South Northamptonshire Settlements and Development
Management Local Plan
Issues Consultation Response Form
The Rural Areas: Villages
October 2013 – January 2014
Comments should be returned in writing using the form provided to
Andy D’Arcy
Lead Officer Planning Policy
South Northamptonshire Council
Springfields
Towcester
NN12 6AE
Alternatively e-mail planning.policy@southnorthants.gov.uk
Response forms should be returned by 5pm on Friday 24 January
2014 at the latest, and cannot be accepted after this time.
ISSUES FOR THE RURAL AREAS: DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY AND
SETTLEMENT HIERARCHY
1
What factors need to be taken into account in defining the hierarchy
of rural settlements within South Northamptonshire?
ANSWER
Use the same criteria that were used in SNC’s adopted Interim Rural
Housing Planning Policy, July 2009, which included the three sets of
services and facilities that combine to determine the sustainability of a
village, ie
Most important
Population (over 1500)
Primary School
Secondary School
Village Hall/Community Centre
Public House
Primary Health
Post Office
General Store/ Food Shop
Readily accessible to larger service centre (one hourly bus or rail
service)
Important
Other shop (not mobile)
Within 1000m of industrial estate
Police Station/Office
Pre-School
Petrol Station
Church/Chapel
Public Library (not mobile)
Other
Mobile Services (shops/ library)
Play Area
Sports Ground
Mains Gas Supply
Mains Drainage
2
What ‘development strategy’ approach should the Local Plan adopt
in the rural areas?
a cluster approach grouping settlements together that can
share services and facilities and have good access to one
another?
a more ‘dispersed’ approach that considers individual
villages on their own merits in terms of the local availability
of services and facilities?
ANSWER
The dispersed approach. Although Deanshanger has a library and is
near to the village in which I live, I have never used this library. However,
I have used the library in Stony Stratford (approximately the same
distance from my home) because it has far more shops than
Deanshanger and it has been convenient to use the Stony Stratford
library on some occasions when shopping there.
3
What approach should the Plan adopt on village confines?
Establish confine boundaries for all settlements
Establish confine boundaries for most settlements
Replace confine boundaries in favour of a criteria-based
policy so that new development is considered on its
individual merits.
ANSWER
Establish confine boundaries for most settlements, ie all those that would
be defined as ‘Restricted Infill Villages’ in the hierarchy of rural
settlements that would be created by using the criteria in my answer to
Question 1.
4
If confines are to be retained then what detailed changes should be
made to the existing confine boundaries in order to provide for
strong defensible boundaries for the future?
ANSWER
Ensure that the new confine boundaries only include current anomalies,
ie both those developments and property curtilages which are outside
the current boundaries.
5
What further changes to confines need to be made in order to
accommodate identified growth needs?
Should new development be situated on the edge of existing
villages or should there be further infill within villages?
For example, a single larger site is more likely to result in
community benefits whereas small infill sites, from which wider
community benefits are unlikely, may be easier to physically
integrate within a particular village.
ANSWER
Further infill within villages, with requirements for affordable housing to
be fulfilled by the use of an ‘exception site’ policy, ie use of land
immediately adjacent to the village confines boundary.
No development of a size which would result in community benefits is to
be allowed outside the confines boundary of ‘Restricted Infill Villages’,
unless approved by a majority of all the Parish’s registered voters, ie not
just a majority of those who vote on the day.
ISSUES FOR THE RURAL AREAS: TYPE AND SCALE OF
DEVELOPMENT
1
How much development should be allocated to each village?
The minimum required to meet local affordable and market
housing needs?
Additional development required to provide or sustain
important local services and facilities or to meet the
aspirations of individual local communities?
ANSWER
The minimum required to meet local affordable and market housing
needs.
2
What other types of new development should be permitted (e.g.
employment, retail, community facilities)?
ANSWER
Community facilities. Employment and retail development should only be
allowed where they will primarily benefit the community of the Parish
within which they are to be situated and also have easy access via
private and public transport.
