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Object

VALP Proposed Submission

S1 Sustainable development for Aylesbury Vale

Representation ID: 785

Received: 13/12/2017

Respondent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Agent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

Bovis Homes object to Policy S1, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development and boosting the supply of housing to meet identified needs.

Full text:

The overarching principle of Policy S1 which seeks to deliver sustainable development in the District to meet identified development needs is supported.

However, the policy sets out the terms for the assessment of a development proposals, and it is crucial that the socio-economic objectives and direct and indirect benefits that would result from the development are considered along with the (primarily) environmental considerations already set out in the last part of the policy. They too are critical elements of sustainable development as defined by the NPPF. Notably there is no reference to the imperative to meet the need for market and affordable housing in the District and wider Housing Market Areas. The policy should, therefore, be amended to explicitly refer to the relevant socio-economic objectives.

Furthermore, item (d) of the policy inappropriately seeks to give priority to the use of brownfield land. That does not reflect NPPF's focus on housing delivery, where the use of previously developed land is encouraged, but is no longer prioritised (NPPF paragraph 17 and 111). Indeed, Policy S1 is inconsistent with the Local Plan's own Policy S7 in that regard.

Soundness
For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes object to Policy S1, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development and boosting the supply of housing to meet identified needs.

Object

VALP Proposed Submission

S2 Spatial Strategy for Growth

Representation ID: 786

Received: 13/12/2017

Respondent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Agent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

Considered unsound as it is:
-not positively prepared as it is not based on a strategy that will ensure that the OAN will be met within the plan period;
-not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies;
-not effective in that some allocation sites will not deliver the scale of development the Submission Plan currently assumes, and the identified needs will not be met;&
-inconsistent with national policy in that it doesn't fully reflect the Government's priorities/policies in terms of enabling sustainable development and boosting the supply of housing.

Full text:

Whilst the underlying principles of the spatial strategy set out in Policy S2 are supported, the policy as currently framed will not enable sufficient sustainable development to come forward to meet the objectively assessed development requirements of the District and Housing Market Areas (HMAs). It therefore, fails to accord with the provisions of the NPPF and is fundamentally unsound in that regard.

Policy Context
A central tenet of the NPPF is the provision of sufficient housing to meet the needs of present and future generations and, in doing so, to widen the choice of housing (paragraphs 7 and 9). To achieve that it requires (paragraph 14) "local planning authorities should positively seek opportunities to meet the development needs of their area", that "Local Plans should meet objectively assessed needs, with sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change", and set out a "clear strategy for allocating sufficient land" (paragraph 17). Delivery is underpinned by paragraph 47, which seeks to significantly boost the supply of housing requiring local planning authorities to "use their evidence base to ensure that their Local Plan meets the full, objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the housing market area".

In terms of the required evidence base, the NPPF requires (para. 159) local planning authorities to prepare a Strategic Market Housing Assessment (SHMA) to assess their full housing needs, and that the SHMA should identify the scale and mix of housing and the range of tenure that the local population is likely to need over the plan period. That should meet household and population projections, address the needs for all types of housing and cater for housing demand in the area.

Assessment of Need
The housing requirement as set out in Policy S2 is derived from the Buckinghamshire Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment Update (HEDNA) published in December 2016 and its Update Addendum Report in September 2017. They conclude that the Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) for the District for the period 2013-2033 is 19,400 dwellings. However, whilst the HEDNA appears to largely follow best practice to assess the housing needs arising in the area, there are some critical matters which do not appear to have been addressed in the translation to a housing requirement in the Local Plan:

* The selected HMA has substantial migration and commuting flows beyond its borders, notably with Milton Keynes. The HEDNA does not examine the impact of the Milton Keynes HMA on the District, or therefore, identify the quantum of housing required to meet Milton Keynes' housing need in the District (see below).

* Nor has it considered the employment needs of Milton Keynes, when there is a clear overlap of the Functional Economic Market Area (FEMA).

* The approach to affordable housing is flawed. It seemingly continues to rely on private rented sector provision (through housing benefits) to meet some of the affordable housing needs and does not consider whether "an increase in the total housing figures included in the Local Plan should be considered where it could help deliver the required number of affordable homes" as required by the PPG (2a-029-20140306).

* The housing figure in Policy S2 must be expressed as a minimum requirement rather than a target to ensure that the acute housing needs are actually met.

