CALL FOR SITES FOLLOWED BY SITE SELECTION PROCESS
This is YOUR Neighbourhood Plan and it is vitally important that we hear your views and feedback on what should and should not be included within the final document.
How did the SWAB NP resident volunteers approach identifying & assessing sites
for the future housing needs of local residents?
In April 2015 we launched our formal “Call for Sites” process, inviting local land-owners to consider offering sites for potential development in the SWAB Neighbourhood Plan (2016 – 2031). This process has continued right through to December 2015.
Recognising the importance of how each site is evaluated, as well as the consistency and integrity of the process adopted, the Housing Focus Group researched how several other communities NP groups around the country tackled this important task. They then devised our SWAB NP set of site assessment criteria to ensure that each is assessed robustly and as objectively as possible, based on criteria relevant to planning considerations and local residents views expressed in our survey in January 2015.
Due to the importance of the South Downs National Park on the southern boundary of both Steyning & Bramber, additional site assessment criteria were developed for any potential development sites located within the SDNPA, recognizing the authority’s mission and priority to protect the key aims of the park.
Our entire set of assessment criteria were then shared with our two consultant groups, AiRs & rCOH, representatives from HDC & SDNPA, and was finally agreed & approved by the SWAB Steering Group.
The Housing Focus Group members then set about assessing each site individually against the SWAB assessment criteria. Resident members assessed each site themselves then discussed the scoring by others in the group before arriving at a group consensus assessment. This process took 4 lengthy meetings to complete.
(N.B. Individuals’ personal views about any site were excluded from all discussions)
The SWAB Steering Group them reviewed & discussed each site assessment in detail to finalise assessments and subsequently select recommended sites based on those assessments and a few other key local & national planning considerations.
These recommendations are now the subject of this public consultation for information and to gauge the acceptability of this important component of our SWAB Neighbourhood Plan.
- April 2015 SWAB Steering Group launched “Call for Sites” process, inviting local land-owners to consider offering sites for potential development in the SWAB Neighbourhood Plan (2016 – 2031).
- Housing Focus Group researched how other NP groups around the country assessed sites offered.
- Housing FG devised our own SWAB NP set of site assessment criteria to ensure that each was assessed robustly and objectively as possible, using criteria relevant to planning considerations and local residents’ views expressed in our SWAB NP Survey (Jan 2015).
- Additional site assessment criteria were developed for any potential development sites located within the SDNPA recognizing the authority’s mission and priority to protect the key aims of the park.
- Assessment criteria were then shared with our two consultant groups, AiRs & rCOH, representatives from HDC & SDNPA, and was finally agreed & approved by the SWAB Steering Group.
- In group meetings Housing FG members assessed each site individually against the SWAB assessment criteria, then arrived at a group consensus assessment. This process took four lengthy meetings to complete.
- SWAB Steering Group them reviewed & discussed each site assessment in detail to finalise all these assessments, then worked on selecting our recommended sites based on those assessments and a few other key local & national planning considerations.
- Final selections were made on 12th Jan 2016, and land owners were advised of the result for their respective sites the following day.
- These recommendations are now the subject of this public consultation to now gauge the acceptability of this important component of our SWAB Neighbourhood Plan.
The Local Housing challenge
Our official local Housing Needs Surveys and the more recent SWAB NP Residents Questionnaire (Jan 2015) highlighted a significant local demand for additional housing in the next 15 years for existing local residents. Though SWAB NP have not yet finalized our housing target we know that, in Steyning alone, just continuing the existing rate of housing growth would result in an extra 120 homes.
Our data indicates that there are significant gaps or shortfalls in supply of some types of properties, in particular studio apartments and flats, small houses & bungalows. This has been exacerbated by the significant number of former bungalows that have been extended over the years into 3 or 4 bedroomed chalets. This has left only a comparatively small number of 1 & 2 bedroomed properties for those local people entering the housing market themselves for the first time, or perhaps for older residents looking to downsize from larger family homes.
Most concerning is a negligible supply of local “affordable homes” for local people to rent, share ownership or buy. This has resulted in many younger adults and families moving way from the area, and increasing the predominance of older residents in the town. Our existing data identifies a need to supply at least 50 affordable homes in the SWAB NP Area. The recent Youth Survey further indicated that significant numbers of our local young people would like the option to live here as adults in the future.
Residents also cited how some local elderly residents had no choice but to move away from Steyning in order to get suitable levels of nursing care or supported accommodation.
The SWAB NP is an important opportunity to address some of these concerns for the future sustainability of our towns & villages. We intend to set an achievable target range for additional housing development within the SWAB NP Area, which begins to address these important local needs.
The Steering and Focus Groups of the SWAB Neighbourhood Plan, using information gathered from the recent Neighbourhood Plan and Housing Need Surveys, have identified the requirement for an additional 8 dwellings to meet the needs of parishioners.
Working with landowners and villagers, and within strict criteria, the SWAB Neighbourhood Plan group have selected the following sites.’
Site numbers 21, 27 and 28 are considered prime locations and may be considered as one site if Wiston is allocated rural exception site status.
Site number 25 is a second option location between existing properties and proximity to the village centre.
Site 6 is primarliy considered for development into business/light industrial use.
Our SWAB Public Consultation events were extremely well attended with some 700 attending. Thank you to all those residents who came along and provided feedback. Information on potential sites has now been uploaded to this website and all feedback should be submitted to the Steyning Centre Office or by e mail to SWABneighbourhoodplan@gmail.com by 9am on Monday 1st February. A feedback form is available to download on the Document Download section of this website.