These are personal notes, written in November 2018, by Roger Keyes, head of the Perranzabuloe NDP Housing Group on the question.
I don’t accept the simplistic conclusion that simply because Cornwall Council approved the housing application in Crantock in June 2018, then this means that NDPs are valueless. From my perspective, the case supports the view that NDPs can have some value, even while they don’t fulfil the high expectations of what they could achieve, expectations promote by some proponents of NDPs.
The Crantock application was decided by the Central Planning Committee meeting held in St Austell on June 11th, a meeting that I attended. For a relatively small development of 22 houses, the application was for an extension of a larger site already with permission, through which access would be gained. This additional site extends in toward the village rather than out into open countryside and lies outside of the ‘Settlement Boundary’ as defined in the NDP. As I heard it, a key justification given by planning officers for recommending approval of the application was their view that one of three existing planning permissions for new housing in Crantock, known I believe as Parsons Green, had stalled and its implementation was now unlikely or at least uncertain. This would, they argued, create a short-fall in the supply of houses needed to cater for those on the HomeChoice Register for Crantock. So they recommended approval. After heated debate, the committee voted to approve it by 8 votes to 7.
(By the way, it wouldn’t surprise me if Crantock Parish think that they may have a case for judicial review since, at that time, the planning application for Parsons Green was still valid (it wouldn’t go on to expire until October 2018) and the fact that they believed it to be stalled was not ‘material.’ If this were to be the grounds for going to judicial review, it would underline the significance of this issue.)
So, what influence did the NDP have?
It was clear from the discussion that significant weight was being given to the contents of the NDP. In the background was the fact that the Committee had deferred the application from February until after the referendum in May 2018. Materially, the ‘Rural exception site’ outside of the ‘Settlement Boundary’ provisions of the NDP resulted in the developers having to increase the Affordable Housing provision from 30% of the houses on the site originally proposed, to 50% in the version approved eventually.
Are there any lessons for Perranzabuloe?
In this case, Crantock had already fulfilled the allocation of houses in the Cornwall Local Plan (just as Perranzabuloe has), yet still the planning policy context dictated that if there is outstanding local need for Affordable Housing (AH), then applications for market-led developments will be given approval so that additional AH will be forthcoming. In Crantock, the issue was has or hasn’t the ‘local need’ been accommodated. In Perranzabuloe, the numbers on the HomeChoice Register are so much greater than the numbers of AH houses coming forward that such applications are likely to be approved, unless other considerations dictate otherwise. This is the stance outlined the introduction to our Perranzabuloe NDP Housing group.
November 16th 2018