Edited extracts from the draft minutes of Parish Council meeting on 16th October 2018.
SDNPA Local Plan Hearings
The hearing dates had been confirmed: 14th to 16th November then 4th to 6 December at Midhurst, then 11th to 13th December in the Amex Stadium, Brighton.
The Parish Council (PC) have always recommended that any development in Coldwaltham should be smaller. Highlighting that at the consultation period, 4 other sites were submitted and remain on the table. Should the SDNPA wish to keep the same number of units for the village – these could easily be accommodated in smaller developments across any four of the five available sites to meet the same total.
It was noted that the number of Affordable Homes had not been determined, but that SDNPA have a target of 50% across the park, not per site.
The Parish Council can demonstrate that small developments work like Chapel Close in Watersfield; and small affordable ones like Piers Secomb & Shackleton Close. (It was noted that at least five of the new residents, in Shackleton Close, have a strong link to Coldwaltham).
The South Downs Local Plan, currently at examination, showed that the proposed 28 houses would occupy only 2 hectares of the 8 hectare site, but made no provision for the residual 6 hectares to be managed and maintained.
In submitting the Local Plan in April, the SDNPA had however presented a schedule of ‘major modifications’, which dropped the car park and proposed that the residual area should be managed not for public access but for biodiversity. There was however no clarity as to who would ultimately be responsible for maintaining this specialised regime, or how enforceable it would be.
All this had only become apparent after the final Local Plan consultation last autumn, and so was within the scope of the forthcoming public hearings. The Parish Council did not want to be in the position of receiving the burden of managing this space, and the additional cost this would present to residents.
It was commented that if each development was too small, developments smaller than 10 dwellings wouldn’t trigger any affordable provision. The NPPF makes provision that 40% of developments are affordable.
Cllr Burr confirmed that SDNPA have specified 50% affordable housing across the whole National Park and believe that their proposed scale of development remains viable at this 50% level.