Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) Draft Methodology

Ended on the 22nd October 2012
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Appendix 2 – Site Assessment Criteria

By assessing a site’s suitability, achievability, and availability will enable a judgement to be made in the plan making context as to whether a site can be considered deliverable, developable, or not currently developable in order to contribute towards future development needs. To be considered:

  • Deliverable – a site is available now, if it offers a suitable location for housing development now and there is a reasonable prospect that housing will be delivered on site within 5 years from the date of adoption of the plan, and
  • Developable - a site should be in a suitable location for housing development, and there should be a reasonable prospect that it will be available for and could be developed at a specific point in time.

The Assessment Process

The assessment uses a “traffic light” method (red: amber: green) and a score, which provides a visual reference to help understand the issues/impact/constraints the proposed site may have, which are set out below under four main headings: Major Affects; Local Affects; Community and Social Access; and Other Factors. Each of which has a score to indicate the scale of the affect of the development on the site. The number of ‘red’ or ‘green’ scores that occur does not necessarily rule in or out a particular site but indicates how likely its development may be. For example issues/impacts/constraints on a ‘red’ indicated site may be mitigated, and sites that are contrary to a policy designation cannot automatically be rejected for inclusion (as recommended by Government guidance).

To be considered deliverable, a site should be available now, offer a suitable location for development now, and be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years and in particular that development of the site is viable.

Sites with planning permission are considered deliverable until permission expires, unless there is clear evidence that schemes will not be implemented within five years, for example they will not be viable, there is no longer a demand for the type of units or sites have long term phasing plans.

To be considered developable, sites should be in a suitable location for housing development and there should be a reasonable prospect that the site is available and could be viably developed at the point envisaged.

Sites will be assessed based on the criteria under the various headings below. If a judgement cannot be made on a particular criterion it should be questioned whether the site can be delivered.

Outcomes

The assessment should indicate if a site could come forward for development. However it will not indicate that the site will be developed. Overall the SHLAA process is about determining if a site could feasibly be developed, not whether it should be. It will be for the Local Plan process to determine thorough its overall strategy and individual policies whether a site will be allocated for future development. A planning application for a site would be determined in accordance with the local plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Therefore an assessment which indicates that a site is both deliverable and developable; does not mean its development is inevitable.