These matters must be addressed if the Local Plan is to accord with the NPPF's policy imperatives as set out above.
Duty to Cooperate
The Duty to Cooperate (DTC), introduced by the Localism Act 2011, requires the Council to engage "constructively, actively and on an on-going basis to maximise the effectiveness of Local and Marine Plan preparation in the context of strategic cross boundary matters" (NPPG). The NPPF requires (para 181) that authorities "demonstrate evidence of having effectively cooperated to plan for issues with cross-boundary impacts". The demonstration of effective cooperation in reality means a positive outcome to these strategic planning discussions, even if agreement is not secured on all issues. Compliance with the duty to cooperate is central to ensure that a Council delivers sustainable development (NPPF paras 150-151) and meets its full objectively assessed needs for market and affordable housing in the HMA (NPPF para 47), including the unmet needs of neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with sustainable development (NPPF para 182).

A Memorandum of Understanding was agreed in July 2017 between Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe District Councils and Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership. That sets out the commitment for those authorities to work together under the Duty to Co-operate (DtC). Consequently Policy S2 states that the Local Plan will make provision for the delivery of a total of 33,000 dwellings in the period to 2033, comprising of 19,400 to meet its own needs and estimated 8,000 dwellings to accommodate the anticipated unmet needs arising from Wycombe, Chiltern and South Bucks.

However, there is very little reference to Milton Keynes in the Local Plan and there is no documentation of any constructive engagement between the two Councils in the Plan's evidence base. That is despite the close proximity of the City to the District, the strong physical and functional connections that arise from that, and the consequent extension of the Milton Keynes HMA and FEMA into the District.

The Proposed Submission Plan:MK consultation document highlights that Milton Keynes will need to deliver at least 1,767 dpa until 2031 (based on the 2017 SHMA), and the recent Milton Keynes Future 2050 Commission Report states that level of need will persist until 2050. Given the geography of the area, it is inevitable that some or all of that will need to be accommodated in Aylesbury Vale District. The District Council should, therefore, commit to working together with Milton Keynes Council in order to identify a positive outcome that meets the development needs of the area. To entirely ignore the key issue of the relationship with Milton Keynes at this stage is entirely unacceptable, either in terms of the City's housing needs arising in the District or the inevitable unmet need from within the City.

Spatial Strategy: Land Supply
The Local Plan's strategy to focus future housing growth on the Strategic Settlements in the District is accepted. However, there is an over reliance on a small number of development locations to provide the vast majority of the required housing. In order to meet the identified housing needs, all of those sites must come forward in accordance with the ambitious timescales set out in the Housing Trajectory as set out in the VALP Housing Land Supply Soundness Document (2017).

The concern is particularly acute in relation to Aylesbury, where a total of 16,398 dwellings is proposed in the plan period (57% of the District's total development). Clearly that will be a significant challenge given the need to co-ordinate the provision of the highway, public transport, drainage and community infrastructure required to support all of those planned developments coming forward at the same time in the same town. There is therefore, an significant inherent risk that the identified housing need will not be met in the plan period if any of those sites fail to come forward as anticipated.

Indeed, whilst predicting the timing, phasing and delivery rates of developments of the scale and complexity proposed is inherently difficult, the current housing trajectory is underpinned by entirely unrealistic assumptions in terms of both the timing and rate of delivery at Aylesbury and land adjacent to Milton Keynes. The trajectory indicates that the Council anticipate that the strategic allocations will begin to deliver housing in less than 3 years from the date of this consultation at Aylesbury South East, within 4 years at Salden Chase, Haddenham and Buckingham, and within 5 years at the other strategic sites at Aylesbury.

In order to achieve that, this Local Plan will first need to be submitted, examined and, if found sound, adopted to allocate the sites for development. The District Council currently anticipate that the Plan will be adopted by the end of 2018, but that programme is extremely ambitious given the progress made thus far, and the complexities of the key development proposals on which the Local Plan relies in order to meet identified development needs. Adoption during 2019 does, however, appear feasible subject to the issues highlighted in these representations being appropriately resolved.

