Page last updated at 07 March 2017 at 14:15
Frequently asked questions - A new Local Plan for Eastleigh
Further information is available on the Planning Portal which also has an interactive house guide for common household developments.
Why does the borough need a local plan, and what does it mean for existing residents and local businesses?
Every local planning authority is required to prepare a Local Plan - this includes Eastleigh Borough Council, neighbouring councils, and the nearby city councils and national park authorities. These plans are the key document where an authority can set out a vision and framework for the future development of their area, engaging with their communities in doing so.
New homes are needed to accommodate current and future populations and to support growing businesses – and councils must plan for growth in all types of housing in their local areas, and across council boundaries. As well as new homes, we need to plan for other requirements, such as land for offices, industry and jobs; community facilities, such as schools, healthcare and leisure venues; open space for recreation and nature conservation, and support for our town and district centres. The preparation of the Local Plan helps to ensure that new developments are sustainable and supported by the necessary infrastructure – including roads, water treatment works and community facilities.
The Borough like other parts of the south Hampshire area is a popular area for those looking to take advantage of the high quality environment, access to jobs and opportunities to study, an international airport and excellent connectivity to London and beyond.
Despite the importance of the two cities as centres for employment, business, retail, leisure, culture and learning, each of the towns making up urban South Hampshire has its own distinct character and identity. The Local Plan has a role in maintaining and enhancing the Borough’s environment by helping to manage development and growth.
When the Council has an up-to-date and adopted Local Plan, and a sufficient supply of housing land, it will be easier to resist development proposals in areas that are not suitable for development.
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How many new homes are needed in Eastleigh over the next twenty years? Who decides how many new homes should be built?
We need to identify the number of new homes to plan for up until 2036. To do this we need to understand what our housing requirements are likely to be - both for Borough residents and those forecast to move into the Borough. Government planning policy expects us to “plan for growth” and for our Local Plan to fully meet the need for all types of housing in the wider housing market area- including subsidised ‘affordable’ housing largely provided (or funded) by housebuilders as part of new developments. The Government expects councils to decide how best to plan for the future, and to calculate a target level of new housing provision. This includes joint working through partnerships such as the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) which has previously published evidence on housing needs. The technical work currently available relies predominantly on secondary data (eg Census, national surveys) to inform the assessment of future housing need. This evidence suggests a range of new dwellings of 13,800 to 20,750 from 2011 to 2036, and the Council has recently consulted on these figures to help refine the emerging Local Plan policy on this.
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Where could new development in the borough go?
To ensure infrastructure and utilities can be planned comprehensively alongside growth in housing and employment areas, the Local Plan needs to guide where development is likely to happen over the next twenty or so years.
This ‘plan-led’ approach also helps to avoid piecemeal development, and plan new communities in a more joined-up way. In looking for locations for development, the Council has reviewed all the main constraints on development in the Borough including flood risk, internationally important habitat and wildlife areas, visual gaps between individual settlements, and so on.
Planning for new communities also needs to respond to where the house-building industry believe there is a market for new homes, and where the current land use and infrastructure provision does not overly constrain construction or make it unviable.
The Local Plan needs to demonstrate that enough development land is available to meet needs for housing, employment and other uses, since 2011, and up until 2036 (the ‘plan period’). A large proportion of the sites required to deliver new homes in the borough during this period have already have planning permission. These sites are mostly within, or close to, existing built-up areas such as Eastleigh.
To plan for meeting the remaining number of new homes (likely to be around 6000 by 2036), the Council has recently consulted upon eight different potential locations for development on undeveloped or ‘greenfield’ land. We sought views from the community, housebuilding industry and key consultees and interested bodies, on the merits and disadvantages of the options identified.
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What is meant by ‘large-scale development’ and what are the impacts and benefits? Would it be better to extend existing settlements so new residents can make use of existing services and facilities?
As explained above, the Borough is restricted in where new communities can be created. In particular, the Council believes there should continue to be sufficient gaps between villages and towns to keep their separate identities. One solution is to focus additional required growth on options for ‘large-scale development’. These developments are planned and delivered with new schools, transport improvements, open spaces and community facilities. In our borough there are opportunities to potentially deliver a new larger scale community, but also to extend existing settlements with more modest scale developments.
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What influence will the consultation responses from residents have on choices for the Eastleigh Local Plan?
Producing the Local Plan should be a shared endeavour – led by the Council as the local planning authority but in collaboration with local communities, developers, landowners and other interested parties. Our responsibility to meet the housing needs of the area is set by the Government’s national planning policy. This means decisions must be balanced against other important considerations, such as protecting the environment or addressing climate change and flooding.
Written responses we receive during consultation stages of the plan preparation are processed, analysed and reported to the Council Members. The most recent consultation generated over 3000 representations on the issues we invited comments on. The Council will take this evidence into account, and that as far as possible, the Plan will reflect a set of agreed priorities for the sustainable development of the area. Consultation responses and evidence of engagement with neighbourhoods, local organisations and businesses, will assist in the balanced judgements made about the preferred planning strategy for the borough.
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There is a lot of published information, how can I keep up to date on how the Local Plan is being prepared?
We are continuing to review and update the evidence which informs the Local Plan, to ensure the final plan is based on robust and up-to-date information, needs assessments and projections. The latest on this work is available online at www.eastleigh.gov.uk/lp36. If you have further questions, you can contact the planning policy team by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling on: 023 8068 8242. We work closely with parish or town councils and they should be able to provide advice on relevant local issues.
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I have heard that there are plans for a potential new Botley Bypass. Where can I find out more?
Over the past six months, the historic Botley Bypass scheme plans have been reviewed and more detailed proposals have been developed by Hampshire County Council. The bypass would provide an alternative route for through traffic to the A334 Botley High Street and would provide traffic relief to the village centre. To find out more visit: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/botley-bypass or email: email@example.com.
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