Report of Public Open Meeting 7th December 2016


 Report of the Neighbourhood Development Plan Working Party

Public Meeting

held in the Memorial Hall

on Wednesday 7th December 2016

Present:        32 members of the Parish were in attendance.

Apologies:  V Carlton

K Johnson from Herefordshire County Council Planning Department

S Rose

T Weston

J Finnigan chaired the meeting and welcomed all present.

He commented that the current Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) had its roots in the Village Design Statement published in 2000 and that the Vision Statement of the Plan attempted to encapsulate the views and aspirations of the community.

He took the opportunity, on behalf of the community, to thank the Chairman of the Working Party for his leadership, drive and hard work in producing the Regulation 14 consultation draft NDP Version 4.3.

J Marsden, Chairman of the Working Party, outlined the main features of the draft NDP indicating that the Working Party had been operating since July 2013 and that all reports of its meetings and decisions taken were recorded and published on the Parish Council website. The Plan of necessity had to conform with Herefordshire Council’s Core Strategy and the National Planning Policy Framework.

J Marsden reminded the meeting of the following points:

  • the required 14% growth meant that 41 new dwellings needed to be built or committed by 2031
  • 18 had already been built or committed since 2011, so that a total of 23 remained to be delivered
  • the draft NDP contained a wider range of issues, objectives and policies than housing, which was likely to be the main issue of the evening’s public meeting
  • attention was drawn to the important issue of affordable housing given that 53.4% of potential purchasers in the Ross-on-Wye Rural Housing market Area were unable to afford to buy housing and that this problem needed to be addressed in our NDP
  • the important role played by the quality and distinctive character of the local built heritage and natural environment in maintaining people’s health and wellbeing; and the cultural history we were fortunate to enjoy reflected in the landscape views and 90 listed buildings of the parish.

The purpose of Settlement Boundaries was explained as a means of allowing some scope for expansion through new development and infill, whilst reflecting an envelope of the built form of the main settlement areas of Much Marcle, Rushall and Kynaston which were considered as a combined settlement.

J Weston referred to the screening criteria used to identify the proposed housing land allocations, which were displayed on projected maps. Attendees were advised that printed copies of all maps were available for reference in the Bob Dallow room at the close of the meeting.

In Rushall and Kynaston 11 potential dwellings, 13 potential dwellings in Much Marcle, and 19 redundant buildings were identified.

J Marsden described the next stages and timeline in establishing the NDP:

  • the Regulation 14 written consultation stage of at least 6 weeks duration was scheduled to end on January 3rd 2017
  • the written responses would be considered by the Working Party during January
  • an amended plan should be prepared by late February
  • the amended plan would be examined by independent advisers to test conformity before being passed to Herefordshire County Planning Department for them to present to external examiners
  • the examiners report was expected to be completed by July
  • a Yes/No referendum to be conducted in September with the outcome/decision reported in October
  • assuming a Yes vote then Herefordshire Council would adopt the plan.

Issues raised during a Question and Answer Session

  • the distance of Rushall and Kynaston to main roads, and narrow local access roads capacity to absorb increased traffic questioned the sustainability of the NDP proposals for new dwellings in those settlements – was access to main roads considered in identifying land allocations?
  • the virtue of the almost 50/50 split of potential dwellings between Rushall and Kynaston against Much Marcle was questioned and a more equitable distribution spread throughout the parish was posed – i.e. to avoid a ‘majority’ of local people living in Much Marcle ‘imposing’ new dwellings on Rushall and Kynaston
  • a resident of Rushall/Kynaston commented on the feeling of being overwhelmed due to the relatively greater number of potential dwellings proposed in Rushall and Kynaston and considered these numbers to be unsustainable
  • it was pointed out that the number of potential dwellings exceeded the number of required dwellings as all proposals for new development may not take place, but the plan acted as a guide to where new development was likely to be supported
  • the potential conversion of holiday lets was raised – in response it was stated the situation of second homes continues as at present, but where a change of use was involved to covert a holiday let to a permanent dwelling this would require planning permission and if consented would become an additional dwelling which would contribute to the 14% growth target.

In addition, written comments were received from V Carlton regarding the proposal to allocate land at Old Pike for affordable housing. The Chairman of the Working Party decided that these written comments should be treated with other written consultation responses and so they will be considered and responded to after the end of the consultation period on 3 January 2017.

Jeff Gibbon Secretary NPWP 12th December 2016