Falmouth Neighbourhood Development Plan – community led?

The ‘Falmouth Neighbourhood Development Plan’ a draft, has been released. It is stated that this is “A Plan made by the community of Falmouth with the support of Falmouth Town Council”

The section on housing is interesting. It includes the following: –

NPPF Section 6 on housing, advises in paragraph 50 that it is necessary to ‘deliver of a wide choice of high quality homes, widen opportunities for home ownership and create, inclusive and mixed communities’, whilst paragraph 52 says that larger scale development such as new extensions to existing towns can be an effective way of delivering sustainable development. The Cornwall Local Plan sets out the key drivers for housing development – policy 1 in general as part of sustainable development. Support for the proposals in this Neighbourhood Plan is found in the relevant parts of policies 2, 2a and 3, and in the section on Housing, policies 6 and 8.

The Allocations Development Plan Document sets out a residual target of 686 new homes for Falmouth and Penryn. The sites allocated for Falmouth are Falmouth North (FP-H2) and Kergillack Phase 2 (FP-H3), named respectively in our Neighbourhood Plan as Ashfield and Lower Kergillack Communities (with slightly extended boundaries). A large part of the Lower Kergillack site already has a scheme with planning permission for some 300 houses.

The number of households requesting affordable rented (at affordable and social rents) property with a local connection to Falmouth is 1,073, who require different size housing,…

So the plan unquestionably accepts the housing targets in the ‘Local Plan’. Some will argue – well it has to. But is there any point in community engagement if the housing target and associated development is already agreed? We think not.

The evidence papers work on the premise that sites are needed so that there are assessments of a range of sites. There is no indication of a discussion about the housing target or where ‘demand’ comes from.

As for the 1,073 requesting affordable rented property, it is implied that each household needs a new build house. Yet analysis of the HCR data indicates this is not the case. There is a difference between a need for an affordable house and a new house.

Neighbourhood plans cannot be community led if the overall targets are already laid down. All they can do is shift the impact from one site to another. Not really community planning!

Details available at:- http://planforfalmouth.info/


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