Central Lincolnshire Local Plan Review - Proposed Submission Local Plan

Proposed Submission Local Plan

2 Spatial Strategy

2.1 Settlement Hierarchy

2.1.1 The Central Lincolnshire spatial strategy seeks to concentrate growth on the main urban areas of Lincoln, Gainsborough and Sleaford, and in settlements that support their roles, with remaining growth being delivered elsewhere in Central Lincolnshire to support the function of other sustainable settlements, particularly where these are well connected by public transport or where the main centres can be accessed by active travel means.

2.1.2 This approach makes the most of existing services and facilities, delivering growth to where it is most needed. It also provides associated opportunities to regenerate urban areas, provide new jobs and new homes in accessible locations, and focus infrastructure improvements where they will have the greatest effect.

2.1.3 Through minimising the need to travel by locating development at the main urban centres and reducing the need to deliver new facilities the approach to delivering growth in this plan is also aligned to reducing the carbon being produced in Central Lincolnshire.

2.1.4 Outside of the main urban areas of Lincoln, Gainsborough and Sleaford, Central Lincolnshire’s smaller towns and villages vary in size, demography, accessibility, facilities, character, constraints and opportunities. This Local Plan determines how each community can contribute to the delivery of a sustainable Central Lincolnshire, which may include proportionate and appropriate development.

2.1.5 The scale of growth directed to each settlement has been established in three steps:

  1. Preparation of a Settlement Hierarchy, based on factual information, together with a strategic policy steer as to what level of development would be appropriate for settlements within each level of the hierarchy (see Policy S1);
  2. Determination of the overall level of growth for Central Lincolnshire, and at the same time determination of a strategic split of that growth across Central Lincolnshire (see Policy S2); and
  3. Establishing what site allocations may be appropriate for each settlement, by way of a consideration of the specific context of each settlement in terms of the ability to accommodate growth and the connectivity with the main urban areas, before considering the constraints and opportunities of individual sites.

2.1.6 The Settlement Hierarchy is set out in Policy S1. Three separate documents detail the journey to defining the Settlement Hierarchy and choosing where allocations would be appropriate, namely: the Settlement Hierarchy Methodology Report (May 2020), the Services and Facilities Methodology Report (May 2020) and the Site Allocations Settlement Analysis (June 2021). Each of these are available on the Central Lincolnshire website.  It should be noted that the Local Plan (and associated Policies Map) does not include defined ‘settlement boundaries’ around any settlements in Central Lincolnshire, and instead relies primarily on allocations and then the policy below to determine appropriate locations for development.

2.1.7 The Settlement Hierarchy provides a framework for neighbourhood plans to shape their own settlements through a detailed locally-led review, site allocations, if necessary introduction of settlement boundaries, or other tools to manage how a village will grow.

Policy S1: The Spatial Strategy and Settlement Hierarchy

The spatial strategy will focus on delivering sustainable growth for Central Lincolnshire that meets the needs for homes and jobs, regenerates places and communities, and supports necessary improvements to facilities, services and infrastructure.

Development should create strong, sustainable, cohesive and inclusive communities, making the most effective use of previously developed land and enabling a larger number of people to access jobs, services and facilities locally.

Development should provide the scale and mix of housing types and a range of new job opportunities that will meet the identified needs of Central Lincolnshire in order to secure balanced communities.

Decisions on investment in services and facilities, and on the location and scale of development, will be assisted by the Central Lincolnshire Settlement Hierarchy.

The hierarchy is as follows:

1. Lincoln Urban Area

To significantly strengthen the role of Lincoln, both regionally and within Central Lincolnshire, and to meet Lincoln’s growth objectives and regeneration needs, the Lincoln urban area (defined as the current built up area of Lincoln, which includes the City of Lincoln, North Hykeham, South Hykeham Fosseway, Waddington Low Fields and any other developed land adjoining these areas) and the sites allocated in this Local Plan on the edge of the Lincoln urban area will be the principal focus for development in Central Lincolnshire, including housing, retail, leisure, cultural, office and other employment development. In addition to sites being allocated in the Local Plan or a neighbourhood plan, development proposals in accordance with Policy S3 and other relevant development plan policies will be viewed positively.

2. Main Towns

To maintain and enhance their roles as main towns, and to meet the objectives for regeneration, Sleaford and Gainsborough will, primarily via sites allocated in this Local Plan and any applicable neighbourhood plan, be the focus for substantial housing development supported by appropriate levels of employment growth, retail growth and wider service provision. In addition to sites being allocated in the Local Plan or a neighbourhood plan, development proposals in accordance with Policy S3 and other relevant development plan policies will be viewed positively.

3. Market Towns

To maintain and enhance their roles as market towns, Caistor and Market Rasen will be the focus for significant, but proportionate, growth in housing, employment, retail and wider service provision.  This growth will primarily be through sites allocated in this Local Plan and any applicable neighbourhood plan. In addition to sites being allocated in the Local Plan or a neighbourhood plan, development proposals in accordance with Policy S3 and other relevant development plan policies will be viewed positively.

4. Large Villages

Large villages are defined as those with 750 or more dwellings at 1 April 2018. To maintain and enhance their role as large villages which provide housing, employment, retail, and key services and facilities for the local area, the following settlements will be a focus for accommodating an appropriate level of growth via sites allocated in this plan. Beyond site allocations made in this plan or any applicable neighbourhood plan, development will be limited to that which accords with Policy S4: Housing Development in or Adjacent to Villages or other policies relating to non-residential development in this plan as relevant.

Bardney

Heighington

Scotter

Billinghay

Keelby

Skellingthorpe

Bracebridge Heath

Metheringham

Waddington

Branston

Navenby

Washingborough

Cherry Willingham

Nettleham

Welton

Dunholme

Ruskington

Witham St Hughs

Heckington

Saxilby

 

5. Medium Villages

Medium villages are defined as those with between 250 and 749 dwellings at 1 April 2018. Well connected or well served medium villages may receive some limited growth through allocations in this plan in order to achieve a balance between ensuring the vitality of the village and protecting the rural character.  Beyond site allocations made in this plan or any applicable neighbourhood plan, development will be limited to that which accords with Policy S4: Housing Development in or Adjacent to Villages or other policies relating to non-residential development in this plan as relevant.

Bassingham

Greylees

Nocton

Blyton

Harmston

North Kelsey

Brant Broughton

Hawthorn Avenue ('Little Cherry')

Potterhanworth

Brookenby

Helpringham

Reepham

Burton Waters

Hemswell Cliff

Scampton (RAF)

Cranwell RAF

Ingham

Scothern

Cranwell Village

Lea

Sturton By Stow

Digby

Leasingham

Sudbrooke

Dunston

Marton

Tealby

Eagle

Middle Rasen

Waddingham

Fiskerton

Morton

Welbourn

Great Hale

Nettleton

Wellingore

6. Small Villages

Small villages are defined as those with between 50 and 249 dwellings at 1 April 2018. Well connected or well served small villages may receive some limited growth, primarily through allocations in this plan in order to achieve a balance between ensuring the vitality of the village and the rural character.  Beyond site allocations made in this plan or any applicable neighbourhood plan, development will be limited to that which accords with Policy S4: Housing Development in or Adjacent to Villages or other policies relating to non-residential development in this plan as relevant.

Anwick

Hemswell

Scotton

Ashby de la Launde

Holton le Moor

Scredington

Aubourn

Kexby

Searby

Aunsby

Kirkby Green

Silk Willoughby

Beckingham

Kirkby La Thorpe

Snitterby

Bigby

Knaith Park

South Kelsey

Bishop Norton

Langworth

South Kyme

Boothby Graffoe

Laughterton

South Rauceby

Branston Booths

Laughton

Southrey

Burton

Leadenham

Spridlington

Canwick

Lissington

Springthorpe

Carlton Le Moorland

Little Hale

Stow

Chapel Hill

Martin

Swallow

Claxby

New Toft

Swarby

Coleby

Newton On Trent

Swaton

Corringham

Normanby By Spital

Swinderby

Doddington

North Carlton

Tattershall Bridge

Dorrington

North Greetwell

Thorpe On The Hill

East Ferry

North Kyme

Threekingham

East Stockwith

North Owersby

Timberland

Ewerby

North Scarle

Torksey

Faldingworth

Norton Disney

Upton

Fenton

Osbournby

Walcott

Fillingham

Osgodby

Walesby

Glentham

Owmby By Spital

Wickenby

Glentworth

Rothwell

Willingham By Stow

Grasby

Rowston

Willoughton

Great Limber

Scampton village

Wilsford

Hackthorn

Scopwick

 

