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Special Newsletter on Village Planning
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A new Joint Local Plan for West Devon, South Hams and Plymouth


At its meeting on Wednesday 3rd August, the Parish Council will consider a report about the Joint Local Plan [JLP] being produced by the Councils of West Devon, South Hams and Plymouth.  The JLP will replace West Devon's own plan [called Our Plan] that was being developed in 2014/5 and it will cover the areas of the three Councils involved.
 
The consultation process ends on 12th August. There is a booklet 'Thriving Towns and Villages'  that has all the current information about the JLP proposals for West Devon.  It can be found at http://plymouth.objective.co.uk/portal/planning/jlp/

If you want to make your views known on any aspect of the draft JLP please email them to Strategic.Planning@swdevon.gov.uk or visit www.westdevon.gov.uk
and do so online.  It would be very helpful if you would send a copy to clerk@magpc.co.uk as well.

Next Wednesday's Parish Council meeting will be at Marystowe Church hall and starts at 7.30pm.  You will be very welcome to attend and address parish councillors, if you wish.

When Our Plan was being produced, West Devon Borough Council asked landowners to put forward sites that they thought might have development potential and three were identified in Chillaton.  The Parish Council commented on those at the time, but has now been asked to look at them again, as part of the JLP consultation process.

This map shows the sites concerned:
This is what the Parish Council said in July 2014:
 
Overview
 
Whether or not Chillaton is capable of further development, because of its lack of facilities and the impact that has on private car usage, has not been determined. That study should be done before any application to develop a particular site is encouraged.
 
Chillaton already has a good mix of housing stock, including lower-cost homes that are either for rent or purchase.  Generally, there are always houses for sale or rent in the village.  However, new development should not be discouraged if it makes a contribution to the viability of the village.  Examples include; housing that meets the needs of local residents who require affordable housing, enables younger families to remain in the village or allows older residents to move to more easily managed properties.  The aim should be to encourage a balanced, mixed village community in Chillaton.
 
Land west of 1 Springfield Cottages [Ref: WD 42 07 08/13]  The site was not considered by WDBC as suitable for development at this time. Although the point made by their technical officers group about additional traffic on the narrow access lane is understood, its impact depends on the scale of the development proposed.  At this time, the views of the technical officers group are endorsed, but it might be that some small scale development here would be viable.
 
Land east of Marlow Crescent [Ref: WD 42 08 13]  The views of the technical officers group that the site was not considered by as suitable for development at this time, ‘due to significant constraints relating to the character of the village’ are endorsed, with the additional comment that if this site and the adjoining one [see below] were developed, there would be a significant increase in the village’s housing stock, far in excess of what may be required for any local needs.
 
Land between Sunwaye and Marlow Crescent [Ref: WD 42 09 13]  This would represent a significant extension of the village boundary, because it would create a ribbon of development from the new garage site to the village centre.  The site is described by the technical officer’s group as flat but unsuitable for wholesale development, because of its impact on the character of the landscape.  In fact, the site is not flat; it descends considerably from road level, which makes it difficult to see how the technical officer group’s idea of a development along the frontage of the site could be achieved.
 
Furthermore, there are two streams that cross the site in culverts.  One is a substantial watercourse in winter and both play a significant part in the drainage of the hillside opposite.  The additional cost of accommodating those streams underneath any development of the site suggests that the only area that would be economically viable lies to the side and the rear of Sunwaye.  That would create the same objections on grounds of amenity and non-typical village development as the technical officer’s group found would apply to the land at the rear of Marlow Crescent.
 
Conclusions:
 
As far as Chillaton is concerned, the Parish Council has no objection to the creation of a small number of new homes, if they are needed to respond to the changing requirements of local residents and they contribute to maintaining the viability of the village community.
 
None of the sites identified is entirely suitable; all have factors that would either affect their viability or have a significant adverse environmental impact, or both.  Given the lack of village amenities and the identified need for further study of the impact of any new development, it is not recommended that any of these sites are taken further at this time.
 
However, it is very likely that a brownfield site in Chillaton will become available [the site of the existing Chillaton garage] and this should be developed with housing that contributes to meeting needs identified in a future housing needs assessment.
 
The Parish Council has agreed to the creation of a Neighbourhood Plan that will include Chillaton and will identify any additional sites needed to respond to demand for housing in excess of that which could be met on the Chillaton garage site.


Current position

Although the views of West Devon do not seem to have changed, they have added the statement 'There will be further opportunity through the Neighbourhood Plan or an allocations process to explore the potential for development on this site’ to their comments on the potential sites west of 1 Springfield Cottages and east of Marlow Crescent.  As the circumstances that lead the Borough Council to conclude that neither site was suitable for development at that time have not changed, it is hard to see why the Neighbourhood Plan would be able to explore the potential for development on these sites.

As far as the land between Sunwaye and Marlow Crescent is concerned, this site is considered by West Devon to have some potential for development.  The Parish Council previously stated that a development of 10 houses along the road frontage was excessive, represented a significant extension of the village boundary and the topography and drainage of the site created substantial practical constraints.
 
Other than a sales and service garage and infrequent Post office and bus services, Chillaton has no local facilities and it is therefore difficult to reconcile the idea of development on this scale with the statement in ‘Thriving Towns and Villages’ that development in smaller villages ‘would only be allowed in sustainable locations which have reasonable access to services and…avoid reliance on the private car.’
As is clear from the above item, neighbourhood plans are now seen as the means of delivering specific sites for housing development.  If parishes do not have a neighbourhood plan or it will not be completed in time, then the Borough Council may decide to allocate development sites in the villages concerned.  

Having a neighbourhood plan means more local control over what development takes place and the Government now intends to increase that influence even further. But, a neighbourhood plan like MACKPlan also involves a lot of work. Although progress has been made, most of that work is currently being done by very few people and that cannot continue if the plan is to be delivered in time.

So, if you want to have real control over what development takes place in the MACKPlan area, please consider joining the MACKPlan team.  To find out more, please call 01822 860378 or email howard.asbridge@magpc.co.uk
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