BMSDC Joint Local Plan - Pre-Submission Reg19 (interactive) 2020

Ended on the 24th December 2020
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13 LOCAL POLICIES – HOUSING

Policy background and explanation

13.01 Sustainable development is at the heart of planning. The location of development is a critical determinant on its sustainability and has a significant effect on the extent to which it contributes socially, economically and environmentally.

13.02 Paragraph 78 of the NPPF states that "To promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities. Planning policies should identify opportunities for villages to grow and thrive, especially where this will support local services. Where there are groups of smaller settlements, development in one village may support services in a village nearby."

13.03 Within the rural areas of Babergh and Mid Suffolk there are many small, dispersed communities and clusters of houses. Whilst they do not have the level of services and facilities to support larger scale new housing, some small-scale development may be appropriate in order to achieve the ambitions of NPPF paragraph 78 (above). This will also help meet the Councils' objective to support strong and healthy communities, by enabling people to stay within their communities.

13.04 It is known the Districts have an ageing population with physical disabilities. Therefore, there is an identified need to meet future housing demands regarding accessible and adaptable dwellings. This windfall policy will support the delivery of M4(2) standards, along with other measures set out in the Plan.

Policy LP01 – Windfall development in hamlets and dwellings clusters

  1. Proposals for windfall development within dwelling clusters[22] and/or a defined hamlet may be acceptable, subject to all the following criteria applied:
    1. It would not be detrimental to the character and appearance of the settlement, landscape (including the AONB), residential amenity or any heritage, environmental or community assets.
    2. It would not result in consolidating sporadic or ribbon development or result in loss of gaps between settlements resulting in coalescence. The cumulative impact of the proposal on the location, contextand infrastructure is considered acceptable.
    3. The scale of development is infill only for a single dwelling and or pair of semi detached dwellings.
    4. Special regard shall be given to development proposals preserving and enhancing the AONB and to protecting and enhancing biodiversity and geodiversity affected by the proposal.
    5. All new development will be expected to minimise dependence on fossil fuels and make the fullest contribution to the mitigation of climate change through implementation of sustainable construction practices and renewable energy technologies.

LP02 - Residential Annexes

Policy background and explanation

13.05 The creation of an annexe to an existing dwelling, whether the main dwelling is located inside, or outside settlement boundaries can often create a useful facility for the support and care of family members.

13.06 A residential annexe should therefore be designed to ensure the planning unit/ dwelling curtilage, as a whole, provides genuinely flexible subordinate ancillary accommodation that can be adapted and re-adapted to meet the changing needs of family circumstances over time. This should include the option of absorbing the annexe back into the main dwelling accommodation if necessary, by the same or future occupiers.

13.07 To meet these requirements, rather than create a separate dwelling unit, it is essential that the main dwelling and annexe accommodation are directly physically and/or functionally connected, and have a close spatial relationship with shared facilities and space.

13.08 Unduly large or detached annexes can prove an economic and practical liability when vacated or when the property changes ownership. This leads to pressure for the annexe to be severed and let separately from the main dwelling. This can create sub-standard accommodation with inadequate standards of access, amenity and space, which is unacceptable in planning terms.

13.09 Householder permitted development rights may allow the siting of caravans and mobile homes within the curtilage of an existing dwelling, under certain conditions and subject to any restrictions[23]. The installation of caravans and mobile homes may be approved for use as annexe accommodation, where considered appropriate and acceptable when assessed and adequately justified. Such approvals will be subject to a condition or legal agreement, which restricts occupation to meet the specific need identified. It may also be necessary to impose a time limit and or any other necessary restrictive conditions. Additional accommodation within existing dwelling curtilages is generally contrary to policy of the Local Planning Authority. However, genuine, evidenced and justified exemptions can be recognised for special family and or personal circumstances identified.