7. Hamlets

For the purposes of this Local Plan, a hamlet is defined as a settlement not listed elsewhere in this policy and with dwellings clearly clustered together to form a single developed footprint*. Such a hamlet must have a dwelling base of at least 15 units (as at 1 April 2018). Within the developed footprint* of such hamlets, development will be limited to single dwelling infill developments or development allocated through a neighbourhood plan.

8. Countryside

Unless allowed by:

  1. policy in any of the levels 1-7 above; or
  2. any other policy in the Local Plan (such as Policies S4, S5, S34, or S43) or a relevant policy in a neighbourhood plan, development will be regarded as being in the countryside and as such restricted to:·       
  • renewable energy generation; and·       
  • that which is demonstrably essential to the effective operation of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, outdoor recreation, transport or utility services;·       
  • delivery of infrastructure;·       
  • to minerals or waste development in accordance with separate Minerals and Waste Local Development Documents.

* The definition of “developed footprint” as used throughout this policy is provided in the Glossary.

2.2 Growth Levels and Distribution

2.2.1 As required by the NPPF, this Local Plan must define the overall level of growth in Central Lincolnshire within the plan period of 2018 and 2040.

2.2.2 The PPG makes clear that the starting point for identifying the minimum number of homes expected to be planned for is the nationally derived standard method for assessing local housing need. However, it also sets out a number of scenarios where it is appropriate to plan for a higher housing figure than that identified through the standard method where evidence suggests a higher level to be more appropriate.

2.2.3 Evidence produced in support of this plan has looked at the housing market and population projections, and job and economic projections. The Housing Needs Assessment (HNA) (2020) identifies that at that time the standard method resulted in a minimum figure of 1,060 dwellings per year and that this level of growth could accommodate in the region of 35,400 additional residents in Central Lincolnshire to 2040 with the ability to support the creation of some 14,890 new jobs, or an increase of 677 jobs each year. 

2.2.4 Closely linked to this work was the Economic Needs Assessment (ENA) (2020) which projects the economic growth and job growth to 2040, which in turn was influenced by the Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) and other work being produced by the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP). The ENA highlights that there has been strong growth in recent years, outstripping anticipated growth, and projects forward a growth of approximately 992 jobs per year.

2.2.5 In order to provide enough working age population to support the projected level of job growth in Central Lincolnshire, more homes than the standard method would need to be delivered. The HNA concludes that 1,325 dwellings per year are needed to support the expected growth in jobs.  An important part of this plan is delivering economic growth within the region to ensure it is competitive and supports the ambitions of the GLLEP.

2.2.6 The CLJSPC considered these recommendations and determined that the Local Plan should use a housing range to establish its housing requirement (as is allowed for in the PPG). This range will use the national standard method for local housing need at the bottom end of the range, and the figure identified in the ENA and HNA as needed to match economic growth ambitions as the top of the range.

2.2.7 The housing requirement for Central Lincolnshire is therefore 1,060-1,325 dwellings per year, or between 23,320 and 29,150 dwellings between 2018 and 2040.

2.2.8 This plan will allocate sufficient suitable land to meet the requirements at the top end of the range in order to deliver the homes needed to support economic growth ambitions. For the avoidance of doubt, calculations associated with demonstrating a ‘five year land supply’ will be measured against the lower end of the range in accordance with the national Planning Practice Guidance.

2.2.9 The delivery of the ambitions of this plan will be kept under review and housing and economic requirements may be adjusted in subsequent plan reviews.

2.2.10 Beyond considering the overall amount of development and growth that should occur, it is also important for the Local Plan to direct the growth in both employment and housing supply to the locations best suited and most attractive to the market, whilst ensuring there are no locations that are over-burdened or that other locations are not starved of growth. Furthermore, development needs to be located where it can minimise the need to travel especially by private car to ensure that Central Lincolnshire minimises the carbon being produced by activities within the area. Policy S2 commits the authorities to the overall housing growth target, then sets a strategic split of that growth across Central Lincolnshire.