Outline planning applications will then need to be prepared, submitted and approved. The very detailed allocation policies in the Local Plan clearly highlight the scale and complexity of that process for each of the strategic sites. Notably, Policy D1 requires the prior preparation of detailed design guidance and site specific Supplementary Planning Documents. That is perfectly understandable, but will take time to do given the range of issues that need to be addressed. Furthermore, given the scale and nature of the sites, the planning applications submissions will need to be accompanied by robust Environmental Statements and Transport Assessments. The SPD and outline application preparation process should, therefore, be expected to take 1 to 2 years. The determination of those applications, including the signing of the associated Section 106 Agreements to secure the infrastructure required to support the development, should also be excepted to take 1 to 2 years.

Following the grant of outline planning permission, the sale (if promoted by the landowner) / purchase (if promoted by the developer) of the land needs to be finalised in light of a detailed cost & revenue planning exercise (which is further complicated if multiple landowners are involved). Reserved Matters submissions will then need to be prepared, submitted and approved, conditions discharged and other (highway and drainage) consents secured to deliver the site. That process will take at least 2 years.

The developers resources (labour, equipment and materials) will then need to be mobilised before the development can begin. That commonly takes around 6 months. Site preparation and enabling works (e.g. infrastructure provision) then takes place prior to the construction of the actual homes and their delivery to the market. The first completions are usually provided 6 months following the start on site.

This realistic view of the likely timescales for delivery of the strategic development areas is supported by the various nationwide studies of the delivery of housing on strategic sites that have been published in recent years. Indeed, the Housing Delivery Study for Buckinghamshire (2017) also refers to these very issues, and states (para 14) "the real challenge is getting the sites to the point at which homes start to get built". It does not, however, provide any clear guidance to support the Trajectory that underpins the Submission Plan.

Therefore, unless there is clear site specific evidence to the contrary (and nothing has been presented thus far), the conservative analysis of the required timescales to deliver the strategic development areas as set out above highlights that the Local Plan should assume the first delivery of housing completions on (uncommitted) strategic sites will not occur until at least 6 years post the likely adoption of the Local Plan in 2019; i.e. in the 2025/26 period. Even then there is a significant risk that the resolution of the site specific environmental constraints, infrastructure provision and landownership issues will further delay delivery.

Moreover, thereafter a robust view on the rate of delivery needs to be taken. The Housing Trajectory currently assumes that the annual completions will increase significantly to, for example, 280dpa at Aylesbury South East, and 250dpa at Salden Chase. Those figures greatly exceed the national average for sites over 2,000 dwellings of circa 161 dpa (ref: "Start to Finish: How Quickly Do Large Scale Housing Sites Deliver? 2016; NLP).

Indeed, the Housing Trajectory indicates that the cumulative delivery at Aylesbury is expected to exceed 750 dpa over a 7 year period towards the end of the plan period. That assumption is extremely ambitious, and no evidence has been presented to demonstrate that it is actually achievable in this location. Indeed the Housing Delivery Study for Buckinghamshire (2017) specifically refers to the "possible limits on market absorption of new homes in Aylesbury town" (para 10), but does not seek to quantify what that limit might be. It concludes (para 11) "to deliver the emerging Plan numbers will be challenging." There are also practical issues in terms of labour and materials availability and coordinated infrastructure provision to consider. Clearly there is ultimately a finite amount of housing that can be sustained in Aylesbury, and the housing trajectory must take that into account.

The only outcome of not taking a realistic view in the housing trajectory both in terms of when development will start to deliver new homes, and then the number of homes that will be delivered each year, is that the identified housing needs in the District will not be met.

Consequences
Bovis Homes are, therefore, concerned that the District Council are not seeking to meet the full OAN across the HMAs in the District or allocating sufficient land to meet the identified housing need in the plan. This must be remedied as the consequence of not planning to meet the identified housing need in the area is simply to exacerbate the nation's housing crisis.

The Housing Strategy for England "Laying the Foundations" states in paragraph 1 that a "thriving, active but stable housing market that offers choice, flexibility and affordable housing is critical to our economic and social wellbeing." It continues to highlight (para 5) that "we have not built enough homes for more than a generation", and (para 8) that "without urgent action to build new homes, children will grow up without the same opportunities to live near their families, young people will struggle to get a place to call their own and older people will not have the choice and support they need." Furthermore, paragraph 9 states: "Housing is crucial for our social mobility, health and wellbeing - with quality and choice having an impact on social mobility and wellbeing from an early age, and our homes accounting for about half of all household wealth. Social housing should provide support for those who need it, when they need it, and should help vulnerable people to live independently. And opportunities for wealth must be open to all, with housing choices helping rather than hindering people's ability to build assets and find employment."

