Chapter 1: Introduction

Showing comments and forms 1 to 14 of 14

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14424

Received: 03/08/2020

Respondent: Harlington Parish Council

Agent: Martin Small

Representation:

A01
P07
Failure to reassess additional reasonable alternatives to growth in Harlington.

Full text:

I am submitting these objections on behalf of Harlington Parish Council. The Parish Council met 6th July to consider the issues raised by the additional documents and responses prepared.
The seriousness, depth and range of the Parish Council’s concerns do not lend themselves to the online consultation response format.

I note that the on-line system requires comments on the legality, soundness and co-operation for the Local Plan before seeking 100 word comments,

The parish council did not consider the issues of legality or whether the required level of cooperation had been achieved via these additional documents – however there were serious concerns expressed over the way that the Council’s own application for the M1 / A6 link was self-approved, and the response by Luton Borough Council to this approach must bring into question the cross-border co-operation.

The Parish Council does not consider the Local Plan in its current form – with the additional documents, to be sound. The documents are selective in the material changes, the housing needs are now considerably out of date and do not reflect likely scenarios regarding projected economic downturn, and the Plan has not demonstrated that reasonable alternatives have been considered nor the required exceptional circumstances met to justify proposals to develop areas of the green belt and the AONB.

The seriousness, depth and range of the Parish Council’s objections exceeded the limitations of the on-line system hence they are submitted in this format

Object

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14444

Received: 10/08/2020

Respondent: Pigeon Land Ltd

Agent: Woods Hardwick Planning Ltd

Representation:

Please see attached document.

A11
P07
SA has not been a fair assessment and should not have reached the same conclusions as the previous SA. Updated SA has not solved the inspector's concerns. Over reliance on strategic sites. SA should be re-done with a focus on small & medium sites.

Full text:

Please see attached document.

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14511

Received: 11/08/2020

Respondent: Bedfordshire Land Promotions

Agent: JLL

Representation:

A01
P02
Concern is raised that the SA Review has not addressed the Inspector's requests

Full text:

Executive Summary
We represent owners of land at Caddington and have engaged with the Development Plan process consistently over the past 3 to 4 years. We attended the Caddington and Slip End Neighbourhood Plan Hearing and more recently the Local Plan EiP hearings.
We have reviewed the Local Plan Additional Evidence in the context of our previous comments and our attendance at the hearings in summer 2019.
It is clear to us that the Council has not undertaken the work required by the Inspectors as set out in their substantive letter of 30 September 2019. The Council has sought to justify the approach that they took in preparing their Plan, rather than reconsidering the evidence with an “open mind”.
As a result, we believe that Caddington continues to be incorrectly assessed in the settlement hierarchy and our client’s land at Caddington Brickfields has not been allocated.
The Council’s reassessment of the evidence through the Sustainability Appraisal Supplementary Report, has focused on their assessment of a small number of strategic sites, considering different options for their delivery and comparing only those strategic sites with each other. The Council has not however, considered robustly options for delivery of different sized sites to meet the same need.
In addition, the Council points to an evidence base for the allocation of housing sites and that evidence base clearly supports the designation of Caddington as a Minor Service Centre and the allocation of land at Caddington Brickfields. But, despite this, the settlement of Caddington is still identified only as a Large Village in the Plan hierarchy and the land at Brickfields remains unallocated.
Despite earlier requests, there is still no transparency as to the basis on which these decisions are made. This was a point that was noted by the Inspectors at the hearings in summer 2019 and there is nothing in the additional evidence that addresses this omission.
It is therefore not clear how the designation of settlements nor the allocation of small and medium sites have been made. Furthermore, the lack of a coherent strategy for this is an obvious deficiency in the preparation of the Plan and the gap between the evidence and the Plan was noted by the Inspectors at the hearings and the additional evidence has not resolved this issue.
In summary, the extent of the Council’s errors and omissions leads to the conclusion that the Plan must, we are afraid, be found unsound. The Council should therefore be required to withdraw its Plan and to reconsider its strategy based on an update of its own evidence. This will point to Caddington being reinstated as a Minor Service Centre and an allocation for the land at Caddington Brickfields for development to meet the needs of the local authority and neighbouring Luton.
FULL ATTACHMENT CONTAINS COMPLETE SUBMISSION

Object

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14534

Received: 12/08/2020

Respondent: Vistry Group

Agent: Woods Hardwick Planning Ltd

Representation:

SA has not been a fair assessment and has not considered all possible options. Updated SA has not solved the inspector's concerns. Over reliance on strategic sites. SA should be re-done with a focus on small & medium sites.

