Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan
Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan 

January 2017 Minutes

Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan

Note of meeting with West Dorset Council officers 30 January 2017

 

NP team:

West Dorset:

Phyllida Culpin

Hilary Jordan

Colin Baker

Jan Farnan

Brian Wilson

Paul Derrien

Glenn Crawford

Terry Sneller

Raja Jarrah

 

Andrew Leppard

 

Katy Graham

 

 

General

 

HJ stated that officers would be happy to talk about and advise on the draft plan as it emerges, prior to the regulation 14 consultation (the formal, 6-week consultation with the public). ‘Bite-sized’ parts of the Plan would be preferred than the whole Plan in one go. She also recommended that there be a meeting at the stage when the draft was complete and they would draw on their experiences with other NPs to advise us on viability and likely Examiner responses. WDDC cannot write the policies for us, but are happy to advise.

 

Regarding aspiration and risk: it comes down to how the Examiner decides to deal with any areas of issue, where there is a question of compliance with the Local Plan. They may amend the item, delete it or they could state that the Plan doesn’t meet the basic conditions and the whole Plan is then rejected. WDDC can advise us on these areas of risk. Experience has shown that if the Council finds they can back a draft NP, the Examiner is less likely to find significant objections. HJ: actions/activities outside policy can be included as community aspirations in the Plan. If government policy changes in these areas, those aspirations could potentially be developed into firmer policies in a future review of the NP.

 

Viability and potential restriction on development are going to be the biggest areas we could be challenged on.  It will be important to demonstrate that any proposals for higher standards or requirements on development would not reduce the viability of development and prevent it coming forward.

 

AL asked if the emerging Neighbourhood Plan had any status in planning decisions. HJ responded that not until the plan was adopted and then it would form part of/have the same status as the Local Plan. An emerging plan would carry only limited weight.

 

The Joint Council regards the nature of support so far from WDDC as too “light touch”, given the complexity of the area and the push from WDDC for the five parishes to join under one Plan. Examples of North Dorset guidance were mentioned and a request that we be at least signposted to such items, which have proven helpful, though late in being found. WDDC want to support Neighbourhood Plans and are proposing additional support such as a meeting prior to submission to discuss legal and procedural arrangements.  But they cannot promise significant additional resource as they have the local plan to prepare and a large number of NPs in preparation in the area.  WDDC officers advised that there were opportunities to apply for external funding for additional support.  WDDC had also already given Bridport NP at £10,000 grant for project management earlier on in the process.

 

Local Plan review – public consultation starts 6th February and the NP is encouraged to provide comment on areas which they would like to see amended.

 

Strategic policies

 

This was revisited a couple of times in order to try and gain clarity. Overall, HJ advised us:

  • They will be looking for ‘general conformity’ with the Local Plan and had kept this deliberately loose to not stifle Neighbourhood Plans too much. There is room for some flexibility if we have evidence to support this.

  • To comply with the ‘Strategic Approaches’ in the Local Plan (pp.12-14) is essential

  • To be aware of indirect effects that could impact on the Strategic Approaches (example given was imposing overly high building material standards, which could render a housing development unviable and would therefore restrict development)

  • Vearse Farm is the only ‘Strategic Allocation’ for housing in Bridport, the others can be (re)considered as part of the Neighbourhood Plan process if there is a local wish, provided the overall numbers are maintained

  • The current level of housing in the Local Plan (total 945 from allocated sites) should not be undermined – the same or more is fine, but not fewerWe would also need to be careful about any policies that would reduce the likely supply within the built up area as well – i.e. what might come forward from the SHLAA sites within the built area, under the existing Local Plan policies.

  • HJ agreed that while BRID1, the allocation of Vearse Farm, was a strategic policy, the other Bridport specific policies in the Local Plan (BRID2 to BRID5) were not strategic policies.

Climate Change

 

RJ: An original policy which had been prepared for the Local Plan which had set higher standards of building sustainability by JF was seen as ideal, and it was asked if this could, with suitable modifications, be brought back in and used in the Neighbourhood Plan? It would still be in conformity with Local Plan, just elaborating on it. HJ: National policy on this issue, and that includes Ministerial Statements, will always be the overriding policy. We run the risk that the Examiner will consider that the NP runs counter to this.  WDDC will not prevent BANP from submitting an ambitious policy in this regard to the Examiner, but they might also express a concern that such a policy might not be in keeping with national policy.

