Full Site Suitability Selection Process Summary

Site Suitability Selection Process Summary.

Site submission.
The potential availability of land for development has been established through a public “call for sites” by the NDP Steering Group on behalf of Walford Parish Council. Sites previously submitted in 2017 have been included in the process, with Landowners or their Agents having been approached to establish if the site is still available now.  An additional “call for sites” was issued in February 2020 with a deadline for submission of 31st March 2020.

A total of 34 sites are being assessed in the process. This varies to the 30 submitted sites previously reported as the assessment includes two sites that have been withdrawn, one that has changed ownership and one submission that included two sites.

Site suitability assessment.
Determining whether a site is developable, and deliverable will be undertaken in two stages. The first identifying those sites that meet several critical requirements considered to be major criteria. The second to assess those qualifying sites in more detail for suitability and rank them in order of how they best meet locally determined criteria and would be most appropriate to allocate within the plan. A more detailed description of the process and criteria will be published in the assessment report.

Stage 1
Herefordshire Councils Neighbourhood Planning Guidance note 21 suggests several criteria that have formed a six-part test. Sites that meet these basic criteria will then be assessed in stage 2.

  • Compliance with Herefordshire’s Core Strategy. Sites should not be isolated homes in the countryside unless they meet several exceptions. Sites should fall within or adjacent to the main built up area of settlements, as defined in the Core Strategy.
  • The NDP should apply a sequential, risk-based approach to the location of development – considering the current and future impacts of climate change – to avoid, where possible, flood risk to people and property.
  • Sites should not be allocated within areas designated as Special Areas of Conservation or Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
  • Sites should be available and deliverable within the plan period.
  • Major development should not be permitted within the Wye Valley AONB.
  • There should be no significant adverse effect on heritage assets.

Stage 2
Is a more thorough assessment against criteria which are either stated in Herefordshire Councils Neighbourhood Planning Guidance Note 21 – “Guide to site assessment and choosing allocation sites” or are derived from the results of our public consultation events. This second stage assessment is to ensure sites are ranked in terms of their suitability for development to meet the parish’s needs and wishes.

A range of criteria were chosen to compare sites in terms of their relative suitability. These were presented as 7 broad criteria to the local community at consultation events during February 2020:

  • Sites should fit sensitively into the settlement concerned and wider landscape – this would include the landscape and setting surrounding our settlements, their form, and the wider landscape.
  • Development should not adversely affect historic or wildlife sites – this may also include seeking benefits such as enhancing the settings of important buildings or adding to the network of wildlife sites within the Parish.
  • Protecting greenfield sites where possible and agricultural land – brownfield sites, if there are any in appropriate locations should be preferred.
  • Development should not result in or be affected by pollution – in terms of noise, light, smell, or other effects upon local and residential amenity.
  • Appropriate services should be available – such as sewerage, water supply, electricity, and telecommunications.
  • Sites should not flood, or increase run off to cause other properties to flood – this would include from storm water as well as from rivers and streams.
  • Vehicular access and the capacity of the highway network should be adequate for the development and footpaths should be retained – this might include achieving benefits such as the provision of additional footpaths/cycle paths or public rights of way.

The NDP Steering Group developed these broad criteria into more specific requirements and weighting to provide a suitability ranking system as follows:

  1. Protecting and Enhancing the Character of Settlements and the Wider Landscape (Weight – High).
  2. Effect on Nature Conservation and Heritage Assets.
    1. Aspect 1: Development should not adversely affect the natural environment but enhance biodiversity where possible (Weight – High).
    2. Aspect 2: Development should preserve or enhance the built and historic environment (Weight – Medium).
  3. Efficient and Effective Use of land (Weight – Low).
    1. Aspect 1: Utilises greenfield or brownfield land.
    2. Aspect 2: Protects high grade agricultural land and healthy soils.
  4. Preventing Pollution (Weight – Low).
    1. Aspect 1: Pollution.
    2. Aspect 2: Contaminated land.
  5. Other Infrastructure and Solar Gain
    1. Aspect 1: Disposal of wastewater (Weight – High).
    2. Aspect 2: Other infrastructure problems (Weight – Low).
    3. Aspect 3: Solar Gain (Weight – Low).
  6. Flood Risk.
    1. Aspect 1: Storm water drainage (Weight – High).
  7. Highway Capacity and Accessibility (Weight – Medium).
    1. Aspect 1: Safe vehicular access.
    2. Aspect 2: Effect of vehicles on the highway network.
    3. Aspect 3: Effect on pedestrian/cycle network and ease of access to public transport.

The Steering Group had initially intended publishing the site assessment report at the completion of each stage. However, COVID-19 has imposed a substantial delay between the two stages that may lead to unnecessary disquiet until the full report is published. We have therefore decided to publish the full report only as soon we can complete both stages and conduct public meetings to answer any questions.

The site assessment process details will be included in the site assessment report. It is anticipated that the site assessments will be completed by end of July and public meetings will be held as soon after that as COVID-19 restrictions allow.


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