When the Clerk and the Neighbourhood Plan Consultant met with Alex Yendol, the Head of Forward Planning at Stafford Borough Council, and his assistant, Ellie, two issues of immediate concern came up.
I asked about the houses planned for Hopton & Coton Parish. It turns out that Strategic allocations ignore parish boundaries. The Plan for Stafford Borough provided for 3,000 houses and the extension of employment sites in a Stafford Town boundary drawn through Hopton and Coton Parish. These are shown on the interactive map of The Plan for Stafford Borough 2011-2031.
SHELAA, the Strategic Housing & Employment Land Availability Assessment.
- This is a document that contains plans of sites offered up as development sites by individuals and organisations. Stafford Borough have done a basic assessment of each site to see what barriers there may be to development. There are 8 sites in Hopton & Coton and they are shown in the Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) under Hopton.
Issues and Options consultation
The Parish Council carefully considered the Borough Council's Issues and Options consultation document for its new local Plan. It covers Vision & Objectives, Connections, Health & Wellbeing, Environment Quality, Housing and Economic Prosperity. The Parish Council examined the consultation document and asked:
- Does their Vision conflict with ours in Hopton?
- Connections. Should the Plan set local parking standards? What about transport and Broadband?
- Health & Wellbeing. How should the Local Plan deal with these issues?
- Environmental Quality. What about air quality? What about recycling? (We are downwind of an expanding Stafford and the tip at Alstonfields.).
EHDNA, the Economic and Housing Development Needs Assessment
Before I come to the last two headings let me introduce you to EHDNA, the Economic and Housing Development Needs Assessment.
This supports the Borough Council’s policies and can support ours. EHDNA is not alone. There are a large number of documents that support the Local Plan and, if you call for changes to the Local Plan, the Borough Council will point to agreed strategies and policies that support the Plan. We will come back to this later.
- Economic Prosperity. Where should employment sites go? Are there issues with visitors? How do you feel about the expansion of rural businesses?
- Housing. What should be the minimum density of housing? Should there be some affordable housing on all sites?
- Should the Plan support food growing, tree planting and forestry?
- Report by John Blount, Neighbourhood Plan Consultant