MOD 16.1

Showing comments and forms 1 to 5 of 5

Object

Main Modifications to the Proposed Submission Core Strategy

Representation ID: 21372

Received: 24/09/2013

Respondent: Sedlescombe Parish Council

Representation:

The words "or the Neighbourhood Plan process" needs to be added at the end to be consistent.

Full text:

The words "or the Neighbourhood Plan process" needs to be added at the end to be consistent.

Support

Main Modifications to the Proposed Submission Core Strategy

Representation ID: 21426

Received: 27/09/2013

Respondent: Cllr Susan Prochak

Representation:

There is a dearth of employment sites in the rural areas and I support the presumption to retain existing sites.

Full text:

There is a dearth of employment sites in the rural areas and I support the presumption to retain existing sites.

Object

Main Modifications to the Proposed Submission Core Strategy

Representation ID: 21456

Received: 27/09/2013

Respondent: Welbeck Land LLP

Agent: Montagu Evans

Representation:

The Inspector wrote to the Council on 4 February 2013 stating that she found Policy EC3 to be unsound. The Inspector gave clear advice as to how the policy could be remedied, by requiring a clear commitment in the Core Strategy to undertake a review of existing employment land and premises though the Site Allocations Plan. This has not been adequately addressed through the proposed modification. Policy EC3, if it is to remain, must be remedied to address its inherent unsoundness in accordance with the Inspector's direction.

Full text:

The proposed modification serves to further highlight the fundamental lack of soundness of Policy EC3.

The suggested modification asserts that existing employment sites:

'make a particularly valuable contribution to the supply of business land and premises because of the often marginal viability of new commercial developments. Hence there is a presumption to retain existing sites, as well as providing for more effective employment space through mixed use schemes where this is demonstrated to be needed'

The proposed modification concludes:

'A full review of the use of existing business sites will be undertaken as part of the site allocations process'

In effect this modification pre-judges the outcome of a full employment land review of existing employment land and premises. The presumption in favour of retaining existing employment sites assumes there is a need to retain such sites in the absence of any evidence base, let alone having been based on proportionate evidence as required by the National Planning Policy Framework (the Framework).

The modification assumes that existing employment land is more viable than the 'often marginal viability' of new commercial development. This statement highlights a fundamental lack of understanding of viability, since existing employment land (and floorspace) may well be life-expired and unsuitable to accommodate existing and future demand necessitating redevelopment, which as the modification suggests has 'often marginal viability'. This modification pays no regard to the changing employment demand profile in terms of locational preference, modern business requirements and the level of flexibility required in order to meet genuine need.

Whilst the modification makes reference to a review of existing business sites which will be undertaken as part of the site allocations process, this does not represent 'a clear commitment' to undertake a review of existing employment land and premises through the Site Allocations Plan as required by the Examination in Public Inspector in her letter to the Council of 4 February 2013. Policy EC3 itself must be modified to reflect this commitment and remedy its inherent contradiction with paragraphs 22 and 161 of the Framework.

The proposed modification does not reflect the 'on-balance' decision of the Inspector not to delete Policy EC3, rather it perpetuates the very reasons that the Inspector concluded as to why the policy is fundamentally unsound. The assertion, in the absence of a proportionate evidence base that [all] existing employment sites 'make a particularly valuable contribution to the supply of business land and premises', fundamentally contradicts paragraph 22 of the Framework which states:

'Planning Policies should avoid the long term protection of sites allocated for employment use where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for that purpose'

There is no justification for this modification to reiterate the flaw of Policy EC3 which requires the retention of all former employment land including those sites have never been the subject of an allocation for that purpose. This militates against the requirement of paragraph 22 of the Framework which refers only to the protection of allocated sites, not all sites. It is manifest that this modification (together with Policy EC3) undermines the soundness of the Core Strategy.

Soundness

The proposed modification seeks only amend the explanatory text to Policy EC3 to make reference to the need for a review of existing employment sites. The Policy itself remains unchanged and therefore does not contain the fundamental requirement sought by the Inspector to address the inherent unsoundness of the policy through the assessment of existing sites' continued suitability for employment purposes. The policy therefore continues to perpetuate the lack of flexibility and to conflict with paragraph 22 of the Framework as identified by the Inspector in her letter to the Council of 4 February.

The proposed modification does not remedy the acknowledged unsoundness of Policy EC3. It does not enshrine in policy the Council's alleged commitment to an early review of the plan and does not constitute the 'clear commitment' in the Strategy to undertake a review of existing employment land and premises through the Site Allocations Plan' deemed necessary in the Inspector's letter dated 4 February 2013).

The proposed modification also underpins the propensity that Policy EC3 has for frustrating a supply of housing sites required to deliver the Council's revised housing target set out in Modifications 7.5 and 7.12, which depend upon c.450 dwellings to come from windfall sites (Modifications 7.15 and 7.16) a figure that is higher than past windfall completions. Whilst there may be justification for including windfall sites in housing supply figures, clearly redundant employment sites are capable of contributing to this supply, the proposed modification further entrenches the Council's conclusion that employment sites should be retained for that purpose in almost all circumstances.

It is for precisely this reason that paragraph 161 of the Framework that requires reviews of land available for economic development should be undertaken at the same time as, or combined with, Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessments and should include a reappraisal of the suitability of previously allocated land. The proposed modification does nothing to allow for former employment land, whether allocated or not, to come forward to contribute to the Council's housing land supply.

The modification perpetuates the inherent unsoundness of Policy EC3 when assessed against paragraphs 22, 161 and 182 of the Framework. Further, the modification in reference to a review of the use of existing business sites does not represent the clear commitment required by the Inspector that this will be done. The modification will constitute supporting text rather than adopted policy against which planning decisions should be taken and therefore does not provide the flexibility for redundant employments sites to come forward for alternative purposes and particularly housing.

Support

Main Modifications to the Proposed Submission Core Strategy

Representation ID: 21457

Received: 27/09/2013

Respondent: Salehurst & Robertsbridge Parish Council

Representation:

The Parish Council strongly supports the retention and provision of employment sites, to support sustainability of the village and further growth.

Full text:

The Parish Council strongly supports the retention and provision of employment sites, to support sustainability of the village and further growth.

Object

Main Modifications to the Proposed Submission Core Strategy

Representation ID: 21573

Received: 27/09/2013

Respondent: Rother and Hastings CPRE

Representation:

The new wording would permit mixed use by which presumably is meant residential as well, to be obtained too easily. 'Need' : by whom ? The developer to make more money? This would also apply to live work units which have been used elsewhere as a device to promote housing over a site which should remain in employment use.

Full text:

The new wording would permit mixed use by which presumably is meant residential as well, to be obtained too easily. 'Need' : by whom ? The developer to make more money? This would also apply to live work units which have been used elsewhere as a device to promote housing over a site which should remain in employment use.