The paddock is located off Grange Close (Private Road).
The application(21/6037N) is for OUTLINE consent on 4 detached dwellings. This is a very minimalistic application with much of the detailed information reserved for future matters application (s). As the Design and Access statement makes‘ clear:
As the proposal is for an outline application much of the detail regarding the sustainable strategy, materiality, technologies, etc. will be confirmed as part of a detailed reserved matters application
Much of the relatively brief Design & Access Statement is concerned with Energy efficiency of the designs and repeating the mantra of keeping discussions of real information on the development once they have outline consent.
This makes it very difficult to evaluate this application. All we are told about the actual houses is that they are detached and….‘have been configured so that each property has it’s own driveway access from the new access road from The Grange.’ (D & A Statement p1) and are orientated to take advantage of solar energy. Here is the proposed layout:
Outline applications are always difficult to assess before the decision but I have not seen one so ‘thread bare’ in detailed plans before. Why would a developer file such an application? Clearly there are cost to be considered, but these would form a small burden relative to the rewards from even a modest development of this size. Interestingly it echoes in some respects the recent government white paper on planning and its attempt to remove the citizen from consultation once the Local plan has been agreed. Only the local authority would be involved before consent was given on individual applications. Once that were achieved, and the project was unstoppable the citizen would be left to comment on the design features alone. That is what is being proposed here. ‘Give us consent and then you can fuss about how it will all look’. That is not to suggest that design is unimportant. Where development is agreed (reluctantly or otherwise), it is important that they should meet the standards laid out in Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) Housing Policy H5 – Design. Nonetheless, in the first place ‘we the people’ want to express our opinion on the development in principle in the given location.
Initial objections should consider co-location with Grange Close and joint access of two new sites.
The access via Grange Close probably agreed before the original application was made as it involves movement over a private road. The Duchy, developers of Grange Close, were limited in the number (14/15) they could build on the original plot and may not have been interested in a further small development in the paddock. They would have been aware of the restriction of building adjacent sites within the 2010-2030 period of the BNP H2A . However, they would have recognised the potential of the paddock and with the landowner designed the road layout to enable access at a later date.
However, new developments, built within the Local Cheshire East Plan (CELPS) 2010 -2030, may not be built next to each other. Neither may they share a common access. The aim of the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan B(NP) housing policies is to ensure the character of the village is not buried in an avalanche of new housing forming large blocks of development. That is not how this village has grown over the years.
Here is the Bunbury Neighbourhood Housing Policy H2:
‘A maximum of 15 new houses on any one available and deliverable greenfield site, within the extended settlement boundary, and not co–located with any other new housing development. New housing development is defined as a development built within the plan period,2015–2030. (See the Glossary – for a definition of co–location)
So what does co-location mean:
Co–location – New housing developments should be built in geographically separate parts of the village, in order that existing local communities and infrastructure are not adversely affected by a combination of new developments. No single area of the village should be subject to a large development that has resulted from smaller developments being built close to or accessed from each other.The separation between developments may be maintained by a significant distance, geographic features or visual segregation or a combination of these elements. A new development should not share an access road with another new development. For the purpose of this co–location definition a small development is one of 15 houses or less and this definition applies to all new houses built within the neighbourhood plan period 2015–2030 (see the glossary definition of new development and Policy H2A).
For clarity it is worth mentioning that the policy is and was always intended to be retrospective. Although the BNP started in 2016 the co-location was intended to apply to all new building in the 2010-2030 Cheshire East Local Plan. The reason for this is that otherwise a site built next to one constructed in 2015 would be exempt from this rule – an absurd position if you want to stop accumulations of large new housing estates. So the key period to note is 2010-2030 and any application attempting to build next to another site developed in the same plan period should be refused on the grounds of co-location.
These two developments are not visually or spatially separated and no geographical features are involved. That would seem to provide adequate grounds for refusal.
Further grounds for refusal however, should be provided by BNP Housing Policy H6 – Phasing. This is a much ignoreed policy mainly because events are seen to overtaken it in practice.
Here are the relevant sections and some summary comments:
First, note that TWO plans are in play, the Cheshire East Local Plan (referred to as CELPS) operating between 2010 – 2030 and Bunbury Neighborhood Plan (BNP) operating from 2016 till 2030. H6 begins:
Cheshire East Council’s Local Plan relates to 2010 to 2030 and we
are required to accommodate 80 new houses over that period
Then suggests a way of phasing the development:
To ensure an appropriate phased delivery of housing over the Neighbourhood Plan period, 2015 to 2030, the61 remaining new homes proposed should be delivered against thefollowing indicative schedule
Phase 1: 2015 – 2020 – 21 homes
Phase 2: 2020 – 2025 – 20 homes
Phase 3: 2025 – 2030 – 20 homes
As you will have spotted the housing numbers are way out. Bunbury has already delivered 108 dwellings in the period to date. No further demands have been made for Bunbury in the latest ‘Supply of Building Land’ and Allocation of Sites in Cheshire Easts latest plans.
That suggests to me that Bunbury has done its bit and more and should no longer be expected to provide further ‘executive’ houses in the current plan period 2010 – 2030.