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The Parish Council have agreed to submit the following comments as their response to the review of the Sedgemoor District Council Core Strategy/Local Plan

The place-making policy of the tier 2 settlements section 5.152 to 5.156 are unsound for the following reasons:

"There is no evidence presented providing clear criteria defining what constitutes a range of services for a tier 2 settlement to judge whether Woolavington meets this.  Therefore, it is considered unsound for Woolavington to be classified as a tier 2 settlement as there are tier 3 settlements e.g. Ashcott, Mark, East Huntspill that have at least the same if not more services than Woolavington. It should be noted that for a tier 3 settlement it states that it should have ‘a more basic level of local service than a tier 2’.

There is no evidence presented that demonstrates the impact on the tier 2 settlement infrastructure, particularly the roads, to determine whether the sustainability criteria with the addition of a minimum of 150 dwellings for Woolavington is met. Therefore, it is considered unsound for Woolavington to be classified as a tier 2 settlement as the sustainability criteria has not been demonstrated.

The minimum dwelling allocation for the tier 2 settlements is based on identified sites in the SHLAA which is based on sites put forward by land owners rather than also including identified suitable sites around the settlements which may be released by other developments e.g. new road infrastructure.  Therefore Woolavington’s 150 minimum dwellings is unsound as other tier 2 settlements minimum dwelling allocations could be increased due to currently unidentified sites being released by other developments.

The minimum dwelling allocation for the tier 2 settlements does not provide any evidence that the figures contain any allowance for affordable housing.  It can only be assumed that, as it is not clear, that any affordable housing will be additional to the minimum figure stated.  Therefore Woolavington’s 150 minimum dwelling figure not containing a minimum affordable housing requirement is unsound as the principle housing need in Woolavington is for affordable housing as demonstrated by the over subscription of the recent P4 development site.

There is no substantive evidence provided for the splitting of the previously identified key rural settlements into tier 2 and tier 3 settlements and for the tier 2’s to take the district’s strategic growth.  Therefore, it is considered unsound for Woolavington to be in the tier 2 settlements as it is delivered on the numbers required in the previous Core strategy.

Below are the reasons for proposed changes to the LDF.

It is proposed that the LDF is changed to move Woolavington from the tier 2 category to the tier 3 for the reasons stated in the previous section.

It is recognised that there is a need for housing in the district and it is proposed that the LDF is changed such the tier 3 housing requirement is increased to take into account the move of Woolavington into the tier 3.  This would not significantly increase the housing requirement delivery of the current 15 tier 3 settlements and the SHLAA gives indicative evidence that land availability.