Policy LP02 - Residential Annexes

  1. Proposals for residential annexe accommodation attached to the main dwelling may be considered favourably, providing the proposal is designed so that it can continue to be used as an ancillary and subordinate part to the main dwelling, without creating an independent dwelling and/or separate planning unit at present or in the future.
  1. An annexe proposal not attached to the main dwelling must be subordinate in scale, form and mass from the main dwelling, and must contain a physical and/or functional link to the main dwelling, thereby ensuring an ancillary relationship with the main dwelling.
  1. Equally, the proposal must not create significant material consideration[24] issues for the main dwelling or proposed annexe, when assessed against other relevant policies.
  1. Where a proposal harms heritage assets the local planning authority will resist the proposal.
  1. The proposal would not cause the felling of or any damage to any significant trees and hedgerows that contribute to the environmental quality and visual amenity benefits of the locality.
  1. Proposals that are considered acceptable are required to minimise dependence on fossil fuels and make the fullest contribution to the mitigation of climate change through adopting a sustainable approach to energy use (see sustainable construction and design policy).
  1. Where applicable, proposals must protect and enhance biodiversity and geodiversity affected by the development.
  1. Where such annexe proposal is considered acceptable planning agreement will be imposed to restrict occupation of the annexe to person(s) related or similarly linked (such as immediate family related or lawful relationship) to the occupants of the main dwelling. When considered necessary by the LPA the requirement for a legal agreement may be necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms and or the removal of permitted development rights.

LP03 - Residential Extensions and Conversions

Policy background and explanation

13.10 Dwellings can be adaptable to meet the changing requirements of occupiers. It is often popular to extend or convert residential properties, rather than move residence. Equally, extensions and conversions to residential dwellings can create diversity and flexibility in housing stock in sustainable locations, in addition to meeting occupier needs. The Local Planning Authority will need to assess such proposals to buildings and the adjoining curtilage, to ensure the proposal does not create unacceptable layout, design, amenity, access, parking or any other environmental or social impacts.

13.11 All proposals are advised to have regard to any existing Supplementary Planning documents or guidance endorsed by the Local Planning Authority on good quality design principles and standards.

13.12 The LPA may impose conditions and / or remove permitted development rights to make the development acceptable in planning terms. For example, removing permitted development rights to insert new windows and erect additional outbuildings to protect the amenities of neighbouring occupiers.

13.13 New residential development can be achieved through the sub-division of large dwellings or the conversion of ancillary buildings within settlement boundaries (see Policy: Replacement dwellings and additional dwellings on sub-divided plots within settlement boundaries). It should also be noted, for planning applications for the conversion, extension or other development that involves alterations to the roof-space, there may be a need to carry out bat surveys and possibly surveys for other protected species depending on the specific nature of the proposal.

Policy LP03 - Residential Extensions and Conversions

  • Proposals for development within the curtilage of existing dwellings, extensions to existing dwellings or conversions within residential dwelling curtilage may be permitted providing they;
  • Are in keeping with the size, scale, mass, design and materials of the existing dwelling and wider setting.
  • Will not result in over-development of the plot or within the curtilage or create an incongruous impact. The cumulative effects of a number of extensions or conversions to the existing dwelling or dwelling curtilage will be regarded as a material consideration.
  • Incorporate good quality design which maintains or enhances the character and appearance of the building, street scene and surroundings and reflects and respects the relationship of the site and its context setting and those of any adjoining properties.
  • Will not materially, unacceptably or detrimentally affect the amenities of neighbouring properties or adversely affect neighbouring commercial uses.
  • Would not cause the felling of or any damage to any significant trees and hedgerows that contribute to the environmental quality and visual amenity benefits of the locality. Ecology/biodiversity may be a material consideration as part of the assessment.
  • Have safe vehicular access, and sufficient space remains available to park vehicles in the curtilage of the dwelling. Consideration will be given to any relevant parking standards that may need to be taken into consideration.
  • Where a proposal affects and harms a heritage asset the local planning authority will resist the proposal.
  • LP04 - Replacement Dwellings In The Countryside (Outside of Settlement Boundaries)

    Policy background and explanation

    13.14 This policy sets the criteria for replacement dwellings outside settlement boundaries within the countryside. This policy has a direct interlinking relationship with policy on residential extensions and conversions, which is referred to in this replacement dwelling policy.

