*** Latest News - 17 October 2015 ***

  Housing - Site Allocations Plan - August 2015

*** Update 13 August 2015: Further clarification: it is now understood that it is not necessary for Sherington to complete its site assessment by the end of August, but merely to demonstrate that it is in progress. The scope of the Neighbourhood Plan is much wider than the MKC Site Allocations Plan and covers employment, retail, allotments, solar power, leisure, etc as well as housing. The relaxation of the timescales means that the scope of the site assessment can be broadened to address the potential of the sites for these alternative purposes too. The assessment may also include further sites, not identified below, that might be appropriate for these alternative purposes, but not for housing. ***

*** Update 3 August 2015: Following a meeting between Sherington and MKC Planning, there has been another change in MKC's intentions. As all 3 rural areas (Sherington, Newport Pagnell and Olney) are compiling Neighbourhood Plans, MKC are hoping that the Site Allocations Plan to be released for Consultation in September can be limited to the urban area, with the rural area being covered by the Neighbourhood Plans instead. However, for this to happen, Sherington must conduct its own comparable assessment of potential sites and demonstrate that we will be able to deliver 20-40 houses. If we don't, MKC will still publish its own assessment. Therefore, the following strategy is now being followed. ***

  • The assessment method is based on that described in Annex D of the Site Allocations Plan document issued in 2014. It uses this proforma. It is not an opinion poll and is based on 35 objective criteria. The results are therefore factual and simply assess the characteristics of each site. This process will not only identify which sites might be appropriate for housing, but will also identify those sites that should not be developed. Those sites which survive this process and are potential candidates can then be ranked according to their scores. Determining which sites on the resultant shortlist should go forward into the Neighbourhood Plan will then be the focus of a later stage.
     
  • The assessment criteria were developed by MKC for the entire Borough and some criteria do not discriminate between our sites. For example, the distances to the nearest secondary school and supermarket produce the same answer for all sites. Sherington can therefore define its own criteria to augment these. Possible examples are distances to the Village Hall and Pavilion.
     
  • Whilst the assessment is now being conducted by Sherington, MKC has offered its assistance and will be sharing its data. For the results to satisfy the Site Allocations Plan requirements, we need to conform to MKC standards.
     
  • YOUR ASSISTANCE WITH THIS PROCESS IS REQUESTED
     
  • Do you have any information on any of the sites that may influence its selection - either for or against? The MKC proforma will be useful for this purpose. This Excel summary table may also be helpful.
     
  • Are there limitations? e.g. is it a wildlife habitat, heritage/archaeological site or are there environmental issues (e.g. flooding)
     
  • What added value might there be from its development? e.g. planning gain, a site for the shop, a shop building, open space, play area, etc
     
  • The criteria were selected by MKC on a borough-wide basis and may produce the same response for each site (e.g. distance from a supermarket). Can you suggest additional criteria that might be better for discriminating between the local sites? The assessment criteria for purposes other than housing are still to be determined.
     
  • Feedback on the criteria in assessment Stages 2 and 4 are particularly useful.
     
  • Please submit your completed proforma or other information to either Will Bush or Ian Collinge ASAP - by the end of July at the latest.
     

  Sites

  • There are now 16 sites being assessed, as shown on the following map.
     
  • In addition to the 4 sites in the first consultation in 2014, 7 additional sites were submitted to MKC in late 2014, but 3 of these have been rejected by MKC as not being adjacent to the current built-up area, leaving 4 all in the High Street/Gun Lane/Church Road triangle. The other 8 sites have been suggested locally, as described below.
     
    • Alternative sites (green)
      • G1 Gun Lane East
      • G2 Perry Lane
      • G3 Bedford Road
      • G4 Stockings Close
      • G5 Water Lane North
      • G6 Water Lane South
      • G7 Water Lane Farm
      • G8 High Street opposite the Manor House
    • Sites Rejected by MKC(black)
      • Hazelmead Farm
      • Shoulder of Mutton Field
      • Sherington Bridge Farm
         
  • The 8 green alternative sites have been chosen to ensure that the assessment list includes all sites which satisfy the following criteria:
     
    • Next to the current built-up area
    • Large enough to accommodate 10 houses
    • Not behind houses with no road access
       
  • This ensures the assessment is thorough and does not favour particular owners. All owners are being consulted about their aspirations via a separate exercise by the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. If you believe there is another site which has been missed, please suggest it.
     
