title="Hinton Charterhouse Parish Council in Somerset"

Village DevelopmentWed, 23rd May 2018

Village Development

PC Chairman Chris Clemence comments on Development in Hinton Charterhouse

Following the recent PC Meeting (18th July 2017) I thought I should try a collate some of the strands of conversation /information on the subject of the development classification of the village. In particular the classification in the current (and now adopted) Placemaking Plan and the future, emerging, strategic plan of which the HELAA* process seems to be a part.

Development Classification

I have been referring to the classification of the village as “RA3” being the lowest likelihood of significant development.  It would appear that I am out of date in my nomenclature but accurate in my interpretation.  The following has been distilled from a recent email conversation between BANES Planning and Cllr Neil Butters:

There is no RA3 category of villages. RA3 is the policy relating to encouraging new community facilities in all villages. The categories of villages are now as follows:

RA1 = most sustainable villages outside the Green Belt (around 50 dwellings in addition to small windfalls)
RA2 = other villages outside the Green Belt (10-15 dwellings in addition to small windfalls)
GB2 = villages washed over by the Green Belt (small windfalls only)

There used to be a R3 category of villages in the B&NES Local Plan (which all of these villages would have been)  but this no longer applies. The approach to development is however the same.

Villages with HDB Policy:
Shoscombe - GB2
Wellow - GB2
Hinton Charterhouse - GB2
Freshford - GB2
Monkton Combe - GB2
South Stoke - GB2

In summary all the villages in your ward with a defined housing development boundary (HDB) are washed over by the Green Belt (Policy GB2) – this means that development is limited to small infill sites within the HDB (no additional housing is needed to meet the Core Strategy requirement).  Smaller settlements (without a defined HDB) within the Green Belt will be treated as open countryside

I interpret ‘windfall’ as being housing development.

‘HDB’ stands is the Housing Development Boundary.  My own interpretation of this, in the context of the mooted development to the south of the village, is that we are reasonably well protected and that the policy the PC followed during the Placemaking Plan process of submitting detailed Character Assessments and a defined housing boundary (without having to propose areas of development which would have been required with our own Neighbourhood Development Plan) was sound.  History of course will be the final arbiter.

On the face of it the parish would seem quite well protected against significant housing developments.


The HELAA process is only just emerging and the workshops on how it is to be managed are scheduled to be in September but as yet no dates have been issued that I am aware of.  I offer the best of my knowledge thus far:

  • Anybody can put forward land for consideration for development.  It is then assessed and evaluated for inclusion in the emerging strategic plan.  This is effectively what a HELAA is.  A HELAA is not a planning application per se.
  • Parish Councils have the authority, along with everyone else, to submit a HELAA
  • Parish Councils will have the opportunity to comment on a submitted HELAA.
  • The community will have the opportunity to comment on a submitted HELAA.
  • The mechanism for the last two points is currently being defined and as yet we do not know what the process is.
  • The mechanism by which PCs and communities are notified of HELAAs has yet to be defined.
  • HELAAs are apparently meant to contribute towards the next strategic plan not the current adopted Placemaking Plan. However as the next plan gains momentum also does its influence over planning policy and decisions.  I have no definitive answer as to when a HELAA might be brought forward.

As I say; this is the best of my knowledge and interpretation thus far based on some fairly vague answers from BANES.  As we know these things have a habit of changing as time progresses and in fairness to BANES this is very much an emerging policy, so we should expect change to happen.

Crystal Ball

Having listened to Mr. Whitehead, BANES, fellow councillors and the community I think there are a number of ways that the development ideas for the south of the village might run.  Here are some thoughts:

  • It might go down the HELAA route. If this is the case the community will have the chance to respond and the HDB and development status can be used as defenses if that is what is required.  This is a longer term approach by the owners as I understand it, which means this community has time to formulate its response.  An actual planning application would, in this circumstance, appear to be some time away and the community would have an opportunity respond again then.
  • A planning application could be submitted in the near future.  Given the current planning policy (Placemaking Plan), HDB and development classification I think this is unlikely unless strong support were to be given by the community for a development persuading BANES to vary policy.  Given representations thus far this would seem unlikely.
  • Nothing will happen.  We have some previous on this and the particularly searching question asked by Cllr Butters revealed that consultations with BANES might not be what they seem.  I think that this outcome might be more likely than at first apparent .. we wait and see.
  • Or something else might happen …

I suggest the Parish Council might formulate its first formal response following the ‘design exhibition’.

Chris Clemence


* HELAA: Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment.