Taking into account the amount of homes built since 2011, and sites with planning permission, we have already ‘fulfilled’ our own town quota of 1,245 new dwellings for the period 2011 – 2031, which was set in the adopted Local Plan. However in the absence of a 5 year housing land supply across the district, the local planning authority is under immense pressure to allow more housing, through granting planning applications on sites outside the settlement boundary and through the review of the Local Plan. Under these circumstances our Neighbourhood Plan cannot simply say ‘no’ to further housing, particularly affordable housing for local people. Furthermore, much of the land that could be targeted for development is outside of our Neighbourhood Plan area – so we need to have a good working relationship with adjoining Councils.
We are not looking to change the settlement boundary, or identify further land for housing. We feel strongly that the general release of further housing land should be after the existing growth has been completed, and that there is much to learn from how recent large-scale developments have been handled. Our emphasis is making sure that what is built, is something we can all be proud of. And if we are to make an exception and allow further development, this should be to build affordable housing for local people, as this is the only housing for which there remains a clear need.
We have as part of work obtained data on growing levels of traffic on Christy’s Lane, which continues to strengthen the arguments for the eastern bypass to be built if further housing is planned.