smaller sites capable of providing homes in the early years of the plan period also need to be allocated in order to ensure the Local Plan is sound. Proposed Approach to Hutton: Hutton is the second largest settlement in the Borough. In 2011, the town had a population of 15,578 and a total of 6,564 dwellings (Census 2011). It is a large, established community and a local centre which benefits from a range of services, facilities, access to public transport, and employment opportunities. Hutton is situated approximately 30 kilometres from Central London, 12 kilometres from Chelmsford and in a position well related to regional and national infrastructure. Hutton lies in close proximity to Brentwood and Shenfield on the A12 corridor. Hutton has strong service and education provision. The settlement benefits from excellent access to Shenfield High Street on the Hutton Road which adjoins Rayleigh Road and runs centrally through the settlement on an east-west axis. The High Street provides a variety of services, shops and businesses. The PSLP sets out the Borough's settlement hierarchy. Hutton is identified as Category 1 - Main Town. It is clearly a sustainable location to which a proportion of the Borough's housing need should be directed. In addition, as an established community, it is important that the Local Plan manages the growth of the settlement to ensure the vitality of the community is sustained or enhanced. However, notwithstanding the above, the PSLP proposes to direct no housing growth to Hutton. This contrasts sharply with the proposed approach to the other settlements identified as Category 1 - Main Towns. It is also notable that a considerable amount of growth is being directed to settlements below Hutton within the settlement hierarchy. The PSLP fails to support the sustainable growth of Hutton. The proposal to direct none of the Borough's housing need to Hutton is unjustified, and inconsistent with national policy. To ensure the Local Plan is sound, paragraph 2.10 and the associated Table should be amended to ensure that Hutton delivers a scale of growth appropriate to its position within the hierarchy as a Category 1 Settlement. At present, Hutton will deliver fewer homes than any of the Category 2 Settlements. The site, as shown on the plan provided in Appendix A measures approximately 1.3 hectare. The Council have defined the net developable area of the site at 1.18 hectare, with an indicative yield of 35 dwellings. The site principally comprises open pastoral grassland of low landscape value. The site is roughly rectangular in shape, is well contained by thick trees and hedgerow and is constrained by development to the north and west, and Hutton Village to the east and south. The site is on land currently allocated as Green Belt in the Bentwood Replacement Local Plan (2005), but is situated immediately adjacent to the settlement boundary of Hutton. Within previous submissions to the Council, we have set out the sustainability of land south of Lodge Close, Hutton for residential development, and an overview of these is provided again here, as follows. There are three dimensions to sustainable development: economic; social and environmental. In terms of economic impact, there is an inherent link between providing homes and the creation of jobs. Benefits of the site's development include additional local expenditure in and around Hutton from the additional residents. The intention for the land south of Lodge Close, Hutton is to provide homes for people working in and around the Hutton area, assisting in local economic development. Development of the site will reduce pressure to accommodate development on potentially more environmentally sensitive sites. In respect of social impacts, the land south of Lodge Close, Hutton is very well connected to local service provision with the majority of Hutton and Shenfield's services within a 2km radius of the site. In addition, the site benefits from excellent public transport links. The provision of homes to meet housing needs will have very significant social sustainability benefits. Notably, the Council's evidence base supports the view that the site is suitable and achievable for development, as confirmed through the assessment of the Site within the Brentwood Borough Council Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (October 2018) (HEELA). We would however disagree with the assessment of the Site's availability as a reason for the Site being discounted. The findings suggest that the Site is 'unavailable' due to a lack of active promotion from the landowner; the site has been promoted through previous consultations of the Local Plan review process at Call for Sites and Preferred Options. The site is therefore available for development. The proposals map should be modified to remove Site 033 from the Green Belt and identified for the delivery of residential development. Strategic Environment Assessment / Sustainability Appraisal (SEA/SA). The Environment Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations (2004) requires SA/SEA to inter alia set out the reasons of preferred alternatives, and the rejection of others, be