2.2.11 The ‘Lincoln Strategy Area’ referred to in Policy S2 and based on travel to work patterns, is shown on Map 1 on the following page (which should not be confused with the ‘Lincoln urban area’ defined in Policy S1). Other than for the establishment of the quantity of growth across Central Lincolnshire, there are no other policy differences for settlements or land either in or out of this ‘Lincoln Strategy Area’.

Map 1: Lincoln Strategy Area 

LSA

Policy S2: Growth Levels and Distribution

The housing requirement for Central Lincolnshire is a range of 1,060 [1] -1,325 dwellings per year during the plan period of 2018-2040.

Whilst 23,320 [2] new dwellings is the baseline housing requirement, and this baseline will be used for Five Year Housing Land Supply calculations, the Local Plan’s strategic aim is to facilitate the delivery of the top end of the range of 29,150 new dwellings and the creation of around 24,000 new jobs over the plan period 2018–2040 through allocated sites, distributed as follows:

a.     Lincoln Strategy Area – around 64% (18,656) of the total homes and employment land needed, delivered through a combined strategy of (and in priority order):

                           i.          urban regeneration;

                          ii.          sustainable urban extensions to Lincoln; and

                         iii.          growth at settlements which serve, and are serviced by, Lincoln.

b.     Gainsborough - around 12% (3,498) of the total homes and employment land needed, delivered through a combined strategy of urban regeneration, sustainable urban extensions and sites at nearby and well-connected villages.

c.     Sleaford – around 12% (3,498) of the total homes and employment land needed, delivered through, primarily, a strategy of sustainable urban extensions and on other urban sites and sites at nearby and well-connected villages.

d.     Elsewhere – around 12% (3,498) of the total homes and employment land needed will come forward in settlements elsewhere, primarily located at the market towns and in well-connected villages and villages with a good range of services present.

2.2.12

1. This is the latest Local Housing Need Figure for Central Lincolnshire at the time of finalising the Local Plan for submission. [back]
2. This is based on the latest Local Housing Need Figure for Central Lincolnshire at the time of finalising the Local Plan for submission extrapolated across the plan period of 2018-2040. [back]

2.3 Housing in the Lincoln Urban Area, Main Towns and Market Towns

2.3.1 The strategy of this plan is one of urban focus in order to concentrate housing in locations where more services, infrastructure and jobs are available, minimising the need to travel and allowing investment to be focused to achieve maximum benefits. Site allocations have been made in accordance with this approach in the Lincoln Urban Area, Gainsborough, Sleaford, Market Rasen and Caistor.

2.3.2 Beyond these allocations the principle of development of new homes in the Lincoln Urban Area, the Main Towns and Market Towns is supported and is also fully aligned to the overall strategy of this local plan. Additional development can come forward through allocations in neighbourhood plans or through applications being submitted.  However, in order to ensure certainty and avoid market saturation for developers of allocated sites, large sites that are not allocated in the plan will typically be limited to those which do not demonstrably delay or impact upon the delivery of sites allocated in this plan.

Policy S3: Housing in the Lincoln Urban Area, Main Towns and Market Towns

Within the developed footprint* of the Lincoln Urban Area and Main Towns and Market Towns, development proposals at appropriate locations** not specifically identified as an allocation or an area for change in this plan will be supported in principle.

Proposals on sites outside of but immediately adjacent to the developed footprint will be considered on their individual merits against the policies in this Local Plan and any applicable policies in a made neighbourhood plan, and will also take into account the likely impacts of the development proposal on the delivery of any site allocations in the development plan. 

Proposals for a First Homes exception site in accordance with the NPPF requirements and definition of such sites will be supported in principle where they accord with any adopted local design policies.

* The definition of “developed footprint” as used throughout this policy is provided in the Glossary.

** The definition of “appropriate locations” as used throughout this policy is provided in the Glossary.

2.4 Housing in Villages

2.4.1 A large proportion of Central Lincolnshire’s population lives in rural areas. The 2011 Census revealed the total population of Central Lincolnshire as approximately 300,000, with around 158,000 of these residents living in Lincoln, Gainsborough and Sleaford and the remaining 142,000 residents residing in the smaller settlements. This significant rural population means that it is important to maintain and enhance the services and features of the rural area in order to sustain the vibrancy of rural settlements and the quality of life experienced by those living in such areas. At the same time it is important to ensure that development is sustainable, and proportionate and appropriate to its setting.