    13.15 Replacement dwellings and extensions within the countryside (outside of settlement boundaries) can gradually change and have an individually and cumulative adverse impact on the rural character of the countryside over a period of time. This is contrary to strategic aims and policies to balance and maintain the social and environmental aspects within sustainable development and environmental policies. The sub-division of plots in the countryside could create new dwellings in the countryside contrary to the aims of the Plan and national planning policy, unless there is an exceptional circumstance (for example, residential annexe accommodation and rural exception site).

    13.16 Proposals to extend residential curtilage of an existing dwelling onto agricultural land or other uses of land in the countryside for an enlarged garden, amenity land or other use is considered under policy on change in use of land.

    13.17 All proposals are advised to have regard to any existing Supplementary Planning documents or guidance by the Local Planning Authority on good quality design principles and standards.

    13.18 The LPA may impose appropriate conditions or in necessary circumstances remove permitted development rights to make the development acceptable in planning terms. For example, removing permitted development rights to insert new windows and erect additional outbuildings to protect the amenities of neighbouring occupiers.

    Policy LP04 - Replacement Dwellings In The Countryside (Outside of Settlement Boundaries)

    1. Proposals to replace an existing dwelling in the countryside or the conversion/erection of ancillary buildings or boundary treatments for such dwelling, may be permitted providing the proposal complies with policy (Residential extensions and conversions policy) criteria and in addition:
    1. The design, size, scale, mass and materials of the resultant development must be compatible to the area's character and appearance and no more visually intrusive to that of the original dwelling to be replaced and must not significantly urbanise the plot or property curtilage.
    1. The proposal must be well designed, sensitively integrated and respect any heritage value of the area including setting value.
    1. The existing dwelling to be replaced must not be a listed building or a building of historic or architectural importance and merit or a non-designated heritage asset.
    1. There must not be any increase in the number of dwellings on the site. If the proposal incorporates any increase in dwellings on the site consideration will need to be made to the Hamlets and Clusters of development in the countryside policy and settlement hierarchy policy.
    1. The proposal must not take place on the best and most versatile agricultural land.
    1. The original dwelling must have a lawful permanent residential use and be capable of residential occupation in its current condition and form before any acceptable approved alteration.

    LP05 - Replacement Dwellings and Additional Dwellings on Sub-Divided Plots Within Settlement Boundaries

    Policy background and explanation

    13.19 This policy sets the criteria for replacement dwellings inside settlement boundaries. This policy has a direct interlinking relationship with Policy on Residential Extensions and Conversions, which is referred to in this policy.

    13.20 Proposals to extend residential curtilage of an existing dwelling onto agricultural land or other uses of land in the countryside for an enlarged garden, amenity land or other use is considered under policy on change in use of land.

    13.21 In general terms, replacement of existing dwellings and sub-division of existing residential plots within settlement boundaries does provide a regular source of housing supply in sustainable locations and contributes to the effective and efficient use of land. When considering proposals for replacement and additional dwellings on existing residential plots within settlement boundaries the LPA will need to assess layout, design, scale, amenity and how this relates to spatial context and surroundings.

    13.22 All proposals are advised to have regard to any existing Supplementary Planning documents or guidance by the LPA on good quality design principles and standards.

    13.23 The LPA may impose appropriate conditions or in necessary circumstances remove permitted development rights to make the development acceptable in planning terms. For example, removing permitted development rights to insert new windows to protect the amenities of neighbouring occupiers.

    Policy LP05 – Replacement Dwellings and Additional Dwellings on Sub-Divided Plots Within Settlement Boundaries

    1. Within settlement boundaries, proposals to replace existing dwellings and sub-divide existing residential plots and garden curtilages to create a new dwelling providing the proposal complies with policy (Residential extensions and conversions policy) criteria the proposal will be permitted. Specifically, the proposal must provide and maintain:
      1. Good quality design that maintains and enhances the character and appearance of existing buildings, street scene and surrounding context.
      2. The proposal must not have unacceptable impact on the amenities of neighbouring occupiers or other properties.
      3. Acceptable private amenity and utility space compatible with the area's context.
      4. Acceptable access and parking.
      5. Acceptable levels of amenity with reasonable access to light, privacy, free from unacceptable noise, odour, smoke, dust, light or any other pollutants and impacts.
      6. The proposal must not result in inappropriate sub-division of plots/curtilages that would be out of keeping with existing context.
      7. The proposal must not harm a listed building and/or its setting.

