South Norfolk Village Clusters Housing Allocations Plan (Reg. 18 Draft)

Ended on the 2nd August 2021
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Core policies

The main element of the Village Cluster Plan is the identification of sites to meet the GNLP requirement of at least 1,200 additional homes in the South Norfolk Village Clusters, which is dealt with in the individual cluster sections. Each allocated site will have an accompanying policy, setting out how many dwellings that site is allocated for and also any specific requirements which development of the site needs to meet e.g. protection of particular features on the site (such as trees, pond, hedgerows etc.), address a particular constraint of the site (such as a change in levels), access from a particular point, protection of particular views or taking account of the impact on a specific heritage asset. In addition, we are also considering having a small number of Core Policies that would apply to all of the sites. These policies need to strike a balance between not repeating what will be in the GNLP Strategic Policies or already contained in the South Norfolk's Development Management Polices and Government's National policy, whilst making it clear what our expectations are of the Village Clusters sites.

Policy SNVC1 - Standard requirements

Whilst each Village Cluster site will be different, all the sites are similar in that they are of a smaller scale, with most being between 12 and 35 dwellings, and they are on the edge of smaller, more rural settlements. To avoid repletion in each of the individual site polices, we are suggesting that the Plan includes a Policy on 'Standard requirements'. In addition, this policy could set out over-arching requirements to ensure specific infrastructure constrains are addressed.

Waste Water Constraints

Anglian Water's Water Recycling Long Term Plan covers the period to 2045 and will address ongoing capacity constraints in the existing wastewater network. However, it is possible that the phasing of development across the village clusters allocation sites will be affected in part by the availability of wastewater capacity within the wastewater network.

Existing capacity constraints have been identified at both the Woodton and Ditchingham Water Recycling Centres (WRC). These constraints may impact upon any additional connections to these WRCs in the short term (until 2025) whilst upgrade works are planned and implemented. Possible longer-term constraints have been identified in a number of WRCs that serve the South Norfolk village cluster area. Specifically, the following WRCs are considered likely to require significant upgrades from 2025 onwards: Long Stratton, Diss, Saxlingham, Whitlingham-Trowse and Woodton.

Specific requirements within this policy could include:

  • safe and convenient access to/from the site for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians;
  • proportionate enhancements to pedestrian and cycle connections to local services and facilities;
  • minimising the impact on the amenity of existing residents
  • relevant supporting surveys and studies, such as ecological surveys or flood risk assessments;
  • landscaping consistent with a rural, edge of village location, taking into account the South Norfolk Landscape Character Assessments;
  • provision of open space on sites of 15+ dwellings;
  • A requirement to ensure that all applicants for major development contact Anglian Water Services prior to engaging with the Local Authority to ensure that there is adequate capacity, or that capacity can be made available, for connection to the wastewater network.

(37) QUESTION 2: Do you agree that the Village Clusters Plan should include a policy on 'Standard requirements'? If so, do you agree that the criteria suggested are appropriate, or should they be amended and/or should additional criteria be added?

Policy SNVC2 – Design

The Council already has a number of Polices to encourage good quality design, in the Development Management Policies Document, and in the emerging GNLP. In addition, many Neighbourhood Plans also include policies relating to design. However, the many of these Preferred sites, although relatively small, are in edge of village locations, where achieving a high quality of design will be paramount. A Design Policy, could include:

  • Development (including vehicle parking and open space provision) to be of an appropriate density, layout and massing for the locality, taking into account:
  • relevant Conservation Area Character Appraisals and Management Guidelines;
  • the South Norfolk Place-Shaping Guide SPD (2012), or any equivalent replacement;
  • the South Norfolk Landscape Character Assessments;
  • the design policies of relevant Neighbourhood Plans;

(30) QUESTION 3: Do you agree that the Village Clusters Plan should include a policy on 'Design'? If so, do you agree that the criteria suggested are appropriate, or should they be amended and/or should additional criteria be added?

Policy SNVC3 – Housing Mix

There are often assumptions made about the type of new housing that is required, whether that be affordable housing for those who cannot afford open market rents/prices, housing for first time buyers, housing for families, or housing for older people wishing to downsize. These assumptions have changed during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, where suggestions have been made that more people are seeking rural housing locations now that their need to commute is reduced, or that access to outdoor space is an increased priority. However, the policies in a Local Plan need to be based on clear evidence. Currently the 2017 Central Norfolk Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) gives us some of that evidence. This SHMA is currently in the process of being updated, which will give this Plan a more up-to-date picture. In addition, local communities can identify specific local requirements through a Neighbourhood Plan. A Housing Mix Policy could include:

  • Development should meet the affordable housing and housing mix requirements of the most up to date SHMA (or equivalent) available at the time it is permitted. This will include the need for single storey development, or similar, to meet the needs of older occupants.
  • Where a relevant Neighbourhood Plan provides more up to date local information, or a greater level of detail, this will used to modify the housing mix accordingly.

(32) QUESTION 4: Do you agree that the Village Clusters Plan should include a policy on 'Housing Mix'? If so, do you agree that the criteria suggested are appropriate, or should they be amended and/or should additional criteria be added?

To find out more about the Village Clusters Housing Allocations Plan, please visit our Virtual Exhibition.

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