Report to Hopton and Coton PC. 5/2/2020
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. It was Strategic allocations that gave you 3,000 houses and an extension of the employment sites in the present Local Plan.
First 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. The Strategic Development Locations and the SHELAA documents can be seen on the Borough Council's website. That’s the present state of play with the Plan for Stafford Borough.
- The other issue we raised was why the Neighbourhood Plan Area had not been designated. We were told that it would be put before the cabinet on 5th March. Assuming the cabinet were in favour then letters would be sent to all residents and businesses in the parish advising them. We asked if they were willing to add to the Issues & Options consultation by running an extra event in Hopton in co-operation with the Parish Council. The offer was declined which is a pity because our task is to guide development in the Parish through the planning system. We can do this by both influencing the Borough Council’s Local Plan and by producing our own Neighbourhood Plan.
Issues and Options consultation
Let us now have a quick look at the Issues and Options consultation.
It covers Vision & Objectives, Connections, Health & Wellbeing, Environmental Quality, Housing and Economic Prosperity.
- 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
We need to consider the Issues and Options consultation and respond before the end of March.