A02
P07
revised SA does not solve inspector's issues, over reliance on strategic sites, deliverability issues, more assessment on reasonable alternatives is required.

Change suggested by respondent:

Please see attached document.

Full text:

SA has not been a fair assessment and has not considered all possible options. Updated SA has not solved the inspector's concerns. Over reliance on strategic sites. SA should be re-done with a focus on small & medium sites.

Object

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14558

Received: 12/08/2020

Respondent: Legal & General Capital

Agent: Barton Willmore

Representation:

A02
P07
Propose alternative site. OAN is too low.

Full text:

See attachment

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14574

Received: 12/08/2020

Respondent: North Luton Consortium

Agent: Pegasus Group

Representation:

The North Luton Consortium broadly supports the Supplementary Report to the Sustainability Appraisal and its results at least in terms of its evidential support for the allocation of land North of Luton. Please see our attached representations under the heading 'Sustainability Appraisal – Supplementary Report (EXAM 115/115B).

A12
P02
Broad support for the Sustainability Appraisal findings for the North of Luton proposal.

Full text:

The North Luton Consortium broadly supports the Supplementary Report to the Sustainability Appraisal and its results at least in terms of its evidential support for the allocation of land North of Luton. Please see our attached representations under the heading 'Sustainability Appraisal – Supplementary Report (EXAM 115/115B).

Object

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14593

Received: 12/08/2020

Respondent: Mr NIcholas Stone

Representation:

I object to the 2018 plan with additional evidence as it does not include all the reasonable sites for consideration.

In particular, NLP 190 has capacity for 13,000 houses, and the government investment of £95m for infrastructure in the area would be a bonus.

A12
P02
Plan does not consider all reasonable alternatives

Change suggested by respondent:

Inclusion of the above.

Full text:

I object to the 2018 plan with additional evidence as it does not include all the reasonable sites for consideration.

In particular, NLP 190 has capacity for 13,000 houses, and the government investment of £95m for infrastructure in the area would be a bonus.

Object

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14594

Received: 12/08/2020

Respondent: Hallam Land Management

Agent: Carter Jonas LLP

Representation:

A02 - VIEW IN CONJUNCTION WITH OTHER REPS + ATTACHMENTS FROM BRIAN FLYNN (CARTER JONAS) OBO HALLAM LAND
P07
SA findings are not robust and outcomes are inconsistent. SEA directive requirements have not been met.

Change suggested by respondent:

The proposed allocation at Marston Gate Expansion would have substantial adverse landscape and visual effects. The landscape evidence that has informed the decision to allocate the site is not robust. The proposed allocation would have a harmful effect on designated heritage assets, despite the proposed additional mitigation measures.

The proposed allocation at Holme Farm Biggleswade would have substantial adverse landscape and visual effects. The landscape evidence that has informed the decision to allocate the site is not robust. The site is not well related to Bigglewade and strategic employment in this location would not encourage travel by sustainable modes of transport, despite the proposed footbridge and shuttle bus service.

It is requested that the following amendments are made to the assessments for strategic employment sites in Appendix G of EXAM 115 (in EXAM 115B):
• landscape score for land at Ridgmont (M1 Junction 13) – Marston Gate Expansion is revised to ‘significant negative’.
• heritage score for land at at Ridgmont (M1 Junction 13) – Marston Gate Expansion is revised to ‘minor negative’.
• landscape score for land west of A1 Biggleswade - Holme Farm Biggleswade is revised to ‘significant negative’.
• sustainable transport score for land west of A1 Biggleswade - Holme Farm Biggleswade is revised to ‘neutral’.
• landscape score for land at Winterwoods Farm is revised to ‘blue – neutral’.
• heritage score for land at Winterwoods Farm is revised to ‘blue – neutral’.
• sustainable transport score for land at Winterwoods Farm is revised to ‘significant positive’.
• soils score for land at Winterwoods Farm is revised to ‘blue – neutral’.

