The WNP will allow the community to have some influence over the extent, type and location of new housing within the parish – it cannot reduce the housing requirement as defined by the Joint Core Strategy or East Northamptonshire Council, but it could increase it and determine where and what is built.
Summary of the existing situation (see Settlement map)
The North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy and the East Northamptonshire Local Plan include the policies that determine the amount, type and location of housing in Warmington. The existing East Northamptonshire Local Plan has allocated one site (WAR1) for 12 houses to the north of Nene Pastures with other housing being left to infill (‘the infilling of a small gap within an otherwise built-up frontage or group of houses.’) or windfall development (Sites which have not been specifically identified as available in plans, they normally comprise previously-developed sites that have unexpectedly become available).
However, this Local Plan is now being revised to cover the period up to 2031 and at present this ‘Emerging Local Plan’ envisages no housing requirement for Warmington other than infill and windfall, but it is also assessing 5 development sites around Warmington through a procedure known as a ‘call for sites’ where landowners can submit sites that they might wish to use/sell for housing development. These sites are outside the existing ‘settlement boundary’ which defines the area within which development is normally allowed and if a new site is accepted then this boundary is extended to include it and the village expands. The exception to this procedure is where a need for social/affordable housing is established by a survey when a ‘Rural Exception Site’ outside of the settlement boundaries can be used for this purpose only – otherwise developers cannot be required to make any provision for affordable/social housing unless more than 10 houses are to be built – the Warmington Neighbourhood Plan cannot change this.
When planning applications for new housing are received by East Northamptonshire Council, the specific characteristics of the development are considered in detail against policy and plan requirements, if a proposal meets the requirements then it should be approved. Individuals and the Parish Council can make comments and object to plans but cannot override policy. Approvals for larger developments can also include financial obligations on developers called ‘S106’ agreements where they must pay agreed sums towards specific infrastructure costs and community requirements.
By making its own Neighbourhood Plan the Warmington community can set its own policies that have weight in decision making in the planning process and will form part of the Emerging Local Plan at the end of the process.
It is also possible within this plan to allocate sites for development either by locally assessing the 5 sites already submitted or by doing a local ‘call for sites’ where all landowners can submit new sites for assessment. The Emerging East Northamptonshire Local Plan suggests that villages could draw their own settlement boundaries or replace them with ‘criteria-based policies’ where proposed developments are assessed against a set of rules created by the community and written as a policy in the Neighbourhood Plan.
The Housing section of this consultation aims to establish what issues should be considered in forming Warmington Housing policies. It builds on the concerns raised at the launch event by providing a number of options that the steering group considers might address these issues to form the basis of this policy, but it also seeks fresh ideas from everyone.
Issues raised at open event
- Not enough affordable housing, need mix in any new development
- Keep village small-no development outside existing boundary, preserve character, create conservation area (see also Built Environment)
- Only allow infill
- Infill sites (back garden type developments) on small plots are out of character with the village
- Don’t build in flood risk areas
- Robust S106 agreements needed (S106 imposes financial/planning conditions on developer)