Premature Application…?

Proposed development site south of Foord Road, Hedge End. Photo: HEBAG

Whilst Eastleigh Borough Council continues its consultation on the pre-submission version of the new Local Plan, it has been revealed that a development consortium intend to submit an application for Outline Planning Permission on the Pylands Lane and Boorley Green sites this Autumn.

As things stand, the pre-submission version of the Local Plan was “agreed for consultation” by Eastleigh Borough Council on 26th July 2012. That consultation process is now well underway, with the consultation due to close on Friday 12th October 2012. 

Explaining the next stages of the process, Eastleigh Borough Council say, on their website, that;

The Local Plan (with its supporting evidence), a schedule of any proposed changes to the Plan and any objections to the Plan that cannot be resolved will then be submitted later this year to the Secretary of State for examination. 

The purpose of this consultation is to seek views on whether the plan is sound and has met legislative requirements.

After the consultation, all the representations received will be analysed and if necessary minor changes to the Plan will be proposed to address these.  Major changes to the Plan cannot be made at this stage.

The examination should take place in the spring of next year, and we hope to be able to adopt the plan by the end of 2013/early 2014. 

Despite the formal adoption of the new Local Plan still being a year away, a team of Master-planning Architects [John Thompson & Partners] and Town Planning Consultants [WYG] have been busy for some time, working up plans for the Pylands Lane and Boorley Green sites, following a procedure that they describe as “Community Planning”.

Workshops were held in February of this year, where members of the public were encouraged to participate in developing proposals for the two sites.

Reports from the Boorley Green and Pylands Lane community planning workshops can be downloaded from the John Thompson & Partners website.

Both of those reports acknowledged that;

Many participants felt that the workshop was premature as Eastleigh’s Local Plan is still in its draft form. The design team explained that as proposals were now being drawn up for the site, it was important to engage with the local community. It was acknowledged that the fact that information and ideas had been contributed did not mean that participants endorse the idea of development at Pylands Lane / Boorley Green.

Recently announcing two further exhibitions, where the latest proposals for Boorley Green and Pylands Lane will be shown to the public, John Thompson & Partners, the Masterplanning Architects, explain that;

The exhibitions are being organised by John Thompson & Partners and WYG on behalf of Ashill Developments and S&R Developments prior to the submission of the outline planning application to Eastleigh Borough Council in the autumn.  

Outline Planning Permission, as explained here, is a way of testing whether the Local Authority is likely to approve a proposed development. A full planning application, requiring a lot more work, would need to be approved before any building work could start. 

But sites that have been granted Outline Planning Permission are also a lot more valuable than if OPP had not been obtained.  Such sites are sometimes sold to realise a profit at an early stage, without incurring all the planning and development costs.  

Also announced today, and adding further uncertainty perhaps, were Government plans to stimulate the economy by encouraging more house-building. These include measures which relax the requirement for developers to build affordable housing if the inclusion of such housing would make the development “commercially unviable”. 

As there is a national shortage of affordable housing that is quite a controversial proposal, though the Government has also claimed that it will make more funds available to keep such developments viable. The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said that ;

“If you are finding it too expensive to raise money yourself to put shovels in the ground to employ on construction sites and build homes for private rent and to build affordable homes we are going to make it cheaper for you to do so”.

“Our calculations are that there are some sites where they will be able to proceed without building affordable homes. That is why we are putting up £300 million to more than make up for any loss.

“The net effect of all of these proposals, let me be very clear, is more, not less, affordable homes.”

Whether and how that affects the proposals for the Boorley Green and Pylands sites, not to mention the other sites listed in the new Local Plan, remains to be seen.

You do however, have the opportunity to ask such questions at the two exhibitions that are to be held next week.

Pylands Lane Development – Public Exhibition
Monday 10th September, 3pm-8pm at the Norman Rodaway Pavilion, Heath House Lane Recreation Ground

Boorley Green Development – Public Exhibition
Wednesday 12th September, 3pm-8pm at the Macdonald Botley Park Hotel

Although opposed to the developments, The Hedge End and Bursledon Action Group (HEBAG) are keen that as many local residents as possible should attend those exhibitions, a spokesperson for HEBAG saying to Eastleigh News; 

The more people that are aware of the proposals and have the chance to comment the better.

 

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site. 

  6 comments for “Premature Application…?

  1. Rob Byrne
    September 7, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Hmmm If you think that’s premature, JS Bloor have a consultation tonight at St Thomas church, Fair Oak about a proposed 90 unit development on green fields north of Hardings Lane that aren’t even earmarked for development in the local plan. I would like to see the council acquire this land as a small nformal country park to protect the woods. Wonder how the govts new policies will effect this sort of speculative development ?

  2. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    September 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    These include measures which relax the requirement for developers to build affordable housing if the inclusion of such housing would make the development “commercially unviable”.

    This came up at the Cabinet meeting last night via a question from Cllr Winstanley.

    Keith House stated that the publicised proposal concerning the requirement for a proportion of ‘affordable’ houses could be waived applied only to ‘stalled’ developments and that there were no such developments in Eastleigh.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a97e2114-f7f4-11e1-bec8-00144feabdc0.html#axzz25oM1TFK6

    (Errr…Doesn’t Russell House count? I understand the affordable housing requirement was one of the points the developers contested)

    • Chris Thomas
      September 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Russell House application was refused by EBC, the element of affordable housing was one ground for appeal. The planning inspector considered the reasons for refusal in the round and refused the appeal supporting EBC position.

    • Anne Romaine
      September 8, 2012 at 9:20 am

      Interesting then to see what will happen with the planning application for the Mount retirement village in Bishopstoke. EBC’s development brief says affordable housing element, developer says don’t have to

      • September 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm

        I suspect that if Developers didn’t have to pay high prices for land, build new roads, new community centres and fund some ridiculously indulgent pieces of Public Art, housing would naturally tend to be more affordable…

  3. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    September 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Speaking of Russell House it is worth mentioning the notable victory EBC planning team scored in getting their refusal upheld on grounds of poor design.
    Having attended the public enquiry I certainly didn’t expect that outcome!
    Hopefully I will get to write it up but just to say the praise given to the planning Dept by Cllr Thomas and ELAC was well deserved IMO.

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