What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

A Neighbourhood Plan enables local communities to prepare their own plan to be used alongside the Local Plan prepared by the planning authority when deciding future development. It will become part of the statutory plan for the area.

Who is the Planning Authority for Liss?

The South Downs National Park Authority is the statutory planning authority. The Park Authority is currently preparing a new Local Plan for the whole Park which it expects to be adopted in 2017. In East Hampshire the District Council has delegated responsibility for determining most routine planning applications.

What is a Local Plan?

A local plan sets out the planning policy framework to guide and control development over a given period. Local Plans must conform to Government Planning Policies.

A Liss Neighbourhood Plan must be consistent with both Government and National Park planning policies and will be adopted alongside the South Downs National Park Local Plan.

Why do a Neighbourhood Plan for Liss?

It provides an opportunity for the whole community to be involved in looking forward 15 -20 years to influence the way the village will develop to meet our future needs. Without a Neighbourhood Plan policy decisions on the siting & design of housing and business development will be taken by the Park Authority. A Liss Neighbourhood Plan will be a plan for the whole parish, including Liss Forest, West Liss, Hillbrow and parts of Rake. It will let the community decide how we best make our contribution towards meeting the housing needs in the Park, while considering traffic, protecting wildlife corridors and biodiversity and maintaining the character of Liss as a “Hidden Village”.

Who is producing the Liss Neighbourhood Plan?

The Parish Council has the statutory responsibility for initiating the process and for submitting the Plan to the National Park Authority. The Parish Council has appointed a representative Steering Group to guide working groups of volunteers drawn from a wider forum of local residents who have expressed an interest in being involved. Throughout the process every attempt will be made to involve all Liss residents, both young and old. Support will be provided by the National Park and it may be necessary to use consultants for some technical aspects of the work.

How can I be involved?

Everyone is encouraged to engage in the process. There will be more public meetings/exhibitions/ questionnaires, etc. Please let us know how you would like to be involved and do stay in touch. You can email us on info@lissnp.org.uk or telephone the Parish Office on 01730 892823. We are setting up a website, so keep an eye out for that.

How will the Neighbourhood Plan be agreed?

The Parish Council will submit the Plan to the National Park for their agreement. It will then be subject to an independent examination by a government appointed inspector. Changes may be recommended at either of these stages. The final stage is a referendum to ensure that the local community has the final say. All registered voters are entitled to vote in the referendum. If more than 50% of those who vote support the Plan then the National Park must adopt it.

How long will it take?

It is expected that the bulk of the work will be undertaken during 2015. Drafting and the legal processes, which include a local referendum, will extend into 2016. The aim is to meet the SDNPA Local Plan timetable.

How much will it cost?

Most of the work will be undertaken by volunteers, but there will be administrative costs and possible consultants’ fees. Some funding is available from Government and some from the National Park. The Parish Council has budgeted £7,000 over two years, which amounts to a little over £1 per head of the population. The National Park will cover the costs of the examination and the referendum.

What is the Joint Core Strategy?

The Joint Core Strategy which was prepared jointly by the District Council and the Park Authority is the current strategy for development of East Hampshire 2011- 2028. Government statistics and data from across the District were used to set the housing targets and its geographical distribution. Numbers were evidence-based and were scrutinised by a Government Inspector at two lengthy Examinations in Public prior to formal adoption in 2014. It replaces all the strategic policies in the East Hampshire District Local Plan 2nd Review. It is the current statutory plan for Liss, and includes some detailed policies which have been “saved” from the 2nd Review Plan. The National Park Local Plan, once adopted, will replace the JCS and the saved EHDC policies.

What are the housing targets for Liss?

The Joint Core Strategy says a minimum of 150 homes must be built on new allocated (greenfield) sites by 2028. An estimated 136 new homes will be built on windfall (brownfield) sites during the plan period. However, the Park Authorities’ Local Plan is now looking ahead to 2032 and also questioning whether more houses are now needed before 2028. The neighbourhood plan could also propose more housing if the community thinks they are needed.

Why do we have to take so many houses?

More homes are required to house our growing population (2001 – 2011 Liss population grew 4%).

To sustain our community we need to provide affordable homes for young families, enable first time buyers to get a foot on the ladder and to enable our key workers to live close to their work.

Liss with the benefit of train and bus links, shops, schools and Drs’ surgeries is seen as a sustainable location and was identified in the EHDC/SDNPA Joint Core Strategy as a Small Local Service Centre.

Can Liss challenge the Joint Core Strategy housing targets and have them reduced?

No, these numbers have been formally adopted following a statutory process. Liss cannot take less housing than has been allocated so far, and may have to take more.