made set out. In addition, the Planning Practice Guidance4 makes clear that the strategic environmental assessment should outline the reasons the alternatives were selected, the reasons the rejected options were not taken forward and the reasons for selecting the preferred approach in light of the alternatives. Sustainability appraisal of the PSLP has been published: The Sustainability Appraisal of the Brentwood Local Plan January 2019 (the SA). Site 033 has been wholly discounted, failing to progress to 'shortlisted omission sites' nor the final shortlist. The SA explains that a number of sites were identified through the HELAA that were considered developable or deliverable, but are nevertheless not proposed to be allocated in the PSLP. The SA does not provide a justified reason for the rejection of the site. Paragraph: 038 Reference ID: 11-038-20150209. We seek modifications to refine the Site Appraisal Criteria contained in the SA of the Brentwood Local Plan, prepared by AECOM. The decision process for utilising the RAG scoring is unclear in regards to the weighting given to the overall scores, and how this results in a site being considered suitable for allocation or unsuitable. The criteria set out in Appendix B Table 3 must adopt a more refined approach to its scoring in order to be of use in the identification of which sites and more or less sustainable. Criteria 7, 8, 9 should take account of the capacity of existing facilities and the scale of a proposed site, as this will affect the ability to provide additional facilities, or to support existing facilities. Criteria 10, 12, 13, 15 each assume that closer proximity of a site will have a negative effect on the criteria, when this is not necessarily the case. Criteria 17 should not be included in the SA as the notes for this criteria (p.96) confirm the Agricultural Land Classification Maps are of a poor resolution. It is recommended that a more refined scoring system is required to improve the utility of the SA to the identification of sustainable sites. A more refined scoring system would more accurately reflect the sustainability of any potential allocation. Further, greater transparency is required in relation to how the individual RAG scores have been used to reach a decision to allocate or omit sites. Green Belt: A Part 3 Green Belt Appraisal (dated 31st January 2019) has been published by the Council. This considered specific sites, albeit in limited detail. Site 033 has been discounted, with the assessment explaining: 'based on the progressive findings of the HELAA and wider evidence base, a selective approach to the assessment of additional has been undertaken. Overall, Sites (located within the Green Belt) which have been discounted for other environmental or strategic reasons (i.e. too small to form a strategic allocation), were not considered for further assessment.' Whilst the assessment has justified Site 033 (and other sites) being omitted from the assessment, the study assesses the significance of each site's contribution to four of the five purposes of the Green Belt, with an understanding the fifth purpose is implemented as an integral part of the Brentwood Local Plan. As such, previous findings contained in the HEELA and environmental / strategic constraints, unless explicitly relating to the four purposes of the Green Belt, should not be used for justifying site omission. With regards to Site 033, this is especially pertinent when considering the ambiguity of weight given to various SA scores (i.e. distance to GP and interaction with the Conservation Area) and the inaccuracy of availability in the HEELA (2018). Even were it appropriate to use such criteria to discount sites from a Green Belt assessment, the criteria itself in the case of the above has proven inaccurate, overly simplistic and therefore unreliable. As such we recommend the site is assessed within the Council's Part 3 Green Belt assessment as a suitable, deliverable and available site. As an overarching point, we are concerned with the simplistic approach that appears to have been taken in considering the contribution sites make to the purposes of the Green Belt. We would therefore recommend that the Council provide a far more detailed and robust review of sites' contribution to the purposes of the Green Belt as part of the plan-making process. As part of any residential allocation, we would look to undertake further technical evidence to support the site's release from the Green Belt. Conclusion: The site is considered, suitable, available, achievable for development in accordance with the PSLP's aspirations for sustainable growth. The reasons given for the rejection of the site are spurious and based on erroneous conclusions. The rejection of site 033 is unjustified, and overlooks an opportunity to correct other soundness deficiencies of the Local Plan, including in relation to the overall quantum of housing proposed and the lack of support for any growth of Hutton. The allocation of Site 033 for development will assist in curing defects of the Local Plan, enabling it to be a sound plan.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 24398

Received: 30/05/2019

Respondent: Dr. S.J. Jennings

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation:

Object to inclusion of sites R25 andR26 in Blackmore as it is unsuitable location for development due to damage on historical village, there is no strategy for development in the villages in BBC, surface water flooding is an important issue with historical flood events, the infrastructure isn't sufficient: the roads, sewerage, flood protection, power supply, GP services, school places, parking, and this will be exacerbated when combined with Epping Forest DC proposed development.

Change suggested by respondent:

Blackmore Village Heritage Association will be producing a Local Needs Plan in cooperation with the Local Parish Council.
Other villages are reported to desire more housing to make them viable.
Infrastructure - huge improvements needed. Refer back to representations.

Full text:

Historic village of Blackmore is a lively viable community slowly growing naturally.
Brentwood BC planning advice advocates only developing villages where there is a need to make then viable., the historic character will not be improved and road connections are easy. More of this is true for Blackmore.
Moreover there has been no clear strategy for the villages north of Brentwood nor has there been any assessment of the needs of Blackmore.

At the open consultation meeting in early 2018 with BBC planners it was evident that they know little about Blackmores situation or about development of houses in Epping Forest DC which are really part of Blackmore although over the border. (Friary Hall Lane 32 +; Woolmanger Road 8). On about the ?12 traveller sites off Chelmsford Road.
Infrastructure issues -
Roads 5 lanes connect village to outside world, narrow and windy, subject to flooding in several places, badly congested at rush hours. Cut off by snow sometimes.
Surface water drainage. Already poor, roads often flooded, with stalled cars, bad flood Aug 1987 when houses flooded around the Green, the south side of the Blackmore Road and the bottom half of Church Street including historic grade 1 St Lawrence Church. There has been no change to the water-ways since then, we has a "near miss" in June 2016.
Climate change predicted to in crease extremes of weather! The run off of surface water from any further development will increase the risk of homes being flooded for existing residents.
Sewage, pump off Ingatestone Road a the limit of coping quite often, overflows raw sewage into The Moat and thence into the River Wid fairly often. Back up in 2016 was the cause of one or two properties flooding.
Electricity supply prone to short power cuts specially in windy weather, throws timer/computer out frequently.
School crowded, even now some village residents cannot get their children in!
GP services, local GP surgery cannot recruit enough doctors so waiting times long.
Parking in village centre and at village hall is dire.
Road connections, windy narrow country lanes prone to flooding.
Epping Forest Developments will add strain on some of these items

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 24629

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Terence Dearlove

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation:

The Sustainability Appraisal refers to improvement of services and facilities in rural areas but that is completely undermined by the impact that proposed developments R25 and R26 will have on residents of Blackmore and those in the surrounding areas reliant on Blackmore facilities. Blackmore Village is categorised as Cat. 3 (large village) however this is outdated as the village now consists of just one small village shop (inclusive of a Post Office counter) and one small primary school. The SA includes an objective to reduce flood risk. Blackmore already has significant challenges. Further development will almost certainly make a bad situation worse and hereby also conflict with the SA.

Change suggested by respondent:

Sites R25 and R26 should be removed from the LDP and planners should refer to the Blackmore Village Heritage Association 'Neighbourhood Plan', which clearly sets out the local housing needs for our already sustainable community.

