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									Craven District Council

CRAVEN SPATIAL PLANNING SUB-COMMITTEE 4th February 2009 Present – The Chairman (Councillor Knowles-Fitton) and Councillors, Foster, Ireton, Place, Turner and Welch. Also in attendance Councillors Barrett and Butcher. Officers – Strategic Director for Environmental Services, Head of Planning and Building Control, Principal Planning Officer (Policy) and Committee Officer. Also in attendance Interim Chief Executive, Head of Legal Services and Planning Officer (Policy). An apology for absence was received from Cllr Paul English Start: 6.30pm Finish:

The minutes of the Sub-Committee’s meeting held on 21st August 2008 were confirmed and signed by the Chairman. Minutes for Report

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PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

In addressing the Committee, Mr Brian Verity of Skipton Properties expressed the opinion that some housing developments had not come forward over the last 12 months period, because data held by the Council had been flawed. This, in turn, had not helped with affordable housing provision. Holding land back from development had resulted in land and house prices being inflated. He asked Members not to base their decisions on the current state of the market. REGIONAL SPATIAL STRATEGY – UPDATE 2009

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Further to Minute POL.173/08-09, the Strategic Director for Environmental Services submitted a report presenting a draft response to the Regional Assembly’s consultation paper on options to update the Regional Spatial Strategy. Members were reminded that although the Regional Strategy for Yorkshire and Humber for the period 2024/26 had only been adopted in May 2008, the Regional Assembly had indicated that consultations on updating the Strategy were required to test whether the Strategy can adequately respond to the following challenges: Managing flood risk and the impacts of climate change;  Co-ordinating development and infrastructure investment;  Considering and testing Eco Town proposals which have come forward;  Delivering the existing regional housing requirements; and,  Testing national assessments of future housing growth trends. Throughout the consultation document the link between economic growth and housing supply was presented as a key assumption, and it was acknowledged that the Strategy would cover several economic cycles. Although the current economic climate / recession was impacting on the delivery of new housing, the consultation document indicated that long term housing pressures would continue to rise in the future, and housing allocations as the Strategy would not meet long term needs. This would, in turn, impact on the long term provision and availability of affordable housing. The Director also drew Member’s attention to the results of research carried out by the consultancy from Ekogen on behalf of the Leeds City Region’s Housing Panel into the implications of the