    LP06 – Scheme composition and LP07 - Supported and Special Needs Housing

    Policy background and explanation

    13.24 The National Planning Policy Framework encourages planning policy for different housing groups in the community to reflect different size, type and tenure of housing needs for a range of people including but not limited to families with children, older people, people with disabilities, travellers, people who rent their home and people wishing to commission or build their own home.

    13.25 All housing proposals must help contribute to a range of dwelling types and bedroom spaces to meet the requirements of different households as identified through evidence within the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) (May 2017 and January 2019 update). The SHMA data for the Ipswich Housing Market Area is a key piece of data to identify the housing needs across the districts.

    13.26 Other evidence of local housing needs may include the housing register or needs survey carried out by communities, such as parish/town councils, neighbourhood planning groups or other organisations. This would be considered alongside the SHMA evidence base document that sets the needs at the District level. Any alternative assessment of local need would need to be viewed in the context that new housing development is contributing to the district wide need and not just to the needs of the parish/town where the development is proposed.

    13.27 This policy is to ensure development meets a set of identified local needs within the Districts. It is also to ensure that supported and special needs housing is provided in an appropriate manner, so that it contributes to the quality of life for its residents and meet wider sustainable development requirements. Supported and special needs housing includes accommodating care for older, disabled or vulnerable people and care leavers, people with learning difficulties, mental illness and physical disabilities.

    13.28 The SHMA indicates the population of older persons is currently 26.2% in Babergh and 24.8% in Mid Suffolk. The OAN projections indicate the population aged 65 or over is going to increase dramatically by 57.8%[25] in the Ipswich Housing Market Area over the plan period. The Councils have recognised this need through the adopted Joint Homes Strategy, in that the specific population forecasts for both districts show the increase in over 65s is 20% over 20 years. In addition to the older population predicted to rise, it is also expected that a growing number of households will include one or more persons with a disability, and more households with people living with long-term health conditions.

    13.29 There is a Building Regulation standard in force relating to accessible dwellings, which sets standards in relation to accessible and adaptable dwellings (Part M4(2)) and wheelchair accessibility dwellings (Part M4(3)), which are over and above the minimum requirements[26]. LPAs can apply these standards, by incorporating a requirement within their planning policies. The SHMA identifies that there will be an increase of people across the Districts during the Plan period.

    13.30 The SHMA[27] recognises that there is an increasing need for the provision of older people accommodation; 1369 additional specialist units will be needed in Babergh comprising of 1125 sheltered housing, 106 enhanced sheltered housing, 138 extra care housing. There is also an additional requirement for registered care (nursing and residential care homes). The SHMA identifies there will be a requirement for 1591 people in Babergh, which means an additional 572 registered care accommodation will be required over the plan period.

    13.31 There is also a recognised trend within the SHMA[28] increasing need for the provision of older people accommodation; 1005 additional specialist units will be needed in Mid Suffolk comprising of 755 sheltered housing, 73 enhanced sheltered housing, 176 extra care housing. There is also an additional requirement for registered care (nursing and residential care homes). The SHMA identifies there will be a requirement for 1670 people in Mid Suffolk, which means an additional 1004 registered care accommodation will be required over the plan period.

    13.32 It is also recognised that the numbers and type of specialised accommodation needed may depend on changes in patterns of demand and expectations it includes the following types of accommodation: residential institutions with care, including residential and nursing care homes; housing with care and support, including sheltered, enhanced sheltered or extra care housing; and, other housing identified for those with specific housing-related care or support needs, such as physical or sensory disabled people, people with learning difficulties, care leavers or people with mental health support needs. SCC are developing further accommodation typologies to respond to future care needs. It is considered suitable to plan towards this target currently with the knowledge that accommodation to be delivered should not be too prescriptive.

    13.33 The requirements for supported and special needs housing will need to comply with the technical housing standards, which is a national document that sets out the government's nationally described space standard[29]. This material consideration is also interlinked with design and amenity. Further local requirements regarding the link between spacing standards, design and amenity can be found in Policy - Design & Residential Amenity.