The recommendations in the SA should be revised to conclude that land at Winterwoods Farm could be allocated as a strategic employment site at M1 Junction 13.

Full text:

The Inspectors raised concerns about the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) process and findings. The updated SA assesses the proposed modifications against the sustainability objectives. Appendix G of EXAM 115 contains a reassessment of the reasonable strategic employment sites against the sustainability objectives.
A key aim of the SA process is to make a plan more sustainable. It tests the social, economic and environmental impacts of various plan options, to help choose the most sustainable options. It also seeks to determine the extent to which the principles of sustainable development are integrated into the plan and its policies.

The requirements for Strategic Environmental Assessment are contained in the SEA Directive (2001/42/EC) and the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004.
Paragraph 14 of the SEA Directive states:
“Where an assessment is required by this Directive, an environmental report should be prepared containing relevant information as set out in this Directive, identifying, describing and evaluating the likely significant environmental effects of implementing the plan or programme, and reasonable alternatives taking into account the objectives and the geographical scope of the plan or programme;....”
Schedule 2 of the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004 sets out the information to be included in environmental reports. The likely significant effects on the environment need to be assessed, including on cultural heritage and landscape issues.

It is clear that the assessment of policies and sites is a legal requirement under the SEA Directive and SEA Regulations. Therefore, the assessment of potential site allocations in the SA for emerging CBLP must be based on robust evidence to determine the selected option. As set out below, the findings of the assessment process for the SA are not robust and the outcomes are inconsistent, which is relevant because the SA has informed decisions to allocate or reject potential strategic sites; this particularly affects the Winterwoods Farm Brogborough site. Therefore, it is considered that the requirements of the SEA Directive and SEA Regulations 2004 have not been met.

Appendix G of EXAM 115 (contained in EXAM 115B) contains a reassessment of the reasonable strategic employment sites against the sustainability objectives. Representations are submitted to the following sites:
• Land at Ridgmont (M1 Junction 13) – Martston Gate Expansion
• Land west of A1 Biggleswade - Holme Farm Biggleswade
• Land at Winterwoods Farm
General Landscape Comments on SA
In EXAM 112 the Council acknowledges inconsistencies between the SA findings and the Evidence Base:
“6.4.4. Having reviewed both assessments, it is clear there is a distinct difference in the level at which the assessments have taken place. Employment site assessment provides a very detailed analysis, whereas the SA provides a high-level assessment looking at the principal of development…
6.4.5. The assessment undertaken within the Supplementary SA, takes a higher level approach to the assessment of landscape impacts and provides an appraisal of the effects of a development on a location. It is also noted that the council’s assessment is not based on objectives that have been fully scoped and considered against a robust baseline, as with the SA. Therefore, the approach within the SA is considered to be a more balanced and consistent approach, rather than a restrictive approach.”
The Council has adopted an excessively high level approach in the SA to the assessment of proposed strategic employment allocations, rather than a detailed site assessment.

Hallam Land Management has instructed FPCR to assess the additional landscape evidence, including within EXAM 115. The FPCR technical notes are submitted with these representations.
FPCR strongly disagree with the logic in dismissing the site based assessment in favour of a higher level approach. In relation to landscape and visual impacts, a more detailed site level analysis provides a better understanding of the baseline upon which to judge the resultant effects.

Therefore, it is considered that in terms of the assessment of strategic employment allocations against the landscape related sustainability objectives the SA is not robust.
Land at Ridgmont (M1 Junction 13) – Marston Gate Expansion
Pg. G30 to G33 of EXAM 115B includes the assessment of Marston Gate Expansion allocation (referred to as Land at Ridgmont (M1 Junction 13) against the sustainability objectives. It is noted that the site scores ‘minor positive’ for the landscape objective (Objective 13) and ‘neutral’ for the historic environment objective (Objective 14).

FPCR disagree with the assessment of the site against the landscape objectives. Assessing the impact of the proposal against objectives within the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Claylands National Character Area is not wholly representative of the landscape character within which the site is located. The site lies on the edge of the Cambridgeshire Claylands, at the foot of the Bedfordshire Greensand Ridge National Character Area, and this should have been assessed.