 

Housing

 

GC: the draft HNA had already been submitted and feedback provided, but the housing group still has difficulties with the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) because some of the data is obscure. A review is needed alongside the Local Plan review as it has an impact on the level of affordable housing for Bridport. HJ: WDDC is currently waiting for the White Paper on Housing, which is likely to make changes to definitions of ‘affordable housing’ that can be negotiated through planning, as well as changes to the methodology for SHMAs.  (NB since the meeting the White Paper has been published.  The affordable housing definitions have been widened to include low cost market options, there is a requirement for 10% of all housing on sites of more than 10 to be for low cost market housing, and it is intended to consult further on a set of options for revising the methodology for defining total housing numbers for a local plan. Consultation on parts of the White Paper is now taking place, until May).   The key issue is how viability can be demonstrated rather than what the SHMA states as an affordable housing target – if the required target renders development unviable then the developers will not build any housing at all. TS: The consultants who researched and wrote the SHMA had been asked whether in their view it needed updating, and they replied that they considered it was still valid.

 

PC: the issue of viability is a key one as local people would see that if a project breaks even, it is viable. HJ: The final decision on viability will be down to each site and will depend on the constraints and costs of developing that particular site – for example many brownfield sites are more expensive to develop because of the need to deal with issues such as contamination.  It is also necessary to assume a reasonable return for the developer and landowner. JF: we have our own viability assessor who has to follow a standard methodology. The alternative is to develop sites as a community.

 

BW: How much evidence is needed for a policy to get through (to show viability)? HJ: development would still need to generate a particular level of profit and allow for any infrastructure improvements needed. If we got a willing landowner and developer who would build affordable, we could allocate sites for community build. AL: the change in government policy does give more support to self-build/custom build which could potentially give a better ratio for affordable housing. HJ: rural exception sites could be an option for the Neighbourhood Plan. Projects for alternative housing developments such as Self build, Custom build, Low Impact etc. could be alternatives to provide for local housing needs where landowners may agree to provide land for this purpose and it is proved to be viable for development.

 

We need to ensure we keep our knowledge of emerging changes up to date (the next is likely to be the White Paper on Housing, due imminently).

 

GC:  Housing themes which can be put forward as draft Neighbourhood Plan Policies are not enough on their own to address the area’s housing shortage.  As an example, the Housing Working Group is exploring ideas for alternative financing schemes to increase supply of lower cost housing.  WDDC:  Additional ideas can be included as “Aspirations” although they can’t be used in planning decisions, their presence in a Neighbourhood Plan means they will not be lost sight of.

 

Economy

 

BW: to retain the vibrant nature of the town centre, there is a strong view about keeping the car parks currently allocated in the Local Plan for town centre extension. What are the extensions for and what are the implications of not including them? HJ: the need for additional capacity in Bridport was identified in the Retail Capacity Study in 2008 (new study about to be commissioned) and it may be that there is no longer a need, given changes in shopping behaviour, but they will need to be advised by the study. Whilst the town centre boundary could be amended by the Neighbourhood Plan the risk is, if there is an application for an out of town retail development and we cannot show an in-town alternative, WDDC will find it harder to reject such an application. WDDC must apply the sequential test i.e. favouring town centre sites over edge-of-town centre sites over out-of-town sites.   ‘Comparative retail’ just means anything but food and could mean chain and/or independent. JF: the policy doesn’t suggest replacing the car parks, but they could be built above (multi storey), which would protect the parking but keep any new retail development in the town. WDDC will see if they have usage data from car park ticket machines.

 

Following the car parks issue (on which it was acknowledged local trade depends greatly), it was agreed that the Plan could provide an alternative area for retail expansion through an extension of the Town Centre boundary. The Local Plan currently proposes to extend it to the Rope Walks and Bus Terminal car parks. The Neighbourhood Plan has the potential to suggest other approaches.