    13.34 Opportunities should be taken to integrate older persons housing into the community, in order to address potential issues of isolation and to promote inclusivity. For example, older persons housing on sites that are well related to schools, community centres or other focal points can help to create integrated communities. The Suffolk Healthy Ageing Needs Assessment (2018) identifies tackling social isolation and loneliness as one if its recommendations. There is a particular need for older and vulnerable people to have opportunities to access sustainable transport and modes of travel other than the car.

    13.35 To achieve a greater mix of housing types, all developments of ten units or more or sites of 0.5ha or more residential units, will be expected to provide a mix of house types and sizes. The Council will expect applicants to relate needs to the SHMA and/or to an assessment of local need, where the methodology and scope for this is either adopted via a neighbourhood plan or agreed with the Council.

    13.36 Neighbourhood Plans may wish to identify specific localised needs for certain types of dwellings where supported by evidence, gathered through a local housing needs assessment, which is supported by the Council. There are also other or complementary mechanisms in which communities can deliver the homes needed in the local community, for example, through the establishment of a Community Land Trust.

    13.37 This policy applies to all sites and proposals which individually or as part of a wider or contiguous site, that could accommodate a level of development that would meet the needs of different housing groups.

    Policy LP06 – Mix and type of composition

    1. For all major housing development proposals for ten units or more, or sites of 0.5ha or more, including supported and special needs housing, the scheme composition:
      1. Must accommodate 35% affordable housing to meet affordable housing need.
      2. Must accommodate 50% of the dwellings which meet the requirements for accessible and adaptable dwellings under Part M4(2) of Building Regulations (or any relevant regulation that supersedes and replaces).
      3. Will be expected to reflect the mix and type (including bungalows) of housing needs identified in the most relevant district needs assessment evidence supported by the Council. Any bungalows provided will be required to remain in perpetuity through the removal of permitted development rights. Therefore, it may be necessary for the Local Planning Authority to apply conditions and/or request in a planning obligation/legal agreement.

    Policy LP07 - Supported and Special Needs Housing

    1. Proposals for supported and special needs housing, including extensions, conversions and new developments, will be supported where they are:
      1. Located on sites appropriate for residential development.
      2. Within well located areas and connected to urban areas or main core villages that have sufficient access to local services and facilities (particularly health services) and public transport for long-term sustainability.
      3. Have sufficient amenity standard, including access to open space for the residents.
      4. Well designed to a high quality standard and meet any special needs of the residents of the property and is sympathetic to the surrounding townscape and/or landscape.
      5. Give special regard to protecting and enhancing biodiversity and geodiversity affected by the proposal.
      6. Ensures heritage assets and their settings are maintained, protected and enhanced.
      7. Meets necessary adequate shared facility standards33.
      8. Meets the requirements for accessible and adaptable dwellings under Part M4(2) of Building Regulations (or any relevant regulation that supersedes and replaces).
    2. If bungalows, the proposal will be required to remain in perpetuity through the removal of permitted development rights. Therefore, it may be necessary for the Local Planning Authority to apply conditions and/or request planning obligation/legal agreement.
    3. Adopted Neighbourhood Plans may choose to set out an approach to help influence housing type and mix specific to the local area. Equally, necessary regard will also need to be had to the Plan and any supporting evidence to ensure the local housing needs of the district are adequately met. Any local aspirations not compatible with the district's plan-led approach will not be supported.

    LP08 - Affordable Housing

    Policy background and explanation

    13.38 The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) – Part 1 and 2 (May 2017) and subsequent SHMA (2014-based Local Housing Need) evidence base updated data January 2019 is a joint evidence base document between Babergh DC, Mid Suffolk DC, Suffolk Coastal DC, Waveney DC (now East Suffolk) and Ipswich BC that (amongst other matters) provides the evidence to justify the need and requirement for affordable housing. Planning policy reflects the size, type and tenure of housing needed for different people in the community and affordable housing is an identified need within Babergh and Mid Suffolk Districts as required by Paragraph 61 of the NPPF.

