4. DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

4.1.

Introduction

A central function of the Local Plan is to guide the location of development. There are several important principles that the Council believes should guide the overall “spatial strategy” in order to ensure that the resultant future pattern of development in Rother is sustainable. 

4.2.

These principles, as well as the development strategy for the District, must be consistent with national, regional and Structure Plan policies, as highlighted in Section 3, well as reflect local priorities.

4.3.

As noted earlier, the overall scale of new housing development to be accommodated in Rother District up to 2011 and its broad distribution across the County has already been determined by the Structure Plan.

4.4.

The Local Plan has to interpret and develop those strategic policies. This means identifying sufficient land not only for housing, but also for employment opportunities to meet the needs of the workforce and to help regenerate the local economy. Close regard should be had to the ability of infrastructure and local services to meet the needs of both existing and new residents. Insofar as the Plan is able, it should plan to provide for additional capacity, where necessary. 

4.5.

Development principles

At the heart of current planning policies at all levels is the principle of sustainable evelopment. In essence, sustainable development is about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone both now and in the future. It means a more inclusive society that achieves and shares the benefits of increased economic prosperity, in which the environment is protected and improved and there is a less wasteful use of natural resources.

4.6.

Various statements of national policy, most notably PPGs (see Section 3) elaborate upon the interpretation of sustainability in relation to particular development issues. Structure Plan policy S1 contains county-wide criteria to promote development and change that is more environmentally sustainable in the longer term. Locally relevant elements of these policy references are highlighted in Policy DS1 below.

4.7.

Most notable in providing the national policy framework is PPG guidance in relation to making best use of land and creating balanced communities (PPG3), supporting economic growth (PPG4), environment and the countryside (PPS 7), transport (PPG13) and development and flood risk (PPG25).

4.8.

These policy presumptions about whether a particular development may be acceptable in principle in a given location will be applied in determining planning applications, as well as having been used to guide the Plan’s spatial strategy.

4.9.

General considerations that apply in addition to the broad principles below are contained in Section 5, while policies for specific forms of development that raise particular issues are set out in Sections 6 – 9.

POLICY DS1 View Map of this site ?

In determining whether development is appropriate in a particular location, proposals should accord with the following principles:

  1. priority is given to making best use of urban land, especially through the re-use of previously developed land/buildings;
  2. it fosters sustainable and socially inclusive communities, including by supporting local services and helping meet local needs, such as for affordable housing;
  3. it ensures a sufficient continuing supply of employment sites and premises to foster economic regeneration;
  4. it ensures a good level of accessibility to a range of services and jobs by public transport, recognising that opportunities are more limited in rural areas;
  5. best use is made of existing infrastructure, including transport, community facilities and mains drainage;
  6. it avoids prejudicing the character and qualities of the environment, particularly the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and undeveloped coastline;
  7. it protects sites of recognised nature conservation importance, particularly of internationally and nationally important sites, as defined on the Proposals Map;
  8. it protects historic parks and gardens and Battle battlefield, as defined on the Proposals Map;
  9. it respects the importance of the countryside in terms of its distinct landscape character, natural resources, woodland and agriculture;
  10. it protects ancient woodland from development that would prejudice its ecological and landscape value;
  11. it ensures that development is safe from flooding, including by restricting development in flood risk areas and not increasing such risk elsewhere;
  12. it protects vulnerable countryside gaps between settlements, as elaborated upon by Policy DS5.
  13. it ensures a sufficient continuing supply of housing land in accordance with the Structure Plan housing supply requirement and the spatial strategy of the Plan’
  14. it avoids development on unstable land except where the proposal demonstrates that actual or potential instability can reasonably be overcome.
4.10.

Housing land requirements

It is essential to meet the overall level of new housing required by the Structure Plan and do this in the most appropriate way, having regard to sustainability principles, the housing needs of local communities and the types of residential environments in which people want to live.

4.11.

There is a level of housing development already “in the pipeline”. This covers schemes that have planning permission and are either under construction or not yet commenced. It also includes schemes that have the benefit of a resolution to approve planning permission, but which are awaiting signing of a legal agreement.

4.12.

