The Maldon District Local Development Plan Examination-in-Public (EiP), was held in January and February 2015. Plainview attended several of the examination days on behalf of a number of our clients, and raised some pertinent points for the Planning Inspector to consider.
Through our representations at the EiP we pointed out that the Council had failed to consider the correct housing market area for Maldon. As such we expressed our view that the Local Development Plan housing policies are flawed.
We also noted that the housing figure was not high enough, as it failed to provide a delivery mechanism for the identified affordable housing need. We pointed out that to ensure soundness it was common practice for a 10% uplift to be provided over and above the identified Objectively Assessed Need.
It is our view that Maldon’s housing allocation strategy is too reliant upon significant infrastructure, highways and education projects that are not deliverable within the prescribed times. This raised question marks at the Examination over the viability and deliverability of these allocations over the plan period.
We identified that the Council had focussed all of its growth in a very constrained area, ignoring less restrictive locations for strategic growth, particularly at North Fambridge, where there is an opportunity to create a truly sustainable garden village.
We have been promoting North Fambridge as a location that could deliver a 21st Century ‘garden village’ centred round an existing train station, with:
- in excess of 1,000 high-quality dwellings;
- community facilities;
- commercial space;
- a primary school;
- and significant green infrastructure.
During the examination, we pointed out to the Planning Inspector that the Council has so far failed to engage with us and has not acknowledged the site at North Fambridge as a sustainable and reasonable alternative to their proposals within the Local Development Plan. As a result of the Council’s approach, the public of Maldon have never been given the opportunity to comment on the potential for a new garden village at North Fambridge.
We also highlighted that Maldon’s spatial strategy was based on large projects, accompanied by complex infrastructure requirements. As a result the Council had ignored the need for a variety of sites, large and small, to ensure a continuous housing supply and as such was at risk of not being compliant with national planning policy.
Following the examination hearings, the Planning Inspector suggested he will publish his initial findings on 1st May 2015. We anticipate that the Planning Inspector will recommend a large number of main modifications as a minimum. This could include a consultation on the concept of North Fambridge being developed as a garden village.
We have already set out our sustainable vision for North Fambridge as part of our representations and the Council has been in receipt of this for a number of years. However, our representations can be viewed again in in the following document and be downloaded as a pdf.
This document sets out the vision for North Fambridge and highlights how strategic growth at this location could create a truly sustainable garden village that delivers social, economic and environmental benefits.