These FAQs are to answer general questions about this consultation, why we do it and what the next steps are.
Why do a call for sites?
Planning policy (set out in a Development Plan/Local Plan) is expected to identify sites for specific uses to help make sure that we can demonstrate that we have the land needed for achieving the development needs of Ryedale in the right location, and at the right level/scale for the area in which is located. It ensures that both communities, and those developing these areas of land, know what is going to happen and provides greater certainty about where development is likely to take place in a settlement.
Planning Policy is expected to be kept under review and to move forward to ensure that it best responds to the needs of communities and the wider environment now and into the future, and reflects national planning policy objectives. The Ryedale Plan, our current Development Plan, is now under review. This can result in changes to the policies and the making of new land allocations. We’re reviewing how we decide how much development can go where (we call this the distribution strategy).
Whilst we have legal powers to acquire land by what is known as “compulsory purchase”, this is a complex, expensive and long process to go through. Therefore, it is much easier if the landowner wants to develop their land to start with. So we invite landowners to make land available to be considered by us.
It is really important that sites we allocate do come forward- because otherwise planning applications, particularly for housing, could be made, and could be approved, in areas where we had not identified new housing to go. This undermines the principle of having a development plan, and the work done by us, communities and organisations to identify where new development should happen in that plan.
You may ask why we are doing a call for sites now? Especially when we don’t know what our distribution strategy is. Well, we’re doing the call for sites now, so that we:
a) Can begin work on assessing the sites in relation to compiling their information and evidence work around the sites individually considering site-specific issues
b) Can in tandem work on the policy approach to deliver new development and establish how these sites might or might not fit with that emerging distribution strategy and influence the development of the distribution strategy in relation to the capacity of places to accommodate development
c) Eventually prepare a single planning policy document which shows the policies which are reviewed and the proposed allocations to support the outcome of that review
What do you require to submit a site?
Firstly, we need a site map of the land you wish to submit. It needs to show the entire area of land that you want us to consider. It should be to a recognised scale, for example 1:1250, and outlined in a thick line which clearly shows the extent of the site. It should also be at a scale where we can establish exactly where it is – so ideally with two named roads. Grid references are useful. The site address is also required.
We also require that you complete to the best of your knowledge the application form. We have to make some questions mandatory. The form is provided on line and this is our preferred means of getting information sent to us. You may use an agent to complete the form on your behalf but we will need to still have your contact information.
For those individuals where we have only a postal address, and you do not wish to use a representative, we have provided a paper copy of the forms questions for you to respond to- ideally online- but we realise that not everyone has access to the internet.
The form asks a lot of questions, and in some cases ask for documents which evidence your answers. We have a separate guidance sheet for this.
Can anyone submit land?
In short, yes, but only if they have the landowner’s permission. We’ll need to see confirmation of this. A site submitter could be acting as an agent on behalf of a landowner or a developer who has a legal interest in the land. A number of the submissions we get are from agents who are familiar with the process.
Does it have to be of a certain size/location/use?
No. This is because we have not made any decisions on the approach we are going to take around the distribution of development in terms of size of sites, their location and their use.
However, land must not be within the North York Moors National Park area of Ryedale- as this is covered by a different Local Planning Authority- it will not be considered. Also please do not submit sites for minerals and waste- as we are not the Local Planning Authority who deals with those types of developments.
If I submitted land in the past – do I need to again?
Yes you do. We are not automatically assuming sites submitted in the past are coming forward now. As their circumstances may have changed. We are also asking for much more information about sites than previously required. Plus, you will need to provide as much information as you can, within the timeframes we ask for it. We have a form which we kindly ask that you complete with as much information as possible.
How long does it last for?
The call for sites is to be a minimum of two months, ending on the 5 July 2021, but we will take applications after this date. The Ryedale Plan Review is taking place over the next 18 months, with an aim to publish the plan in September 2022. We have to make sure that the call for sites is timed to get a good level of interest and information, but is carefully managed to ensure we can make the progress we need to in assessing the sites.
What if I can’t submit it by then?
You will need to submit what you can, and then we will assess the site with what information we hold and what can be provided later. If you do not submit the site within this timeframe we will not be able to consider it through our assessment process.
Instead the onus will be on the site submitter to demonstrate that their site performs better (in relation to delivering the approach of the Plan) than our chosen site for that settlement.
What if I cannot get all the information you seek by 5 July 2021?
We understand that some information may come in later than 5 July 2021, and this will not necessarily impact on the assessment of the site.
