Progress on Site Assessment

After many months of hard work a draft of the Neighbourhood Plan containing the Vision, Objectives and draft Policies is now available for people to see. You can read it here.

Over the summer, further discussion were held with SODC as a result of which the Steering Group have initiated an evaluation of potential development sites in the parish with the intention of 'allocating' one or more sites for housing development.

A public meeting was held on Thursday 14th September to discuss the allocation process and was attended by over 70 people. Ricardo Rios of SODC explained that allocating one or more sites for development would give our Neighbourhood Plan more strength and avoid the risk that it is considered out of date while SODC does not have a 5-year land supply.

Following the meeting a call for sites was initiated and is now closed. The process of objective evaluation has now been started based on all the possible sites in the parish, including those put forward under the call for sites.

To provide a wider base of knowledge and experience for the site evaluations, a Community Group has been appointed to work with the Steering Group on the evaluation. You can see the group membership on this update.

The first meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Community Group was held on 16 November 2017 when we reviewed the first draft of a pre-screening of the possible housing sites in East Hagbourne Parish. The purpose of this first step was to define a shorter list of sites to go through a more detailed evaluation process, as shown in the map below. The red sites are those we think are possible allocation sites, with one uncertain addition marked in yellow. The pale orange sites are not likely allocation sites, but have been included for a full evaluation because they are the subject of planning applications and it will be valuable to have detailed information to enable us to respond in the best possible way.

Click here for the presentation slides from the meeting and here for the meeting minutes,

Three screening criteria have been used: Suitability, Availability and Feasibility. For the screening, we have assumed that all sites are feasible and availability is (relatively) straightforward, because there is an SODC database on which we can rely. It is known as the Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA). A summary for East Hagbourne is here

So it is the suitability criteria that dominate at this point.

The suitability criteria we used are:

- Is the site closely related to, and well integrated with the village?

- Is the site easily accessible to EH services and facilities by both roads & footpaths?

- Does the site flood or could it create flooding /environmental issues?

- Will development impact the Conservation Area or setting of the AONB?

The first two of these proved contentious at the meeting, with some members preferring to allocate sites remote from the village, so the above is not yet final.

NOTE: A much more extensive range of assessment criteria will be used for those sites passing to the detailed evaluation.

We have set an ambitious timescale: at our next Community Group meeting we plan to review first drafts of a full evaluation on each of the selected sites. If these are agreed by the Community Group, we will then be in a position to communicate with the owners of these sites to solicit their input.

The Community Group will carry on working, incorporating input from land owners and members of the public as it comes in, with the objective of having a full recommendation by early January. A public review meeting will be convened once the process nears completion.

Further web postings will be made as the process evolves. If you have comments or input, you can send them to allocation@easthagbourneplan.net or by mail to EHNP Allocation, c/o Allison Leigh, Clerk to East Hagbourne Parish Council, 26 Eaton Village, Eaton, Oxon, OX13 5PR.