Why is Boulthurst Way included in the Local Plan process?
In July 2015 we identified Boulthurst Way open space had potential for development, as long as the value of the open space to the community was taken into account, together with the impact on existing infrastructure.
In October 2016, the Council’s Resources Committee, on behalf of the Council in its capacity as landowner, looked at which council owned assets should be included in the Local Plan process for consideration as part of the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA). Inclusion in the Local Plan process does not automatically mean the site will be developed.
Why has Boulthurst Way been selected as a site suitable for development?
We were already reviewing the site as part of an asset review to identify sites owned by the Council which have the potential to support the delivery of affordable housing, as well as make a significant contribution to the Council’s income.
Reduced government funding means we need to review our services and how they are currently delivered, as well as be innovative in finding new ways to reduce costs and generate income.
The inclusion in the Local Plan process does not mean that the sites included will be developed.
Is the plan to develop the whole open space?
No. Councillors at the Resources Committee only agreed to include the Boulthurst Way (Hurst Green) Open Space in the HEELA consultation on the condition that any future proposals would take place on only part of the land and include retention of both the playground and a significant amount of open space.
What is the “appropriation” notice in the press about?
As this piece of land is currently classified as open space, by law the Council needs to change its use to allow development.
Appropriation just means we will transfer responsibility for the land within the Council, from one department to another. Anyone who wishes to object or make representations must respond to the Council’s solicitor, Clive Moore, (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 25 November.
What plans are being drawn up?
We are currently looking at a number of options to see how the site could be developed. This involves carrying out surveys of the site to help decide which parts are suitable for development.
Whatever option we end up with, our aim is to preserve as much open space as possible, while also providing options that look at affordable housing, a discounted private rented model aimed at local people and market housing, together with keeping the play area.
As land owner we are keen to retain control over the site and are looking to balance its contribution to the community, alongside the additional housing that it could provide.
Any final plan will need to be agreed by a future Resources Committee.
Will residents be consulted about the scheme?
Yes. The Council will consult widely about any proposals before a final decision is made.
We know residents are concerned about the site and once we have plans which outline the different options we are considering, we will consult with the local community.
Once we have considered the findings of the consultation, we will submit the planning application. Whatever decisions are made, we will work hard to ensure any development brings additional benefits to the community, including more affordable housing for local people.