3
How can we ensure that villages provide accommodation for a mix
of people including those on low incomes?
ANSWER
Accommodation For A Mix Of People
Ensuring that housing development in villages provides accommodation
for a mix of people is surely a job for the Local Planning Authority as it
requires the use of large amounts of statistical information about
projected population sizes, movement and employment opportunities not
just within the local area but probably even more importantly outside the
local area.
People On Low Incomes
When I was young and on a low income, the last place I would have
wanted to live was in a village. Is there convincing evidence that people
on low incomes actually want to live in villages? It would seem
reasonable to suppose that two of the main priorities for people on low
incomes are to ensure that their expenditure on food and transport
(whether for work or leisure) is as low as possible; villages by their very
nature are not the cheapest for either of these two priorities.
Food
Village shops do not stock a sufficient range of produce for the “weekly
shop” and products are inevitably more expensive than in the shops and
supermarkets in larger conurbations. Therefore travel outside the village
would normally be required to purchase the majority of the ‘weekly shop’
at a reasonable cost.
Transport
Public transport for villages is either sparse or non-existent and often not
suited for either work schedules, or leisure activities outside normal
working hours. Therefore living in a village inevitably requires the
additional cost of the ownership of private transport.
4
Apart from Affordable Housing, what mix and type of future housing
should there be within each village?
ANSWER
See answer to Question 3.
5
What type of employment including tourism should be permitted to
support the rural economy and create locally accessible jobs?
ANSWER
High-skill employment which has a low environmental impact,.
ISSUES FOR THE RURAL AREAS: SERVICES AND FACILITIES
1
How can services and facilities be safeguarded and provided to
meet the needs of rural communities? Should Parish Councils
prepare a list of assets of Community Value?
ANSWER
Parish Councils should prepare an accurate record of current assets of
Community Value (ie. services and facilities) so that well-informed
decisions can be made about what measures, if any, may be needed to
safeguard them.
2
Should the Local Plan encourage the provision and use of shared
space in community facilities (such as local shops, meeting places,
cultural buildings, cemeteries, allotments, public houses and places
of worship) and in other buildings providing services and facilities?
ANSWER
Yes.
3
How can the Local Plan seek to improve accessibility to local
facilities and larger centres through improved public transport
provision?
ANSWER
It is difficult to understand how the Local Plan could achieve any
improvement in the privatised public transport system. Any routes which
bus companies say will not be profitable are not provided, unless they
are subsidised by the County Council. Is it likely that the District Council
would provide a subsidy to the County Council for them to pass on to the
relevant bus company?
4
How can the Local Plan prevent the loss of existing infrastructure
or plan for the consequences of its loss and new infrastructure is
required to support new sites ie new housing and new sites for
mixed opportunities development?
ANSWER
The construction of this question is so badly phrased that it is difficult to
understand what is being asked.
However, if the “loss of existing infrastructure” within a village refers to
local facilities such as a village hall, pub, shop, post office, etc, then the
causes of the potential loss could well be caused by circumstances
outside the control of the Local Plan, eg
Village Hall, Pub
Changes in residents’ leisure activities and reductions in social drinking.
Shop
Increased online shopping.
Post Office
Reduction in Government support. Further increases in the use of email
and social networking for communications with friends and relatives.
Increased use of online “greeting cards.”
Increasing the number of houses in a village would not guarantee the
survival of such facilities, as I have seen no evidence that new residents
would not follow the national trends outlined above.
ISSUES FOR THE RURAL AREAS: ENVIRONMENT
1
Are there important pockets of local green space, road verges,
important views within or around the village that need additional
protection because of their local significance in terms of their
beauty, historical importance, recreational value, tranquillity or
wildlife contribution?
ANSWER
Yes.
OTHER ISSUES
1
Are there any other issues that the Local Plan needs to consider for
the rural areas within South Northamptonshire?
ANSWER
Provision of safe cycling routes between individual villages and between
the villages and the larger conurbations, to reduce the reliance on cars
for travel over relatively short distances.
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