South Norfolk Village Clusters Housing Allocations Plan (Reg. 18 Draft)
The Assessment of Sites
The Council has only assessed sites which have been put forward to us for consideration by (or on behalf of) the landowner or the potential developer of the site. The primary reason for this is to ensure that there is a reasonable prospect that the sites which are eventually allocated will come forward within the lifetime of the Plan. Many of the sites were initially put forward as part of the Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP) process, which meant they were considerably larger than what is being sought in the Village Clusters Plan. However, in March 2020 the Council sought to contact all of the site promoters to ask them whether they wished to amend their sites to take into account the requirements of the Village Clusters Plan i.e. for smaller sites which reflect the smaller, rural communities that they will be a part of, and which will contribute to the smaller sites requirement in the NPPF. A further 'call for sites' was included in the GNLP Regulation 18 consultation between January and March 2020. Almost 450 sites have been assessed for this consultation.
The assessment of sites has been undertaking in a consistent manner. The starting point has been the Norfolk-wide Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) Methodology (2016), which has been agreed as part of the Norfolk Strategic Planning Framework process and is considered to be consistent with Government guidance. The Norfolk HELAA methodology also forms the basis of the GNLP site assessment process.
Whilst the HELAA provides a starting point, the full site assessment is a more detailed process which includes looking at the planning history of the site, undertaking a site visit and applying some more detailed criteria. Most noticeably the site assessment added criteria relating to the local Landscape Character Assessment, Better Broadband for Norfolk and revised the distance to services criteria to better reflect the rural nature of the Village Clusters Plan. Specifically regarding the latter, the Village Clusters assessment has widened the number of services to which distances to/from the site have been assessed, to include some which are characteristic of rural villages, a village/community hall and pub, as well as pre-school provision and formal sports facilities. The maximum distance to services was also increase, to reflect the more dispersed pattern of development across the South Norfolk Village Cluster. However the choice of sites has still been informed by the need for safe and convenient access to those services, as well as by an accompanying Sustainability Appraisal, see below.
The Site Assessments were also supported by a Technical Consultation with both internal consultees on landscape, heritage and environmental protection issues, as well as a range of external stakeholders, on issues such as highways, utilities and minerals and waste. The technical consultation also included issues of flood risk and ecology, although technical comments on these issues are expected to be provided in response to this consultation.
A copy of the HELAA Methodology and Site Assessment form for the Village Clusters Plan have been published as supporting documents with this consultation.
Supporting Documents can be found here.
To find out more about the Village Clusters Housing Allocations Plan, please visit our Virtual Exhibition.