Planning inspector’s advice on Sutton Local Plan
On 19 October 2017, David Smith, the Planning Inspector who has held the recent hearings about the emerging Sutton Local Plan, published his advice on amendments needed to the local plan to make it sound. A full copy is available here.
Summary of comments
In summary, the Inspector advised as follows in relation to the policies in the emerging Sutton Plan:
Policy 3 – Sutton Town Centre
Sutton has failed to meet the policy aim of a 50% target for family housing in Sutton town centre and the evidence indicates that this is unrealistic. The inspector considered that an expectation of 25% would be one Sutton could realistically achieve.
Policy 8 – Affordable Housing
The borough-wide policy sets an unsound and unrealistic target of 50% affordable units from all sources. Based on the viability evidence, the recent track record, the Council should consider 35% as a more viable number. A financial contribution to the Affordable Housing Fund should not be sought for sites below the threshold of 11 or more housing units.
Policy 14 – Industrial Land
A target of 10 hectares (c.24.5 acres) of industrial land provision is justified, but the intensification cannot be based solely on the intensification of the Beddington Strategic Industrial Location (SIL – see plan below). No more than two hectares (c. 5 acres) could be delivered within the Beddington SIL by means of intensification. The shortfall means the Council will need to re-visit the 3 sites included in the Issues and Preferred Options document. The expectation that proposals within SILs or Established Industrial Areas should provide at least one full-time job per 60 sq m of floorspace was not sustainable.
Gypsy and traveller accommodation
The proposed site extension to the gypsy and traveller site at The Pastures, 80 Carshalton Rd, Banstead SM7 3DX (S104) would be within the Green Belt and would amount to “inappropriate development” in the absence of very special circumstances. He has proposed that the site should be removed from the Green Belt (if the exceptional circumstances test is met).
Care homes (Policy 11)
Sutton’s requirements that care homes demonstrate that they: (a) meet a specific need, and (b) will result in improvements in the level of care, are too restrictive and should be removed.
Policy 40 (planning enforcement)
This planning enforcement policy should be deleted. The local planning authority should instead publish a local enforcement plan to manage enforcement pro-actively (consistent with paragraph
207 of the National Planning Policy Framework).
S2 – site Adjoining Hackbridge Station
The indicative site capacity of 203 for this site (N.B. it is not the Felnex site) was not consistent with The London Plan density matrix, and should be reduced to 174 net additional dwellings.
S98 – new school at Rosehill Park West
This site is allocated as a secondary school to be built in the first phase of the Sutton Local Plan, but the Council believes that the site boundary needs to be expanded to provide for additional parking and the land would remain metropolitan open land. However, that means any planning application for the proposed school would be “inappropriate development” and its approval would require the existence of “very special circumstances”. Regrettably in our view, rather than require the school users to use more sustainable transport, the inspector has advised that the site’s metropolitan open land status be removed to accommodate more parking.