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economic recession for housing delivery in the Region. Details of Ekogen’s key findings and conclusions had been re-produced within his report. To enable the Sub-Committee to consider and agree this Council’s response, the Regional Assembly had granted the Council an extension to the original deadline of 31st January 2009. In responding to the consultation paper Councils had been asked to provide responses to a number of questions posed by the Assembly. Resolved – That subject to the proposed response to Question 5 being amended to reflect Skipton’s geographic position in the District, and the linear spread of settlements along the A65, the proposed response to options for updating the Regional Spatial Strategy, as now submitted and reproduced below, is adopted as the basis of the Council’s response to the Regional Assembly. Questions and Response Question 1: What rate of house building should we be planning for in the region? Level of Growth 1 Current RSS 22,260 a year 2 National Housing and Planning Advice Unit Lower Estimate 25,100 a year 3 National Housing and Planning Advice Unit Upper Estimate 28,300 a year 4 Trend Based Household Projections 30,000 a year 5 Other Please specify in your response Please summarise the reasons for your choice including any comments you may have on the assumptions we have used in introducing the possibility that rates of building may need to increase from 22,260 homes per year. We would welcome any evidence in support of your answer that organisations or individuals may have. Recommended Response to Question 1: The research findings of Ekogen on the assumptions behind the various national and regional economic, population and housing models, indicate that there is considerable uncertainty with regard to population growth and household formation rates which the RSS Review is based on. The economic recession is likely to reduce the number of economic migrants in the region as employment opportunities decline, and lower levels of employment and the effect of the credit crunch will reduce new household formation, particularly with regard to younger people. The RSS review was begun at a time when only the first signs of an economic downturn in the Country were becoming evident. However, the national and regional economic, housing and population forecasts informing the review have been based on past trends of a buoyant economy and a healthy and growing housing market and household formation. The situation over the past twelve months has been much more severe than any commentators had suggested, and which has now cast significant doubt on a number of assumptions driving this review. The Council’s draft Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment suggests that the District will be able to meet RSS targets for 65% of development on brownfield land with the current level of growth in the RSS. An increase in house building targets would mean that the RSS target of delivering 65% of the Region’s dwellings on brownfield land could not be delivered. . The majority of Craven is within the Remoter Rural sub-area where there are no spatial options proposed for accommodating further growth above and beyond Craven’s existing requirement of 250 dwellings per annum, due to a lack of infrastructure / sustainability issues. In the area of Craven that is within the Leeds City Region sub area of the RSS, there are significant existing infrastructure problems. These problems are compounded by
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flood risk and topographical issues as well as the need to retain distinct village settlements in South Craven and to avoid the creation of a larger conurbation. Given the serious doubt raised by the recent research on the robustness of current projections on in-migration and household formation rates, and the potential length of time for the housing and employment markets to recover from recession, the Council considers that the current rate of house building (1) should be retained as this will allow for a more sustainable level of growth to address affordable housing needs and maintain sustainable communities. 2 Question 2: If the Region were to introduce a step-up of housing from 22,260 dwellings per year to Levels 2, 3, 4 or 5 (Question 1) how soon do you think this could take place and please provide reasons? Recommended response to Question 2: Due to the global financial crisis, and the serious implications this has for the house building industry there are serious doubts that any step-up in delivery could be delivered in the short to medium term in Craven or indeed in the rest of the region. The best prospects for a step up in housing delivery in the short term would appear to be in growth point areas in the region where finance for infrastructure improvements and stimulating the market is available now. In Craven (in the area outside of the National Park) there are few local plan allocated sites remaining and there are no large sites with planning permission where work has not been started. Much of the District is rural in nature and are also significant infrastructure constraints. Due to both these general and Craven specific issues it is considered that a step-up in the delivery of housing in this area would not be achievable in the short to medium term, where delivering the existing allocation will be challenging. Question 3: In looking at where new homes needed in the Region could be located, should we continue to use the existing RSS distribution? If yes, please summarise your reasons below and go to Section 6 below. Recommended response to Question 3: The existing RSS distribution of homes for the plan period for North Yorkshire is 14%. The potential distribution for North Yorkshire based on job growth would be 18% and based on household growth would be 17%. With reference to the recommended response to Question 1, in respect of the effect on Craven should the region’s housing numbers increase overall, it follows that even if the region’s housing numbers stayed at current levels, a redistribution of those housing numbers is likely to result in an increase in the housing target for Craven as an individual District. As stated previously, an increase over the Council’s existing target could not be delivered in the District without an increasing requirement for the development of sites that have not been previously developed. The Council would also question the level of job growth forecasts for Craven at 250 new jobs per year in the short term, but would accept that with a future economic upturn, the attractiveness and location of the District would mean that it would be well placed to facilitate this number. Emerging evidence in the Council’s draft Employment Land Review suggests that the current growth area is for B1 premises to accommodate service industries, and that these are typically small companies employing less than 10 people. Given the current economic downturn and the effects this is having on service sector industries, the annual rate of job growth set out in the current RSS at 100 jobs per year for Craven appears to be a more realistic short to medium term estimate, but this number could well increase in a more positive economic climate.

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Question 5: Do you consider that the Plan’s Core Approach (Spatial Option 1) can accommodate current levels of housing growth to 2026? If yes, please state why and provide any evidence that you have to support this view. If no, please answer question 7. Recommended response to Question 5: The current RSS Core Approach is for development to be located mainly in the major cities and towns in the region with some development to meet local needs in smaller settlements. The focus is on utilising previously developed land, although some larger towns and cities in the region will be expected to locate development in urban extensions to existing settlements. From a Craven perspective, Skipton is identified as a Principal Town in the RSS as a hub for the rural economy, social and community infrastructure and should be the main local focus for housing, employment, shopping leisure, education, health and cultural activities and facilities. The Council’s draft SHELAA indicates that the greatest proportion of available previously developed land or land within development limits within the District lies within Skipton (albeit the supply of these sites is limited and constrained by a range of factors). Under the existing Core approach, therefore the current levels of housing growth can be sustainably accommodated to 2026.

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Questions 8 – 10 – Leeds City Region: We asked you above in Questions 5 to 7 whether you thought the Region as a whole could accommodate a range of housing building rates. Now we want you to tell us if the approach to this particular sub-area needs refining and how it might accommodate housing growth, by answering the following questions. 8. To what extent can the current strategy deliver current house building rates in this sub-area?

