Planning application submitted

On 24th December MarshfieldCLT submitted the planning application for 18 dwellings to the east of Marshfield. The application in publicly available on the South Gloucestershire planning portal. https://developments.southglos.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=Q30LT0OKHG800

There are 45 documents associated with this application. The two that give the overview of the application are the Design and Access Statements.  Comments in support would be very welcome and of course you can also make objections if you wish. Comments  have to be made by Feb 13th 2020. A reminder that this application is for a rural exception site which can only be considered for planning approval because it meets certain planning policy criteria. These include a requirement that the development is small scale and that homes will be for  people in housing need with a local connection. Any planning approval will be subject to a legal agreement  to ensure that the properties will always remain available at an affordable price for people in housing need and prioritised for those with a local connection.    

Latest news on MCLT Affordable Housing Project August 2019

Affordable Housing project

As you will know, last year MCLT entered into a partnership with Mike and Anne Ball to explore a possible site for affordable housing, west of the Garston Farm buildings. After the village meeting at the end of July where there was strong support for the CLT proposal, we interviewed architects and housing associations and appointed Reed Watts as our architect and United Communities as our housing association partner.

We applied for a grant from Homes England in November 2018 to enable us to carry out a full feasibility study of the Garston Farm site.  It took a little time for the grant to be approved but in March 2019 work started in earnest and specialist consultants have now been employed to provide a series of reports on the archaeology, landscape, ecology and topology of the site as well as the technical aspect of land structure, utilities and highways. These reports have provided a significant amount of information and our architect, Reed Watts, has coordinated this data as they have developed a draft scheme for the site.

Planning Process

An indicative scheme has now been sent to South Gloucestershire Council for discussion through what is known as the Pre-app process. This advice is important in addressing major concerns such as access and the way a development will fit into the local environment so it is important that we get that advice even though we know it may take some time before we can meet with South Gloucestershire planners.

The draft application will be amended in the light of this advice and brought to the village so we can take your views into account. Following that consultation and any further amendments, a final planning application will then be made.

We hope to get planning permission to build 12 affordable homes; a mix of 1-beds flats, 2 beds and 3-beds houses for rent and shared ownership, and 6 market houses. Three of these are plots for a return for the landowner and three will be open market houses to help finance the affordable homes.  Planning consent will be subject to a Section 106 Agreement restricting occupancy of the affordable homes to local people in perpetuity.

The application will be for planning consent under South Gloucestershire Council’s policy on Rural Exception Sites which can allow development in the Green Belt and AONB when the application is for affordable housing for local people. Such proposals are strengthened if they are community led initiatives such as ours.

In 2018 Marshfield Parish Council commissioned a Housing Needs Survey which was carried out by South Gloucestershire Council. This survey confirmed the findings of the 2013 survey and indicated that there is still a need in Marshfield for housing for people with local connections. The Parish Council have confirmed their support for the findings of The Housing Needs Survey and this will strengthen the MCLT planning application.

Key Planning Concerns

In our discussions of the site we have been aware that the houses will be close to a cluster of agricultural buildings and the architect’s initial indicative design has been sympathetic to this context. Another key aim is to charge as low a rent as possible.  The rented houses will be available either at Affordable Rents (defined as 80% of market rents for similar properties, subject to be capped at the Local Housing Allowance rate) or, if we can achieve it, at Social Rents which are significantly lower.  We want to incorporate some low-energy measures and also are looking for opportunities to maximise biodiversity and green space across the site but these will have to be balanced against build costs and achieving affordability for residents.

Allocation of houses

We are hopeful that planning permission may be granted towards the end of 2019. It is unlikely that houses will be available to live in before 2021 but we have already begun to think about the criteria that will be used in allocating the houses.

Allocation of these houses will be in accordance with ‘local connection’ criteria agreed by MCLT. Applicants will need to register with South Gloucestershire Council’s HomeChoice to verify their need for affordable housing.

Closer to the time when people are thinking of applying, the MCLT intends to provide workshops to clarify the HomeChoice application process.

Building and managing the homes

United Communities Housing Association will play a very significant role once we have received planning permission. They will fund, develop and manage the rented accommodation homes as well as managing the sale of market houses and shared ownership. The freehold of the houses remains with the MCLT.

Please contact any member of the MCLT board if you would like more information or have any thoughts on the work of MCLT.

The MCLT Board

Christine Eden (Chair- 01225 891525 c.eden@live.co.uk), Oliver Shirley, Simon Turner, Jim Brookes, Ian Jones, Ian Dawes, Ros Snow

MCLT response to removal of affordability criteria Bences Close

Marshfield Community Land Trust does not own the assets under question or have any legal right to intervene in this dispute but we are active in promoting affordable housing and are concerned at the potential loss of any affordable housing in Marshfield.

A recent Housing Needs Survey, commissioned by Marshfield Parish Council and conducted by South Gloucestershire Council, identified a continuing unfulfilled need for affordable housing for local people in Marshfield. Any loss of existing affordable housing stock would be a retrograde step. MCLT would therefore wish to register its opposition to this application. This case highlights the important role a Community Land Trust can play in providing housing which remains affordable in perpetuity and whose status is not vulnerable to legal challenge.

MCLT Grant has arrived

The MCLT grant for a feasibility study has now arrived.

The MCLT recently has had some good news.

After four months of waiting we have finally received the grant from Homes England that allows us to undertake the feasibility study on our affordable housing project and preferred site. We now have some of the grant funding in our bank account and have been able to send out contracts to our various consultants who will help with our feasibility study.

We need to get reports from: a ground engineer; an engineer; an ecologist; an archaeologist; a topographical surveyor and a landscape architect. All these reports will then go to the project architects who are Reed Watts from London and Bath who will bring all that data together and make some suggestions of design and site layout. They will be working also with our Housing Association, United Communities from Bristol.

We will be bringing those ideas back to the village for consultation before we submit a planning application. It is only at the point when we know a planning application is successful that we finally enter into the legal and binding contract with the landowner.

There’s a long way to go before we have homes for local people to live in but it feels as if the dream is slowly turning into reality.

Please get in touch with any of the Board with queries or ideas.

From: Christine Eden, Chair ( c.eden@live.co.uk ) 01225 891525

Board members: Oliver Shirley, Simon Turner, Jenny Gibbons, Ian Jones, Ian Dawes, Jim Brookes, Ros Snow.

MCLT and its hopes for 2019

Happy New Year to all our readers!

MCLT is expecting to hear any day now from Homes England that we have cleared the final hurdle in our grant application  to undertake a feasibility study on our proposed site.

We seem to have been waiting for some while but understand there are a lot of applications which have to be carefully scrutinised and all MCLT Board members have had to be put through what is called a ‘due diligence’ process. This all seems right and proper  but it is hard waiting for the final letter of approval.

When we hear from Homes England we will let you all know. Then we can get on with  exploring our proposed site and all being well, bring a draft design proposal  to the village for consultation.

Report on village consultation meeting July 21 2018

 Notes on MCLT Consultation meeting: July 21 2018: Community Centre 12noon

Chair: Christine Eden

All MCLT Board present: Oliver Shirley, David Dodd, Simon Turner, Ian Dawes, Jim Brookes, Ian Jones, Jenny Gibbons.

Approx. 106 members of community attended.

The meeting started with a welcome and introductions to:

  • the MCLT Board & Steve Watson , the affordable housing advisor from Wessex Community Land Trust Project which deals with 40 CLTs across the south west
  • the role of CLTs in being able to acquire and hold assets that benefit the community in perpetuity
  • MCLT’s first project is to build affordable housing for people with a housing need and strong local connection
  • this meeting is bringing a site to the community at early stage to identify if village support proposal

Purpose of meeting:

  • to get an ‘in principle’ support for proposed site and if received, MCLT will then proceed to undertake a feasibility study to check site is appropriate.
  • to listen to comments and to answer questions.

Brief account of process of site search: Working within South Glos policy of Rural Exception Sites. This means that affordable housing to meet local needs can be permitted on sites where market housing would not normally be acceptable. Must be for people with a housing need and with a local connection -exactly what the MCLT is aiming to do. Policy also allows for small number of market homes.

 Site search since July 2016 involved 4 stages:

1.Used large scale maps and aerial photos to identify every potential development site in and around the village and came up with a total of 31 sites adjacent to the village boundary.

2.Assessed sites against no of criteria in a systematic way: used South Glos Council’s guidelines on searching for sites in rural communities: eg size, access, relationship to the settlement, etc, took advice based on other CLT experiences, informal advice from SGC planners and drew on local experience and knowledge e.g. effects of possible development on traffic, parking, existing services, site gradient, views in and out of the village, level of anticipated community acceptance etc.

3.Then approached a number of owners that best met criteria to see if would sell site ; some negotiations went on for a long time- endless emails, meetings, drawing up Heads of Terms. But not possible to reach an agreement that was acceptable to owners and the MCLT.

  1. Reviewed position and adopted alternative approach.

Phase 2 followed same process but:

  1. Identified sites close to settlement boundary but not adjacent
  2. Assessed these sites against our criteria
  3. Opened negotiations with land owners by offering small number of market plots in exchange for the land for affordable houses and some MCLT market plots. Could do this because rural exception site policy allows for a small number of market houses.
  4. Negotiations with land owners led to current position where a site seems appropriate and available.

Steve Watson showed some CLT sites at various stages of build.

Indicates how a CLT and a community working together can actually deliver affordable homes for local people in our community.

Discussion of site:

1.6 acres. Not adjacent to  but east of school: owned by Mike Ball.

No of factors make site a possibility including fact that site falls within SGC exception sites policy.

Proposing a scheme of 18 homes:

  • 12 affordable house, prioritised for local people- rent and shared ownership depending on Housing need survey
  • 3 market plots for MCLT which will be used by the CLT to cross subsidise the affordable housing and help get rents to a level which are genuinely affordable
  • 3 plots for the owner in recognition of providing the other 15 plots at no cost to the MCLT.

Questions from meeting

Questions Answers
Will there be a footpath / access that’s not on the main road for people to access services? Will carry out technical feasibility work. Access a key issue. Feel sure S Glos will insist on a pedestrian link.
What’s the constraint on plot size, why not take it to farm?

 

Farmer wanted to ensure there was a buffer between the farm buildings and new buildings
Will there be parking facilities with each house Yes, can’t build without making parking available
Why not choose plot closer to the school?

 

Not owned by the landowner of the MCLT proposed site
Will the speed limit along the road be changed?

 

Don’t know, points of access and speed limit will need to be addressed with Highways, -if we want planning permission we will have to meet their demands.
Logical to be east of the village. But why is it to the right of the spare land next to the school Owner of plot next to school told meeting that MCLT had been offered 12 plots of the greenbelt site to east of school as part of larger development to include doctor’s surgery. They are taking professional advice & at early stages. Not yet clear what will be a commercially viable scheme. Want a dialogue with the village and S Glos on this.

MCLT responded that they need a rural exception site for local connection to be given priority. Also issue of timing and MCLT approach is about community led development so not accepted this offer.

Can the piece of land be divided so that some is rural exception site and some not?

 

MCLT had requested this but that offer not available.

 

What would be the cost of the houses? Not for sale : mainly rent with some shared ownership

 

What is shared ownership? Some down payment. Mortgage for some of it and pay rent on remainder

 

Will the houses proposed never be fully owned by anybody?

 

Correct – has to be held by MCLT for the benefit of the community in perpetuity
Will shared ownership allow ‘stair casing’?

 

Only to limit of 80% ownership (and at that point anticipated owner would move on)

 

Comments also made about the advantages of trying to work together as a community.

Meeting thanked MCLT for their work in pursuing the affordable housing project.

Indication of level of support

David Dodd asked meeting to indicate general level of approval of proposed site. Not a formal vote but a straw pole to give MCLT a broad feeling of support so can move on to the next stage of a feasibility study. This will draw on the expertise of housing associations and professionals such as architects and surveyors to ensure that the site is viable and feasible for our affordable housing project. As that progresses MCLT will bring planning application back for consultation.

Very strong support: 100 indicated support, no-one against and 6 abstentions.

Meeting closed with thanks to all who attended for interest and support. Also thanks to members, Parish Council and Ben Stokes and Steve Reade our SG councillors for their support. Recognised that many hurdles yet to jump.

Reminder of Housing Need Survey whose results will be important for the MCLT. Outline of MCLT proposal available as a handout. MCLT always pleased to hear comments, and suggestions through our website. MCLT will keep village informed of developments and will consult on planning application.