 

BW: Vearse Farm has 4ha of employment land within the allocation, can there be value added by restricting this to particular business class uses? Plus is there scope to include affordable employment space for start-ups? JF: discussions are ongoing with the developer and members of the Bridport community and the question had been asked whether there could be a Community Land Trust to manage such a facility? Vearse Farm is a key employment site and is therefore strategic (ECON2 in Local Plan). TS: the uses are already restricted on the site (no retail), so not sure that an additional policy would be needed anyway?

 

Transport

 

PC: A question on behalf of the Transport group as they have identified a need to address traffic movement, remove traffic lights, pedestrian the top of South Street  and improve the Miles Cross junction – what can the Neighbourhood Plan do on these issues? TS: Miles Cross is being considered alongside the Vearse Farm discussions and Highways England has stated that junction improvements will be needed. HJ: how would the other ideas be implemented? County Council is the highways authority – the ideas would form ‘aspirations’ in the Plan rather than policies (another local Neighbourhood Plan saw these moved from policy to aspiration by the Examiner). CIL income could perhaps be used to help achieve aspirations. TS: will contact the County Council regarding these issues for advice, including car parks and will report back.

 

Follow on questions for WDDC officers:

 

Out of the policies BRID1-5, please can you state categorically which of these is/are strategic policies?

Table 3.7 on pages 68-69 of the Local Plan state quite clearly that BRID1 is a strategic allocation and that the others in Bridport are not.  This is a specific column in the table and is cross-referred to from the ‘strategic approach’ section at the start of chapter 3.    

 

The overall amount of development is also a strategic matter however – the same ‘strategic approach’ section states that development should help deliver a steady supply of housing land to meet the projected need of 15,500 across the plan area.  So while the other allocations are not in themselves strategic, it would be important for any neighbourhood plan to avoid any approaches that would reduce housing delivery from that which would result from the local plan.  This means that while a strategic allocation can’t be changed, others could be, as long as they were replaced with alternative sites that would deliver the same amount.

 

BRID4 is a bit different as a non-housing allocation.  It is not a strategic allocation, but the ‘strategic approach’ to chapter 4 (Economy) includes the fact that retail and town centre uses will be directed to the town centres, and that development should not undermine the functioning of any town centre or adversely affect its viability or vitality.  This is also a key part of national policy.  So if there is a need for further retail uses, it is important that sites as close to the town centre as possible are made available.  Current need will be assessed through the retail study.

 

When the next retail study is underway, please advise if local organisations such as Bridport Chamber of Trade will be consulted?

 

The retail study will be a technical study, which will include a telephone survey of a statistically valid sample of residents to assess current shopping patterns and an assessment of current expenditure and how much of it is going to the local town centres.  As such there will not be consultation as part of it, though there will be consultation on any resulting changes to the local plan, as part of the Preferred Options stage of consultation.  I know this is an area that the NP group is interested in, and we can let you know if there are conclusions that you need to be aware of.

Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group Meeting
19 January 2017, 6pm, at Bridport Town Council Offices (Mountfield)

 

Present: Phyllida Culpin - Chair (Allington), Richard Freer (Allington), Stephen Spear (Bradpole), Richard Nicholls (BLAP), Bob Driscoll (Symondsbury), Andrew Leppard (Bridport), Caroline Meredith (Chamber of Commerce), Raja Jarrah (Climate Change), Katy Graham (Project Manager).

 

Also in Attendance: Sal Robinson, Colin Baker (Bradpole), Gavin Fryer (Land Use), Sue Fryer (Land Use), Maureen Jackson (BLAP), Roy Mathison (Housing), Rosie Mathison (Economy), Margaret Toft and Richard Toft (Climate Change).

 

Phyllida reminded everyone of the Register of Interests.

 

She will update her Register as she no longer works for a housing provider.

 

1. Apologies. Glenn Crawford (Bridport), Colin Sparks (Bothenhampton & Walditch), Anna Lovel (PoPP), Tricia Dendle (Bradpole PC).

 

2. Minutes of last meeting.

The minutes were AGREED and signed.

 

3. Matters arising from the minutes.

  • Meeting with Hilary Jordan WDDC.

