Winchester District Local Plan – Part 1 – Joint Core Strategy (JCS)
Submission June 2012
Track Changes Version2. 03/10/12
6th November 2012
There is a concern in regard of policy MTRA 2 re Waltham Chase and its alleged capacity to accommodate between 150 and 250 new homes without losing local gaps. Waltham Chase, within the parish of Shedfield is already over-developed, parts of which do not have sustainable drainage for surface water because of the loading of housing density. Can some of the allocation be diverted to the other two villages, namely Shedfield and Shirrell Heath? This proposal is referred to in WCC’s paragraph 7 of HDC Issue8.
There is a reference in MTRA 2 to floor space of 500 square metres and it is not clear whether this applies to a building’s footprint or the total floor space for all its storeys?
Paragraph 3.104 refers to a ‘community plan’ alongside a Neighbourhood Plan and it would be instructive to know the difference?
There is an opportunity at paragraph 3.106 to include a requirement for settlements abutting the South Downs National Park (SDNP) to also play their part in enhancing the natural beauty of the area by not permitting inappropriate development at its boundary. This could be effected by introducing a ‘buffer zone’ so that there is a gradual transition of density of development between an established settlement area and the park’s boundary. This is a necessary refinement as there will be increasing interest by developers in tracts of countryside on the fringes of the SDNP and in particular settlement gaps where exception sites may be brought forward leading to the erosion or even the disappearance of gaps.
On page 72, MTRA 3 refers to a Neighbourhood Plan or ‘process’. A definition of an acceptable process would be helpful to those communities that cannot afford a Neighbourhood Plan.
This policy goes on to refer to ‘gaps’. They are not defined in the JCS glossary so there needs to be a statement that ‘settlement gaps’, which are defined, and gaps are synonymous.
In settlements which have no clearly defined settlement boundary, development and redevelopment consists of the infilling of a small site within a continuously developed road frontage. This may be supported where this would be compatible in form, with the character of the village and not involve the loss of important gaps between development areas. Shedfield and Shirrell Heath are quite correctly included in the list of qualifying settlements within MTRA 3.
In other parts of this JCS namely at CP18 on page 115, Wickham has been omitted in defining its gap to the north from Shedfield and Shirrell Heath and this is notable by referring to Map 3 on page 31 which should be enhanced to extend the north-south jagged line to the west between Waltham Chase and Wickham and similarly between Waltham Chase and Bishops Waltham.
Fundamentally, it is noted that gaps appear only to be qualitatively defined, there are no metrics by which to gauge them and this is a weakness. Is a gap 50 metres, 500 metres or what? It is a worry. The JCS appears to rely heavily on the ‘Policy Framework for Gaps’ published by PUSH dated December 2008.
I am still not clear whether the Southeast Plan is extant or non-extant for purposes of this hearing of the JCS examination?
The document recognises gaps as spatial planning tools designed to shape the pattern of settlements. They command wide public support and have been used with success in successive strategic plans to influence the settlement of South Hampshire, indeed the government has acknowledged that the particular circumstances of Hampshire may justify the designation of gaps and therefore may I assume that this means that the designation of gaps within South Hampshire is essential to help shape the future settlement pattern by avoiding the coalescence of settlements and the loss of settlement identity. Gaps can have other positive aspects in retaining open land adjacent to urban areas which can be used for new or enhanced recreation and other green infrastructure purposes. The criteria for the designation of gaps are declared as the open nature/sense of separation between settlements which cannot be retained by other policy designations.
The JCS on page 114, in a part of the section of text is reporting the document rather than adopting specifically what the document is actually saying about settlement gaps for instance: paragraph 7.41 in summary, the PUSH framework advocates the following criteria are used by local planning authorities to select locations of the designation of gaps. That is not saying that this local development framework joint core strategy is actually going to adopt the framework. It states that it will be for individual LDFs to identify the location of gaps. How about this JCS being absolute on gaps?
I hope Sir, that you will include Shedfield Parish in your site visits on Friday?