More recently the Housing White Paper presents startling facts and figures that highlight the acute socio-economic effects of a continued undersupply of housing in the country. Average house prices have rocketed compared to earnings, home ownership in the under 35s has significantly decreased and rental costs are continuing to escalate. The under supply of housing is also having a severe negative impact on the economy in terms of labour mobility, the construction industry, economic spend and increasing housing benefit costs. It concludes:
"You don't have to be an expert in housing or construction to know that our property market is broken. You just have to be one of the millions of hardworking people who can't afford to buy or even rent the kind of safe, secure, affordable home that previous generations have taken for granted. It's all down to the fact that not enough houses are being built."

Remedial Action
To accord with the NPPF's policy requirements (notably paras 14 & 47), the Local Plan must facilitate a continual supply of both market and affordable housing from a "portfolio" of deliverable development sites based on a robust spatial development strategy, with sufficient flexibility to make sure that the identified full OAN for the District and the unmet need arising elsewhere in the HMAs are met even if key developments do not proceed as currently anticipated. That will ensure a rolling 5 year housing land supply is maintained, that the overall housing requirements are met within the plan period and that everyone actually has the opportunity of a decent home.

As set out above it is inevitable that there will be a delay to at least some of the identified development sites in the Local Plan coming forward and/or the rate of their delivery will not be high as currently anticipated. That inevitability should be addressed at the outset rather than monitored and managed, which does not reflect the positive plan led approach to delivering sustainable development to meet the HMA's housing needs as required the NPPF (para 150-151) and will only result in a further delay in the acute housing needs being met. Therefore, the true objectively assessed need should be identified, the deliverability of individual sites carefully examined, and a robust housing trajectory prepared with the sufficient (additional) allocations to ensure that the housing needs are actually met.

The Local Plan should also include contingency plans to address any shortfall in housing delivery arising from a delay in the strategic allocation sites coming forward in the short and medium term. The Submission Plan refers to the incorporation of a buffer in the planned housing supply against the housing requirement, but Table 1 highlights that amounts to only 5.2% which is clearly insufficient and is in any comprised of the anticipated windfall delivery, which by definition does not provide the certainty required to ensure that the acute housing needs are met. A buffer of 10-20% of specific deliverable sites is required to reflects the positive plan led approach to ensuring the delivery of sustainable development to actually meet the HMA's housing needs as required the NPPF.

It is apparent, therefore, that there is a need to identify and allocate a number and variety of additional sustainable development sites over and above those already identified in the Local Plan. The allocation of additional development sites in other sustainable locations at the Large and Medium Villages such as Stone and Tingewick (see below in relation to Policy S3) is required, and they should be brought forward at the earliest opportunity to address the shortfall in provision in the early part of the plan period and thereon to accelerate the supply of housing and meet identified needs.

Soundness:
For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes object to Policy S2, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- has not been positively prepared as it is not based on a strategy that will ensure that the objectively assessed housing needs, including unmet development requirements arising elsewhere in the HMAs, will be met within the plan period;
- is not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies;
- is not effective in that some allocation sites will not deliver the scale of development the Submission Plan currently assumes, and the identified needs will not therefore, be met; and
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development and boosting the supply of housing to meet identified needs.

Object

VALP Proposed Submission

S5 Infrastructure

Representation ID: 788

Received: 13/12/2017

Respondent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Agent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? No

Representation Summary:

Bovis Homes object to Policy S5, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- has not been positively prepared as it is not based on a strategy that will ensure that the objectively assessed housing needs will be met within the plan period;
- is not effective in ensuring that sustainable development can be delivered in the Plan Period; and
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development.

Full text:

The intent of Policy S5 is supported as it is critical that the future growth in the District is appropriately supported by the necessary community, highway and utilities infrastructure.

However, the critical role of other bodies in the planning, funding and delivery of infrastructure should also be explicitly referred to in the policy in order to encourage their proactive involvement. For example, the policy should reflect that it is the responsibility of the utilities company to provide the necessary water supply and wastewater infrastructure to support development. Their investment programmes are not necessarily integrated with Local Plans, and often will not address the development requirements for an area until specific proposals become committed, normally through the grant of planning permission.