Full text:

I consider the Plan to be unsound, not legally compliant and fails to comply with the duty to cooperate for the following reasons: The Sustainability Appraisal (January 2019) refers to improvement of services and facilities in rural areas but that is completely undermined by the impact that proposed developments R25 & R26 will have on residents of Blackmore and those in surrounding areas reliant on Blackmore facilities. Blackmore village is categorised as Cat. 3 (large village) however this is outdated as the village now consists of just one small village shop (inclusive of a Post Office counter) and one small primary school. Parking to access these facilities is extremely limited thereby causing significant issues for existing residents, whilst Public transport to and from Blackmore village is already inadequate for existing residents of the village and surrounding communities. The challenges facing Blackmore village, as set out above, are already heightened by the current (EFDC) development of 30 houses in Fingrith Hall Lane and by a proposed development of affordable housing in Nine Ashes Road (EFDC). The nearest doctors surgery is in Doddinghurst and despite development / enlargement of the surgery with the last few years that continues to struggle to cope with existing demands from Blackmore, Doddinghurst and other surrounding villages. Furthermore, the proposed developments of R23 & R24 will also add to the burden. Given the potential impact on local infrastructure, services and facilities I am extremely concerned to have seen no reference to adequate consultation between BBC and EFDC. Blackmore village is comprised of circa 330 dwellings with a population of 829. The Local Plan has the potential to add close to one quarter to this and that takes no account of EFDC developments referred to above. The Sustainability Appraisal (SA) 2019 includes an objective to reduce flood risk. Blackmore already has significant challenges and instances of flooding are a matter of photographic record. Further development will almost certainly make a bad situation worse and hereby also conflict with the SA. No Housing needs survey has been conducted that demonstrates why Blackmore should be included in the LDP, furthermore, the decision to include Blackmore contradicts the LDP (2016) which stated that growth in rural north and rural south areas of BB would be limited in order to retain 'local character'. BBC has failed to demonstrate that there are other brownfield sites that are available and these should take priority over the greenfield land off of Red Rose Lane. The proposed developments in Blackmore do not promote 'sustainable development' and other more suitable / sustainable locations should be considered such as urban extension to Brentwood and further additions to the 'Dunton Hills Garden Village' project. On a final note there is no evident clear strategy for the villages in the north of the Borough, Blackmore being just one example. As a consequence it appears that decisions have been made within the Local Plan that take no account of the challenges that are already faced, the impact that the plan would have on these challenges and instead the decision to add 70 plus homes to what is a small village community seems to be based on 'targets need to be met for new houses - where we can put them'.

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 25798

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Mr Matthew Ionescu

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation:

Noticed Ingrave isn't marked as a location for improvement or partial urbanisation. In the SA , Figure 5.8 as an option would reduce parking. In the town centre, Sainsbury's parking is already full and costs money to park. Table 6.1 in the SA [Sustainability Appraisal] notes Brentwood ranks low with "significant effects". Urbanisation in these areas could further effect the biodiversity and quality if further traffic is added. This relates back to 024 Sawyers Hall Lane. The railway station in Brentwood being made into homes would mean people could park and would be able to counter productive to an increase in housing and local traffic.
I feel a reduction in car parking would be a detriment to Brentwood community in come and ability for Brentwood to be a high street to visit since there is already limited parking.
Even if 9.4.9 'other modes of transport' [Sustainability Appraisal] mean increasing local pots for the council as money making. I feel that older people cannot always rely on public transport. My experience is that it is slow and unreliable.
I would prefer to pay for parking. This would enable me and my older family to retain independence around the neighbourhood rather than worrying about catching the bus.
If your plan 9.4.10 [Sustainability Appraisal] states that there are no 'significant positive effects' doesn't this require re-evaluation to enable better effects?

Change suggested by respondent:

Has considered local opinions to an extent but requires further local consultation with residents.

Full text:

