VALP Main Modifications
Representation ID: 3278
Respondent: Home Builders Federation Ltd
Legally compliant? Not specified
This modification is unsound as it is inconsistent with national policy.
This proposed modification includes additional text that would allow neighbourhood plans (NPs) adopted prior to the publication of the Vale of Aylesbury Local Plan (VALP) to maintain different affordable housing requirements. We have three concerns regarding the soundness of this additional sentence.
Firstly, such an approach is unsound as it is inconsistent with paragraph 30 of the NPPF in relation to the status of neighbourhood plans and non-strategic policies. This paragraph clearly states that NP policies will only take precedence over existing non-strategic policies in a local plan. Where local plan is adopted subsequent to a Neighbourhood Plan then the neighbourhood plan's policy will be superseded.
Secondly, the policy would have an impact on strategic allocations as set out in section 4 of the VALP. Paragraph 29 of the NPPF states that Neighbourhood Plans should not undermine strategic policies yet MM115 will require strategic allocations in areas with Neighbourhood Plans to provide a higher level of affordable housing than that tested at the examination of the local plan.
Finally, the testing of viability of NPs adopted prior to the submission of the VALP cannot have tested the impact of the policies it contains. For example, the Cheddington Neighbourhood Plan was considered to be consistent with viability evidence from 2012 and not the evidence published to support the examination of the VALP. As such the approach taken by the Council cannot be justified as an NP adopted prior to the examination and adoption of the VALP will not have been able to take into account all of the polices in the higher tier plan and the viability evidence supporting that plan.
The proposed amendment is therefore considered to be unsound and must not be taken forward into the adopted Local Plan.