Application for conversion, extension and alteration of former kennels and stables to form seven dwellings, erection of replacement dwelling, erection of garages and formation of new vehicular access
Late items received after preparation of main agenda:
The main report was written a week before the Examiners Report on the Witherley Neighbourhood Plan was published. Along with this the Examiner stated the modifications necessary for the plan to proceed to referendum. At the time of writing the main report the Neighbourhood Plan could only be given limited to moderate weight and the report reflects this.
The Examiners Report has now been published however and the Examiner has recommended that Policy’s H1 (Residential Site Allocations) and H2 (Settlement Boundary) are deleted, but on page 39 of his report, the Examiner discusses Policy H3 and no modifications are required to that policy. So Policy H3 (Housing Mix) will remain the same.
Policy H3: Housing Mix - New housing development proposals should provide a mixture of housing types specifically to meet identified local needs in the Plan area as evidenced in the Parish Housing Needs Report (2018); HBBC Housing Needs Study (2019); Midlands Rural Housing Report (2016) and the 2017 HEDNA or more recent documents updating these reports.
Dwellings of 3 bedrooms or fewer and single storey accommodation suitable for older people will be supported where in accordance with other policies.
Affordable housing is required on development proposals of more than 10 dwellings or more than 0.5ha in size and should be designed and delivered to be indistinguishable from market housing and should be distributed and integrated evenly through the development as a whole. Provision of affordable housing for people with a local connection to the Parish is supported.
Once a neighbourhood plan has been independently examined, and a decision statement is issued by the local planning authority outlining their intention to hold a neighbourhood plan referendum, it must be taken into account and can be given significant weight when determining a planning application, in so far as the plan is material to the application. Should the Neighbourhood Plan proceed to local referendum and achieve more than half of votes cast in favour, then the Neighbourhood Plan will form part of the Development Plan and be given full weight in the determination of planning applications and decisions on planning applications in the plan area unless the Borough Council subsequently decide the Neighbourhood Plan should not be ‘made’.
In his review the Examiner states that ‘Core Strategy Policy 12 relating to rural villages applies to Witherley, and Core Strategy Policy 13 applies to Fenny Drayton and Ratcliffe Culey. Those policies refer to Core Strategy Policies 15, 16 and 17. Policy H3 is in general conformity with those strategic policies. Paragraph 62 of the NPPF (which should be read in the context of paragraph 61) states the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different groups in the community should be assessed and reflected in planning policies. The Examiner is satisfied that the approach adopted in Policy H3 has sufficient regard for national policy in this respect. The reference to updated reports ensures the policy remains relevant throughout the plan period if local housing needs change.
The policy is in general conformity with the strategic policies included in the Development Plan and relevant to the Neighbourhood Plan and does not seek to influence the quantity of supply of housing differently from strategic policies. The policy serves a clear purpose by providing an additional level of detail or distinct local approach to that set out in the strategic policies.
The policy seeks to shape and direct sustainable development to ensure that local people get the right type of development for their community. Having regard to the Framework and Guidance the policy is appropriate to be included in a ‘made’ neighbourhood plan.
In terms of Policy H3, the Housing Needs Study is the most up-to-date local study - https://www.hinckley-bosworth.gov.uk/info/1004/planning_policy_and_the_local_plan/1610/housing_needs_study_2020 - there is no updated evidence on housing needs that covers the local level (other than the HENA which is discussed below). The suggested borough wide housing mix of market housing for the plan period (up to 2036) is on page 6 of the report, and I’ve copied below:
So if the mix was calculated based on the figures above, there would be one 1 bed, two to three 2 beds, three to four 3 beds, and one to two 4+ beds. However this is a borough-wide figure, not a rural areas figure. The Housing Needs Study breaks down further data into the parishes and an urban/rural split on pages 104 to 107 of the report. The conclusion in the orange box on page 108 states: “In applying the mix to individual development sites, regard should be had to the nature of the site and character of the area, and to up-to-date evidence of need as well as the existing mix and turnover of properties at the local level…… Whilst there were some differences in the analysis, it is not considered that they are substantial enough to suggest a different mix of housing as being needed in different areas.”
Policy H3 also refers to the HENA as an evidence base document, however we now have the Housing Economic Needs Assessment (HENA) from June 2022 which is significantly more up to date. This can also be found online here - https://www.llstrategicgrowthplan.org.uk/latest-updates/publication-of-statement-of-common-ground-relating-to-housing-and-employment-land-needs/
Section 10 covers the need for different sizes of homes. Two tables of note are copied below. The top table is based on the Standard Method calculations (for Leicestershire as a whole), and the table below is adjusted for Hinckley & Bosworth and taking into account under-occupation and overcrowding.
As can be seen, the figures for market mix aren’t massively different, especially for 2 bed, 3 bed and 4+ bed
The proposed development will comprise three 3x bedroom units (Units 1, 2 & 7), one 2x bedroom unit (Unit 3), two 4 x bed Units (Unit 4 & 5) & two x 5 bedroom units (Unit 6 & 8)(The stables will be converted into Units 1 – 5. The kennels will be converted into Unit 6 and Unit 7). The replacement dwelling on site is Unit 8.
Apart from Unit 8, the replacement dwelling, all dwellings would be formed from the conversion of the existing buildings. All suggestions made by the Conservation Officer were adhered to and amended plans were sent in to reflect this.
The Neighbourhood Plan is afforded significant weight at this stage, as it is possible to see what the ‘final’ plan will look like once the modifications are made. It cannot be afforded full weight until it has been through referendum and has been ‘made’.
In applying the mix set out in Policy H3 to individual development sites, regard should be had to the nature of the site and character of the area, and to up-to-date evidence of need as well as the existing mix and turnover of properties at the local level. Regard should also be had to planning history and in this case, there is the extant permission to convert theses former kennels and stables to form 8 dwellings, as well as a replacement dwelling (21/00789/FUL). This fall-back position also has planning weight. The proposed complies with all Policy requirements apart from the now acknowledged additional weight of the Neighbourhood Plan Policy H3. Whilst there were some differences in what is being proposed for the current proposal and what Policy H3 is aiming for in terms of housing mix, it is not considered that these differences are substantial enough to warrant refuse this application.
Application for conversion, extension and alteration of former kennels and stables to form seven dwellings, erection of replacement dwelling, erection of garages and formation of new vehicular access.
The agent and a representative of the parish council spoke on this application.
It was moved by Councillor Gibbens and seconded by Councillor Bray that permission be granted with authority delegated to the Head of Planning to incorporate conditions relating to retaining heritage assets such as iron fencing. Upon being put to the vote, the motion was CARRIED and it was
(i) Permission be granted subject to the conditions contained in the officer’s report;
(ii) The Head of Planning be granted powers to determine the final detail of planning conditions, including conditions to retain the heritage assets.