Other Potential Housing Sites

  Public Consultation

  • As it is now being carried out locally, all residents can input to the assessment, see above. Your input now will help to ensure it is accurate.
     
  • The arrangements for release of the assessment results have still to be determined. However, it might be expected that there will be further information on the process, potential sites and progress at the previously-announced Open Day from 10.30am to 12.30pm on Saturday 5th September 2015 in the Village Hall. Residents will also be kept up-to-date with the latest developments as they occur online.
     
  • Following that, it is likely that there will be an extended period of consultation during September and October. This will allow any further input to be received from residents and any mistakes in the assessment can be corrected. The village survey being conducted during August is merely the start of the consultation process.
     

  Exposing Myths

  • It appears that there are various misunderstandings in the village about the process. The following notes provide clarification.
     
  • "If a site was not submitted last December, it is now protected for 20 years". This is not true. Indeed, the opposite is true. In the planning system there is an in-built presumption that development be allowed. The policies in the Neighbourhood Plan will place constraints and controls on what is permitted. Protection against development is therefore only achieved by the Neighbourhood Plan explicitly saying just that and it will be in force during the lifetime of the Plan. To determine whether a site is worthy of protection, it needs to be assessed. Therefore it needs to be on the list. The assessment determines which sites should be protected as well as those which might be developed. The Neighbourhood Plan is both a 'Development Plan' and a 'No Development Plan'. 'No action' means 'No control' - which is the worst option open to us.
     
  • "It is not appropriate to assess sites that have not been suggested by owners". MKC has confirmed that anyone can suggest any site. In the past, owners/developers decided what they wanted to put on their land and then submitted a planning application on a 'take it or leave it' basis. The Neighbourhood Plan transfers more say to residents. Now the village as a whole decides what may or may not be done with any area within the Parish, and the owner/developer is limited to planning applications that conform to that policy. Whether or not the site has owner support is taken into account - it is one of the 35 assessment criteria. Obviously, there will be no development if the owner doesn't want it. However, owners can change their minds, and they can sell to someone else with different views. Planning policy has to cater for these possibilities too.
     
  • The Neighbourhood Plan does not force an owner to develop a site. Its purpose is to specify whether permission would be granted or not. Effectively, the Plan will say to some owners: "The village is happy for you to develop this site for up to xx houses (or for a specified alternative purpose), should you wish to do so, provided you comply with these constraints". For others it will say "Sorry, the village does not think it is appropriate to develop this site, so permission will not be granted". If the owner wishes to undertake development then he will still need to submit a planning application. If it conforms to the conditions then it is likely to be granted, and if it doesn't comply then it is likely that it will be rejected. If the owner does not wish to take advantage of what the village is permitting, then obviously he would not submit a planning application, and there would be no development on that site.
     

  Some Rules

  • We must identify sites capable of taking 20-40 houses to satisfy the MKC Core Strategy.
     
  • We can not plan for less than 20 houses.
     
  • If the village wishes, we can plan for more than 40 houses, e.g. to cater for perceived local housing need or to get additional planning gain. Newport Pagnell are doing just that.
     
  • Sites that are not big enough for 10 houses do not count towards the '20-40'. 'Infilling' comes in this category. MKC regard this as 'windfall' and therefore a bonus. For the purposes of this capacity, MKC apply a density of 30 houses per hectare.
     
  • The number of houses subsequently built can be less than this theoretical capacity. This does not matter. Indeed, it is quite likely that the actual developments will be at a lower density.
     
  • The '20-40' requirement can be satisfied by one site of at least 20, or two sites of at least 10 each. It is therefore possible that the optimum solution could be the development of only parts of possible sites, rather than the entire site.
     
  • It should be noted that the smaller the number of houses, the smaller will be the likely planning gain.
     
  • Apart from housing, the Neighbourhood Plan will need to consider sites for other purposes too, e.g. retail, employment, leisure, open space.
     
  • Four of the owners/agents have released artist's impressions of what development of their site might look like, in their view. They merely give an idea of just one possibility and therefore might be helpful as a very rough guide, but equally they can be misleading. Assuming the site is even chosen for development, the actual development could be completely different. It all depends on what policies we decide to put in the Neighbourhood Plan. We are not assessing these artist's impressions, as they are not relevant.
     
  • The Neighbourhood Plan covers the entire Parish. Therefore its policies will potentially affect every site within this area.
     

 

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