Moreover, in order to achieve the "challenging" scale of housing growth required, the Housing Delivery Study for Buckinghamshire (2017) concludes that the District Council must take on the role of Housing Delivery Enabler. It highlights that the "real challenge in housing delivery is getting the sites to point at which homes start to get built" (para 14) and a key part of that is ensuring that the essential infrastructure is provided on time (para 11). Therefore, the District Council's role in facilitating the delivery process in this respect should also be set out in Policy S5.

The second paragraph of Policy S5 refers to having regard to existing deficiencies in services and infrastructure provision. The intent of the policy is unclear in this respect, the Local Plan cannot require development to remedy existing deficiencies under the terms of the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2011 (Regulation 122).

Moreover, whilst the reference to viability assessments is welcomed, the District Council must demonstrate that the policy and infrastructure requirements in the Local Plan (cumulatively) are achievable and do not render sustainable development unviable (NPPF paragraphs 158, 173-174). That must be considered at this stage.

Soundness:
For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes object to Policy S5, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- has not been positively prepared as it is not based on a strategy that will ensure that the objectively assessed housing needs will be met within the plan period;
- is not effective in ensuring that sustainable development can be delivered in the Plan Period; and
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development.

Object

VALP Proposed Submission

S9 Monitoring and review

Representation ID: 789

Received: 13/12/2017

Respondent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Agent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

Bovis Homes object to Policy S9, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- has not been positively prepared as it is not based on a strategy that will ensure that the objectively assessed housing needs will be met within the plan period;
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development.

Full text:

The positive commitment in Policy S9 to undertake a review of the Local Plan in the stated circumstances is welcomed.

However, the inclusion of Policy S9 is not an appropriate or effective response to the fundamental matters of soundness set out in the submitted objections to Policies S2 and S3 in terms of the identification of housing needs, the spatial strategy and the housing land supply. Moreover, such a "commitment" to a Review cannot be enforced if the Council decide, for whatever reason, not to honour the commitment in the policy and the identified development needs will not then be addressed. Those matters must, therefore, be directly addressed now before the Local Plan can be found sound.

Notwithstanding that, a key theme of the NPPF and its presumption in favour of sustainable development is the importance of having an up to date Local Plan (paras 12, 17 & 209). The Local Plan needs to be underpinned by an up to date evidence, and the assessment of housing needs in the Borough and wider HMAs is fundamental to that. The policy should, therefore, also include a specific reference to a review being triggered by the emergence of new evidence of housing need indicating that further development allocations are required.

Soundness:
For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes object to Policy S9, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- has not been positively prepared as it is not based on a strategy that will ensure that the objectively assessed housing needs will be met within the plan period;
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development.

Object

VALP Proposed Submission

D1 Delivering Aylesbury Garden Town

Representation ID: 790

Received: 13/12/2017

Respondent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Agent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

Objection to Policy D1, considered unsound as it:
-has not been positively prepared as it is not based on a strategy that will ensure that the OAN, including unmet development requirements in the HMAs, will be met within the plan period;
-is not justified-not the most appropriate strategy
-is not effective in that some allocation sites will not deliver the scale of development the Submission Plan currently assumes; and
-is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development and boosting the supply of housing.

Full text:

Aylesbury's growth and development as a Garden Town and the allocation of the various sites required to facilitate that are not objected to.

However, as highlighted in the objection to Policy S2, a total of 16,398 dwellings is proposed at Aylesbury in the plan period (57% of the total development), but the number of dwellings that can actually be delivered will be restricted by the complexity of delivering high volumes of development in any one particular location, the collective infrastructure burden, the lead in times required for the developments, and the potential for market saturation (as recognised by the Housing Delivery Study for Buckinghamshire).

There is, therefore an over reliance on Aylesbury as a focus for growth in the Local Plan that will inevitably result in a shortfall of provision of the sustainable development required to meet the objectively assessed development requirements of the District and Housing Market Areas (HMAs). Paragraph 14 of the NPPF that sets out what the presumption in favour of sustainable development means in terms of plan making, specifically requires local authorities to positively seek opportunities to meet the objectively assessment development needs of their area with sufficient flexibility in their Local Plans to adapt to rapid change. This matter, should therefore, be addressed at the outset rather than monitored and managed, which does not reflect the positive plan led approach to delivering sustainable development to meet the HMA's housing needs as required the NPPF (150-151) and will only result in a further delay in the acute housing needs being met.

