CONTROL OF DEVELOPMENT OF THE VILLAGE – YOUR PARISH COUNCIL’S VIEW
Everyone must be aware of the pressing need to increase the housing supply across the whole country in order to keep up with the rapid formation of new households. The failure to keep supply in line with demand has had the natural effect that house prices have escalated.
Government regulations have required local authorities to develop Local Plans, showing how their particular needs will be met, and requiring them to demonstrate that there are sufficient development plots available to supply demand over the next five years.
Your Parish Council has been most proactive with their input to the current Local Plan being put together by East Cambs District Council, which is currently in draft form and is in a consultation phase. We have agreed a proposed village envelope and endorsed the development areas within it.
We have acknowledged the need for every local authority and every parish to “do its bit” in solving the national problem, but hopefully, without destroying what makes Haddenham and Aldreth such nice places to live.
The new Local Plan requires an increase of about 150 houses over the next five years within our parish, which is about 10% of the current figure. We believe that we can accommodate this comfortably. The proposed larger development areas are principally those shown in the previous plan, i.e. off New Road and Rowan Close, with the addition of the old Anson Packaging site and the land to the east of the cemetery.
In addition to these areas, which are contained in the Local Plan, your Council is supporting the efforts of the Haddenham CLT (Community Land Trust), which is endeavouring to develop housing with the aim of providing the parish with some properties for local people. There are many people, particularly younger people, who have a local connection but cannot afford to buy a house in their own village. This doesn’t seem right to us, and a CLT will help to address this.
The CLT has put forward a proposal to develop an area of land to the west of Hardwicke Fields, which has been selected following a “call for land” last year.
You may have already been to see the proposals, or you may have signed up to become a member of the CLT, but the way it works is as follows.
Land currently outside the development envelope cannot normally obtain planning permission. However, if it is proposed that a CLT will carry out the development, this does not apply and permission may be granted. The consequent increase in the land value can fund the development. Both the land-owner and the CLT benefit.
The development will contain a mixture of open market houses for sale and affordable houses for rent, but they will be indistinguishable from each other. The CLT trustees will determine who can rent a property and how much is charged, but the aim will be to make the rental lower than market rate and offer them to local people first.
A major benefit of a CLT undertaking the development, rather than a commercial developer, is in the degree of control that local people, i.e. the CLT members, have over the density, layout and amenity of the development. Unlike a commercial developer, whose principal aim is to maximise profit, the CLT’s interest is in making it a good place to live and in respecting the existing village and its integration with it.
We are conscious of the pressure on our existing services, principally our doctors’ surgery, and we will take account of this when determining the Council’s view of the planning application when it is submitted.
The Haddenham CLT has engaged the services of Palace Green Homes as its development partner. Palace Green Homes is part of the trading arm of East Cambs District Council, but operates as a stand-alone business.
The proposal currently shows about 54 new properties on the site, with about 16 of them for rental. This is probably half the number that would be squeezed in if it were a commercial development.
If this CLT proposal should fail to progress, then East Cambs District Council will need to replace the number of houses with an equivalent number elsewhere in the village in order to compensate.
Housing growth is inevitable – unless the population starts to decline – and your Council would rather have some control over how and where it occurs. I hope you agree. This is why we have supported the formation of the Haddenham CLT.
When planning applications come in for these larger developments, there will be opportunities for public debate at our meetings, but ultimately the decisions will be taken by East Cambs District Council, which is the Planning Authority. Haddenham PC is merely a consultee, albeit an important one!
The CLT Group would welcome new members, membership forms can be found on the website www.haddenhamclt.org.uk, in the library or alternatively please contact Tor Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org
Haddenham Parish Council