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Guidance

Site Assessment

A site assessment is a useful way to collect evidence for any site that is to be selected for allocation in a Neighbourhood Plan. Site assessments can help you to make decisions about which sites to propose for allocation, and can be used to demonstrate the basis for your decision to local interest groups.

A site assessment involves reporting on each potential development site to decide:

  • if it is suitable, achievable and available for development in principle
  • whether it would be appropriate to allocate it in the neighbourhood plan

The areas of a site assessment are listed below. Some questions require answers relating to the following colour code system:

  • Red: Significant impact e.g. directly affects Listed Building, within Conservation Area. Where using distance criteria >1km
  • Amber: Potential impact e.g. adjacent to Listed Building, adjacent to Conservation Area, Where using distance 500 to 1km
  • Green: Minimal Impact likely/No Issue. Where using distance criteria 0-500m

Please use the templates at the bottom of the page to create your site assessment.

Location

  • Please include the address, SHELAA reference (if applicable) and a site plan showing a red line boundary of the site put forward for consideration.
  • Size of site in Hectares. Is the site appropriate in size to accommodate 6 dwellings or more to be classified as an allocation?
  • How many units could the site potentially accommodate? Please have consideration of adjacent properties and their amenity and the character of the area. Please refer to Policy 32 and Policy 33 of the HDPF.
  • Is the landowner willing to release the site? Is there more than one landowner? Are they willing to cooperate? Is there a landowner who controls an important part of the site which prevents delivery?

Context

  • Current use of the site
  • What was the previous use of the site? Is the site contaminated? Would redevelopment involve a 'change of use'? Please refer to Policy 9, 12, 13, 33 of HDPF
  • Describe the surrounding uses. Would the proposed development be compatible with the adjacent uses? Is there general conformity with Policy 32 and 33 of the HDPF?
  • Are there any boundary issues which would impact on development? Mature trees or even TPOs (Tree Preservation Orders) Hedgerows, Ponds. Please refer to Policy 33 of the HDPF.
  • Describe the general character of the site
  • Please indicate flat/steep/undulating/steep gradient - is the site exposed in the wider landscape? Can part of site be developed or mitigated? Please refer to Policy 25, 26 and 30 of the HDPF.
  • Is it within, adjacent to, or outside BUAB? Please refer to Policy 2, 4 of the HDPF

Housing

  • Will the site provide affordable housing in accordance with Policy 16 of the HDPF
  • Is the site constrained by size? Are you making best use of land? Will the site meet an identified need? Please refer to Policy 16 of the HDPF.

Community Facilities and Access to Services

  • Will development on the site lead to a loss of recreation/community amenity? Is it in conflict with Policy 43 or 11 of the HDPF? Can the proposed loss be relocated?
  • Is there an opportunity to meet an identified need or shortfall in open space/recreation space or community facility as part of the development proposal? Please refer to Policy 39, 42 and 43.
  • Are utilities - gas, water, electricity - readily available?

Please indicate distances to the following using the colour code system. Please refer to Policy 1, 3, 4 of the HDPF

  • Schools
  • Village centre shops
  • Health facilities
  • Open space and recreation facilities
  • Community facilities

Biodiversity

  • Will the plan require a Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA)? Please refer to Policy 31 of the HDPF
  • Is the site located within a SSSI or adjacent to a SSSI? Please refer to Policy 31 of the HDPF
  • Are there veteran trees within or on the boundary of the site? A veteran tree or legacy tree is a tree which, because of its great age, size or condition, is of exceptional cultural, landscape or nature conservation value. Please refer to the guidance note from Natural England.
  • Local designation - SNCI/LNR
  • Is there ancient woodland within the site or adjacent to the site? Please refer to Policy 31 of the HDPF
  • Does the site have TPOs within the site/on the boundary? Will development impact negatively on the TPOs? Please refer to Policy 31 of the HDPF.
  • Please check with Sussex Biodiversity Records?  Natural England? Please refer to Policy 31 of the HDPF
  • Is there an opportunity to develop 'green corridors', retain and enhance existing biodiversity assets. Please refer to Policy 31

Landscape

  • Is the site within or adjacent to the South Downs National Park Authority? Please refer to Policy 25, 30, 34 of the HDPF
  • Please indicate significant views into and out of the site? Is the site exposed in the wider landscape? . Please refer to Policy 25, 26, 27, 30 of the HDPF
  • Does the site contribute to settlement coalescence? Please refer to Policy 27 in the HDPF
  • Does the site impact on a local green space designation? Please refer to Policy 31
  • Is there an opportunity to enhance boundaries with additional planting with native species? To improve local biodiversity?

Heritage

  • Is the site in an archaeological notification zone?  Please check websites Historic Environment Records (HERS) on Heritage England Website. Please refer to Policy 34 of the HDPF
  • Is there an opportunity to enhance heritage assets?  Please refer to Policy 34 of the HDPF

Please indicate distances to the following using the colour code system.

  • Listed building
  • Conservation area
  • Locally listed building
  • Scheduled ancient monument

Transport

  • Please indicate distance to public transport services using the colour code system.
  • Is there access to a highway? Have you spoken to WSCC Highways about suitable access? Can issue be dealt with through mitigation? Is the access ransomed to a 3rd party?
  • Will the development of the site have a cumulative impact on the locality in terms of traffic and congestion?
  • Would the site require a new foot way connection to make the development acceptable in planning terms. Please refer to Policy 39
  • Are there any Rights of Way or public footpaths running through the site or adjacent to the site? Speak to the WSCC Rights of Way team for further guidance.
  • Would you be able to access local or national cycle networks? Is there scope to develop linkages between the site and the existing route. Please refer to Policy 39 and 40.

Economic Development

  • Please indicate distance to employment sites using the colour code system
  • Will development result in the net loss of employment? Please refer to Policy 9,10
  • Is there an identified need for employment in the parish? Could this site accommodate wholly employment or as part of mixed use site?

Flooding

  • Is the site within Flood Zone 1? Please refer to Policy 38 of the HDPF
  • Is the site within Flood Zone 2? If so, please apply the sequential test in accordance with the NPPF and refer to Policy 38 of the HDPF
  • Is the site within Flood Zone 3? If so, please apply the sequential and exception test in accordance with the NPPF and refer to Policy 38 of the HDPF
  • Are there surface water flooding issues? Check with the Environment Agency and West Sussex County Council surface water flood maps.

Environmental Quality

  • Will the proposed development site impact negatively on water quality? Please speak to Environment Agency and refer to Policy 24 of the HDPF
  • Is there Air Quality Management Area in place? Please refer to Policy 26 of the HDPF
  • Will the development increase noise to an unacceptable level? Is the site located in a tranquility? Please refer to Policy 26 of the HDPF
  • Does the site have an agricultural land classification? Classification 1,2,3 and 3a are considered to be the best value. Please refer to Policy 31 of the HDPF
  • Please indicate distance from any contaminated land using the colour code system.

Constraints

  • Highlight any insurmountable constraints (flood zone 3 for example)
  • Highlight any significant infrastructure constraints in the locality
  • Can any of the constraints be mitigated? Consult the relevant agencies if required (Environment Agency/Natural England/Historic England/WSCC)

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