District councils asks landowners to consider allowing development on their land

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With a need for thousands of new homes to be built in the region Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are asking landowners throughout the districts thinking of allowing development on their land to get in contact with the councils.

The two district councils are producing a new joint local plan which will replace the existing adopted plans of both councils. The new joint local plan will include the allocation of sites for residential, employment and other uses in order to meet the development needs of the districts up to 2036.

The ‘call for sites’ provides an opportunity for developers, landowners, parish and town councils, individuals and other interested parties to register land within Babergh or Mid Suffolk districts to be considered as a potential allocated site in the joint local plan.

In addition, the council is also providing an opportunity for landowners who wish to make a site or plot available for ‘self build’, an option that allows individuals to obtain planning permission to build a home of their own, to do so at this stage.

The call for sites will identify potential sites for development, but no site put forward will automatically see development take place: each registered site will be considered in detail by the Babergh and Mid Suffolk planning teams before sufficient sites to meet projected need in the districts are selected to move forward. Once the assessment process is complete, the councils will consider the options and undertake further consultation, including discussion with infrastructure providers and local communities.

A previous call for sites exercise was undertaken in autumn 2014. At that stage the focus was on larger sites to inform the identification of the councils’ strategic site allocations.

Following the decision to produce a comprehensive joint local plan for the two districts, the councils are revisiting the call for sites process so that smaller sites can also be identified. In accordance with national policy the councils are inviting the submission of sites and broad locations.

The sites submitted could be for housing - of at least a quarter hectare or capable of accommodating five or more dwellings - employment, community facilities, open space, renewable energy, car parking, gypsy and traveller sites or other uses.

The call for sites process is not restrictive in relation to where sites are suggested, but it is unlikely that sites proposed in very rural areas will be suitable locations in which to build new homes, or provide new employment.

However, the information provided is essential in assessing the available land and to aid us in considering where development should be distributed under the plan.

Landowners are urged to note that for self build sites there is no minimum size threshold on submitting a piece of land, so small individual plots can be identified.

Simon Barrett, Babergh District Council portfolio holder for business growth and increased productivity, said: “Any landowner in the district can put forward sites for this, and will not only help us prepare for the future but will also give communities an understanding of where development could fall as they work on their own neighbourhood development plans.”

Gerard Brewster, Mid Suffolk District Council portfolio holder for business growth and increased productivity, added: “We are facing a lot of population growth in Mid Suffolk and we’re determined to meet that challenge. This call for sites is an early opportunity for the council to plan effectively for growth and provide a starting point for local plans and neighbourhood plans.”

The call for sites registration form and guidance notes are available on the council’s website at: www.babergh.gov.uk/shelaa or www.midsuffolk.gov.uk/shelaa.

All forms should be returned on or before 5pm on August 26.