Venue: Council Chamber, Appletree Court, Lyndhurst
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Apologies were received from Cllrs Bellows, Glass, Sevier and Thierry.
Election of Chairman
To elect a Chairman for the meeting.
That Cllr Mrs D Andrews be elected Chairman for the meeting.
Declarations of Interest
To note any declarations of interest made by members in connection with an agenda item. The nature of the interest must also be specified.
Members are asked to discuss any possible interests with Democratic Services prior to the meeting.
It was noted that some councillors present were County Councillors, should that become relevant.
To review the content and policy direction of the emerging Local Plan Part One and to make any recommendations to the Cabinet and Council.
Members were reminded of the process and timetable for the preparation of the local plan documents. Members were invited to ask questions about the content of the developing Plan, and factors being taken into account, as set out in Report Item 3 to the meeting. In addition to the points set out in the report, the following points were covered in the ensuing discussion:
Housing need and Affordable Housing
· The current model of providing discounted “starter homes” for purchase by first time buyers was of very limited value in this District as the discounted cost was still too expensive for many local people to afford. Several members expressed an aspiration for more smaller and lower cost homes, that may be affordable, to be provided as a proportion of the market housing and also for other options, such as shared equity schemes, to be explored as part of the affordable housing element.
· It was less expensive for the developer to provide “starter” homes than homes for rent; consequently, for the scheme to remain viable, fewer affordable homes were achievable if they were for rent.
· A number of members expressed the view that the case should be made that the New Forest District was an exceptional place with a high proportion of protected landscapes. The scope to accommodate additional housing was constrained by the scale of those designated areas. The assessed housing need should not be met by releasing Green Belt, of whatever category had been assigned to it. Green belt land should only be released as exception sites and for affordable housing schemes, in their entirety.
· There was some concern that sites were being sold on by developers, at inflated prices, with the inflated price then used to argue that it was not viable to provide any social housing as part of the subsequent development.
· It was important to be realistic about the proportion of affordable housing that was required by policy, otherwise the developer pleaded that the scheme would not be viable, and no social housing was achieved.
· It was recognised that this Council had a limited role to play with respect to the road network, but Members were aware that some roads in the District were already experiencing significant congestion and there was concern that this would be considerably exacerbated by the scale of development being proposed.
· Of particular concern was the A326, which was already very congested and was a main route. In addition to the proposed development at the Fawley Power Station site, right at the end of the A326, there was the potential for other significant development along the Waterside that would feed into that road. There was a strong aspiration to see improvements to that route. But any such improvements should preserve links across that route, to avoid isolating communities.
· The combination of additional traffic generated within the District and traffic passing through on the major routes raised concerns about the effects on air quality in the District. Additional research on this issue was ... view the full minutes text for item 3.