At a regional level the Central Bedfordshire Landscape Character Assessment places part of the site within the Greensand Ridge Landscape Character Type, and this should have been assessed. These omissions highlight the deficiencies of relying upon a higher level appraisal.
Analysis of various national and county level landscape character assessments also confirm that the site lies within a valued landscape which is sensitive to development. FPCR’s assessment of the site accords with the findings of the Council’s published Landscape Character Assessment and Landscape Sensitivity Assessment. The agricultural landscape within which the site occurs is open in nature, with important views of the Greensand Ridge and historic villages which feature along the skyline. However, the SA has completely disregarded the negative landscape and visual effects that would result from the Marston Gate expansion site, thereby exposing a fundamental flaw in the scoring process.

FPCR conclude the proposed allocation would result in significant negative landscape and visual effects including long term harm upon the setting of the Greensand Ridge and historic villages, along with users of the public rights of way network including the Greensand Ridge Walk and the John Bunyan Trail.
Therefore, it is requested that the landscape objective score (Objective 13) for the Marston Gate Expansion allocation is amended to ‘significant negative’.
In terms of heritage for Marston Gate Expansion, the commentary in the SA for historic environment (Objective 14) appears to be inconsistent with previous assessments and the objections to this allocation from Historic England. There are eight designated assets that Historic England had raised concerns about i.e. Ringwork Scheduled Ancient Monument, Malton Spinnery Scheduled Ancient Monument, Ridgmont Conservation Area, Husbands Crawley Conservation Area, Church End Conservation Area, Woburn Registered Park & Garden, St James Church and Segenhoe Manor. Yet the commentary for historic environment for this site states that “There are limited heritage assets in the area. The nearest Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings to the south of the junction are approximately 1km away. There is a Listed Building adjacent to the south of the site. Approximately 1.5km north of the motorway there is also a Scheduled Monument”. The assessment of the historic environment is clearly based only on proximity of the site to designated heritage assets rather than an actual assessment of the potential effect on the setting and significance of the asset. Therefore, it is considered that the historic environment assessment for Marston Gate Expansion is not robust.

As set out in representations to EXAM 106, Orion Heritage conclude that the proposed mitigation measures to address heritage impacts have not removed the potentially harmful effects on designated heritage assets, about which HE have also expressed grave concerns.
Therefore, it is requested that the historic environment objective score (Objective 14) for the Marston Gate Expansion allocation is amended to ‘minor negative’.

Land west of A1 Biggleswade - Holme Farm Biggleswade
Pg. G50 to G53 of EXAM 115B includes the assessment of Holme Farm Biggleswade allocation (referred to as Land West of A1 Biggleswade) against the sustainability objectives. It is noted that the site scores ‘minor positive’ for the landscape objectives (Objective 13) and ‘significant positive’ for sustainable transport (Objective 7).

FPCR disagree with the assessment of the site against the landscape objectives. The proposed employment development would be located within an open level landscape and impact upon the rural setting of Biggleswade. It is highly unlikely that the proposed development would result in an overall positive landscape effect as envisaged within the SA. The site boundary has been revised to include additional land. However the revised site boundary would still extend the main built up area of Biggleswade southwards into an existing open landscape. FPCR consider that employment development would be visually prominent and impact upon the landscape character of the area.
FPCR conclude that it is unlikely that the proposed development could be accommodated within the landscape without resulting in long term adverse visual effects on the users of the A1M and public rights of way situated in close proximity to the site. Therefore, it is requested that the landscape objective score (Objective 13) for the Holme Farm Biggleswade allocation is amended to ‘significant negative’.

As set out in the representations to EXAM 108, it is unlikely that the measures to make this site more sustainable in transport terms – a pedestrian footbridge and shuttle bus – will be effective. The site scored ‘significant positive’ for sustainable transport (Objective 7). It is note certain whether the proposed pedestrian footbridge would actually be delivered and the proposed shuttle bus has a limited service and frequency. It cannot be correct that this site achieves the highest score for sustainable transport in such uncertain circumstances. Therefore, it is requested that the sustainable transport objective score (Objective 7) for the Holme Farm Biggleswade allocation is amended to ‘neutral’.

Land at Winterwoods Farm
Pg. G38 to G41 of EXAM 115B includes the assessment of Winterwoods Farm against the sustainability objectives. The following scores are highlighted:
• 13 Landscape: green - minor positive/uncertain
• 14 Heritage: yellow – minor negative/uncertain
• 7 Sustainable Transport – minor positive
• 11 Soil – minor negative/neutral uncertain
These scores are assessed below, including comparison with the scores for the proposed allocation site at Marston Gate Expansion.