Criteria

Suitability

Category Issue/Impact/Constraint Score Source/Comment
Major Affect
Flood Risk Zone 1 : Zone 2 : Zone 3 Zone 1 Low probability of flooding -
GREEN
Zone 2 Neither low or high probability of flooding -
AMBER
Zone 3 Higher probability of flooding -
RED
A sequential approach should steer development away from high risk areas (Z3). Harlow SFRA and latest EA flood maps
Biodiversity Asset RAMSAR: NNR: SAC: SSSI: Ancient Woodland: TPO: Other Includes Site –
RED
Adjacent but may impact –
AMBER
Not on site no impact –
GREEN
The NPPF gives protection to these assets (para 118)
Historic/Built Environment/Cultural SAM: Historic Park or Garden: Listed Building Includes Site –
RED
Adjacent but may impact –
AMBER
Not on site no impact –
GREEN
The NPPF gives protection to these assets (para 132,133)
National Policy Green Belt In Green Belt –
RED
Not in Green Belt –
GREEN
The NPPF gives protection (Chap. 9)
Local Affect
Biodiversity Asset LNR: Local Wildlife Site: Wildlife Verge Includes Site –
RED
Adjacent but may impact –
AMBER
Not on site no impact –
GREEN
ARHLP* Policy NE15 controls development on local biodiversity asstes
Noise Noise from existing source Noise Impact on site –
AMBER
No external Noise Impact –
GREEN
Could impact on sites suitability. Noise issue could be mitigated. ARHLP Policy BE17
Air Quality Affect or be Affected by air quality Air Quality Impact on site –
AMBER
No external Air Quality Impact –
GREEN
Could impact on sites suitability. Air Quality issue could be mitigated. ARHLP Policy BE17
Contaminated Land (CL) Recorded CL: Previously Developed Land (PDL): No recorded CL Known Contaminated Land –
RED
PDL or suspected contamination –
AMBER
None known or recorded –
GREEN
Contamination could affect sites viability. Amber sites will require further investigation ARHLP Policy BE17
Conservation Area (CA) Impact on character of CA: Use is compatible in CA Impact on setting/character area –
AMBER
No impact –
GREEN
Impact on existing conservation areas. ARHLP Policy BE9&10
Archaeology Known/Suspected remains Known/suspected archaeology –
AMBER
No known remains –
GREEN
ARHLP Policy BE13, desire to preserve remains and setting
Green Wedge Green Wedge Site in Green Wedge/ –
AMBER
Site not in Green Wedge/Non –
GREEN
ARHLP Policy NE1, protection of Green Wedges from development
Respects or enhances original Landscape Character Greenfield Land: Non Functional OS: Internal Open Space Does not E/R original landscape character -AMBER
E/R original landscape character –
GREEN
ARHLP Policy NE7 Protection of Internal Open Spaces ARHLP Policy SD3
Previously Developed Land Redevelop hatch: Restructure Neighbourhood retail: On PDL Undeveloped land other than GW –
AMBER
Previously Developed Land –
GREEN
Preference for development on PDL Policy RTCS 16&17
Regeneration Contribution site can make to the regeneration of the local area Features in the study –
GREEN
Does not feature in the study -
AMBER
Does the site feature as an area of opportunity as identified in sub area profiling study?
Community & Social Access
Access to Sustainable Transport Modes Distance to Train Station Bus Stop > 800m (10min. walk) –
RED
Bus stop under 400m (5min.walk) -
AMBER
< 800m(10min. walk) to the station -
GREEN
Sites that are nearer to public transport nodes are considered more sustainable.
Distance to bus stop No Bus Stop -
RED
Bus Stop > 800m (10min. walk) –
AMBER
Bus stop < 400m (5min.walk) -
GREEN
Sites that are nearer to public transport nodes are considered more sustainable
Access to Cycle Track Network Cycle Track > 800m (10min. walk) –
AMBER
Cycle Track < 400m (5min.walk) -GREEN
Sites that are nearer to the cycle network are considered more sustainable
Sustainable Access to Schools Primary - Walk School > 800m (10min. walk) –
AMBER
School < 400m (5min.walk) -
GREEN
School within accepted walking distance
Secondary - Walk: public Transport No Bus Stop -
RED
Bus Stop > 800m (10min. walk) –
AMBER
School < 800m (10min. walk) –
GREEN
School within accepted walking distance, or public transport
Access to play areas Access to NEAP NEAP < 800m (10min. walk) -
GREEN
No -
AMBER
Play provision from Open Space/Green Infrastructure Study
Access to LAP, LEAP, LEAP or LAP <400m (5 min. walk ) – GREEN
No -
AMBER
Play provision from Open Space/Green Infrastructure Study
Sustainable Access to Health Facilities GP Surgery - Walk Surgery > 800m (10min. walk) –
AMBER
Surgery < 400m (5min.walk) -
GREEN
Surgery within accepted walking distance.
Hospital - Walk: public Transport No Bus Stop -
RED
Bus Stop > 800m (10min. walk) –
AMBER
Hospital < 800m (10min. walk) –
GREEN
Hospital within accepted walking distance, or public transport
Sustainable Access to retail centres Walking distance to hatch Hatch > 800m (10min. walk) –
AMBER
Hatch < 400m (5min.walk) -
GREEN
Hatch within accepted walking distance
Public transport access to neighbourhood centre No Bus Stop -
RED
Bus Stop > 800m (10min. walk) –
AMBER
Centre < 800m (10min. walk) –
GREEN
Neighbourhood Centre within accepted walking distance, or public transport
Public transport access to Town centre No Bus Stop -
RED
Bus Stop > 800m (10min. walk) –
AMBER
T. Centre < 800m (10min. walk) –
GREEN
Town Centre within accepted walking distance, or public transport
Sustainable Access to Employment Areas Public transport access to major employment areas No Bus Stop -
RED
Bus Stop > 800m (10min. walk) –
AMBER
Employment Area < 800m (10min. walk) –
GREEN
Employment Area within accepted walking distance, or public transport
Other Factors
Access Direct access to site from public highway No direct access -
RED
Direct access to a classified road –
AMBER
Direct Access –
GREEN
Site requires acceptable access to highway network
Does access require upgrading to current standards Does not meet current highway standards –
RED
Works needed –
AMBER
None or minor works -
GREEN
Access needs to meet current standards
Does the access serve existing development Provides existing access –
RED
Access could be adapted to serve existing -
AMBER
No –
GREEN
Joint access may affect availability
Site specific impacts Does the site relate well to adjacent land or development No -
RED
With mitigation –
AMBER
Well –
GREEN
Sites which sit well in their surroundings are more likely to be developed
Does the topography affect the suitability Yes –
AMBER
No –
GREEN
Level sites are easier and more viable to develop
Does the site’s shape affect development potential Yes –
AMBER
No –
GREEN
Irregular or narrow sites are more difficult to develop and may affect viability
Does development of this site land lock adjacent potential sites Yes –
AMBER
No –
GREEN
It is advantageous that other potential sites are not isolated
Is the site affected by adjacent land uses Yes –
AMBER
No –
GREEN
Such as trees, overlooking, incompatible adjacent use
Does the site’s planning history have a bearing on the suitability Yes –
AMBER
No –
GREEN
Site may have been deemed developable in past plans, have an elapsed Planning Permission etc
Availability
Legal Issues Is there a ransom strip to be overcome Yes –
AMBER
No –
GREEN
May affect the viability of the development or stop it can be overcome
Is there a restrictive covenant on the site Yes –
AMBER
No –
GREEN
May affect the viability of the development, can be overcome
More than one owner Yes –
AMBER
No –
GREEN
May affect the speed in which development comes forward
Ownership Not in the ownership of the sites sponsor Not in ownership –
RED
Owned by sponsor –
GREEN
Likely to affect if site comes forward
Ownership Not known –
RED
Known –
GREEN
May affect the speed in which development comes forward
Owner intention Owner does not wish to develop the site –
RED
Owner wishes the site to come forward –
GREEN
Likely to affect if site comes forward
Current Use Is there an established use on the site Site in use –
RED
Clear/greenfield –
AMBER
Derelict or vacant buildings –
GREEN
Will affect the viability of site and speed it comes forward.
* Adopted Replacement Harlow Local Plan

Achievability

A site is considered achievable for development where there is reasonable prospect of that the housing will be developed on the site at a particular point in time. This is a question of economic viability of the site, and the capacity of the developer to build and sell the housing over a certain period. This will be affected by, market factors at the time (viability of existing use, land value of alternative uses, location, demand, projected sale); cost factors (site preparation costs, planning obligations, funding prospects); and delivery factors (phasing, build rates, single or several developers, capacity of the developer).

Make an assessment using your local knowledge. Each site will be referred to the stakeholders group for comment.

Deliverability

Deliverable – YES if you are satisfied it is; suitable, available, achievable in 5 years,

Developable – YES if you are satisfied it is; suitable, available, achievable at some point in the next 15 years

Not Developable – NO to both the above.

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