Refer to attached scanned form.
Agree with development of West Horndon Industrial Estate, concerned about congestion from development to the north of Brentwood and Pilgrims Hatch. Sawyers Hall Lane development would result in loss of greenery and increase in local pollution. Noticed Ingrave isn't marked as a location for improvement or partial urbanisation. In the SA , Figure 5.8 as an option would reduce parking.
In the town centre, Sainsbury's parking is already full and costs money to park. Table 6.1 in the SA [Sustainability Appraisal] notes Brentwood ranks low with "significant effects". Urbanisation in these areas could further effect the biodiversity and quality if further traffic is added> This relates back to 024 Sawyers Hall Lane. The railway station in Brentwood being made into homes would mean people could park and would be able to counter productive to an increase in housing and local traffic.
I feel a reduction in car parking would be a detriment to Brentwood community in come and ability for Brentwood to be a high street to visit since there is already limited parking.
Even if 9.4.9 'other modes of transport' [Sustainability Appraisal] mean increasing local pots for the council as money making. I feel that older people cannot always rely on public transport. My experience is that it is slow and unreliable.
The Ingatestone urbanisation took several years. My concern that disruption closer to Brentwood could cause delays to local traffic.
I would prefer to pay for parking. This would enable me and my older family to retain independence around the neighbourhood rather than worrying about catching the bus.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 25804

Received: 19/03/2019

Respondent: Mr Timothy Webb

Legally compliant? No

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation:

Strongly object to all non-brownfield proposed housing site allocations. The local plan fails to fulfil the prescribed criteria because it involves a deliberate wanton, massive, wholesale destruction, despoliation, violation and vandalism of the countryside and the green Belt in contravention of the Town and Country Planning Acts and the five main purposes of the Green Belt as stipulated by the National Planning Policy Framework.
This is with regard to Dunton Hills Garden Village (R01), Shenfield (R03), Blackmore (R25 and R26), two schemes at Kelvedon Hatch (R23 and R24), Doddinghurst Road (R16 and R17)
Additionally the plan fails to satisfy the objectives of the sustainability appraisal with regard to Soils, Heritage, Landscape, Biodiversity.
The Duty to Cooperate has not be met in that the views of statutory bodies have not been met regarding Dunton Hills Garden Village.
The concerns of Blackmore Parish Council on R25 and R26 have been treated with contempt.

Change suggested by respondent:

anning are building according only to absolute irrefutable necessity and not based on hypothetical projections of dubious accuracy way into the future.
Rejecting all development in the countryside/Green Belt, thereby respecting and upholding relevant statutes.
Concentrating unavoidable development on brownfield sites. eg West Horndon industrial estate R02, Warley (R04 and R05) and Wates Way industrial estate (R15), followed in order of priority by Ingatestone (former Garden Centre R21 and other R22) and town centre car parks (R10, R11, R14) in each case seeking greater yield by increasing density and constructing additional storeys.
Complying with the prescribed objectives of the sustainability appraisal.
Respecting council taxpayers, and the democratic process by rejecting any, all developments where there is significant local opposition.
All policy - local, regional, national, international should be predicated primarily on the need to restrict and ultimately reverse unsustainable population growth, not pander to it.

Full text:

SUMMARY Refer to attached scan for full text.
Object to local plan, SA and HRA.
Strongly object to all non-brownfield proposed housing site allocations. The local plan fails to fulfil the prescribed criteria because it involves a deliberate wanton, massive, wholesale destruction, despoliation, violation and vandalism of the countryside and the green Belt in contravention of the Town and Country Planning Acts and the five main purposes of the Green Belt as stipulated by the National Planning Policy Framework.
This is with regard to Dunton Hills Garden Village (R01), Shenfield (R03), Blackmore (R25 and R26), two schemes at Kelvedon Hatch (R23 and R24), Doddinghurst Road (R16 and R17)
Additionally the plan fails to satisfy the objectives of the sustainability appraisal with regard to Soils, Heritage, Landscape, Biodiversity.
The Duty to Cooperate has not be met in that the views of statutory bodies have not been met regarding Dunton Hills Garden Village.
The concerns of Blackmore Parish Council on R25 and R26 have been treated with contempt.