Sites of at least 6 dwellings that are committed in this way amount to 842 dwellings and are shown in the schedule and accompanying plans at Appendix 5 for information only.

4.13.

Both national and regional planning policies see urban areas as the main focus for development. In order to establish the potential for further housing in urban areas, the Council commissioned an ‘Urban Capacity Study’. This was undertaken by consultants in 2001 in accordance with Government methodological guidance. It looked at land within existing town and village development boundaries on the basis that there was already an acceptance in principle of development in these areas. Sites with a potential of 6 or more dwellings were assessed.

4.14.

The Study concluded that there is likely to be a continuing supply of sites within existing development boundaries arising from redevelopment, intensification of use and the development of vacant land.

4.15.

The general findings of the Study, together with the Council’s testing of their robustness, is published as a background paper – An Assessment of Urban Housing Capacity in Rother District, 2002. That assessment has been reviewed in the light of further development monitoring. This has confirmed that the “best estimate” for the net yield from unidentified sites is consistent with the level of completions on windfall sites since the Study was undertaken.

4.16.

On the basis of 600 dwellings over a ten-year period, it is estimated that some 357 dwellings will be built on windfall sites within the existing urban areas over the remaining Plan period. This figure is regarded as a robust and realistic estimate of what can be achieved to meet policy objectives, but also recognises the difficulties that may well exist in bringing urban sites forward. It will be the subject of annual monitoring and significant variations may bring about a need for amendments to land releases, as provided for by Policy DS6.

4.17.

Further, small-scale development also regularly takes place in settlements. Allowance is made for this based on the average rate over the last 5 years.

4.18.

Table 1 below summarises the contributions from these respective sources of housing supply towards Structure Plan requirements as at April 2004. It can be seen that the outstanding housing requirement to 2011 is 2,560 dwellings. This takes account of the 2,940 dwellings built to date and equates to an annual average of 365 dwellings.

Table 1: Sources of Housing Supply 2011 
  
 Structure Plan housing requirement 2,560
  
 Large sites commitment 842
  
 Small windfall site 497
  
 Urban capacity 357
  
 New Allocations 864
4.19.

As can be seen, having made provision for potential infilling and redevelopment, there is still a requirement for the expansion of towns and villages to accommodate 864 dwellings up to 2011.

4.20.

It is not proposed to allocate more land than is necessary to meet requirements, in order to minimise the loss of greenfield land and to conserve the character of the countryside and the setting of settlements. An exception to this is where a major land release is appropriate and the potential over a longer period should be identified to enable the proper planning of development and associated infrastructure, as well as help provide for the continuity of housing supply over the next 10 years. 

4.21.

Business land requirements

Economic regeneration, including inward investment, in the Bexhill and Hastings area is a regional priority. RPG9 sees urban renaissance including the re-use of brownfield land as well as sites for new employment to achieve regeneration.

4.22.

Given the local economic and property market contexts, improving the balance between homes and jobs is vital.

4.23.

It is a clear priority of the business community that new sites and buildings are provided as soon as possible to allow firms to expand. At the same time, significant improvements in the commercial and industrial property market are needed to stimulate investment in new sites and buildings, while indigenous growth alone will not be sufficient to regenerate the local economy. This is because of the industrial structure of the area, with little employment in growth or high value-added sectors.

4.24.

The attraction of inward investment must be part of the strategy for sustained longterm economic recovery and growth. Allocating sufficient land for business and other employment activities is essential to develop and broaden the economic base. However, it has to be acknowledged that inward investment to East Sussex generally has been fairly minimal in recent years. Locational disadvantages, including poor strategic accessibility, are acknowledged obstacles to business development.

4.25.

A guideline figure to the scale of additional business land and floorspace (i.e. for offices, industry and warehousing) needed between 1996 and 2011 in Rother and Hastings is contained in the Structure Plan. An overall provision of 215,000 – 245,000m2 was sought, which, at the time, was seen as necessitating a further 20-25 hectares of land of which up to 15 hectares should be released for high quality business development in the short term.

4.26.

In practice, since 1996 the actual rate of business development has been only a fraction of that implied by the Structure Plan and there have been no significant new sites developed. Table 2 below presents the current position.