2.4.2 The Local Plan makes provision for housing growth at a variety of locations across Central Lincolnshire. The strategy for the distribution of residential development is to focus growth on urban areas and larger settlements, whilst recognising other opportunities for sustainable development. The emphasis on directing growth to urban locations is based not only on the fact that such areas are generally the most sustainable, but also because they will help to maximise the use of previously developed land and reduce the need to travel.

2.4.3 In accordance with Policy S1 Spatial Strategy and Settlement Hierarchy, residential development in rural areas will typically be limited to villages and will be of a modest scale, providing opportunity to maintain the sustainability and vibrancy of villages. Through neighbourhood plans, communities can seek to further grow or develop their villages if this is a sustainable and locally-supported approach for a specific village.

Policy S4: Housing Development in or Adjacent to Villages

1.     Large, Medium and Small Villages, as defined in the Settlement Hierarchy in Policy S1, will experience limited growth to support their role and function through allocated sites of 10 or more dwellings in the Local Plan, sites allocated in neighbourhood plans, or on unallocated sites in appropriate locations* within the developed footprint** of the village that are typically:

  • up to 10 dwellings in Large Villages and Medium Villages; and
  • up to 5 dwellings in Small Villages.

Proposals on unallocated sites not meeting these criteria will not generally be supported unless there are clear material planning considerations that indicate otherwise.

2.     Residential development proposals for unallocated sites within the size thresholds set out in part 1 of this policy and within the developed footprint of the village will only be supported where it would:

  1. preserve or enhance the settlement’s character and appearance;
  2. not significantly harm the character and appearance of the surrounding countryside or the rural setting of the village; and
  3. be consistent with other policies in the development plan.

3.     Proposals for residential development on unallocated land immediately adjacent to the developed footprint will only be supported where this is:

  1. a First Homes exception site in accordance with the NPPF and provided it is outside of the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and not within a location that is subject of a Designated Rural Area as defined in Annex 2 of the NPPF; or
  2. exclusively for a rural affordable housing exception site. 

Any proposals for First Homes exceptions sites or rural affordable housing exception sites will also be subject to the requirements of Policy S22.  The consideration of proportionality of a proposal for a First Home exceptions site will be considered on a site basis informed by consideration of the impact on landscape, village character and the historic environment, topography, overall built footprint, visual impact, and intensity of use of the site.  Evidence supporting the planning application will need to robustly examine and illustrate why the proposal is proportionate in size to the existing settlement.  Whilst not a cap, it is unlikely that a proposal that would result in an increase in the overall area of the developed footprint of the village, or an increase in dwelling numbers, of more than 5% would be considered proportionate, and potentially considerably less (especially if any exception sites have already been provided or planned for at that settlement).

* The definition of “appropriate locations” as used throughout this policy is provided in the Glossary.

** The definition of “developed footprint” as used throughout this policy is provided in the Glossary.

2.5 Countryside

2.5.1 Whilst development is focused within the urban areas and to a lesser extent in villages there will be occasions where development is proposed within the countryside areas. For most uses there are strong reasons why such development would be contrary to the overall strategy of this plan and would not result in sustainable development, however, some proposals and some uses will be wholly appropriate in some scenarios.

2.5.2 A criteria-based policy approach will be used to determine applications for residential and non-residential development within the countryside. Similar to residential development, non-residential development within the countryside must be sustainable and respectful to its setting. Commercial enterprises where a rural location can be justified to maintain and enhance the rural economy (for example, establishment of a farm shop) will be supported providing all other relevant criteria are met.

2.5.3 More widely, the rural nature of Central Lincolnshire and the significant role that agriculture plays in the economy of this area means that agricultural land and other rural land-based activities have a notable presence in the landscape and forms an attractive backdrop to the various settlements. Development needed to directly support such uses is important to foster a successful rural economy, but it can also have an impact on the landscape if not properly managed.  As such it is important that such development is located and designed appropriately to minimise adverse impacts or even benefit the countryside.

