Contact Officer: Jo Brombley
To receive the 2018 Authority Monitoring Report (AMR), for Planning.
The AMR was published in December 2018 and provides monitoring information and statistical data for the borough for the period from 1 April 2017 to the 31 March 2018. The purpose of the AMR is to monitor progress with the production of planning policy documents and consider the effectiveness of the council’s planning policies against relevant performance indicators. The document is published annually in accordance with the requirements set out in Regulation 34 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. This is the second report to be published since the adoption of the Local Plan in May 2016.
The Authority Monitoring Report for Planning 2017/18 was introduced by the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Infrastructure.
It was highlighted that the housing target of 850 new homes was close to being met (with 828 net homes having been built), and that the council’s housing trajectory indicated that this target would be met in future monitoring years.
Progress with planning documents
There was praise for the number of neighbourhood plans in force.
There was a query in relation to powers offered by a plan as a defence against speculative development. The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Infrastructure explained that neighbourhood plans were part of the development plan and would strengthen the LPA’s position in resisting such planning applications.
It was clarified by the Planning Policy Manager that neighbourhood plans were required to be in general conformity with the policies in the Local Plan. It was suggested and agreed that any future review of the Local Plan would need to include engagement with the neighbourhood plan groups at the outset. The Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) was informed by a call for sites, and would be used to inform future plans.
It was explained that all parishes had been encouraged to develop neighbourhood plans. Where there was no appetite to do so, but additional new housing was required by Local Plan Policy, BDBC would need to consider allocating sites on that area’s behalf.
It was queried that whilst the report stated that the council was taking a pro-active approach, the number of extant sites was also rising. The Planning Policy Manager explained that there was no clear evidence of land banking in the borough, and that the council was working with developers and other stakeholders to overcome specific barriers to delivery.
It was noted that the percentage of new dwellings on previously developed land had decreased in the past year. It was explained that this was as a result of more development on green field sites allocated in the Local Plan. It was anticipated that this trend would continue as more Local Plan allocations came forward.
Concern was voiced that of the 828 new homes built, 311 were delivered through windfall. The Planning Policy Manager explained that the relatively high number of completions on windfall sites reflected the building out of sites that had received consent before the adoption of the Local Plan. Members noted that some delivery on windfall sites was positive, particularly for smaller sites, which could make efficient use of land in the urban area. Concern was raised about permitted development office conversions, in particular the fact that they did not provide affordable housing or community infrastructure.
It was clarified that the high figure for the previous and current year was due to the stage that had been reached in the Local Plan process and that expectation was for the numbers to drop in the forthcoming couple of years. It was further explained that the 50 units a year target for windfall was applicable only to smaller sites.
Members requested a simple breakdown of the number of dwellings delivered on allocated sites, windfall sites and as part of permitted development conversions.
It was clarified that the Local Plan policy in relation to regeneration (Policy SS2), had a broad geographic scope at the time of writing. Although a number of priority areas were identified, the policy was not restricted to those particular areas.
There was a request to reference specific councillors on footnote 18 of page 35 of the document. This was rejected on the basis that it was a formal public planning document, and would be too onerous to reference all individuals connected with each aspect of the report.
Types of housing
A ward by ward breakdown of dwelling delivery was requested and agreed to be provided.
Concern was raised at the number of affordable 2 bedroom flats that had been delivered, and the fact that many families were being housed in such accommodation where there was no requisite requirement to provide outside space.
It was suggested that in the future the committee may wish to explore the allocation policy in relation to families being housed in flats, housing need, and the fact that affordable housing was increasingly being provided in the form of flats rather than houses.
It was further suggested that there be a note for members prepared in relation to offsite affordable housing contributions, detailing the cumulative amount received, restrictions on their spend and any spending proposals.
Given the ageing population it was suggested that a report should be bought back to the committee detailing how the council intends to meet older persons’ needs in the future, and that this should be considered as part of any Local Plan review.
In relation to gypsy traveller accommodation it was noted that whilst progress had been made, the borough was currently 3 pitches short of being able to demonstrate a five year supply of pitches, which could leave the borough potentially vulnerable to speculative development.
With reference to design quality, it was requested that officers review the figures within Table 5.29 to provide some clarification as to why there were ‘good’ ratings in 2016/17, but none in 2017/18. Officers agreed to provide a note to members.
It was clarified by the Head of Planning and Infrastructure that an up to date understanding of employment and economic needs throughout the borough would form part of any future review of the Local Plan.
It was suggested that any review of vacant office space should be clear that it does not include buildings that are not capable of beneficial occupation (e.g. Grosvenor House). The committee recognised that Article 4 directions would come into force on three of the borough’s important employment sites in 2019, and requested that future AMRs should report the effect that they were having.
The committee noted the difference between the small amount of new retail floorspace approved in the town centre, as opposed to the amount of out of centre floorspace permitted.
It was suggested and agreed that another members’ training session on planning enforcement be arranged for after the borough elections.
It was clarified that Basingstoke Golf Course was not included within the 5 year land supply, because the site was not currently considered to be deliverable. As progress is made with the site it will be reviewed as part of future housing land supply calculations.
Manydown was included within the five year supply with the first 50 units due to be completed in 2020/21.
Resolved: The Committee
· Note the Authority Monitoring Report for Planning, 2017/18;
· Request that the above comments be noted and actions delivered.