Table 2 - Progress towards Structure Plan office, industrial and warehousing floorspace requirements in Rother and Hastings.

  Square metres
Eastern Area Structure Plan Requirement 1996-2011
(Structure Plan Explanatory Memorandum P29)
 215,000 - 245,000
Completions for the Eastern Area as at April 2003 27,561
Rother District Council’s completions 1996-2003 8,702
Hastings Borough Council’s completions 1996-2003 (1) 18,859
Outstanding Requirement as at April 2003
(Requirement – Completions)
 187,439 – 217,439
Planning Permissions as at April 2003 37,044
Rother District Council’s permissions 26,300
Hastings Borough Council’s permissions (2) 10,744

Windfall Allowance for Extensions and Change of Use (3)

Rother District Council’s windfall allowance

 8,360

 8,360 

Hastings Borough Council not available
Target for Allocations 142,035 – 172,035
Hastings Employment Land Allocations(4)  68,751
Employment Land Allocation Requirement for Rother
District (not allowing for intensification of uses in Hastings)
 73,284 – 103,284
(1) 2002/3 figures for Hastings Borough Council are not yet available and an estimate has been made based on average annual completions over the last 5 years.
(2) Only relating to floorspace of at least 500m2
(3) Any windfall allowance for extensions and change of use is based on a rate over the last 7 years with extensions to curtilages included through redevelopments and change of use from noncommercial establishments.
(4) Employment Land Commitment – Hastings Borough August 2003.
4.27.

Given past performance, employment trends and current transport plans, the upper end of the floorspace range contained in the Structure Plan now appears unduly optimistic. However, at this stage, it is still considered appropriate to plan to meet at least the lower target. This would meet pent-up demand and the needs arising from planned housing growth, reduce the need to commute out of the area for work and provide for a range of firms, especially those seeking higher quality locations and accommodation. Hence, it should remove an acknowledged constraint to economic regeneration. Any significant change to the requirements is a matter for a new regional spatial strategy and associated sub-regional study.

4.28.

The Local Plan needs to bring forward suitable sites, especially readily available serviced land in accessible locations. A strategic land release is still desirable to assist the regeneration of the Hastings and Bexhill area.

4.29.

Difficult economics should not provide a basis for unsustainable greenfield land releases though. Where new allocations are justified, they should be of a scale and distribution that relates clearly to the demand for jobs and business space. Mixeduse schemes will have a role to play in addressing the marginal economics of business development and produce more sustainable patterns of land use.

4.30.

Towards a spatial strategy

In planning for new housing, PPG3 advocates a sequential approach, starting with the re-use of previously developed land and buildings within existing urban areas, then urban extensions, and finally new development around nodes in public transport corridors. Having assessed urban capacity above, attention turns to the second.

4.31.

Urban Extensions

Key factors affecting the suitability of urban extensions are the accessibility to jobs and services by modes other than the car, the potential to improve such accessibility, the ability to build communities, and infrastructure and environmental considerations.

4.32.

Bexhill is by far the largest town in the District. It provides the greatest range of shops, employment and services, and benefits from its close links with adjacent Hastings. Also, growth is not unduly constrained by national landscape or nature conservation designations or other fundamental environmental constraints, such as flood risk. This is not to discount the quality of the surrounding countryside, the setting of the Pevensey Levels or Combe Haven or the significance of the open gap between Bexhill and Hastings. There are also limitations on its employment growth potential and transport capacity.

4.33.

In fact, policies S1 and S25 of the Structure Plan already provide for a new community and a high quality business park to the north east of the town. The intended scale, location and disposition of this strategic development was detailed in the North Bexhill Strategic Framework, approved in 1993.

4.34.

The Initial Deposit Local Plan put forward the building of a first phase of 500 dwellings by 2006. However, capacity constraints on the existing road network, together with ongoing uncertainty about transport improvements sufficient to create the necessary capacity, have effectively prevented development to date.

4.35.

There is now a real expectation that this fundamental constraint will be overcome. In its decision on the South Coast Multi-Modal Study, the Government has asked the County Council to bring forward detailed proposals for a Bexhill-north Hastings Link Road. This will provide critical relief to the A259 roundabout at Glyne Gap.