A landscape and visual impact assessment of the proposed development was undertaken for the 2016 planning application. The site is not covered by any local or national landscape quality designations. The site and surrounding area lies within the Forest of Marston Vale and the proposed development provides an opportunity to increase woodland coverage in accordance with strategic objectives for the area. A high quality design strategy has been prepared for the proposed development. The landscape and visual effects can be minimised through the proposed comprehensive package of design and mitigation measures. The green infrastructure framework will ensure that the proposed development would be well integrated within the local landscape, and would deliver a range of environmental enhancements. An attractive ‘gateway’ entrance feature is proposed along Salford Road and designed to be sympathetic to its rural aspect. The proposed development would not result in significant adverse visual effects within the wider landscape including upon settlements such as Hulcote or Salford, or upon the public rights of way network such as the Greensand Ridge Walk or John Bunyan Trail.
A site specific policy could ensure that the landscape mitigation and enhancement are implemented. It is requested that the that the score for landscape is changed to ‘green – minor positive’.

An assessment of heritage and archaeology was undertaken for the 2016 planning application to identify the significance and potential impact of the proposed development on heritage assets. The Assessment confirms that the proposed development lies outside of the setting of Brook Farm House. The Assessment acknowledges that there could be unrecorded archaeological remains present within the Application Site, and recommended that a condition is attached requiring a programme of archaeological evaluation to be undertaken.

Hallam Land Management has instructed Orion Heritage to assess the findings of the heritage assessment for Winterwoods Farm within EXAM 115. The Orion Heritage note is submitted with these representations.
Orion’s analysis indicates that the assessment on the historic environment in the SA is not robust. The assessment is incorrectly based on the geographic proximity of designated heritage assets to a site, rather than an actual assessment of the potential effect on the setting and significance of the asset.

Orion’s heritage assessment for Winterwoods Farm has very different conclusions. The setting of Brook Farmhouse is limited in extent, due to the screening effect of the planting and the industrial depot to the south situated between the farmhouse and the site, resulting in limited visual setting implications. The promoted development at Winterwoods Farm would result in a change within the area to the north of the farmhouse but as the site does not contribute to the significance of the house, it would not result in harm to its significance. The Winterwoods Farm site lies beyond the setting of the other two listed buildings mentioned in the assessment and therefore there would be no effects on their setting and significance. The Winterwoods Farm site has also been subject to a geophysical survey which has established that the site has low potential for archaeological remains.

Orion conclude that the promoted development at Winterwoods Farm would have a very limited impact on both designated heritage assets and archaeological remains.

It is requested that the score for heritage is changed to ‘blue – neutral’.
Orion also conclude that the promoted development at Winterwoods Farm is markedly less harmful to heritage assets than the proposed allocation at Marston Gate Expansion with proposed additional mitigation measures.
The Winterwoods Farm site benefits from the same access to Ridgmont Station as the proposed Marston Gate Expansion site. As set out in the previous planning application for Winterwoods Farm, the proposed development would include improved connections to the station by sustainable modes of transport. Therefore, in terms of sustainable transport (Objective 7) the Winterwoods Farm site should achieve the same score as Martson Gate Expansion i.e. ‘significant positive’.
An assessment of the soil was submitted with the previous application at the Winterwoods Farm site. The assessment demonstrated that 85% of the site is Grade 3b, 13% is Grade 3b, and 2% is previously developed land. Therefore, the impact on agricultural land and soils is known, and the majority of the site is not best and most versatile land. Therefore, the impact on soils at the site should be ‘neutral’.

Conclusion
If SA is intended to inform policies and site allocations then Winterwoods Farm should have been allocated as a strategic employment site at M1 Junction 13 in terms of the impacts on significant constraints, including landscape and heritage.

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14699

Received: 12/08/2020

Respondent: Prologis UK Limited

Agent: Lichfields

Representation:

A01
P02
Challenges Sustainability Appraisal findings concerning strategic warehousing and approach to assessing employment sites

Full text:

This is one of multiple submissions. The attachment letter covers all submissions. The documents are submitted against each consultation document as a separate submission SEE ATTACHMENTS
A01

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14710

Received: 12/08/2020

Respondent: Gladman Developments Limited

Representation:

A01

Full text:

PLEASE SEE ATTACHMENT

Attachments:

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14740

Received: 12/08/2020

Respondent: Urban & Civic

Representation:

A02
P07
Propose alternative site at Tempsford. SA scoring of Tempsford should be reconsidered.