9. To what extent can the current strategy deliver higher house building rates this sub-area? 10. Which Spatial Options or combination of Spatial Options do you think provide sufficient guidance for Local Authorities to determine broad locations for where further house building should be located? Recommended response to Question 8 and 9: The current strategy of the Leeds City Region sub area of maintaining the role of places within the settlement network, where Skipton has a role as a Principal Town, and where the focus for development would be on urban extensions to Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield and Halifax, is considered to be a reasonably robust strategy to deliver current housebuilding rates due to the finance available in the short to medium term for the growth point areas in West Yorkshire for infrastructure improvement. However, in respect of delivering significantly higher rates of housing, there are a number of factors that will pose real challenges for Skipton, in its role as a Principal Town, as well as for the rest of Craven. These include:  Limited supply of brownfield land suitable for residential development, leading to the need to release green field sites ;  Environmental constraints highlighted in Craven’s Environmental Capacity Study, particularly flood risk;  Infrastructure constraints.  Skipton’s non-central location in the District and the large rural areas to its North. Recommended response to Question 10: A ‘broad location’ approach is entirely unsatisfactory in identifying locations where further house building could be located in the area of Craven within the Leeds City Region, i.e.

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Skipton and the south of the District, particularly due to transport infrastructure issues, flood risk and environmental constraints and the local desire to retain separate village identities. It is not considered necessary to provide a response to questions 11-25 as they relate to the following areas: South Yorkshire, Humber Estuary, York, Vales and Tees Links and Coast. Question 26 – Remoter Rural Sub Area Are there any Spatial Options which we should consider for this sub-area? 6 Recommended response to Question 26: The Regional Assembly in the consultation document indicates that there are no significant opportunities for additional growth in this Sub-Area. The Council would concur with this assessment. Questions 27 to 31 – Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Question 27 In thinking about additional accommodation (pitches) how much emphasis would you put on each of the following approaches. Please rate each on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being the least important and 5 being the most important factor in shaping distribution of additional pitches: Score ‘Meeting need where it arises’ A more even spread (with or without specifying that every authority should make some provision) Access to services such as schools and health facilities Avoiding environmental constraints e.g. areas of flood risk or nature conservation sites. Recommended response to Question 27: ‘Meeting need where it arises’ A more even spread (with or without specifying that every authority should make some provision) Access to services such as schools and health facilities Avoiding environmental constraints e.g. areas of flood risk or nature conservation sites. Score 5 1 3 5

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Question 28 Are there particular instances where need for additional provision arises in one local authority, but where all, or part, of that need should be met in neighboring local authority areas? If yes, please specify the areas concerned and say why this is the case Recommended response to Question 28: It is considered that to ensure an acceptable distribution of provision generally provision should be made in the areas where need arises. Question 29 Some parts of the wider Travelling community have established patterns of travel for work and social/cultural reasons for which the accommodation on the more permanent sites may not be appropriate. Should transit be identified separately from residential provision or is mixed provision on the same site desirable?
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What level of provision is needed for transit purposes (please include evidence to support your answer)? What form should transit provision take? What should be the main reasons for the distribution transit accommodation? Recommended response to Question 29: Traditionally gypsies and travellers travel through the District towards the Appleby Fair. Due to the numbers involved providing sufficient transit accommodation may be unfeasible. Small scale designated traveller stopping places distributed along routes with provision of temporary toilets and waste disposal may be more appropriate. If transit accommodation is to be provided, this should be provided as with other travel related accommodation in appropriate areas where development does not have an adverse impact on its surroundings.

Question 30: What date should Policy H6 go up to? On what basis should longer-term estimates be made? (please include evidence to support your answer) Recommended response to There is not a specific date which Craven considers it is appropriate that policy H6 should go up to, however it is considered that regular monitoring of estimates in the policy and need arising should be made. Question 31: What process should be introduced to ensure that estimates and associated planning documents/policies are updated? Recommended response: Regular monitoring of both need and delivery performance. NEXT MEETING To be held at 6.30pm on Wednesday, 4th March 2009.

Chairman.

Other Action Point Arising from the meeting. 1. Lead Member(s) asked to report back to Members on developments / discussions at Regional Meetings. (Leader and Deputy Leader.) 2. Let Members know how many empty houses are there in Craven at the present moment. (Colin W / Sian) 3. Provide Members with an update on the position with regard to the housing needs assessment. (Colin W / Sian.) 4. Provide Members with up to date figures for people on the housing waiting list. (Colin W / Sian.)

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