4.36.

North-east Bexhill is still appropriate for major growth having regard to PPG3 objectives and the above development principles. It is least environmentally constrained, is well related to the urban fabric and to employment opportunities in Bexhill and Hastings. It is due to be served by the planned new Link Road, which will also facilitate good public transport access. However, the disposition of housing and employment land uses, as well as layout, need to be reviewed in the light of current circumstances. This is done in the Section 10 - Bexhill.

4.37.

Consideration has been given to alternative or additional urban extensions around both Bexhill and Hastings. However, any significant growth of Bexhill is dependent upon the building of the Link Road, so there is no real infrastructure advantage of extensions to the north-west or west. Rather, those areas are less well related to the existing urban fabric, the town centre, or to the new transport infrastructure and are environmentally sensitive rural fringes. While Hastings is the sub-regional centre, the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty envelops the built-up-area from Fairlight in the east to Marline Wood in the west. National planning policy looks to areas outside AONBs in preference, which land around Bexhill is. Development of the scale involved would inevitably affect the conservation of the natural beauty of those fringe locations. The only land on the edge of Hastings not within the AONB is that to the west. However, not only is this poorly related to the built-up areas of Hastings and St. Leonards, it is vital to the retention of countryside gaps between Bexhill and St. Leonards and between Crowhurst and Hastings. Defined countryside gaps also reinforce the AONB designations between Battle and Hastings and between Fairlight and Hastings.

4.38.

Development in rural areas

Outside of Bexhill and the Hastings fringes falling within Rother District, consideration is given to the potential for development in Battle and Rye and the villages that punctuate the rural areas of the District.

4.39.

There is strong housing market interest in rural locations. However, in determining the future direction of development and change in rural areas, it is vital to appreciate that the distribution, character and form of the many villages and small hamlets across the District are integral to the historic pattern of settlement and landscape character that has evolved over a long time and is for the most part of national value.

4.40.

It is therefore especially important to have robust Local Plan policies to manage development pressures in rural areas. It also follows that development and change in rural areas should continue to be limited and “organic” in nature.

4.41.

The Structure Plan provides for only limited housing allocations in selected smaller towns, such as Battle and Rye, and villages in the County. It does not envisage any significant housing development in villages that have no, or only very few, local services. Structure Plan policy S8 sets down criteria for the definition of development boundaries and the determination of the scale and nature of change within villages. Development should be consistent with the protection afforded to the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other environmental considerations.

4.42.

It is agreed that only relatively limited growth of Battle and Rye is appropriate, consistent with maintaining their service centre roles and their historic character and settings. Some development may help create more sustainable pattern of development and support regeneration efforts. Individual planning strategies for each town are developed in Sections 11 and 12 respectively.

4.43.

Government guidance in PPG3: Housing and PPG13: Transport emphasises the need for housing in rural areas to meet the needs of local people, to support local services and promote social inclusion. Emphasis is given to promoting accessibility by public transport, cycling and walking, even though the potential is more limited. RPG9 similarly seeks a less dispersed and more sustainable pattern of activity.

4.44.

This guidance needs to be interpreted having regard to local circumstances. There are no villages, perhaps with the exception of Robertsbridge, that have a broad range of services and facilities. However, there are a number that have most if not all services and facilities required to meet day-to-day needs, notably a general store, post office, primary school and doctors surgery. These could still not be described as large villages. The remainder of the villages with existing development boundaries are mostly small with only very limited local services.

4.45.

Feedback on the Draft Planning Strategy generally supported the more limited and dispersed distribution of new development in villages, having particular regard to infrastructure and accessibility constraints.

4.46.

Therefore, attention has focussed on medium-sized villages with a reasonable range of services. Housing growth should be quite limited in scale and be dispersed between villages, where this can be achieved without unacceptably compromising the character and setting of the village or its physical and community infrastructure in particular.

4.47.

At the same time, the definition of development boundaries around other mostly smaller villages is maintained. This allows for some “internal growth” (that is, infill, redevelopment and change of use) and supports the application of affordable housing and community facility policies to those settlements.

4.48.