Will the Greenfield housing target be reduced if more brownfield sites are developed?

No, once adopted the two are not inter-dependent. (NB: The windfall allowance is an estimate which equates to a lower average per annum than the average of 13 per annum which were built over the 10 year period 2004 – 2013.)

What happens Next?

The SDNPA Local Plan for the whole of the National Park is expected to be adopted in 2017 and to run until 2032. Our housing target numbers are likely to increase to take account of this later end date. The new proposed figures should be known later this year. Prior to adoption there will be a consultation process which should provide opportunities for Liss to present evidence based challenge to new target numbers if they appear unacceptable/unachievable.

What sort of homes will be required?

Liss has an above average number of residents aged over 65. (23.6% in 2011 compared with SE England average of 17.2% and an East Hants average of 19.3%). The indication is that young adults have to move out of the village and are partially replaced by people coming back in later life.

This may indicate a need for more affordable starter homes plus homes suitable for older people.

The Neighbourhood Planning exercise will allow Liss to carry out a proper exercise to establish housing need.

How much Affordable Housing is required in Liss?

In June 2014 the total number of applicants registered with Hampshire Home Choice who had listed Liss as a preferred choice was 572.

Of this large number 120 registered applicants stated that they have a local Liss connection.

89 of these require 1 bedroom accommodation, of whom half are over 55. Half of those over 55s requested sheltered accommodation. Of the remainder, 23 required 2 beds, 5 required 3 beds and 3 required 4 beds. These numbers will change constantly and evidence will need to be updated.

What is Affordable Housing?

Housing which is built to provide homes for those who cannot afford the full price of a property, or rental. It can sometimes be shared ownership, or rental through a housing association. Market housing developments can be required to include a percentage of affordable housing. If the site is not capable of including affordable housing a cash developer contribution can be sought in lieu.

Can Liss require that any new affordable homes are kept for people with a Liss connection?

No, it may be possible to request that preference is given to people with a Liss connection, but it cannot be a “requirement” unless the affordable housing has been achieved through development of an “exception site” (land outside the settlement policy boundary), or by agreement with a provider of affordable housing.

What is a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA)?

An evidence based report considering the different types of housing required in response to predicted population change and the accommodation requirements of specific groups. The East Hampshire SHMA was a key input in deciding the number of homes allocated to Liss in the Joint Core Strategy.

What is a SHLAA site?

The planning authority has to produce a list of potential housing sites – this is the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment. SHLAA sites can be submitted by anyone for the planning authority to consider. The SDNPA will consider all sites submitted taking into account a range of constraints, including landscape impact.

The SHLAA will identify sites which have the potential to be developed for housing, because they are considered to be suitable and available and achievable for development. The fact that a site has been mentioned in the SHLAA does not mean that it will be allocated or will be granted planning permission. The SHLAA does not decide where housing should be located or decide what specific sites should be allocated. This will be done through the Neighbourhood Plan process.

What is a Sustainability Appraisal?

An appraisal of policies in a plan to ensure they reflect sustainable development objectives (i.e. social, environmental and economic factors). The Liss Neighbourhood Plan is likely to have to be subjected to a Sustainability Appraisal.

What are Developers' Contributions?

Developer contributions are payments negotiated by the planning authority through Section 106 agreements with developers to provide infrastructure required to make a particular development acceptable. Payments are typically made for affordable housing, transport improvements, open space, community facilities and nature conservation. If the contribution is not spent according to the negotiated agreement it will be returned to the developer. In an attempt to cut the cost of developing small sites and so boost house building the Government has recently decided not to allow authorities to levy contributions on sites for less than 11 new homes. However, National Parks can seek to implement a lower threshold of 5. The SDNPA has yet to determine a threshold.

What is Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)?

 

CIL is a new system of planning charges that local planning authorities can use to raise funds from developers to pay for infrastructure and community facilities. The funds collected by the SDNPA will be used to fund a wide range of infrastructure necessary to support development across the whole Park such as roads, schools, green infrastructure, community services, sports & leisure facilities. The SDNPA is in the process of agreeing its charging schedule per sq.m based on evidence of identified community infrastructure needs and local development viability. Each community has been asked to submit a list of anticipated local infrastructure projects which can be updated at any time. Consultation on the SDNPA final draft charging schedule is expected in May 2015. Once adopted, the CIL is expected to largely replace the current system of Developer Contributions although it is likely that S106 agreements will still be used to secure affordable housing and some on-site mitigation projects on larger sites.

Communities with adopted Neighbourhood Plans will receive 25% of the CIL levied on local development. Other communities will receive 15% of CIL. There is no time limit for spending CIL and it may be used flexibly, including maintenance costs.

 

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