Since I was elected to the County Council in May a number of Knapton residents have approached me about the planned housing development in School Close (Millenium Field).
Planning for housing developments is decided by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC). It is not directly a concern of the County Council, although the County Council can be consulted on things like the impact on local roads and school places. However, I know this development has been the subject of much debate in the village over a number of years, so I approached the Planning Department at NNDC to find out the latest news.
Below is the reply I received from NNDC. It is quite long but I thought you might be interested to read it.
If you have any points to make about the plans, the quickest way to get your views across is to contact NNDC direct but you are welcome to copy them to me or contact me and ask me to forward them on – I am happy to hear residents’ views and to help where I can.
Knapton Millenium Field
Housing development plans in Knapton
From: Nicola Turner
Sent: Thursday, November 2, 2017 4:42 pm
Subject: School Close, Knapton
To: Maxfield, Edward <email@example.com>
Nicola Baker has forwarded your enquiry regarding School Close, Knapton to me as I am best able to provide more information on the proposed scheme for the land off School Close, Knapton.
Victory Housing Trust has recently submitted a planning application to provide an Exception Housing Scheme of sixteen dwellings including flats, bungalows and houses. Eight of the homes will be for rent and eight for sale on a shared ownership basis. The application has not yet been validated and so I cannot provide details of the planning reference.
The proposed Exception Housing Scheme will address a proven local housing need in Knapton and the adjoining parishes of Mundesley, Paston, Swafield and Trunch. There are currently 152 applicants on the Council’s housing list who have a local connection to Knapton and its adjoining parishes. The need for this scheme has been discussed with Knapton Parish Council for a number of years, with discussions commencing in 2004. As an Exception Housing Scheme, the homes, if planning is approved, would be protected as affordable housing in perpetuity and would be occupied in accordance with the Council’s Local Allocations Agreement which will ensure that residents with a local connection to Knapton and the adjoining parishes will be prioritised for the properties. I have attached a document which shows the local connection cascade which is used in the Local Allocations Agreement for your information. This cascade ensures that applicants with the strongest connections are prioritised for properties, please note that criteria F and G are only included to ensure that any shared ownership homes are mortgagable and also to ensure that the Housing Associations who deliver Exception Housing Schemes are able to access the loan funding needed to construct the new homes.
The history of the site is:
The land at School Close is owned by North Norfolk District Council and reflects the land remaining after the Council (and its predecessor Council) constructed the houses and bungalows at School Close. Some of these properties have subsequently been sold through the Right to Buy and the remaining properties were transferred to Victory Housing Trust when the Trust was created in 2006. In 1999 the Council entered into a licence with Knapton Parish Council for the parish council to manage and maintain the undeveloped land at School Close. As a consequence, the parish council constructed a small car park for use in conjunction with the nearby village hall on part of the land along with a Millennium Garden and a wildflower meadow. The wildflower meadow was replaced with grass and has remained as a grassed area ever since. The Council served notice to end the licence in March 2015 and from 25 March 2016 the Council became responsible for the management and maintenance of this land.
The current planning application will in addition to providing sixteen homes to meet local housing need will also ensure the retention of an area of open space and the car park, this will utilise all of the land currently available at School Close. If Victory Housing Trust get planning permission for the proposed scheme, the Council will sell its land to Victory Housing Trust.
At a public consultation event on 22 April 2013 to discuss proposals for an Exception Housing Scheme on the land at School Close, a member of the public announced that an application to register the land as a Village Green had been submitted. The Council objected to this application and in December 2014 we received confirmation that the application had been rejected, the land could not be registered as a Village Green as it did not meet the criteria for registration.
There is some planning history in that part of the site had outline planning permission for the development of an Exception Housing Scheme of eight rented affordable dwellings, this application was submitted on 4 November 2013 and approved on 4 February 2014. Unfortunately the national funding arrangements for affordable housing changed in the period when the application for Village Green was being determined and it became clear that it was no longer viable for Victory Housing Trust to deliver a scheme of eight rented homes and a new way to deliver the scheme was sought and as a result the number of homes proposed increased.
The current planning application represents a desire of the Council to provide certainty as to how all the land will be used (in relation to that part of the site not needed to provide the sixteen affordable homes).
Once the planning application for the proposed sixteen affordable homes has been validated, Knapton Parish Council will be consulted on the planning application, they are already aware that the application has been submitted and is awaiting validation. My team (Strategic Housing and Community Development) will also be consulted on the application as an internal consultee and we will support the application as it will meet a proven local housing need. In addition local residents and other members of the public will be able to comment on the application and /or support or object to the proposed development. The planning application will then be formally determined by this Council in its role of Local Planning Authority.
If the planning application is approved, the requirement that the homes are to be affordable housing to meet local housing need will be protected through planning condition or more likely through a Section 106 Agreement. Once the homes are constructed they will be advertised through the Council’s Your Choice Your Home scheme and will be occupied in accordance with the Local Allocations Agreement.
I hope that this email has provided some useful context in relation to the proposed scheme and what the next steps are.
Housing Strategy and Community Manager