In order to assist the vitality of villages, it is also considered appropriate to give every encouragement to the provision of further jobs and local facilities. New employment opportunities may be brought forward either as extensions to existing sites and premises, part of mixed-use developments or via conversions. Also, recognising that creating new employment opportunities is very difficult in villages, existing sites and premises should be retained wherever practicable.

4.49.

It is envisaged that agriculture and woodland will continue to be the predominant land uses in the countryside. Protecting the character of the countryside, especially given that, for the greater part, it is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is very important. At the same time, a living and working countryside should be maintained. Development is generally restricted to that which needs to be located there. At the same time, new employment opportunities may be achieved by the conversion of existing buildings for business use, including tourism, and otherwise offering scopefor farm diversification and woodland management. There will still need to be safeguards on such activities in relation to traffic generation, impact on local amenities and landscape character. Recreation activities in the countryside can meet leisure demands and are provided for, subject to the impact on local amenities and the character of the wider area being acceptable.

POLICY DS2 View Map of this site ?

New development and land use changes shall accord with the overall spatial strategy for the distribution of development in Rother District up to 2011, which is to:

  1. encourage the most effective and efficient use of land within existing settlement development boundaries, especially previously developed land;
  2. accommodate a substantial part of the need for new development in an urban extension to the north-east and north of Bexhill, planned as a new community integrated with a major business land release well related to the planned Link Road;
  3. provide for some development in Battle and Rye that helps maintain their service centre roles and is consistent with environmental constraints;
  4. provide for limited growth of selected villages that contain a range of services, where new development will help support and, where appropriate, improve such services, contribute to local housing needs and be compatible with the character and setting of the village;
  5. allow for “internal growth” of other villages within their development boundaries (i.e., small-scale infill and redevelopment) and otherwise assist their future as sustainable communities by providing some flexibility in relation to the siting of community facilities and affordable housing; and
  6. continue to generally restrict new development in the countryside, including resisting the intensification of sporadic development and existing smaller settlements, for which there is no development boundary, whilst promoting sustainable land-based industries and sensitive diversification, primarily for employment uses.
4.50.

This strategy provides for a shift in the distribution of development towards towns, notably Bexhill, and away from rural areas relative to past trends. The strategy should still provide for more vibrant rural areas through sensitive and communityoriented development. Hence, it is believed that housing and employment needs and requirements in Rother District will be met whilst still conserving the distinctive character of its towns and highly valued rural and coastal areas.

4.51.

Further policies which seek to implement this strategy are contained in Sections 6 – 9, for housing, community development, employment and transport developments respectively, while specific land allocations are contained in the relevant Town or Villages sections. Individual development strategies are developed for Bexhill, Battle and Rye.

4.52.

Development boundaries

The drawing of ‘development boundaries’ is the main tool in determining where development takes place. By setting development limits, development boundaries serve to focus investment and development into the existing substantially built-up areas of towns and villages and, by implication, protect the countryside against inappropriate and intrusive developments.

4.53.

For sites within defined development boundaries, there is a presumption that infilling, redevelopment and changes of use will be acceptable, subject to consideration against other policies in the Plan.

4.54.

The Structure Plan (Policies S5 and S8) requires Local Plans to define development boundaries around settlements to differentiate between areas where development, including redevelopment or intensification, would be acceptable in principle and where it would not. They do not seek to define settlements as such. The basis for determining development boundaries is also contained in Structure Plan policy. They should have regard to the availability of local infrastructure and services, accessibility and a wide range of environmental considerations.

4.55.

There may be fringe areas of settlements, as well as some smaller settlements and enclaves of development in the countryside that are excluded from development boundaries in order to maintain the overall rural character of the locality. On occasion, the full depth of property curtilages is also deliberately excluded to make clear a policy statement that backland or in-depth development is unacceptable, often because of its additional visual or amenity impact.

POLICY DS3 View Map of this site ?

The existing settlement pattern will be maintained. The majority of all new development will take place within the development boundaries of existing towns and villages set out below, as defined on the Proposals Map.

