Ashford Borough Local Plan 2041: Call for Sites & Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment
What is a HELAA and the ‘Call for Sites’?
The Council is currently in the process of reviewing its Local Plan, and its strategic approach to growth in the borough to 2041.
Any revised plan will need to identify sufficient land to meet future requirements for new homes, Gypsy and Traveller pitches, and jobs in the borough; as well as places for retail and leisure uses, and community infrastructure, and visitor and tourism facilities. To reflect the council’s ongoing commitment to create sustainable places that support the environment, health and wellbeing, and that seek to mitigate and adapt to, climate change; potential sites for new green spaces, energy generation, Biodiversity Net Gain opportunities, and wetlands for Nutrient Neutrality mitigation and/or nature based initiatives are also being sought.
As part of the Local Plan process, we will need to prepare a Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) to help identify what land in the borough is potentially suitable and available for inclusion in the Local Plan. To assist preparing the HELAA, a Call for Sites consultation ran from Friday 8 September 2023 until Monday 20 November 2023.
The ‘Call for Sites’ does not determine how much new development is needed, or whether a site should be allocated in the Local Plan. It is simply an opportunity for land owners, developers, businesses, organisation community groups, and residents to suggest sites that they would like to be considered as part of the preparation of the Ashford Borough Local Plan 2041.
Types of sites or developments the Council is looking at:
To be considered in the HELAA, sites must have an area of at least 0.25 hectares or be capable of accommodating 5+ dwellings or 500+ sqm of employment floorspace. They could include vacant or derelict land, or opportunities for strategic conversions or extensions to existing buildings.
A broad range of sites were to help meet development requirements for a variety of different land uses. These include:
- Housing (which could include market-led housing, affordable housing, older-persons housing and supported living, student accommodation, self-build plots or other types of specialist housing),
- Gypsy and Traveller pitches
- Commercial uses (including offices, retail, leisure, hotel and mixed commercial uses)
- Community uses
- Public Green Space
- Energy Generation
- Nutrient Neutrality mitigation land
- Biodiversity Net Gain
Make a Site Submission
The call for sites consultation has now closed.
However, if you have a site that you wish to promote, please get in contact with the Spatial Planning Team via firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also view our Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this webpage.
What happens to the sites suggested?
The Spatial Planning Teams will now be undertaking a detailed assessment of all the site submitted, to determine their potential suitability for inclusion in the Local Plan.
All submissions will be made publicly available on our website in due course. A site submitted through the ‘Call for Sites’ does not mean that it will be allocated, or provide any indication of the outcome of any assessment process through the Local Plan or any subsequent planning application that may be submitted.
Over the coming months we will also be undertaking detailed studies and work to look at how much and what sorts of developments are needed in the borough between now and 2041, and what additional land needs to be allocated to meet these needs.
Once we have all the necessary information to hand about our land requirements and what sites could be potentially suitable for the development, we will work and consult with local communities, to prepare a draft Local Plan, which presents the best strategy to accommodate future planned growth in the borough to 2041.
Frequently Asked Questions
Completed ‘Site Submission Forms’ must be received no later than 5pm on Monday 20 November 2023. Further ‘Call for Sites’ will be open during future Local Plan consultations; the approximate timings for which can be found in our Local Development Scheme (LDS).
An online Site Submission Form can be found on this webpage; alternatively a digital copy can be downloaded and either e-mailed to email@example.com; or printed and posted to the Council at: Spatial Planning Team, Planning and Development, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, TN23 1PL.
We are seeking available sites for a broad range of uses. Primarily, this includes land to meet the diverse housing needs of the borough, Gypsy and Traveller pitches, and jobs; as well as places for retail and leisure uses, community infrastructure, and visitor and tourism facilities. To reflect the Council’s ongoing commitment to create sustainable places that support the environment, human health and wellbeing and that seek to mitigate and adapt to, climate change, potential sites for new green spaces, energy generation, Biodiversity Net Gain opportunities, and wetlands for Nutrient Neutrality mitigation and/or nature based initiatives are also being sought.
The minimum threshold for sites proposed is 0.25 hectares; or sites capable of accommodating 5+ dwellings or 500+ sqm or more of employment floorspace. There is no maximum size threshold for sites. The submission of small sites for housing (1 hectare of less) is particularly encouraged, as a proportion of our housing should be delivered on ‘small sites’.
A landowner may write to the Spatial Planning Team at firstname.lastname@example.org requesting the removal of their land from the assessment process at any time.