It is apparent, therefore, that a number and variety of additional appropriate and sustainable development sites are required to come forward together in the early part of the plan period and thereon to accelerate the supply of housing and meet identified needs. The allocation of additional development sites in other sustainable locations, including at the Large and Medium Villages such as Stone and Tingewick is required, and they should be brought forward at the earliest opportunity to address the shortfall in provision in the early part of the plan period.

Soundness:
For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes object to Policy D1, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- has not been positively prepared as it is not based on a strategy that will ensure that the objectively assessed housing needs, including unmet development requirements arising elsewhere in the HMAs, will be met within the plan period;
- is not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies;
- is not effective in that some allocation sites will not deliver the scale of development the Submission Plan currently assumes, and the identified needs will not therefore, be met; and
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development and boosting the supply of housing to meet identified needs.

Object

VALP Proposed Submission

D2 Proposals for non-allocated sites at strategic settlements, larger villages and medium villages

Representation ID: 791

Received: 13/12/2017

Respondent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Agent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

Bovis Homes object to Policy D2, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
-has not been positively prepared as it is not based on a strategy that will ensure that the OAN will be met within the plan period;
-is not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies;
-is not effective in that the policy is unduly restrictive; and
-is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development and supporting rural communities.

Full text:

Bovis Homes' objection to Policy S3 highlights that the development strategy in the Local Plan fails to address the NPPF's policy imperative to support thriving rural communities as it makes inadequate provision at the identified Large and Medium Villages to meet their development needs over the plan period. That will have a significant negative impact on the role and function of a number of the sustainable villages in the District.

That concern is exacerbated by Policy D2 that seeks to prevent the any development coming forward unless the site is allocated for such. That approach effectively removes any flexibility to embrace potential sustainable development opportunities as they arise where there maybe wider socio-economic benefits that outweighs any harm, or that harm can be appropriately mitigated. Moreover, the policy approach is predicated on the assumption that the housing needs will be met in full by the development allocations in the Local Plan. The concerns highlighted in relation to Policies S2 and S3 demonstrate why that assumption is incorrect.

Whilst Policy D2 purports to allow development where the monitoring of housing delivery indicates that allocated sites are not being delivered at the anticipated rates, the unduly restrictive terms of the policy that add further layers of "protection" by reiterating matters that are more appropriately addressed by other policies within the Local Plan, will have the effect of preventing other sustainable development opportunities coming to address shortfalls in provision. That is contrary to the requirement of the NPPF's presumption in favour of sustainable development means that requires the Local Plan to be sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change (para 14).

For example, part (g) requires development not to have any adverse impact on environmental assets such as landscape, historic environment, biodiversity, waterways, open space and green infrastructure. Clearly, however, it is inevitable that any development of a greenfield site will have some degree of impact on some of these assets. The policy does not allow the relative value of those matters or the scope for mitigation to be considered, or critically whether the socio-economic benefits that would arise from the development would outweigh any harm,

Policy D2 should, therefore, be revised to avoid restricting sustainable development in order to reflect the NPPF's presumption in favour of sustainable development and the requirement to meet objectively assessed needs with sufficient flexibility to adapt to change.

Soundness:
For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes object to Policy D2, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- has not been positively prepared as it is not based on a strategy that will ensure that the objectively assessed housing needs will be met within the plan period;
- is not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies;
- is not effective in that the policy is unduly restrictive; and
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development and supporting rural communities.

Object

VALP Proposed Submission

D-STO008 Land south of Creslow Way, Stone

Representation ID: 792

Received: 13/12/2017

Respondent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Agent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

Bovis Homes support the principle of D-STO008, but object to the extent of the allocation and terms of the policy that are considered unsound, as the policy:
-not been positively prepared as not based on a strategy that will ensure that housing needs will be met within the plan period;
-is not justified, as is not the most appropriate strategy and no considered reasonable alternative strategies;
-is not effective, as policy is unduly restrictive;and
-is inconsistent with national policy, as not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development and supporting rural communities.