    13.39 The evidence and information within the strategic Housing Needs & Requirements Policy provides the local affordable housing need calculations setting out the mix and composition within the Babergh and Mid Suffolk Districts. The data identifies a total potential demand of 495 discount home ownership/starter homes dwellings in Babergh, and 430 discount home ownership/starter homes dwellings in Mid Suffolk. The provisions for discount home ownership and starter homes must not be made at the expense of shared ownership and social /affordable rent provision.

    13.40 In exceptional circumstances[30], where proposals are not able to meet the requirements for affordable housing for viability reasons, and to ensure that development can still come forward and overall housing delivery is not compromised, the Council may agree to alter the requirements subject to this being demonstrated through a comprehensive viability assessment, to the Council's satisfaction. Before reducing the overall provision of affordable housing, the tenure and type of affordable housing should be first adjusted to secure viability and best meet the housing needs.

    13.41 Local need for affordable housing may be identified through a local housing needs survey (LHNS)[31]. Developers are encouraged to work closely with the Council's Strategic Housing team at pre-application stage to ensure appropriate evidence is provided with any planning application.

    13.42 Babergh and Mid Suffolk Councils will encourage new homes to be delivered through community-led housing vehicles such as Community Land Trusts (CLT's), co-operatives or co-housing groups which address a local housing need. The Plan recognises that community-led development can be beneficial for local communities and may be an appropriate 'exception' to development on the edge of settlements or in the countryside. Proposals of any scale will need to demonstrate an appropriate mix which links to identified local needs, with such needs perhaps identified via a local survey.

    Policy LP08 – Affordable, community led and rural exception housing

    1. Affordable housing:
      1. Is expected to be delivered on-site, unless it can be demonstrated in exceptional circumstances, that it is not feasible or practical to provide the units on site in which case it may be agreed that a commuted sum could be paid towards off-site affordable housing provision.
      2. Should be tenure blind when being designed and integrated within a development that contains other types of housing (for example, market housing).
      3. Must be upheld by avoiding proposals that create artificial or contrived subdivision of a site to circumvent requirements. If there is reasonable expectation of adjoining land coming forward for housing development, the Council will take account of the whole contiguous site area when calculating what affordable housing is required. Affordable housing will also be sought where a site is capable of accommodating the stated requirement thresholds.
      4. The Local Planning Authority will use planning obligations or legal agreements to secure and deliver affordable housing to ensure the benefit of affordable housing will be enjoyed by successive occupiers. Where affordable housing cannot be secured in perpetuity, it will be expected for the funds to be ringfenced for reinvestment back into affordable housing provision[32].
    1. Community Led Housing proposals must demonstrate that:
      1. The scheme was initiated by, and is being led by a legitimate local community group such as a Parish Council or Community Land Trust; and
      2. The scheme has general community support, with evidence of meaningful public engagement.
    2. Rural Exception Housing
    Up to 35% of market housing on rural exception sites will be supported, only where it is financially necessary in order to secure and deliver additional local affordable housing. A financial appraisal must be submitted to evidence the need for open market housing to cross-subsidise affordable housing on the rural exception site.

    LP09 - Provision for Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showpeople

    Policy background and explanation

    13.43 National planning policy for Gypsies and Travellers is set out in Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (2015) and requires planning authorities to use their evidence to plan positively to meet the needs of Gypsies and Travellers and Travelling Showpeople.

    13.44 Gypsies and Travellers are defined for planning purposes within the Planning Policy for Travellers Sites (2015) as:

    'Persons of nomadic habit of life whatever their race or origin, including such persons who on grounds only of their own or their family's or dependants' educational or health needs or old age have ceased to travel temporarily, but excluding members of an organised group of travelling showpeople or circus people travelling together as such.

    In determining whether persons are 'gypsies and travellers' for the purposes of this planning policy, consideration should be given to the following issues amongst other relevant matters:

    1. whether they previously led a nomadic habit of life
    2. the reasons for ceasing their nomadic habit of life
    3. whether there is an intention of living a nomadic habit of life in the future, and if so, how soon and in what circumstances.'

