Agenda and minutes

Development Policy and Affordable Housing Panel
Wednesday, 24th May, 2017 6.30 pm

Venue: Wey Room - East Hampshire District Council, Penns Place, Petersfield, Hants. GU31 4EX. View directions

Contact: Cynthia Haveron  Democratic Services Officer - 01730 234092

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors , K Carter, K Moon and G Shepherd.


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of Interest.


Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman welcomed Members to the first meeting of the Development Policy & Affordable Housing Panel.




To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 19 April 2017, previously circulated.


The minutes of the meeting held on 19 April 2017, were agreed and signed as a correct record.


Local Plan Part 3: Areas of Special Housing Character pdf icon PDF 85 KB

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Ian Mawer, Planning Policy Team Leader introduced the 3 reports on the agenda. He explained that Parish and Town Councils had been notified of the items on the agenda and had been given until Friday 2nd June to be able to contact officers to ask questions/seek clarification.

Heather Stevens, Principal Policy Planner introduced the first report.

She explained the need to commission an evidence base study to inform the preparation of Local Plan Part 3.  Evidence was needed to evaluate and understand the defining characteristics of the area, to inform policy preparation and to enable the future designation of Special Housing Character to be considered. Such up to date evidence was currently not available.

During the discussion, Councillors made comments on the report. They were concerned how each area would be assessed. Smaller settlements close together such as Blendworth and Horndean were very different. Heather Stevens assured Councillors that evidence would be gathered for each area within settlement policy boundaries (excluding within the SDNP) so the study could assess the distinct characteristics of each individual area.

Concerns were raised that the report stated that the study may conclude there was not sufficient evidence to justify the policy approach of Special Housing Character Areas and that would mean that money would be wasted. Officers responded by confirming this was not wasted as this evidence base was required by national planning guidance and would be used to support other detailed design policies.

The report also stated it would likely include an element of engagement with stakeholders, but Councillors felt it was a requirement to engage with the public and wanted reassurance that the public would be engaged on this. Officers explained that the public had already had a part to play in establishing and suggesting new areas to be considered as Areas of Special Housing Character, and that formal consultation would take place during the Regulation 18 consultation on the Local Plan.

It was confirmed that the appendix to the report was an extract of the current policy in the Local Plan 2006, and not a list of suggested areas for consideration for Special Housing Character status. Councillors wanted to know a date in which suggestions could be submitted to the officers for consideration. There were concerns that there are currently no Areas of Special Housing Character in Alton or Bramshott and Liphook. A suggestion was put forward for Officers to look at the area around the Bramshott Church and the adjoining road that led down to the 12th Century manor house.

Following the discussion it was NOTED the need to commission an East Hampshire District (outside of the South Downs National Park) Settlement Character Study, to inform Local Plan Part 3, and assist with the consideration of the policy approach to design and Local Plan Policies H9 areas of Special Housing Character and H10 Special Housing Areas in Local Plan Part 3.



Local Plan Part 3: Reviewing Settlement Policy Boundaries (Draft Methodology) pdf icon PDF 94 KB

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Adam Harvey, Principal Policy Planner introduced the report.

He explained that the role of a Settlement Policy Boundary (SPB) was to define the limit of settlements and guide developers to certain locations. The aims of the draft methodology was to ensure the boundaries were logical and easy to identify on the ground and to clearly show what should and should not be included in the SPB. It would be used to review and redefine the precise extent of East Hampshire’s (outside the SDNP) settlement policy boundaries.

The SPBs had not been fully reviewed since the adoption of the Local Plan: Second review in 2006, with the exception of amendments in 2014 as part of the JCS related to the strategic allocation at Whitehill and Bordon and in 2016 as part of housing and employment allocations. The methodology would provide an up to date policy stance and carry greater weight behind planning decisions and appeals. It was advised this was strictly just looking at areas outside the South Downs National Park (SDNP) as they had their own settlement policy boundaries and their own methodology.

Councillor Thomas requested the following be minuted. Four Marks and Medstead should not be included in this study until further consultations. Their Neighbourhood Plan has just been agreed and therefore was up to date so did not need a review.

Other Councillors disagreed and suggested there should be consistency across the District and all settlement policy boundaries should be tested to the same criteria. It was pointed out that Bramshott & Liphook did not currently have a neighbourhood plan. It was recommended that the review of the settlement boundary did not need to wait for the neighbourhood plan and it was asked who to send suggestions to. Officers advised that any SPB queries should come straight to East Hampshire District Council and to contact one of the Officers or email the Local Plan Inbox:
Officers advised the Neighbourhood Plans needed only to conform with the strategic policies in the Local Plan such as housing numbers and the settlement hierarchy in the Joint Core Strategy.

There were concerns among the Panel that the devices that would be used to map the area wouldn’t show the real landscape as it may not be accurate or up to date. Aerial photographs were from 2013 and Google Earth had a reputation for not being kept up to date. Officers said they were using a combination of GIS mapping, aerial photography, site visits and monitoring planning applications to establish the most up-to-date position of current land and built form.

Following the desktop review and site visits, draft boundaries will be made and engagement will be carried out with internal officers, Members and Parish/Town Councils. Following feedback from these initial consultations, a draft set of SPBs will be contained within a formal public consultation on Local Plan Part 3.

Councillors agreed that some methodology should be revised. Namely, Principle 4 3.2 stated that areas with a density of 30 dwellings per hectare  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Redefining Gap Boundaries (Draft Methodology) pdf icon PDF 78 KB

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Amanda Dunn, Principal Policy Planner introduced the report.


Local Gaps were very important locally. The principle function of a Gap was to separate individual settlements, the identity of which would be lost by their coalescence. So far there have been 16 Gaps in the Joint Core Strategy, however 4 of these were in the SDNP. South Downs National Park Authority do not wish to allocate gaps in their new Local Plan as they are a National Park and already had that added protection and their proposed Landscape policy will include the principle of gaps to separate individual settlements and protect them from coalescence.

Councillors requested a copy the Joint Core Strategy policy on gaps (CP23, to be copied by email).

Officers emphasised it was only existing Gaps that Officers would be looking at as part of this report.

It was clarified that Policy CP19 ‘Development in the Countryside’  protects the countryside, whereas Gaps focused on preventing settlements from merging together and keeping that distinct separation between them, however Gaps are a material consideration and are considered alongside other relevant policies..

RESOLVED that the Panels comments had been noted by the Officers.