Yaxham Parish Council’s Response to the Emerging Local Plan
Breckland Emerging Local Plan Pre-Submission Consultation October 2017
The parish council has responded to a consultation on Breckland’s Emerging Local Plan.
You can read the full response here:
Representation_Form YPC Local Plan Response 01 10 2017
The focus of the Yaxham response is on how the overall Plan affects the parish of Yaxham and whether in this context it is considered to meet the test of “Soundness”. Yaxham is therefore pleased to note that in the settlement hierarchy the parish’s main settlements of Yaxham and Clint Green are expressly classed as within the third tier of the settlement boundary as “rural settlements have settlement boundaries” within General Policy GEN 03 and in Housing Policy HOU04 with Settlement Boundary Map 17 “Yaxham & Clint Green”. In addition, the other settlement within this small rural parish is Brakefield Green and comes in below the third tier in the settlement hierarchy (Policy GEN 03) i.e. within “small villages and hamlets outside of settlement boundaries (Policy HOU 05).
This designation of the settlements within Yaxham Parish recognises their small village rural nature, the distributed nature of settlement within the parish and lack of local services capable of serving the whole community in a sustainable fashion.
Yaxham has seen and continues to see small scale organic growth at a rate that is likely to meet or exceed the 7% growth designated for such villages (HOU 02). Indeed at present currently permitted properties equal almost 15% of the current settlement numbers. Each of its main settlements have some services, but are not “available… within the recognised acceptable walking distance – taken to be 800m.” – Sustainability Assessment Para 19.3 and Table 19.44.
Indeed settlements within the Parish of Yaxham are 1km – 3km apart. Yaxham welcomes the adoption by the emerging Local Plan of a policy element at the centre of the recently made Yaxham Neighbourhood Plan, namely supporting “development [that] avoids coalescence of settlements” – HOU 03 point 4., HOU 04 point 5., and with different wording HOU 05. 4
This is and was central to all the consultation feedback for the Yaxham Neighbourhood Plan. Yaxham welcomes in policy GEN 05 addressing the role of settlement boundaries, which had been missing in earlier versions of the emerging Local Plan. We are however concerned that the Sustainability Assessment has not been updated to include the Local Green Spaces designated in the Neighbourhood Plan (SA Para 5.42) although they are shown on the Policies Map for Yaxham.
On this basis it is considered that this element of the Plan as it affects the Parish of Yaxham meets the test of “soundness” in that it is: – “positively made” in that it recognises the circumstances of such vulnerable small rural communities that support small-scale organic growth that will retain the character of the villages, enable services to be supported and maintained, but without imposing large-scale inappropriate development. – “the plan justified” – yes, in that it is consistent with the consultation and policies of the Yaxham Neighbourhood Plan – “made” on 22nd June 2017, having passed at referendum with 92% voting “yes”, on a turnout of 58% i.e. 53% of the electorate voted “yes”. – “the plan effective” – yes, in that it makes provision for small-scale organic growth, which in time can be substantial. – “consistent with national policy” – yes as throughout the NPPF and NPPG there is a continual balance to be struck in rural areas of sustainable development that enhances and develops rural communities rather than undermines and destroys.
The Yaxham Neighbourhood Plan was deemed to consistent with national policy, and it and the emerging Local Plan are consistent with each other.
As agreed by Yaxham Parish Council at its meeting on 21st September 2017
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