Full text:

Bovis Homes have an interest in land south of Creslow Way, Stone and fully support its allocation for residential development in the Local Plan.

Stone is defined as a sustainable settlement. The site relates well to the existing urban from and the services and facilities within the village would be readily accessible to future residents. The site is not subject to any nationally significant or local environmental, landscape or cultural designations, and there are no over riding constraints to development. The site is deliverable in NPPF terms and can be brought forward immediately to meet identified housing needs. Its development would, therefore, positively contribute to the economic, social and environmental objectives of sustainable development advocated by the NPPF.

However, it is apparent that the scope of the site's development is unduly limited by the terms of the policy set out at D-STO0008, that refers to the delivery of only 10 dwellings. Moreover, the allocation area shown on the Proposals Map is only a relatively small part of the available site (refer to appended Site Plan).

Some explanation is provided in the HELAA that refers to the "northeastern part of the site" being suitable for development (the allocated site), and the "southern half of the site" being unsuitable for development as it "has landscape and visual constraints" (the wider site). However, that conclusion is not supported by the Local Plan's own evidence base. The AVDC Strategic Landscape Appraisal highlights the presence of the dense scrub and tree planting within parts of the site, but also the limited impact its development would have on the wider landscape character and visual amenity. It concludes that there is potential to develop 85% of the wider site, but that the boundary vegetation should be retained and enhanced to minimise the impact on the conservation area to the west and to integrate the development into the surrounding landscape. Consequently the accompanying plan identifies a much larger development area than the allocated site, which in any case is not clearly defined on the ground by landscape features.

Clearly the limited extent of the site's allocation in the Local Plan is not justified by the evidence base and is entirely inappropriate in that it will not facilitate the efficient and effective development of the site as required by the NPPF. The site's allocation should instead reflect the natural boundaries of the site as indicated in the appended Site Plan.

Moreover, the "Site Criteria" within the policy are unduly prohibitive. Notably, part (a) of the policy, refers to a capacity of only 10 dwellings at a density that reflects the surrounding area. However, the HELAA refers to a site area of 1.2ha (the allocated site) with a much higher capacity of 42 dwellings. The policy should, therefore, be revised to highlight the intention to optimise the wider site's capacity to ensure its delivery through a careful assessment and design exercise. That exercise should take account of the matters highlighted in the policy, including the settlement's character and identify, and the potential for mitigation through the implementation of a robust landscape scheme as an integral part of the development.

In that regard, however, part (c) of the policy is unduly onerous in strictly requiring the strict retention of the hedgerow and trees on the site. An assessment of their relative quality and value is required, and whilst in light of that assessment there retention should be encouraged where it is merited and wherever it is practicable, it cannot prevent otherwise sustainable development proposals being delivered that would deliver significant socio-economic benefits, and particularly where there is significant scope for landscape mitigation (as highlighted in part b).

Similarly part (d) of the policy is unduly onerous. Archaeology is an important consideration, but requiring in-situ preservation for remains of more than local importance is too negative and prescriptive and goes beyond the terms of the NPPF (paras. 128 and 129) with the result that it could prevent otherwise sustainable development. In accordance with the NPPG the policy should require an appropriate desk based assessment and where necessary field evaluation that would then determine the appropriate mitigation required mitigation required taking account of the merits of the proposed development (as Policy BE1 of the Local Plan does).

Soundness:
For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes support the principle of D-STO008, but object to the extent of the allocation and terms of the policy that are considered unsound on the basis that the policy:
- has not been positively prepared as it is not based on a strategy that will ensure that the housing needs will be met within the plan period;
- is not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies;
- is not effective in that the policy is unduly restrictive; and
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not fully reflect the Government's priorities and policies in terms of enabling sustainable development and supporting rural communities.

Object

VALP Proposed Submission

H5 Self/custom build housing

Representation ID: 793

Received: 13/12/2017

Respondent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Agent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes object to Policy H5, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- is not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies; and
- is inconsistent with national guidance in that it does not fully reflect the Government's objective to ensure the housing requirements are not prohibitive to the delivery of development.

Full text:

It is acknowledged that self-build and custom house building is an element of the Government's housing strategy. However, no evidence of need or demand in the District has been presented in the Local Plan's evidence base (refer to para 8.70 of the Buckinghamshire Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment 2016). Moreover, the requirement has not been justified or tested in terms of the potential impact on the deliverability of development schemes as required by the NPPF. This requirement could have a critical affect on the viability of new housing development in the District, and the deliverability sustainable development cannot be compromised by unnecessary and unduly onerous requirements.

