Sustainability Appraisal Main Modifications Report
Chapter 6 - SA Finding for Small-Medium Site Options
6.1 SA work in relation to reasonable alternative options for the small and medium site allocations to be included in the Local Plan was originally carried out and presented in the Regulation 19 SA Report.
No further SA work was undertaken in relation to the small and medium site options as part of the Supplementary SA Report (2020). The SA work presented in this chapter is therefore unchanged since it was previously published in the Regulation 19 SA report.
6.2 CBC considered the responses to the Regulation 18 consultation as well as the Call for Sites and investigated the options available for small and medium sites through the Sites Assessment process. At the Regulation 18 stage this comprised a three-stage process, as follows:
- Stage 1 Suitability and Availability (Exclusionary Stage): provisional capacity, flood risk, relationship to settlement, critical infrastructure, availability, and Green Belt. Options must pass this stage to be considered for further stages.
- Stage 2 Suitability (Detailed Assessment): assessment considering factors – previously developed land, community, physical constraints, relationship to settlement, agricultural land quality, transport and access to services, school capacity, water utilities, drainage and flooding, environmental health, environmental constraints, minerals and waste, planning history.
- Stage 3 Achievability: viability and achievability.
6.3 Identification of significant effects is integral to the sites assessment process that considers opportunities for positive effects, constraints/negative effects and possibilities for mitigation. It may be noted that both sites assessment method and the SA method were subject to public consultation. Thus, those site options that pass Stage 3 had already been tested through an assessment process that correlates with SA/SEA. CBC considered that only those site options that pass Stage 3 are reasonable alternatives (realistic and deliverable) and, therefore, should be tested through SA.
6.4 Following Regulation 18 consultation and the re-assessment of previously discounted sites and the amended timetabling for the Local Plan, a revised site assessment was developed taking account of the previous site assessment methodology. The revised methodology took into account the suitability, availability and achievability of the site and provided a qualitative assessment of each. All sites that were considered by CBC to be suitable, available and achievable were assessed using the sites SA framework.
6.5 The SA findings for each small-medium site option are summarised in Table 6.1 overleaf and any significant effects are described in the commentary below. The site options are clustered by settlement such that the implications for synergistic, indirect and cumulative effects can be further investigated where relevant.
6.6 Significant negative effects were avoided by integrating the SA with the sites assessment method that investigated options for opportunities and constraints (potential negative effects) with any possibilities for mitigation through Stage 2 (detailed suitability assessment) of the sites assessment process that determined whether sites were reasonable alternatives for the purposes of SA.
6.7 Many of the site options will result in the loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land (Grades 1-3a) with significant negative effects that are permanent and cumulative. However, other options are able to progress previously developed land with significant positive effects for SA Objective 11: Soils.
6.8 Those site options located in the Green Belt recorded significant negative effects against SA Objective 2: Communities if they were in areas that contribute strongly to Green Belt objectives and minor negative if they are in areas that only contribute weakly. The Council has carefully selected those options in the Green Belt for those settlements that have not been able to benefit from development previously and to ensure that cumulative effects are not significant.
6.9 Some of the site options were found to have minor negative effects with regard to SA Objective 3: Access to Services; accordingly, limited development was proposed for these settlements to mitigate for cumulative effects. Minor negative effects were indicated for all the site options with regard to SA Objective 6: Highways and Air Quality – but with uncertainty as the likely effects depend upon the options selected for each settlement.
6.10 Some options were found to have likely minor negative effects on SA Objective 13: Landscape; mitigation measures will be required through screening/design for those sites allocated. Similarly, some options are in Conservation Areas with the potential for negative effects on SA Objective 14: Heritage.
6.11 The effects of most options were minor positive with regard to SA Objective 12: Biodiversity; further studies and mitigation measures may be needed for those options with uncertain negative effects that are progressed as allocations. However, the Development Management policies should ensure that these potential negative effects will be mitigated.
6.12 Generally, the options indicated positive effects for SA Objective 1: Housing, SA Objective 2: Communities, SA Objective 10: Flood Risk Management and SA Objective 12: Biodiversity. Neutral effects were indicated for SA Objective 8: Energy and Climate Change and SA Objective 9: Water - and usually for SA Objective 14: Heritage since important assets were avoided through the Sites Assessment Method.
6.13 Further information about the likely effects of the small and medium sites that CBC selected for allocation in the submitted Local Plan and any changes made through the proposed modifications is provided in Chapter 8. Appendix D sets out the Council's reasons for selecting or rejecting each small-medium site option as an allocation in the Local Plan as proposed to be modified.