2.5.4 Specific natural features or characteristics such as landscape character and best and most versatile agricultural land are addressed in the Natural Environment Chapter.

Policy S5: Development in the Countryside

Part A: Re-use and conversion of non-residential buildings for residential use in the countryside

Where a change of use proposal to residential use requires permission, and where the proposal is outside the developed footprint of a settlement listed in the Settlement Hierarchy or the developed footprint of a hamlet, then the proposal will be supported provided that the following criteria are met:

  1. Comprehensive and proportionate evidence is provided to justify either that the building can no longer be used for the purpose for which it was originally built, or the purpose for which it was last used, or that there is no demand (as demonstrated through a thorough and robust marketing exercise) for the use of the building for business purposes; and
  2. The building is capable of conversion with minimal alteration, including no need for inappropriate new openings and additional features; and
  3. The building is of notable architectural or historic merit and intrinsically worthy of retention in its setting.

Part B: Replacement of a dwelling in the countryside

The replacement of an existing dwelling outside the developed footprint of a settlement will be supported provided that:

  1. The residential use of the original dwelling has not been abandoned;
  2. The original dwelling is not of any architectural or historic merit and it is not valuable to the character of the settlement or wider landscape;
  3. The original dwelling is a permanent structure, not a temporary or mobile structure;
  4. The replacement dwelling is of a similar size and scale to the original dwelling;
  5. It is located on the footprint of the original dwelling unless an alternative position within the existing residential curtilage would provide notable benefits and have no adverse impact on the wider setting; and
  6. It satisfies the requirements of Policy S11: Embodied Carbon.

Part C: Mobile homes within the countryside

Applications for temporary and mobile homes will be considered in the same way as applications for permanent dwellings. The exception to this is cases when a temporary or mobile home is needed during the construction of a permanent dwelling on site or on a nearby site: in such cases more flexibility will be applied. Permission granted in such instances will be subject to time restrictions.

Part D: New dwellings in the countryside

Applications for new dwellings will only be acceptable where they are essential to the effective operation of existing rural operations listed in tier 8 of Policy S1. Applications should be accompanied by evidence of:

  1. Details of the rural operation that will be supported by the dwelling;
  2. The need for the dwelling;
  3. The number of workers (full and part time) that will occupy the dwelling;
  4. The length of time the enterprise the dwelling will support has been established;
  5. The commercial viability of the associated rural enterprise through the submission of business accounts or a detailed business plan;
  6. The availability of other suitable accommodation on site or in the area; and
  7. Details of how the proposed size of the dwelling relates to the needs of the enterprise.

Any such development will be subject to a restrictive occupancy condition.

Part E: Non-residential development in the countryside

Proposals for non-residential development will be supported provided that:

  1. The rural location of the enterprise is justifiable to maintain or enhance the rural economy or the location is justified by means of proximity to existing established businesses or natural features;
  2. The location of the enterprise is suitable in terms of accessibility;
  3. The location of the enterprise would not result in conflict with neighbouring uses; and
  4. The development is of a size and scale commensurate with the proposed use and with the rural character of the location.

Part F: Agricultural diversification

Proposals involving farm based diversification to non-agricultural activities or operations will be permitted, provided that the proposal will support farm enterprises and providing that the development is:

  1. In an appropriate location for the proposed use;
  2. Of a scale appropriate to its location; and
  3. Of a scale appropriate to the business need.

Part G: Agricultural, forestry, horticultural or other rural land-based development

Proposals which will help farms modernise and/or adapt to funding changes or climate change will be supported in principle and any such proposals will be considered against relevant design, landscape and natural environment policies in this plan. 

Where permission is required, development proposals for buildings required for agriculture or other rural land based development purposes will be supported where:

  1. It is demonstrated that there is a functional need for the building which cannot be met by an existing, or recently disposed of, building;
  2. the building is of a scale that is proportionate to the proposed functional need;
  3. the building is designed specifically to meet the functional need identified;
  4. the site is well related to existing buildings in terms of both physical and functional location, design and does not introduce isolated structures away from existing buildings; and
  5. significant earthworks are not required, and there will be no harm to natural drainage and will not result in pollution of soils, water or air.