Bexhill-on-Sea
Iden
Battle Netherfield
Beckley Normans Bay
Brede and Cackle Street
Northiam
Braod Oak
Peasmarsh
Burwash
Pett and Friars Hill
Burwash Common/Weald
Pett Level
Camber
Robertsbridge
Catsfield
Rye and Rye Harbour
Crowhurst
Sedlescombe
Etchingham
Staplecross
Fairlight Cove
Stonegate
Flimwell
Three Oaks
Four Oaks Ticehurst
Guestling Green
Westfield
Hastings Fringes
Westfield Lane
Hurst Green
Winchelsea and Winchelsea Beach
Icklesham  

POLICY DS4 View Map of this site ?

Outside of the development boundaries of the towns and villages set out in Policy DS3 and defined on the Proposals Map, the remainder of the area is shown as countryside where existing uses shall remain for the most part unchanged during the period of this Plan. Proposals for new development therein will be required to accord with relevant Structure Plan and Local Plan policies and, unless there is specific provision in these policies for the proposed form of development to be located in the countryside, the proposals will also be required to demonstrate that a countryside location is necessary for the development.

4.56.

Strategic gaps

The separation of settlements to protect their individual character and setting is regarded as of strategic importance, in accordance with Structure Plan Policy S1. The gaps between certain towns and villages have for long been identified as vulnerable to development pressures.

4.57.

It is proper to provide Local Plan policy definition to these gaps in order to prevent development that would inappropriately reduce them or weaken the overall policy of restraint.

4.58.

Some particular proposals may well be acceptable in the Strategic Gaps such as the change of use or conversion of a building, the construction of certain agricultural buildings which need planning permission, replacement buildings, appropriate recreational uses of land and facilities for the local community, but only where the open character of gaps is not compromised.

POLICY DS5 View Map of this site ?

Development in the following strategic gaps will be carefully controlled and only in exceptional circumstances will development be permitted therein. Any development must be unobtrusive and not detract from the openness of the area. The gaps are identified on the Proposals Map between the following areas:-

  1. Bexhill and St. Leonards;
  2. Battle and Hastings;
  3. Fairlight and Hastings;
  4. Crowhurst and Hastings;
  5. Rye and Rye Harbour.
4.59.

Summary of Housing Land Provisions

In accordance with the advice in paragraph 58 of PPG 3, the Plan seeks to encourage housing development that makes more efficient use of land, with a density figure of 30 dwellings per hectare applied as a minimum figure. Generally, support will be given to developments with a density above  the indicative minimum.

4.60.

Of the total number of dwellings on identified sites, a minimum of (1,869), 964 – 1,014 dwellings are expected to be built by 2011. This takes account of the estimate that only some 200 – 250 dwellings of the total of 1,105 dwellings to be built at North Bexhill are likely to be completed before 2011.

4.61.

Furthermore, it should be recognised that approximately 158 of these dwellings are on sites within existing development boundaries and are identified within the Urban Capacity Study and, hence, could therefore be regarded as being embraced by the urban capacity allowance. While it is noted that the ‘urban capacity’ provision is an allowance and does not presume those sites being developed in order to avoid potential double-counting, this figure is discounted from the net capacity of allocations.

4.62.

In assessing the likely dwelling numbers that will provided by the allocations, regard is had to Government guidance on densities as well as to local circumstances. For statistical purposes, it is assumed that average densities achieved on allocated sites will be 15% above the “minimum” number identified in Table 3. This is equivalent to a density of 35 dwellings per hectare instead of 30 dwellings per hectare. However, the actual density of development appropriate for any particular site will be subject to detailed scrutiny through the planning application process, having particular regard to the criteria in Policy GD1. Table 3 below presents the overall likely housing land supply from all sources – sites with planning permission, large and small windfall sites and allocations (including those allocated in the Revised Deposit Plan but which have since gained planning permission and implemented.

