District Plan & Ware Neighbourhood Plan

What do you think about the quality and pace of housing development in Ware?

District Plan & Ware Neighbourhood Plan

Postby Pat-H » Thu 16 Jan 2014 7:57 am

I'm no expert on housing and the complexities of the housing planning process but I watched a programme on TV a few nights ago looking at the current staus of housing develoments in light of David Camerons promise not to flood local towns with massive housing developments.

They looked at a number of massive developments in paces like Hook Norton (700 homes being expanded by 70 in one development on green field land) and others and they mostly all being possible due to a local of a local sustainable housing development plan. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013 ... mes-policy

As we all know the pledge of the government to reduce red tape in planning was seen as a good thing to encourage building and development and one clause added for the many pages of control and consultations removed was an assumption that development applications should be accepted. So the emphasis isn't on the developer to justify a development it's for the local authority to demonstrate it doesn't fit with their local plan. Failure to have a local plan in place (and a plan that is considered acceptable, a draft plan is not consider a plan till approved) automatically puts the development through. One account of the failed objections at Hook Norton sated "against the recommendations of their planners who understood that the situation leads to a clear case of the law requiring a presumption in favour of development."

So I see posts on the draft District plan and information on the Ware Town council site on the Ware Neighbourhood Plan http://www.waretowncouncil.gov.uk/Core/ ... lan_1.aspx

Does that imply we don't have a current sustainable housing plan? And if so it puts us in a very exposed position re developments.

The upshot of the programme seems to be that the changing of the planning process and the lack of speed for local authorities to respond and put in place the required plans (forcing them to commit to a housing expansion plan) has created a window of opportunity for practically un-opposed planning applications. Even on green field sites.

So hopefully somebody knows that we do have such a housing plan (and it's an approved plan) otherwise be prepared for some outrageous development applications that will be unstoppable locally.
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Re: District Plan & Ware Neighbourhood Plan

Postby craig » Thu 16 Jan 2014 9:49 am

Hi Pat.
The current draft district plan was discussed on Tuesday.
viewtopic.php?f=32&t=104

The District Plan can be downloaded here:
http://online.eastherts.gov.uk/moderngo ... 01.pdf?T=9
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Re: District Plan & Ware Neighbourhood Plan

Postby Steve » Thu 16 Jan 2014 12:09 pm

craig wrote:Hi Pat.
The current draft district plan was discussed on Tuesday.
viewtopic.php?f=32&t=104

The District Plan can be downloaded here:
http://online.eastherts.gov.uk/moderngo ... 01.pdf?T=9

Both of these links refer to the draft plan that will cover the years up to 2031. It has yet to be approved and adopted.

Pat-H wrote:Does that imply we don't have a current sustainable housing plan? And if so it puts us in a very exposed position re developments ...

The Local Plan 2007 is the current statutory development plan for the district, against which all planning applications are judged.

Information about the current local plan can be found at http://www.eastherts.gov.uk/localplan
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Re: District Plan & Ware Neighbourhood Plan

Postby RichardH » Thu 16 Jan 2014 2:08 pm

Pat-H wrote:They looked at a number of massive developments in paces like Hook Norton (700 homes being expanded by 70 in one development on green field land)


That's nothing. The High Cross development that's just been submitted would mean 144 homes being increased by 57 - a 40% increase, compared with the 10% increase at Hook Norton.
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Re: District Plan & Ware Neighbourhood Plan

Postby Byronsnr » Thu 16 Jan 2014 2:21 pm

Pat-H has a good overview of this topic and made some very valid comments and information which the townsfolk of Ware need to "Wake Up Ware!" Currently there is no effective "Peoples Champion" working in the true interest of Ware. Pats reference to Draft or Approved Plan is a key point as East Herts Plan I believe is still only at the "Plan Stage"
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Re: District Plan & Ware Neighbourhood Plan

Postby Pat-H » Thu 16 Jan 2014 10:47 pm

RichardH wrote:
Pat-H wrote:They looked at a number of massive developments in paces like Hook Norton (700 homes being expanded by 70 in one development on green field land)


That's nothing. The High Cross development that's just been submitted would mean 144 homes being increased by 57 - a 40% increase, compared with the 10% increase at Hook Norton.


That was in part why I raised my question. If we don't have an approved plan in place (and it sounds like we don't) then the law will presume the development is justified and any local objection or refusal will just get over turned.

It sounds like we're in a very vulnerable position and the dangled carrot of reduced red tape planning processes was a very clever way to create a neat short term window of what would otherwise be unacceptable developments happening.
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Re: District Plan & Ware Neighbourhood Plan

Postby RichardH » Fri 17 Jan 2014 11:32 am

I did have a look at the current district plan (selfishly, just the "villages" section) and there are no actual numbers for permitted development, just comments about "limited small-scale and infill housing development.... may be permitted" - which as you say, goes down to interpretation of what constitutes small scale.
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Re: District Plan & Ware Neighbourhood Plan

Postby Steve » Fri 17 Jan 2014 1:57 pm

Pat-H wrote:So I see posts on the draft District plan and information on the Ware Town council site on the Ware Neighbourhood Plan http://www.waretowncouncil.gov.uk/Core/ ... lan_1.aspx

Unfortunately the page about the Ware Neighbourhood Plan is undated so it's impossible to know how relevant to the current process it actually is. I would have thought that the process of neighbourhood planning would come before that of district planning or at least feed in to it. The fact that there's no mention of any neighbourhood plan in the draft District Plan suggests that this has not happened. In the absence of any updates from the Town Council I wonder if the neighbourhood plan has simply run in to the sand and/or become an irrelevance.
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Re: District Plan & Ware Neighbourhood Plan

Postby Pat-H » Fri 17 Jan 2014 2:33 pm

RichardH wrote:I did have a look at the current district plan (selfishly, just the "villages" section) and there are no actual numbers for permitted development, just comments about "limited small-scale and infill housing development.... may be permitted" - which as you say, goes down to interpretation of what constitutes small scale.


I would then imagine the district plan has to allocate the share of the required housing target across those villages. It's very clear that lack of a clear strategy that correctly meets the targets set won't be acceptable and in law the District will be considered to have no plan in place and that any developments will be legally assumed to be viable and acceptable.
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