Full text:

See attachment

Attachments:

Support

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14745

Received: 12/08/2020

Respondent: O&H Properties

Agent: David Lock Associates

Representation:

A01
P07
Supports approach towards SA, appropriately solves concerns raised by inspectors, some changes are needed in SA scoring of SA2.

Full text:

This is one of multiple submissions. The attachment letter covers all submissions. The documents are submitted against each consultation document as a separate submission SEE ATTACHMENTS
A01

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14755

Received: 12/08/2020

Respondent: The Crown Estate

Agent: Savills

Representation:

A02
P10
The SA has not had a full review in respect of the sites and does not address the Inspectors concerns. The SA does not consider all reasonable alternatives, so it is unclear as to whether the plan is proposing the most appropriate strategy. All proposed mods should be published for consultation. The 5-year HLS position needs clarifying.
From our attached letter:
1.55 In summary, the SA SR has not undertaken a full review of the SA in respect of all sites thus it has not addressed the Inspectors clearly-stated concerns.

Change suggested by respondent:

It is not possible for us to propose modifications to the Local Plan at this stage as our representations identify issues with the Local Plan preparation process and the process needs correction prior to it being possible to identify what might be the necessary modifications.

Full text:

See attachments

Comment

Sustainability Appraisal - Supplementary Report [EXAM 115/115B]

Representation ID: 14762

Received: 12/08/2020

Respondent: Willis Dawson

Agent: Pegasus Group

Representation:

A02
P10
Generally supportive of how the 'reasonable alternatives' have been considered. Option 5 is particularly good. Believe that alternatives which equaled >39,350 homes should have been considered. Should to location in Ox-Camb Arc, more houses should have been considered. Support growth via small and medium allocations as a more sustainable mode.
Concern is raised that Exam 115 has not undertaken a revised SA of small and medium sized allocations subject to proposed modification by Exam 113 – Housing Technical Paper and Exam 117 - Suggested Main Modifications arising from Additional Evidence.
Completed revised SA for HAS14 and HAS20 which highlight positive site allocations.


• Exam 115 has not considered a 'reasonable alternative' for growth greater than 39,350
• The fact that Option 3 'Village extensions' performs poorly should not prevent site allocations at villages in the Green Belt in the south of the authority given current Government policy and NPPF guidance supporting development in villages.
• The SA is one document that provides evidence for formulating the spatial strategy of the emerging Local Plan – the Council is at liberty, and entirely in accordance with national planning policy to make policy decisions about the location of growth in the south of the authority area to address previous growth restraint policy – such as Green Belt – in the preparation of their Local Plan. This includes making small and medium sized allocations at villages located in sustainable locations.
• Small and medium sized site allocations encourage small and medium sized house builders to deliver new market and affordable homes.
• Small and medium sized site allocations are important contributors to five- year housing land supply.
• The NPPF encourages the allocation of a range of size and type of sites to encourage the delivery of a mix of housing including housing to meet local needs.
• A revised site-specific sustainability appraisal has been undertaken for HAS20 in accordance with the amended Policy requirements for the site in Exam113.
• A revised site-specific sustainability appraisal has been undertaken for HAS14 to address matters that have now been resolved through a submitted planning application.

Full text:

