Thursday, 14 December 2017

The emerging Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan > boosting affordable housing > protecting green spaces

The Herald has been featuring pieces on the 'emerging' Neighbourhood Plan - the first focussing on Port Royal and Knowle:
Futures Forum: The emerging Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan > providing ‘vital data’ to inform the Port Royal scoping study > using evidence collected to submit a ‘substantial objection’ to the Knowle planning inquiry

The second looked at housing and both the built and natural environments:

Sidmouth and Ottery breaking news and sport - Sidmouth Herald

Here is the complete press release from the NP steering group:

Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan

In this second article, Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group member Peter Murphy talks with colleagues about one of the major points arising from consultations: the housing situation. He notes that Government Guidelines state:

 “Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead. Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure that they get the right types of development for their community where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area.”

Reflecting on the difficulty of achieving a balanced housing stock in the valley considering our population balance and constraints on the amount of land available for building, Councillor Michael Earthey who heads up the Housing Theme group had this to say:

“Young people and first-time buyers trying to start family life find it difficult to get the first step onto the property ladder. It’s a national problem but in the Sid Valley there are locally contributing factors – not least the current and forecast demographics of the Valley.  We have a preponderance of people in the age group 60 years and above and forecasts indicate that this will continue to rise.  Let’s face it:  the Sid Valley is a highly desirable place to come and retire and an attractive proposition for those who can sell up where house prices are higher, buy here and have capital left over. Or indeed, to buy a second home or holiday let – both factors which have an influence on the year-round viability of a sustainable local economy.

A Neighbourhood Plan cannot write policies which will influence or control the existing free housing market where supply and demand determines prices.  But based on analysis of our independently commissioned housing needs survey together with community views, our draft plan - if approved - will include policies which:

·         Impose requirements on the make-up of new-builds including for example for those with more than 10 homes, detailing the percentage mix of affordable, intermediate and open market housing (or other affordable housing which may include ownership solutions such as shared housing or shared equity)

·         Support social housing proposed by developers.

·         Regulate the ownership of second or holiday homes in a manner similar to the St Ives Neighbourhood Plan which has survived legal challenge and is now in statute.

Overall our objective is to ensure that the right housing is built in the right place and the natural beauty of the Valley is not endangered.”

Graham Cooper, who has responsibility for developing the policies which will regulate how our Built and Natural Environments are developed yet remain unspoiled commented:

“For me our main problem will be the risk of settlement creep within the valley because of the demands for housing and employment in the coming years. We are doing what we can within the framework of the Neighbourhood Plan to write policies which may protect us from development encroaching into our green areas.  Another issue facing our environment which we will try to address is loss of tree canopy in new developments.  The concept of Eco-corridors is taking shape however which will contribute to a healthy bio-diversity in the area.”


For further information contact Deirdre Hounsom, Chair, Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan at d.hounsom@hotmail.com or by phone: 07970 814568

NeighbourHood Plan - Sidmouth Town Council
Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan – Shaping our Future Together

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