Table 3: Summary of housing allocations

Settlement and Site Minimum
no. of
dwellings
Brownfield/
Greenfield
Site size Minimum
Density -
Dwellings
per ha.
Percentage
of Affordable
Housing
Approx. No
of affordable
dwellings to
20115
Bexhill      
Land east of Link Road
9801
 G28 35  40 80-1001
Land west of Link Road
1301
 G 4.2 30 40 
Former Galley Hill Depot
 48 B 1.3 37 40 19
High School and Drill Halls
402,3 B 3.1 50 40 16
Battle
      
North Trade Road
 30 B/G 1.0 30 40 12
Blackfriars
 220 G 7.3 30 40 88
Rye and Rye Harbour
      
Thomas Peacocke School
 323 B 0.8 40 40 13
North of Udimore Road
 114 G 3.8 30 40 46
Harbour Road
 163 B 0.5 30 40 6
Rock Channel
 553,4 B/G 7.8 N/A 40 22
Burwash
      
Landoff Strand Meadow 174 G 0.6 30 40 7
Etchingham
      
North-west of High Street 2
 15 G 0.5 30 40 6
Fairlight
      
Fairlight Gardens
 153 G 0.5 30 40 6
Flimwell      
Corner Farm
 122 G 0.4 30 40 5
Land at Old Wardsdown 9 B/G 0.3 30 40 4
Hastings Fringe
      
Land at Woodlands Way
 30 B 1.0 30 40 12
Northiam
      
Land South of the Paddock
 30 G 1.0 30 40 12
Robertsbridge
      
Land adjacent Grove Farm
 30 B 0.9 33 40 12
Land at Culverwells
 142 B 2.0 30 40 6
Westfield
      
Land at Westfield down
 22 B 0.7 30 40 8
Land north of Moor Farm  15 B/G 0.7 30 40 6
Total
 1,874    0

 386-406 

4.63.

It can be seen that likely net number of additional dwellings on the allocated sites (including those which have since gained planning permission) of 953 – 1,003 compares closely with, and slightly exceeds, the 864 dwellings identified in Table 1 above as being required from new allocations. Hence, the Local Plan proposals fulfil the requirement to identify sufficient sites to meet housing requirements over the Plan period, after making allowance for windfalls.

4.64.

Paragraph 34 of PPG3 further requires sufficient sites to be shown on the Plan’s Proposals Map to accommodate at least the first five years of housing development. Government advises that this does not presume that all such sites should be developed in the first five years, but is a means of safeguarding against unrealistic windfall allowances.

4.65.

On the basis of an outstanding housing requirement of 2,560 dwellings over 7 years, the target for 5 years identified supply is 1,829 dwellings. It can be seen that the combined total of identified large site commitments in Appendix 5 (885 dwellings) and allocations (1,874 dwellings) being 2,759 dwellings readily meets this requirement.

4.66.

While the Plan period conforms with that of the Structure Plan, it is noted that were future land requirements for the District to be the same as those over the current Structure Plan period (i.e. 5500 dwellings over 20 years) then the total Plan’s provision would by virtue of the longer-term strategic allocations at Bexhill, represent a further 5.9 – 6.3 years of housing supply as Table 5 below shows:

Table 5

Assumed annual Structure Plan requirement post 2011
 275 dwellings
Assumed annual small sites windfall allowance post 2011
 71 dwellings
Assumed annual urban capacity windfall allowance post 2011
 60 dwellings
Residual requirement to be met by further allocations
 144 dwellings
Capacity at Bexhill strategic allocation post 2011
 860 - 910
  (÷144 = 5.9-6.3 years)
4.67.

On this basis, the Plan identifies sites capable of providing sufficient housing for 10.6 – 11.0 years from the date of anticipated adoption (early July 2006).

4.68.

Managing land release

The Council is keen to avoid the unnecessary development of greenfield sites. While the allowances for both small and large windfall housing developments are regarded as realistic best estimates, there is, inevitably, the potential for windfall sites to be realised at a greater or lesser extent than anticipated. In terms of their timing, release should be prioritised over greenfield sites where this is realistic having regard to site circumstances and maintaining a continuity of supply across the District. The overall level of housing allocations includes an element of over-provision to cater for uncertainties, such as the rate of development on windfall sites. This provides a level of robustness to the Plan and helps to ensure a continuity of housing supply. The application of a phasing policy, as discussed below, will guard against an unwarranted scale of growth.

4.69.

The approach to managing the delivery of housing in accordance with policy priorities is referred to as ‘Plan, Monitor and Manage’ This process provides a mechanism whereby the progress of planned development is regularly monitored and, if necessary, adjustments are made to increase delivery. It should both avoid unnecessary greenfield development and manage it in line with the Plan’s overall spatial strategy.