See attachments

Pegasus, on behalf of our client Willis Dawson, is generally supportive of Exam 115 and its explanation of how 'reasonable alternatives' for the preparation of the emerging spatial strategy have been considered through the plan making process.
Of particular merit is the introduction of Option 5: 'Growth around sustainable transport hubs' (Table 2.3 p.5 Exam 115).
However, the following points are raised with regard to Exam 115 and its associated appendices for further consideration by the Inspector's.
Limiting the quantum of development to 39,350 for housing growth option scenario's.
Paragraph 2.20 of Exam 115 states that;
"… it is not considered by the Council that there are reasonable alternative options for the amount of housing to be delivered through the Local Plan, which should be subject to SA. This is also not something that has been raised as a concern by the Inspectors."
Exam 115 states at paragraph 2.22 that the Council are committed to an early partial review such that "housing targets will be reviewed again in the near future."
Pegasus consider that an alternative greater than 39,350 should have been tested through the SA process. The Inspectors have yet to provide any comment on the submitted housing numbers and now have no updated SA evidence to inform their conclusions should they require the Council to consider such an alternative.
Central Bedfordshire is located within the nationally recognised CaMkOx arc growth zone within which the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) propose that one million new homes are delivered by 2050, Exam 115 does not address this matter. The Local Plan is being considered in the context of NPPF 2012 which requires at para 47 that authorities should 'boost significantly the supply of housing'1, therefore as part of the SA process and in the light of the CaMkOx arc an alternative that considered a housing number higher than the submitted housing requirement should have been appraised.

Chapter 4 Supplementary SA Findings
Table 4.1 on p.25 of Exam 115 sets out the likely sustainability effects of options for distribution of growth.
It is noted that Option 5 'Growth around sustainable transport hubs' performs particularly strongly for SA Objectives 1 -Housing, 4-Employment, 5 Health & Equality, 6- Highways and air quality and 7 – Sustainable transport.
Paragraph 4.33 states that Option 5 has the ability to reduce levels of car use and paragraph 4.37 states that Option 5 is one of the best performing options.
Our client's allocation at Harlington (HA20) is located at a sustainable transport hub with access to Harlington Station immediately to the south of the site providing frequent connectivity to Luton to the south and Flitwick and Bedford to the north.
Option 3 – Village extensions – especially those with services and facilities - performs less well in the SA, however paragraph 4.6 points to the positive effects that growth in villages has "as new development could help to strengthen the viability of existing villages and support their services."
The summary at paragraph 4.37 states that Option 3 – Village extensions is the poorest performing Option, however attention is drawn to the Government's Housing White Paper 'Fixing our broken housing market' (Feb 2017)2 which points to the potential that villages have to accommodate growth. Paragraph 1.29 at p.25 of the White Paper states;
" Policies in plans should allow a good mix of sites to come forward for development, so that there is choice for consumers, places can grow in ways that are sustainable, and there are opportunities for a diverse construction sector. Small sites create particular opportunities for custom builders and smaller developers. They can also help to meet rural housing needs in ways that are sensitive to their setting while allowing villages to thrive." (emphasis added)
It is clear that it is the Government's intention that plan making should involve the release of a mix of size of sites in villages to support their vitality. It is also clear, as a matter of good practice, that where such villages offer higher order services and facilities such as secondary education and sustainable transport connectivity, such as at Harlington, that sequentially they are preferable locations for development.
Paragraph 54 and 55 of the NPPF (2012) state; "In rural areas…. Local planning authorities should in particular consider whether allowing some market housing would facilitate the provision of significant additional affordable housing to meet local needs."
The most recent National Planning Policy Framework (Feb 2019) continues to highlight at paragraph 59; "the Government's objective of significantly boosting the supply of homes" and acknowledges at paragraph 68 that; "Small and medium sized sites can make an important contribution to meeting the housing requirement of an area, and are often built-out relatively quickly." Paragraph 78 states that; "To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities.
Planning policies should identify opportunities for villages to grow and thrive, especially where this will support local services."
Moreover, small and medium sized developments in villages can help deliver the priorities of national and local planning policy including affordable housing in rural locations allowing those who may otherwise have to move away to retain local connections. They also offer the opportunity for the delivery of self-build plots or accommodation suitable for the ageing population.
Small and medium sized sites in villages allow small and medium sized house builders to enter the market thereby diversifying the supply and type of development sites under construction at any one time. Such sites are also important contributors to five-year housing land supply being able to deliver within five years of grant of planning permission where evidence on delivery in accordance with the glossary of the NPPF (2019) is available.
While development in villages may have been the least best performing spatial option for distribution for growth shown in Table 4.1 of Exam 115 it is clear that current Government and national planning policy as contained in the NPPF facilitates the development of small and medium sized sites in villages through their allocation in Local Plans.
Page 54 of Exam 115 provides a conclusion with regard to the allocation of small and medium sites in the Green Belt within Area A;
" The Supplementary SA re-appraised growth distribution options and concluded that village development comes out least favourably.
The Reg.19 SA found that restricting growth in Area A due to the Green Belt, was likely to have negative effects for the needs and health of communities in that part of CBC, as well as the cross-boundary needs of Luton Borough. Without growth in Area A, communities would not benefit from the potential revitalisation that new development can provide. In addition, relying solely on strategic sites within Area A could impact on the delivery of much needed homes to meet the needs of Central Bedfordshire and Luton in the short term.
Whilst village growth wouldn’t negate the need for a strategic site to be delivered, two medium sites and various small sites were also allocated within the submitted Local Plan." (emphasis added).
Our client supports this statement as allocations at both Eaton Bray HA14 and Harlington HA20 are situated within Area A. Neither Harlington or Eaton Bray have benefited from planned growth in recent years owing to their location within the Green Belt. Eaton Bray is a large village with a primary school, shop, church, village hall and associated local services and facilities situated on the southern boundary of the authority while Harlington is a Minor Service Centre with Upper and Lower Schools plus a train station providing a sustainable transport hub.
Both villages offer sustainable locations for new development to meet local needs, and in the case of Harlington to also help meet Luton's unmet housing needs.

