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 determine what land in the borough is potentially suitable and available for inclusion in the Local Plan. We want to look at a number of options and choose the most appropriate strategy for where new development goes in the future. Therefore, we are appealing for a range of sites from across the borough, and want to hear from anyone if they own land or have any suggestions for sites that should be considered when we are preparing the Local Plan. This is known as the 'Call for Sites'.
The ‘Call for Sites’ will 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.
Sites do not necessarily need to be in your ownership to be put forward; although landowner support is a key part of the assessment process and deciding whether these should go forward for further consideration.
Types of sites or developments you can suggest
To be accepted, 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.
We are seeking a broad range of sites 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
If you think that there could potentially be more than one suitable use for a site, you can indicate this on the ‘Site Submission For’ when you submit.
Make a Site Submission
The call for sites consultation will run from Friday 8 September 2023 until 5pm on Monday 20 November 2023.
Alternatively, a digital version can be downloaded below; and returned by email to email@example.com or by post to: Spatial Planning Team, Planning and Development, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent, TN23 1PL.
*Please complete as much information of your site submission as possible to help inform decisions of which sites should go on to form part of the spatial strategy for the borough. A scale map clearly showing the site boundaries must be included, along with evidence of landownership; and/or any information relating to site availability i.e. existing tenancies, covenants etc. (if necessary). Additional supporting documentation and/or studies are not required at this stage.
You can view our Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this webpage.
What happens to the sites suggested?
Following the ‘Call for Sites’, we will undertake a detailed assessment of all of the site suggestions that have been made, to determine their potential suitability for inclusion in the Local Plan.
All submissions will be made publicly available on our website in due course, following the close of the ‘Call for Sites’ exercise. 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.
Currently, over the coming months we will also be undertaking detailed 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 in order 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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 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 email@example.com requesting the removal of their land from the assessment process at any time.