4.70.

The contribution of previously developed land and buildings to the total additional housing provided is estimated to be 60% over the Plan period. It is expected to be higher in the early years as a consequence of both physical and planning policy restrictions affecting the timing of certain greenfield sites.

4.71.

Policy GD2 and policies for specific sites seek to ensure that the release of land coordinates with the availability of infrastructure. The phasing policy, DS6, is intended to control the pattern and overall level of urban growth, as well as co-ordination with necessary infrastructure, in line with the overall spatial strategy and locational principles. It enables the managed release of allocated housing sites, especially in the event of a higher rate of windfall sites coming forward. The greenfield site off Udimore Road, Rye and the site at Grove Farm, Robertsbridge are considered to be the most appropriate sites to be subject to a planning constraint.

4.72.

The Council will continually monitor the housing supply position, in particular the rate of dwelling starts and completions, the planning permissions for windfall sites, housing densities, affordable housing provision and progress on the Link Road timetable . This will be reported annually through the LDF Annual Monitoring Report, but may also be the subject of specific consideration in an intervening period if circumstances should warrant it. This may arise if the Link Road timetable were to change, prejudicing the level of development likely at the North East Bexhill strategic allocation.

4.73.

Where sites come forward ahead of the provisions in the following policy, they are unlikely to be granted permission unless subsequent monitoring has shown that there is a need for early release. Given that the principle of development on both sites is established, and given the short time period of the Plan, the determination of whether to release either or both of the reserve sites being the subject of (iv) below will be a matter for the Full Council, having due regard to monitoring information. Any significant adjustments, such as the need for further housing allocations, will be addressed by an early review of the Plan, as part of the Local Development Scheme.

POLICY DS3 View Map of this site ?

The release of sites allocated for housing purposes in the Local Plan will be on the basis of the following criteria, the application of which will be informed by ongoing monitoring and annual reporting of the housing supply position:

  1. wholly or substantially previously developed sites in urban areas, as indicated in Table 3, will not be subject to phasing restrictions;
  2. the strategic land releases at north-east Bexhill will not be subject to phasing restrictions other than required to ensure road capacity and the release of employment land, with priority to be given to the Policy BX2 area over the Policy BX3 area;
  3. other greenfield sites not covered by (iv) below will be released to meet the housing requirement for the Plan period;
  4. the following sites will only be released (i.e. granted planning permission) if found necessary to meet the Structure Plan housing requirements up to 2011:
    1. Land off Udimore Road, Rye
    2. Land adjacent to Grove Farm, Robertsbridge
NB: It is not anticipated that any of the sites at (iv) above would be released in advance of the consideration of the progress of housing development up to 2007/8, although the situation will be reviewed as part of the required on-going annual monitoring process.
4.74.

Summary Employment Land Provisions

Table 6 below identifies the further sites envisaged for employment in the District. It can be seen that the resultant floorspace falls within the range of some 73,000 – 103,000 square metres identified in Table 2. As discussed above, a level towards the lower end is considered a realistic target.

4.75.

It is recognised that not all development at Bexhill is likely to come forward before 2011, but that it is a strategic allocation. Nevertheless, having regard to the desirability of not over- allocating land, together with the additional potential for intensification of uses in Hastings, the overall provisions and their distribution are regarded as appropriate.

Table 6 Employment Allocations

 Proposed Employment Allocations
 Approximate Estimated Floorspace (m2)

 Bexhill - West of Link Road

 Bexhill - East of Link Road 

 26,000

 22,000 

Rye - Spun Concrete, Harbour Road, Harbour 16,000
Rye – Land east of Bourne’s, Rye Harbour Rd 1,184
Rye - Castle Water, Rye Harbour Road2,800
Rye – r/o Long Product Site, Rye Harbour Rd.6,650
Hastings - Land off Burgess Road, The Ridge3,000
Robertsbridge – Land r/o Culverwells
1,300
Westfield – Wheel Farm Business Park
 1,000
Marley Lane – Land west of D.B.Earthmoving
1,900
 Marley Lane - Rutherfords Business Park2,700

Total

84,534

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