    This has been arranged for 3 pm on Monday 30 January

    A meeting of interested Steering and Working Group members was held this morning to determine the outcomes desired from the meeting and the questions to be asked.

    At the meeting the questions were circulated to all and everyone was invited to comment and suggest additions / amendments – Katy will issue an updated version prior to the meeting.

     

4. Programme and budget.

  • No change.

     

5. Project Plan.

  • Katy will update the plan in time for the Joint Council Committee meeting at 10 am on Monday 30 January and will circulate it prior to the next Steering Group meeting.

  • It is envisaged that the plan will give a date of 31 March for the Neighbourhood Plan document to be complete.

     

6. Working Group Updates.

Community Facilities.

The maps have been printed ready for the Community Fair on Saturday 4 February

 

Transport.

  • A meeting will be held next week.

It was noted that the Transport draft intentions do not mention the rail link concept or Park and Ride. Katy asked for wording to be sent to her.

 

Environment.

  • A meeting is taking place on Thursday.

  • Preservation of green spaces as gaps between settlements are essential to prevent “urban sprawl”.

     

Land Use.

  • Following the site visits it seems that most of the sites put forward are not appropriate for development.

  • Jo Witherden has produced a report on the sites summarising the findings from the site visits.

  • The Working Group does not feel that the report should be circulated as it stands and that it needs amendment.

  • AGREED that Phyllida, Richard Nichols and Maureen Jackson will meet with the Working Group next week and that Phyllida as Steering Group Chair will decide if the report should be circulated as is.

 

Housing.

  • Phyllida said that she can will take over as convener of this group as she no longer works for a housing provider.

  • The Housing Working Group Has begun work on restructuring the Housing Needs Assessment to take account of comments made by WDWP officers in November, but this is more of a re-ordering of its contents rather than any factual changes.

  • Not much else can be done until after the meeting with Hilary Jordan

  • A member of the Working Group is expecting to get an interview with builders C G Fry, who did not respond last year when a survey of local builders was carried out. WDWP had recommended contact being made with Fry’s.

 

Economy.

  • A Working Group meeting will be held soon.

  • Sal will contact Rosie Mathison regarding mapping for the Economy group.

     

7. Steering Group Meeting Dates.

  • Meetings will be fortnightly on a Wednesday except for the 3rd Wednesday in the month, when the meeting will be a Thursday.

  • The next meeting will be Wednesday 1 February at 6 pm at Mountfield.

     

8. Public Participation / Any Other Business.

  • New developments should look to create communities, as with the proposed Bridport Co-Housing development next to Bridport Community Hospital.

  • The housing development by Palmers at Watton Park will not take place as it would impact the spring used by the brewery.

  • Bradpole asked if the Steering Group intends to meet in the Parishes – YES.

  • Will there be a new publicity campaign – YES, and all 5 parishes should be involved

 

9. Next meeting.

  • The next Steering Group meeting will be on Wednesday 1 February, 6 pm at Mountfield.

Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group Meeting
 
4 January 2017, 4pm, at Bridport Town Council Offices (Mountfield)

 

Present: Phyllida Culpin - Chair (Allington), Glenn Crawford (Bridport), Stephen Spear (Bradpole), Richard Nicholls (BLAP), Bob Driscoll (Symondsbury), Andrew Leppard (Bridport), Caroline Meredith (Chamber of Commerce), Raja Jarrah (Climate Change), Katy Graham (Project Manager).

 

Also in Attendance: Sal Robinson, Colin Baker (Bradpole), Gavin Fryer (Land Use), Sue Fryer (Land Use), Maureen Jackson (BLAP), Roy Mathison (Housing), John Budden, Anna Lovel (PoPP), Rosie Chaney, Margaret Toft and Richard Toft (Climate Change).

 

Phyllida reminded everyone of the Register of Interests.

 

1. Apologies. Richard Freer (Allington), Tricia Dendle (Bradpole PC).

 

2. Minutes of last meeting.

The minutes were AGREED and signed.

It was further AGREED that the e-mail from Phyllida sent on 1 December, following the meeting between Katy, Phyllida, Sal, Bob Gillis, Tricia Dendle and Colin Baker on 30 November, should be appended to the minutes of the last meeting.

