To consider a report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration seeking a recommendation from Cabinet to Council that Proposed Main Modifications and Additional (Minor) Modifications to the Mid Devon Local
Plan Review, Addendum to the Sustainability Appraisal, Addendum to the Habitat Regulations Assessment, and Addendum to the Equalities Impact Assessment 2017 are approved for public consultation and, with the exception
of the Additional (Minor) Modifications and consultation responses on these, these documents are submitted with consultation responses received on them to the Planning Inspectorate together.
The Cabinet had before it a *report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration seeking a recommendation from Cabinet to Council that Proposed Main Modifications and Additional (Minor) Modifications to the Mid Devon Local Plan Review, Addendum to the Sustainability Appraisal, Addendum to the Habitat Regulations Assessment, and Addendum to the Equalities Impact Assessment 2017 are approved for public consultation and, with the exception of the Additional (Minor) Modifications and consultation responses on these, these documents would be submitted with consultation responses received on them to the Planning Inspectorate together.
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration outlined the contents of the report stating that a package of 55 Main Modifications were proposed. The package followed the Inspector’s advice in his Post Hearings Advice Note in order for the Plan to be found sound and for it to be capable of being adopted by the Council.
The Main Modifications followed the Inspector’s suggested remedies to overcome his significant concerns about the housing trajectory in the early years of the Plan. They were based on realistic assumptions about the delivery of the Town Centre Relief Road and housing allocations at Cullompton, and they avoided looking for new housing sites and the risk this would bring of further significant delay to the Local Plan through the need for technical assessment work and the potential for further examination hearings to be held.
The Main Modifications included:
· Bringing forward development on the allocation at Higher Town, Sampford Peverell sooner because the Inspector had found there were no good reasons for restriction in terms of timing and where he had made clear that the tie to J27 and the requirement for the completion of improved access works to the A361 should be removed. This had followed the Inspector’s careful consideration of the site allocation policy including two specific hearing sessions.
· Bringing the contingency site at Colebrook Lane, Cullompton into the early years of the housing trajectory following Devon County Council’s highway advice,
· Providing some flexibility for allocated Gypsy and Traveller pitches to be provided off-site away from urban extensions provided that a more favourable outcome for Gypsies and Travellers could be achieved.
· Making necessary modifications to clarify the requirements of some development management and other policies in the Plan
The strong feelings of residents of Sampford Peverell and others about the inclusion of SP2 in the Local Plan Review were noted. Those strong feelings had also been recognised by the Inspector. However, Members should be aware that once the plan had been submitted for independent examination further changes could only be made if they were necessary to make the plan sound and/or legally compliant, provided that such modifications were recommended by the Inspector (highlighted within Section 23 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act). The Inspector had already provided his conclusions in relation to the site at Higher Town, Sampford Peverell. There was therefore no provision in the legislation which allowed the Council to replace all or part of the submitted plan with a revised plan during the examination.
He stated that there was an urgent need for the new Local Plan to be adopted as soon as possible so that the Council had up to date policies and a five year supply of land for housing that would provide greater certainty to where development could take place in Mid Devon, and where planning applications would be refused. He proposed that an amendment be made to the recommendation within the report, Schedule of Main Modifications (Appendix 1) so that Main Modification MM36 [page 58 of the reports pack] showed the deletion of the penultimate sentence in paragraph 3.149 in the Local Plan so that it was consistent with the deletion of the same sentence that was proposed in Main Modification MM35.
The Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration answering questions posed in public question time stated that it was very important that the meeting looked at the allocation policy within the Local Plan and not at specific planning applications, many of the arguments heard from the speakers on policy SP2 had already been made as part of the Local Plan process, 2 separate hearings with regard to the SP2 allocation had been considered by the inspector, he had considered issues with regard to the relationship with J27, the impact on heritage assets, the site selection process and the scale of the allocation, all those issues and more had been considered by the inspector when coming to his conclusion and this was available in his post hearing advice note. The inspector had also visited the site and heard evidence from the Highway Authority before he had come to his conclusions. Mitigation measures had been suggested by the inspector in his post hearing advice note which specifically referred to policy SP2 and that he was of the view that the policy was sound and could be delivered in the early years of the plan. He specifically suggested that this site be brought forward in the housing trajectory. With regard to any deletions at this stage in the timetable she referred to legislation and the options available to proceed with a sound and legally compliant plan.Main modifications were the only route to amend a plan once submitted and as they could only be used to make a plan sound or legally compliant, there appeared to be no scope in law for the Inspector to recommend a main modification for any other purpose even if the Local Authority were to ask him to do so.
Referring to Tidcombe Hall and the Environment Impact Assessment she advised that this was part of the pre app discussions with regard to a planning application. A sustainability assessment had been considered separately as part of the Local Plan process. With regard to considering policy TIV13 as part of the main modifications, the authority did not believe that the land could be easily assembled as there was a restrictive covenant on the land which had an impact on deliverability. She stated that the extend of the allocated site had been correct on the maps, but with a drafting error in the text. This had been corrected prior to the 2017 consultation. With regard to the housing trajectory, this was covered in the report and did not include policy TIV13 being made a main allocation in the plan.
She added that following a decision of the Council, the Main Modifications consultation would begin and that this would be a further opportunity for representations to be put the inspector.
Consideration was given to:
· There was a need for the Local Plan to move forward for the benefit of the whole of Mid Devon
· The site at Colebrook Lane, Cullompton had been removed from a contingency site status and included as an allocation within the plan and why the Highway Authority views had changed
· Flood plains and flood storage areas in Cullompton
· The impact of 60 houses to the village of Sampford Peverell and a request for the deletion of policy SP2 from the plan and to leave the settlement limit in the village as it was in 2015.
· The previous lack of a 5 year land supply, policies being out of date and the need to rely on the NPPF
· Applications at Uffculme and Willand which had been granted because of the lack of a 5 year land supply
· The removal of the need for development at Colebrook Lane, Cullompton to be delayed until the relief road and the north West Cullompton Link Road were in place
· The unlinking of employment development at J27 and policy SP2
· The planning application at Higher Town, Sampford Peverell
· The need for the Local Plan to be progressed
· The risk of an unsound plan
It was therefore:
RECOMMENDED to Council that
i) Schedule of Proposed Main Modifications to the Mid Devon Local Plan Review (Appendix 1 with amended Main Modification MM36 to show the deletion of the penultimate sentence to paragraph 3.149 in the Local Plan)
ii) Schedule of Additional (Minor) Modifications to the Mid Devon Local Plan Review (Appendix 2)
iii) Addendum to the Sustainability Appraisal (Appendix 3),
iv) Addendum to the Habitat Regulations Assessment (Appendix 4), and
v) Addendum to the Equalities Impact Assessment 2017 (Appendix 5)
(Proposed by Cllr G Barnell and seconded by Cllr L D Taylor)
Note: *Report previously circulated, copy attached to minutes.