However, if we have pressed for information and none has been forthcoming, then that may make your site performs less well in the site assessment process. This is when it is compared to those sites which have submitted information that we have identified as being necessary to understand how and when the site is capable of being developed.
Where can I find the sites already submitted?
We will prepare maps with basic information so that anyone who is interested can see what sites have been submitted. These can be viewed online. There will be individual maps and parish maps. We will not publish any personal data (emails, phone numbers, address details, signatures), but we will in time need to publish information that has been provided about the delivery of the site. This is important because sites need to be assessed in an open and transparent way. If there is sensitive financial information we will also not publish this, but we may have to make it available to the Planning Inspector if they require to view it during the examination process. If this happens we will seek your permission.
What planning status do they have?
They have no planning status. They are simply an indication of interest in development.
If they become a site chosen by the Local Planning Authority then eventually those sites become known as ‘allocations’ in our plan. They are then identified as being sites acceptable in principle for the use for which they have been allocated.
Sites which are not allocated continue to have no planning status for development.
Some sites may not be allocated, but may be then considered in their suitability through a series of questions or requirements in a policy – we call this a criteria-based policy. More information on this will become available as we review the Ryedale Plan.
Being allocated in a development does not give planning permission. Planning permission will still be required in the future and it will also need to comply in detail with the rest of the Development Plan.
How will you assess them?
We will assess them through the work of the Local Planning Authority. We have a body of technical data which we will be using to assess sites. We can also commission further strategic technical studies of a district-wide nature. The sites will be subject to a process known as ‘Sustainability Appraisal’. It will ask a series of questions of the sites. Below are some of the key areas:
· It will also be sequentially testing of sites in relation to retail (where relevant) and flood risk to ensure the most suitable location in chosen
· Landscape character and settlement settling, and any heritage setting considerations
· Any ecological/biodiversity implications
· Practical considerations of the site such as how it is accessed and what are the adjacent land uses
· We will be eventually considering the site’s location in relation to the chosen distribution strategy and consequential settlement hierarchy. However, the sites we assess will give indications of capacity at a settlement, this is in relation to both the infrastructure needed for the development of the site, and the impact on the setting of the settlement. Therefore as we consult upon, and eventually establish, the proposed Distribution Strategy and Settlement Hierarchy – then the sites assessment work will iteratively inform that work.
· It will also look at cumulative considerations around highway capacity and air quality where necessary
· It will also look at the on-site sustainability credentials of a site in relation to how it can make a meaningful contribution to reducing carbon emissions and use of natural resources
A site may not be automatically discounted if the site submitter has been unable to provide some of the site-specific technical evidence. Information about sites could be provided later (for example if this allows a more robust level of information).
However, if other sites have more information about their deliverability and developability, then this means those sites will perform more favourability in the site assessment process relative to those that do not.
In past experience, we have received a lot more land submissions than we need. We have to choose the most suitable sites, and the rest are, eventually, discounted. We are required to explain how we do this.
During that process we will consult on sites we are discounting, and sites which we are considering as potential allocations, and set out why we have chosen this approach. It is anticipated that for some settlements a selection of sites may be available to consider, and decisions need to be made around which sites are the most appropriate to be chosen from the option choices. This will be the subject of future consultation.
How long is the assessment of sites expected to take?
We will be publishing the proposed site allocations in the publication stage of the Plan Review which is anticipated to be in September 2022 (please see the Local Development scheme for more details).
Prior to this stage we will have done two interim consultations on the sites in terms of initial open-ended site consultation making communities and consultees aware of the sites. This open consultation will start before August 2021.
When we have a group of potential allocations, we will then commence an options consultation to explore choices, then also publicise with site notices for each potential allocation. This later consultation will have been informed extensively by the initial consultation, evidence base collection and analysis and interactive development of the distribution strategy. It is likely that this would be in the spring of 2022.
What do you do with existing allocations?
The review of a Plan does not mean that existing allocations are cast aside. They remain part of the Development Plan and provide continuity of land available for particular uses. They also provide certainty for developers and landowner of those sites as well as the communities where they’re located. Plan reviews essentially roll forward any current land supply, but we still have to make sure that they are developable. If a site becomes undeliverable for some reason, then it will be taken out.
So, we do need to check that the existing allocations remain deliverable. But, our allocations were only adopted in 2019, (2015 in Helmsley) so are relatively recent. We will be asking for updates from the owners/agents of these sites so we have a progress report on what is happening. They were identified for a particular time frame, and the review seeks to ensure that this is still occurring. This will be a separate consultation to the call for sites.