    13.45 Travelling Showpeople are defined within the Planning Policy for Travellers Sites (2015) as:

    'Members of a group organised for the purposes of holding fairs, circuses or shows (whether or not travelling together as such). This includes such persons who on the grounds of their own or their family's or dependants' more localised pattern of trading, educational or health needs or old age have ceased to travel temporarily, but excludes Gypsies and Travellers as defined above.'

    13.46 All allocated sites must have a project level HRA if they are within the zone of influence of coastal habitat sites. This will also identify whether allocated sites will result in a likely significant effect to functionally linked land and water quality, and will determining whether further mitigation is required. Where relevant, project level Habitat Regulation Assessments (HRA), Construction Environment Management Plans (CEMP) and lighting design schemes will be required for planning applications.

    13.47 The jointly commissioned Ipswich Housing Market Area Gypsy, Traveller, Travelling Showpeople and Boat Dwellers Accommodation Needs Assessment (ANA) (May 2017) identifies for Gypsy and Traveller provision Babergh is in need for 1 permanent Gypsy and traveller pitch and Mid Suffolk is in need for 9 permanent Gypsy and Traveller pitches in the Plan period (a pitch is an area on a site developed for a family unit to live). Each authority is to meet the needs in respect of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation within their own areas.

    13.48 The following data shows existing Gypsy and Traveller data since 2016, which includes Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople. All of which is in private ownership.

    Babergh Five Year Estimate of the Need for Permanent/ Residential Site Pitches (2016-2021)

    Source: ANA 2017

    Babergh Twenty Year Summary (2016-2036)

    Source: ANA 2017

    Mid Suffolk Five Year Estimate of the Need for Permanent/ Residential Site Pitches (2016-2021)

    Source: ANA 2017

    Mid Suffolk Twenty Year Summary (2016-2036)

    Source: ANA 2017

    *Includes the development of 3 potentials 2016-21

    **The figures in brackets in the table above are based on a possible scenario of 21 pitches not being available. However, since the Accommodation Needs Assessment (ANA) evidence was produced the 21 pitches are available. In accordance with the Babergh and Mid Suffolk Gypsy and Traveller monitoring of January 2020, there are currently 88 pitches in Mid Suffolk.

    The data in the table above includes temporary planning permissions and unauthorised developments.

    Definitions of Gypsy and Traveller uses:

    • 'Plots' refer to Travelling Showpeople only
    • 'Pitches' refer to Gypsies and Travellers only

    13.49 Both districts have regular incidents of unauthorised encampments with major transport links influencing the pattern of occupation. Accommodation needs from unauthorised encampments was considered separately and this information is as follows some of which are subject to enforcement action.

    Unauthorised sites in 2016

    Unauthorised sites in 2017

    Unauthorised sites in 2018

    Babergh District

    12

    9

    5

    Mid Suffolk District

    7

    11

    16

    Source: ANA 2017

    13.50 Proposals for accommodation for those who do not meet the current definition of Gypsies and Travellers or Travelling Showpeople would be considered under the other relevant housing policies, including Policy on Moorings, Marinas and Houseboats.

    13.51 Proposals for new sites for Gypsies and Travellers or Travelling Showpeople would be considered under all relevant environmental policies, including Policy on Biodiversity.

    Policy LP09 – Provision for Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showpeople

    1. The Councils will work with partner agencies to identify suitable permanent and transit pitches to meet the needs identified in an up to date needs assessment.
    2. The principle for Traveller development will be considered as with other residential development in other policies*, and having regard to the following considerations:

      1. The need for pitches in the District as evidenced in an up to date needs assessment, and the availability of deliverable sites. The site choice must be the result of a sequential search. Land ownership limitations are not a reason to justify selection above other sustainability criteria;
      2. The site shall not dominate the nearest settled community;
      3. The site is well related to local services and facilities (particularly medical services and schools), preferably by means other than the private vehicle (e.g. car);
      4. The site is designed with regard to established design guidance documents and best practice;
      5. The proposal must not cause any detrimental affects to amenity. For example (but not limited to) noise, light and water pollution.
      6. Special regard shall be given to protecting and enhancing landscape, biodiversity and geodiversity affected by the proposal.
      7. Any employment use on the site is compatible with residential and local amenity;
      8. The proposal must ensure heritage assets and their settings are maintained, protected and enhanced where the opportunity arises.
      9. The proposal must not result in loss of best and most versatile agricultural land.
    1. The Council will prepare a project level Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA) to assess the likely impacts from development if proposed sites are situated within the SSSI zone of influence of Habitat Sites.
    2. Conditions will normally be applied to limit the number of pitches/plots on the site, or to safeguard occupancy by the Gypsy/Traveller community.
     Neighbourhood Plans may allocate sites for Gypsy and Traveller use.