Further Consideration of Allocated Sites
Concern is raised that Exam 115 has not undertaken a revised SA of small and medium sized allocations subject to proposed modification by Exam 113 – Housing Technical Paper and Exam 117 - Suggested Main Modifications arising from Additional Evidence.
Pegasus draw to the Inspector's attention that a site-specific SA of HAS20 - Harlington, as modified in Exam 113 and Exam 117 is not before the Examination.
The Reg 19 SA did not account for the delivery of a primary school at the site or for the opportunity to provide enhanced walking and cycling connectivity to and from the site along both Westoning Road and Toddington Road, nor does it reflect the considerable work undertaken by our client on highway safety matters in relation to the site.
Moreover, the Reg 19 SA does not reflect the current application submitted to the Council at Eaton Bray which is being held in abeyance with all matters resolved, including S.106 Heads of Terms and Conditions agreed. All matters identified as possible issues by the Reg 19 SA have been able to be resolved through the planning application process.
These matters were previously bought to the attention of the authority by Pegasus by email dated 29th January 2020 which is attached at Appendix 1 to these representations.
Pegasus are concerned that the Inspector's should not attempt to undertake any comparative assessment of small and medium sized sites using the Reg 19 site specific SA as that evidence has now been superseded with the submission of Exam 113 and Exam 117 as explained above.

Revised Pegasus SA of HA14 and HA20
In order to address the matter raised above a comparative SA of HAS 20 – Harlington and HAS 14 – Eaton Bray has been undertaken by Pegasus using the Sites SA Framework at Table 3.3 of Exam 115 which is attached at Appendix 2.
Points from the revised Pegasus SA to draw out with regard to HAS20 – Harlington include;
• Access to services and facilities – score does not increase but allocation includes a site for a primary school
• Economy and Employment – score does not increase but a new all-through primary school will provide enhanced employment opportunities at Harlington
• Transport and Movement - An enhanced score against improvements to the highway network – including highway safety improvements for vehicles and pedestrians
• Biodiversity and Geodiversity – The masterplan submitted to the authority demonstrates substantial biodiversity gains over the existing use of the site as an arable field with strategic green infrastructure providing new habitats and ecological corridors as well as enhanced linkages and connectivity to the Green Belt beyond.
Points from the revised Pegasus SA to draw out with regard to HAS14 – Eaton Bray include;
• Site incorrectly scored by Reg 19 SA as is located within the Green Belt.
• Site incorrectly scored by Reg 19 SA as is located within 800m walking distance of most services and facilities including school, convenience store and Parish meeting rooms – see Appendix 3.
• Site is located within 480m of open air recreation and playing fields and Public Rights of Way.
• There are no negative effects of traffic resulting from the site
• All matters relating to flood risk, heritage and landscape have been resolved through the submitted planning application
• Development at the site will result in improved biodiversity and diversified habitat compared to the agricultural field that currently exists.
Pegasus trust that Appendix 2 (revised SA) provides the Inspector's with the updated SA position with regard to our client's sites HAS 14 and HAS 20, in accordance with the criteria of Table 3.3 Exam 115, at this stage in the Local Plan examination process.