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Chew Valley Neighbourhood Plan

Please note the closing date for returning feedback forms has been extended to
31st July 2018

HELAA – Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment

Public Meeting – 25th June 2018


Chris Craig opened the meeting by thanking parish councillors and the clerk for ensuring that flyers giving the details of the public meeting were distributed to every household in Compton Martin.  The Parish Council wish to take a very consultative approach to HELAA which is the reason for this public meeting.


Erica Taylor will give the presentation she gave the April Annual Parish Meeting, the floor will then be opened to Questions and Answers.  At the end of the meeting feed-back forms for completion will be handed out for completion and return to the clerk by the 8th July.  The feed-back forms will also be emailed to all on the parish council email list.


Erica Taylor took the chair and confirmed that HELAA sites are put forward by individual landowners and NOT the parish council.  B&NES are asking for community engagement.  It is important to understand that this is NOT a planning application, this is a fact finding mission to confirm whether the land put forward is suitable for development. 


Erica explained that HELAA – Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment is an initiative which is part of the Local Plan, and which in turn will deliver the JSP – The Joint Spatial Plan, obviously that’s quite a mouthful and a lot to take in, so she gave a brief overview of the process. 


The Joins Spatial Plan will replace the Core Strategy and the Place Making Plan, and will also take precedence over any Neighbourhood Plans, so they will have to support the JSP soon. The JSP has strategic growth identified, namely the new development’s in North Keynsham and Whitchurch.  The area we are concerned with in our area is Non-Strategic growth – around 700 new house need to be identified in this area.


The Local Plan will deliver the JSP, it will decide on boundaries and developments etc. and for us will identify and deliver the non-strategic sites.  First brownfield sites will be considered, then greenfield sites (in the South of the district below the greenbelt), and finally greenbelt sites. 


HELAA – The Local Plan will use the HELAA sites and look at them more closely but it will not allocate sites.  HELAA sites are sites that have been put forwards as possible sites of development by individuals, not Parish Councils.


In-house experts will assess site suitability, based on Ecology, flooding, heritage, landscape, transport, greenbelt, green space, planning history etc.  This is quite a low level initial assessment, and a first refusal may not be final.  If enough sites are not found in the first round, then ones initially not put forwards will be reconsidered.  65% of approx. 400 sites are considered unsuitable.  Those that are suitable will go forward to the next phase and a closer look will be given to them, and it is at this stage that the parish get a chance to have their say – B&NES are keen to have local engagement, we know our areas, they acknowledge that.



The Parish Council are asking parishioners to complete and return the feed-back form giving information on the site put forward by the landowner from individual parishioner’s viewpoint.  The Parish Council are under an obligation to give a true representation of the site.  All responses will have to be evidence based. 


Concern was expressed by parishioners regarding the report of 500 houses.  It was confirmed that this report did NOT come from the parish council.  The parish council did NOT put this information on the parish council website.  The parish council were NOT aware as to where this report came from. The HELAA process will not decide on how many houses will be built.  This process is purely about the viability and potential of the land which has been put forward.


The land, being in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or adjacent to a Conservation Area does not preclude an area of land from consideration. 


Concern and questions were asked regarding the strain on infrastructure and it was agreed that these were valid concerns which should be placed on the feedback form and will be taken into account when writing up the final report.  


B&NES have a shortfall of 700 houses.  Whitchurch and Keynsham are taking up most of the shortfall.  If B&NES do not meet the 700 shortfall Greenfield sites will be looked at.  At the point when a planning application is submitted for consideration by the community and the parish council, the Chew Valley Neighbourhood Plan, set up by 7 parishes in the Chew Valley, Compton Martin being one, recommends the sort of houses which should be built in our area.


HELAA sites do not ease planning regulations.  The Chew Valley Neighbourhood Plan can be found on-line through the B&NES Council website.  The Clerk holds copies should there be difficulties.


The feedback form covers information which individual parishioners will be more aware of such as, infrastructure, pavements, speed of traffic, bus services, heritage, flooding.  All information passed to the parish council will be used in a final document completed by the parish council. 


Closing date for the return of feedback forms – 8 July 2018.