In that light the Council's approach to self / custom build should be to increase the total amount of new housing developed by supporting development on small windfall sites as well as allocating additional small sites rather than by setting a restrictive policy requirement for inclusion of such housing on larger allocated sites.

Soundness:
For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes object to Policy H5, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- is not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies; and
- is inconsistent with national guidance in that it does not fully reflect the Government's objective to ensure the housing requirements are not prohibitive to the delivery of development.

Object

VALP Proposed Submission

H6 Housing Mix

Representation ID: 794

Received: 13/12/2017

Respondent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Agent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes object to Policy H6, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- is not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies; and
- is inconsistent with national guidance in that it does not fully reflect the Government's objective to ensure the housing requirements are not prohibitive to the delivery of development.

Full text:

The policy aspiration to ensure the provision of a mix of housing types and sizes to meet identified needs in future developments is welcomed. However, paragraph 50 of the NPPF confirms that in order to deliver a wide choice of high quality homes, widen the opportunities for home ownership and create sustainable, inclusive and mixed communities, planning authorities should consider both the needs of different groups and local demand for such. In this respect, it is essential that the difference between need and demand is recognised, as whilst the need arising from smaller households might be for smaller properties, the actual demand is commonly still for larger properties. This is not surprising as the benefits to smaller households of having more flexible living accommodation in both the short and long terms are clear, and ultimately more sustainable if it means that residents can stay in their home if their household grows or their circumstances change.

Bovis Homes has no objection to the principle of sheltered and extra care accommodation being provided in appropriate locations, but questions the basis upon which self-contained extra care provision is required as a part of any development over 100 dwellings in size. This prescriptive approach does not take account of local need or the site and location specific constraints to delivery of specialist housing of this type.

Consequently, the Local Plan should seek to identify and allocate specific development sites to address these needs where they are required. Whilst it may then be appropriate to encourage the specialist housing provision referred to in the policy in general housing developments, provision must be based on robust and credible evidence that identifies an up to date local need, including the monitoring of market activity over the plan period to identify the ability of developers to deliver specialist housing across the differing locations within the District.

Moreover, whilst the reference to taking account of the impact on the viability of developments is welcomed, the deliverability of sustainable development cannot be compromised by unduly onerous policy requirements. The Council must, therefore, demonstrate that the policy and infrastructure requirements in the Local Plan (cumulatively) in terms of financial contributions are achievable and do not render development unviable (NPPF paragraphs 158, 173-174). That must be considered at this stage. There is no evidence to that effect at this point in time as these policy requirements have not been robustly considered Local Plan's Viability Report.

Similarly the prescriptive blanket approach to the provision of accessible and adaptable compliant homes in the last part of the policy has not been appropriately justified.

Soundness:
For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes object to Policy H6, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- is not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies; and
- is inconsistent with national guidance in that it does not fully reflect the Government's objective to ensure the housing requirements are not prohibitive to the delivery of development.

Object

VALP Proposed Submission

H7 Dwelling sizes

Representation ID: 795

Received: 13/12/2017

Respondent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Agent: Define (on behalf of Bovis Homes)

Legally compliant? Yes

Sound? No

Duty to co-operate? Yes

Representation Summary:

Bovis Homes object to Policy H7, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- is not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies; and
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not provide a clear indication of how the decision maker should apply the policy and enable sustainable development.

Full text:

The Local Plan confirm (para 5.67) that there is no evidence that space provision in new dwellings in Aylesbury Vale is substandard. There is therefore, no justification for the inclusion of a policy in the Local Plan in relation to this matter. Nonetheless Policy H7 seeks to establish a vague requirement in relation to this matter, but its terms are imprecise and its application will have no benefit in enabling sustainable development. The policy should therefore, be deleted.

Soundness:
For the reasons set out above, Bovis Homes object to Policy H7, which is considered unsound on the basis that it:
- is not justified in that it is not the most appropriate strategy and has not properly considered reasonable alternative strategies; and
- is inconsistent with national policy in that it does not provide a clear indication of how the decision maker should apply the policy and enable sustainable development.

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