Planning are building according only to absolute irrefutable necessity and not based on hypothetical projections of dubious accuracy way into the future.
Rejecting all development in the countryside/Green Belt, thereby respecting and upholding relevant statutes.
Concentrating unavoidable development on brownfield sites. eg West Horndon industrial estate R02, Warley (R04 and R05) and Wates Way industrial estate (R15), followed in order of priority by Ingatestone (former Garden Centre R21 and other R22) and town centre car parks (R10, R11, R14) in each case seeking greater yield by increasing density and constructing additional storeys.
Complying with the prescribed objectives of the sustainability appraisal.
Respecting council taxpayers, and the democratic process by rejecting any, all developments where there is significant local opposition.
All policy - local, regional, national, international should be predicated primarily on the need to restrict and ultimately reverse unsustainable population growth, not pander to it.

Attachments:

Object

Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Representation ID: 26090

Received: 12/03/2019

Respondent: Mrs Kate Hurford

Legally compliant? Not specified

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation:

Failure in their obligation to preserve Green Belt as laid out in the Sustainability Appraisal - 507 Safeguard the Green Belt and protect and enhance valuable landscapes and the natural historic environment.

Change suggested by respondent:

A fully evidenced survey of the suitability of these proposed sites is required taking into account the obligations of the local authority to protect green belt and the heritage assets in Blackmore village. Detailed flood risk analysis is required. Assess fully any available or new currently unknown brownfield sites in more suitable locations. Meaningful consultation with neighboring authorities namely Chelmsford to consider the suitability of unmet housing needs being covered with an agreement with other authorities. Evidence and develop a strategic approach for the north of the borough

Full text:

I object to the inclusion of the sites on Green Belt land referenced Policy R25: Land North of Woollard Way, Blackmore and Policy R26: Land North of Orchard Piece, Blackmore into the Local Plan for the following reasons. Not Positively Prepared: 1. Failure to give an objective assessment of the development and infrastructure requirements. 2. Failure to address the impact on the village with a 27% increase in size has been underestimated in respect of impact on the lives of the occupants of the village and of other residents in close proximity to the development. 3. Failure to mitigate the effects of traffic emissions and mange climate risk by concentrating new developments in existing cities or large town and/or ensuring they are well served by public transport. 4. Failure to fully examine the redevelopment of the brownfield sites identified by the local authority on their Brownfield Land Register Part 1. Failure in their obligation to preserve Green Belt as laid out in the Sustainability Appraisal - 507 Safeguard the Green Belt and protect and enhance valuable landscapes and the natural historic environment. 5. Failure by the local planning authority to provide evidence of any assessment of local housing needs in Blackmore. No Justification: 1. Failure to fulfill its own Statement of Community Involvement that relates to the involvement and engagement of the community and stakeholders in the exercising of its planning functions I do not believe that the local authority has fully demonstrated a willingness to engage with and take note of the opinions of the local community. 2. Failure to evidence a local housing need in Blackmore supporting its inclusion in the Local Plan. Not Effective: 1. Failure as the plan does not provide suitable infrastructure for the proposed new homes and does nothing to make housing affordable for people on average or low incomes. Inconsistent with national policy: 1. Failure to comply with guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework in respect to the construction of new buildings being inappropriate on Green Belt. 2. Failure to conserve the historic environment R25 and R26 have two Grade 11 listed properties on the boundary of the development, Redrose Lane which is proposed as the access point to both development is not suitable as it is a country lane not designed to take large volumes of traffic and is unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles. 3. Failure to demonstrate that the exceptions as set out in government guidance apply to the sites under consideration in Blackmore 4. Failure to demonstrate a full examination of alternatives on brownfield land/sites prior to the proposal to consider the developments on Land to the North of Woollard Way and Orchard Piece. 5. Failure to comply with the NPPF by setting out strategic policies to deliver the conservation and enhancement of the natural and historic environment, including landscape. 6. Failure to present a 'positive strategy' for the 'conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment', including those heritage assets that are most at risk. Assets should be recognised as being an 'irreplaceable resource' that should be conserved in a 'manner appropriate to their significance', taking account of 'the wider social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits' that conservation can bring, whilst also recognising the positive contribution new development can make to local character and distinctiveness

Attachments: