Using Neighbourhood Plans to Secure Residential Development
Acting on behalf of landowner Clinton Devon Estates, the Exeter office has helped our client secure outline planning permission for 30 houses on the edge of the coastal village of Beer in East Devon. Like much of this part of Devon, Beer is in a very sensitive location being on the seaside, within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and adjacent to the nationally important Beer Quarry Special Area of Conservation.
Securing planning permission for any meaningful amount of new development in such circumstances is no mean feat. The key to success was to support the Estate in engaging with the Parish Council in order understand local residents’ ambitions for the village. This revealed a strong desire for new housing to be provided for local residents and a lack of available sites to meet this need. We therefore worked with the Parish Council to help them develop their Neighbourhood Plan and to select an appropriate site for the new housing. This was fundamental to obtaining the support of the Council’s officers and members.
In parallel with the land use policy aspect of the project, a planning application scheme was worked up, with a considerable effort expended by LHC Design, WSP and Clarke Bond to ensure the design was compatible with its highly sensitive location and challenging topography. Technical matters required particular attention so the project team worked closely with the County Highways and Flood Risk Management teams to agree acceptable access and drainage solutions.
Alongside the housing design, a wide ranging and comprehensive ecological mitigation plan – which centred on providing improved habitat for different species of bats – was also developed by Richard Green Ecology and agreed with Natural England and others.
A substantial element of affordable housing has been agreed as part of the scheme and once delivered, this will meet the bulk of Beer’s need for local housing. It is expected that work to implement the planning permission will begin in the near future.