Council working hard on policy for new housing

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IN response to the recent letter entitled ‘Hucknall Will Be Transformed Into One Huge Housing Estate’ in the Dispatch, Ashfield District Council would like to explain the current situation regarding housing supply in Hucknall.

The council is currently progressing the Ashfield Local Plan, the policies contained within the plan will provide a basis on which decisions on planning applications will be made.

The Local Plan sets out the key objectives of the council in terms of how the district will evolve over the coming years. It seeks to promote economic growth within Ashfield while also protecting the environment, including green spaces and wildlife species.

The council has looked carefully at all areas of the district to assess how housing need can be met over time. It is recognised that Hucknall has received significant levels of housing in recent years.

As a result of this the council is not seeking to allocate land in the surrounding Nottinghamshire Green Belt in Hucknall. All of Ashfield District Council’s proposed housing sites in Hucknall are located within the settlement boundary.

The council is working closely with service providers to ensure that there is sufficient provision of services and facilities, such as schools and medical centres.

National Planning Policy identifies a requirement to significantly boost the supply of housing. This reflects that not enough housing has been built to meet population needs.

There are a number of factors which are taken into account when assessing future housing need, such as:

• Population increase;

• Changes to the family structure (i.e. divorce/separation/people choosing to live alone);

• Increasing life expectancy (aging population);

• Need for a labour pool to resource employment needs (inward investment).

Any future housing growth must be based on evidenced need. Following government changes to regional planning, the council decided to commission a Housing and Population Projections Study. The study sets out the level of anticipated growth in households in Ashfield up to 2031, based on certain scenarios.

The Local Plan is not just about housing growth, it sets out a vision for how we would like Ashfield to be in the future and sets out an approach as to how to get there; this involves economic growth. The council has assessed the evidence and identified a future housing requirement of 2,284 dwellings for Hucknall up to 2023. To help achieve this aim a total number of 1,391 dwellings can be delivered on sites which already have planning permission.

This leaves a requirement of 893 dwellings. Evidence has demonstrated that this can be accommodated within the settlement boundary.

In terms of the Rolls-Royce site, no final decisions have been taken regarding the allocation of the site. Following the recent consultation on the Local Plan preferred approach document (which ended in early November) the council is reviewing all responses and will make any necessary changes to the document.

A developer did undertake consultation with the local community in September 2012 but, at the time of writing, a planning application has not yet been received.

The site which is mentioned in the letter, on Nottingham Road, Hucknall, was submitted to the council by a developer. The developer asked for the site to be considered and assessed for housing development as part of the council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment process.

The site was assessed on these merits. However, the Council will have regard to representations received as it moves towards the next stage of the Local Plan.

With regard to the Local Plan Preferred Approach consultation, this is the first consultation stage in the Local Plan process. It has provided the council with valuable information which will feed into the next stage of the Local Plan.

Further consultation is planned for the spring of 2013.

Anyone wishing to be involved in the Local Plan process should contact the forward planning team at Ashfield District Council on 01623 457382 or email localplan@ashfield-dc.gov.uk.

COUN CHRIS BARON (Lab),

Hucknall member of Ashfield Council.