    LP10 – Moorings, Marinas & Houseboats

    Policy background and explanation

    13.52 The Councils will work with partner agencies to identify suitable moorings to meet the needs identified in an up to date needs assessment. An area of the mooring is shown on the Policies Map at Pin Mill Chelmondiston, Woolverstone, Shotley and Fox's at Wherstead.

    13.53 There is a need to protect the special landscape and ecological characteristics of these internationally important areas and as a result, Babergh District Council will need to prepare a project-level HRA, Construction Environment Management Plan (CEMP) and lighting design schemes to assess the likely impacts from development.

    13.54 Water-based and associated land-based facilities of an appropriate scale will only be permitted on the Stour and Orwell estuaries where these are compatible with; landscape characteristics, biodiversity, agriculture, access and river safety constraints. A sustainable development approach will be of the utmost importance on both estuaries.

    13.55 Many activities that take place in or over the marine plan area require a marine licence. Early consultation with the Marine Management Organisation is recommended for appropriate proposals.

    LP10 - Moorings, Marinas and Houseboats

    1. Outside of the defined moorings and marinas located at Pin Mill, Woolverstone, Shotley and Fox's at Wherstead, there will be no introduction or extension of moorings, marinas and houseboats or the ancillary land based activities across the Stour and Orwell estuaries SPA and Ramsar site (Suffolk Coast RAMS zone of influence).
    2. Within the defined moorings and marinas, planning permission will only be granted if all of the following criteria are met to the satisfaction of the LPA:
      1. The proposal will not result in any adverse effect (either through construction and or operation) on the integrity of the Stour and Orwell SPA and Ramsar sites and the Suffolk Coast and Heath AONB. If planning permission is granted a CEMP must be agreed prior to commencement of development to demonstrate mitigation of construction impacts.
      2. The proposal must demonstrate appropriate measures to ensure there is no risk of deterioration in Water Framework Directive (WFD) status for the River Stour and Orwell.
    3. A project level HRA will be required for each houseboat planning application and all proposals will need to demonstrate acceptable environmental protection measures and a Construction and Environment Management Plan will be required.
      1. If planning permission is granted a Construction Environment Management Plan must be agreed prior to commencement of development to demonstrate mitigation of construction impacts.
      2. Additionally, for houseboat proposals within the defined area of Pin Mill, Chelmondiston:
        1. The total number of houseboats is no greater than 28 units.
        2. The vessels must be river worthy and capable of floating.
        3. Access must be via a jetty.
        4. The boat is secured to the access jetty and or a mooring post.
        5. The applicant enters into a legal agreement for the removal of any vessel that becomes unfit for habitation or is abandoned.

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    LP11 - Self-Build and Custom-Build

    Policy background and explanation

    13.56 The Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 requires LPAs to keep a register of people who are interested in building their own homes. NPPF para. 61 states that LPAs should plan for the needs of those wishing to build their own homes. The Council has set up a self-build register, to understand the level of interest and demand in plots for self-build / custom build across the Districts. As of April 2018, there were 164 people on the self-build register, all with a variety of land and locational requirements.

    Policy LP11 - Self-Build and Custom-Build

    1. The Councils will support proposals for self-build/custom-build housing or proposals that make a proportion of serviced dwelling plots available for sale to self-builders or custom builders, on appropriate sites and where in compliance with all other relevant policies of this Plan.
    2. Special protection must be given to the landscape, biodiversity and the historic environment.
    3. The proposal must not cause significant harm to residential amenity.
    4. The proposal must minimise the impact of development on climate change and will be expected to minimise dependence on fossil fuels and make the fullest contribution to the mitigation of climate change through implementation of sustainable construction practices and renewable energy technologies.
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