 

3. Matters arising from the minutes.

  • Mapping.

    Sal reported that the issues with the Parish Mapping website have been overcome and all mapping for Community Facilities and Environment has been produced and distributed. There are some additions to be made for Community Facilities, another Day Centre and Facilities at Risk e.g. Youth Centre, Leisure Centre.

    Sal asked Caroline if the Economy Working Group needs any mapping done – she will check with the group members.

  • Youth Outreach.

    Raja reported that approximately 90 Colfox pupils responded to the online survey, 96% of whom were 15 or under – so we are still not reaching 16 – 18 year olds.

  • Actions List. AGREED that this be dropped in favour of the project plan.

  • Sub-group meeting of 30 November. Phyllida went through the notes from this meeting.

    AGREED that

    • No further action is required re Land Use

    • A meeting be arranged ASAP with Hilary Jordon

      • Areas to be covered include

        • Housing Need

        • what are the strategic policies within the West Dorset Local Plan

        • Climate Change

      • Questions to be sent in advance, answers received and hopefully accepted by the Steering Group, so that the Neighbourhood Plan can progress

      • Andrew, Raja, Glenn, Richard Toft, Richard Nichols, Caroline, Bob Driscoll, Phyllida and Katy all wish to attend (Roy Matheson should also be invited)

      • Question suggestions to be requested by e-mail plus a meeting on 10 January at 10 am for anyone who wishes to attend to formulate the questions

  • Any Neighbourhood Plan must conform to certain basic conditions – the Joint Councils Committee must confirm that the Bridport Area Neighbourhood Plan does conform

  • Colin Baker spoke on behalf of Tricia Dendle. The Joint Council Committee meets at the end of January and she hopes that the way forward has been decided by then. If it hasn’t then the JCC will not authorise any further expenditure.

  • that the draft documents for each working group, which focus on “intentions” rather than “policies”, should be circulated to the working groups as soon as possible for comment 

4. Programme plan and budget.

  • £51.55 spent on the Climate Change RegenSW event attended by Richard Toft.

5. Project Plan.

  • that the latest version be circulated and discussed at the meeting on 10 January and taken forward to the next Steering Group meeting. 

6. Working Group Updates.

Land Use.

  • Site visits to the areas put forward following the 2 Neighbourhood Plan “Calls for Land” took take place on 7 and 12 December. These were very useful especially as actually seeing a site is very different to looking at a map

  • The Land Use Working Group is meeting on 10 January to consider the outcomes and identify sites which should go forward. A report will be produced and passed to Jo Witherden

  • Representatives from WDDC, the AONB and Dorset Highways also attended the site visits.

     

    Housing.

    Phyllida said that she can now speak about Housing as she no longer works for a housing provider.

  • The Housing Needs Assessment report needs reordering of content

  • Not much else can be done until after the meeting with Hilary Jordan

  • Roy Matheson intends to run a campaign to increase district and county councillor’s awareness of housing issues in the area. This is not being done as part of the Neighbourhood Plan but could inform the plan.

     

    Transport.

  • A meeting was held in December and the new group member was welcomed

  • The suggestion of a roundabout at the Town Hall junction has been dropped in favour of pedestrianisation of South Street from Gundry Lane to South Street.

     

    Climate Change.

  • Concerns have been raised regarding some of the Local Plan Climate Change policies – the group would like to reinstate those which were removed by the Examiner.

     

    Environment.

  • A meeting was held last week.

     

    Vearse Farm.

  • Highways England have approved the construction of a roundabout at the Miles Cross junction. However, it is not clear who will pay for this.

 

7. Consultation Planning – Community Fair 4 February 2017, 9 am – 2 pm at the Town Hall.

  • Sal to prepare A3 PDF maps for Community Facilities for the event for Katy to get printed

     

8. Public Participation / Any Other Business.

  • Amendments to Neighbourhood Planning legislation are going through Parliament – these include compulsory purchase powers.

     

Next meeting.

The next Steering Group meeting will be on Wednesday 18 January, 6 pm at Mountfield. 

Address:

c/o Bridport Town Council

Mountfield

Rax Lane

Bridport

DT6 3JP

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