Local Plan 2036: Issues and Options Stage

Document Section 1. North Somerset Local Plan 2036: Issues and Options Document Local Housing Growth Settlement Boundaries Q9. What are your views on the options for revised settlement boundaries? [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 21503137//3
Respondent James Millard [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 16 Jan 2019
Comment

Settlement Boundaries (Question 9)

3.18 Settlement boundaries are an established policy tool that is linked to the wider settlement hierarchy. As set out in our response to Question 8, a Growth based strategy to inform a future settlement hierarchy is supported for the reasons set out above. Such an approach has implications for the approach to Settlement Boundaries in terms of their application, specifically, the need to recognise that Settlement Boundaries should not represent an artificial constraint to the delivery of sustainable development.

3.19 The location of a site outside, but adjacent to a settlement, does not render a site unsustainable and this should be clearly articulated through the North Somerset Local Plan.

3.20 Settlements which currently do not have a Settlement Boundary should not automatically be excluded from re-assessment in terms of their position within the settlement hierarchy. The current classification of settlements as ‘countryside’ is not considered appropriate as it implies that such settlements are devoid of services and facilities or that such settlements cannot contribute to the delivery of sustainable development.

3.21 In general terms, the approach to the consideration of sites/locations, within the designated Green Belt is not supported. Furthermore, it is considered that the apparent blanket restriction of development within the Green Belt will artificially constraint development and critically, prevent the sustainable growth of settlements. Therefore, the ability of lower tier settlements to move up the settlement hierarchy, will be prevented due to the failure of the Council to consider appropriate development opportunities on sites within the Green Belt. The approach to the Green Belt effectively facilitates the stagnation of those settlements entirely within the Green Belt, by excluding genuine sustainable development opportunities from detailed assessment.

3.22 Such an approach is considered to be inconsistent with the National Planning Policy Framework and with a particular focus on rural areas the Framework (para 78) is clear that:

“To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities. Planning policies should identify opportunities for villages to growth and thrive, especially where this will support local services.

3.23 The approach to the settlement hierarchy and settlement boundaries should be set within the context of providing a positive policy framework that facilitates sustainable patterns of development. A strategy informed by a settlement hierarchy and settlement boundaries can provide certainty that the minimum strategic requirements can be achieved over the Plan period. However, their application should not prevent wider opportunities for development from coming forward. The strategic housing requirement does not and should not, represent a moratorium on development in excess of this requirement.

 

Summary
Settlement boundaries should not represent an artificial constraint to the delivery of sustainable development. The location of a site outside but adjacent to a settlement does not render a site unsustainable. Settlements without a settlement boundary should not automatically be excluded from re-assessment in terms of their position in the hierarchy. Green Belt approach effectively stagnates settlements. This is inconsistent with NPPF paragraph 78. Need a positive policy framework.
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