In April 2023, the seven district councils of Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby were abolished and the new North Yorkshire Unitary Authority took on all of their functions. That includes responsibility for planning and, in particular, preparing a single local development plan to cover the whole of the new borough and replacing the seven individual sets of planning policies that currently exist.
The new local plan will set out how much development is needed over the next 15 or 20 years across the whole of North Yorkshire – including the number of new homes – as well as identifying the sites where that development will take place. It is a mammoth undertaking, requiring enough land to be found to deliver more than 20,000 new homes. The Council’s aim is to have the new plan in place by 2028, which means the work required to prepare it is beginning to get underway.
Delivering the number of new homes required will need a combination of land within existing towns and villages, but also greenfield sites on their edges which might not have been considered suitable for development in the past. That provides a fantastic opportunity for landowners to secure planning permission for housing development on their land.
The council will be carrying out a “call for sites” exercise in March 2024 and asking landowners to submit details of any land they believe could be suitable for development. This is the first stage of the plan-making process, and will help them identify potentially suitable development sites.
The next step will be an “Issues and Options” consultation setting out what the council believe their new plan will need to cover, and various different ways its objectives could be achieved. We understand that this is pencilled in for the autumn of 2024.
The council will be inundated with potentially suitable development sites – far more than they’ll actually need to meet their housing target. It is therefore crucial you make your site stand out from the crowd.
An important way of doing that is to show the council how good your site is by carrying out a thorough technical analysis of the site – considering issues like highways, access, ecology, drainage, heritage, landscape impacts, utilities, public services and more. That analysis needs to be based on hard evidence rather than subjective opinion – ideally, that means commissioning reports from specialist consultants. It is also important to understand exactly what national planning policy requires of potential development sites, to make sure you are addressing those issues head on.
All that technical information can then be used to prepare a masterplan for the site, showing the council how many new homes it could accommodate whilst both taking into account all the constraints on development and making the most of the opportunities your site offers. The aim is to show the council that if they choose to allocate your site for housing development, it will genuinely deliver the number of new homes you are telling them it will.
You should also maintain an open dialogue with the council’s planning team, ensuring that they are content with the information you have provided, and producing any extra evidence that you think they need.
It is important that this work is done as early as possible. As the plan process progresses it becomes harder and harder to have your site included. The sooner you can provide information to the council, the better – and well before they start selecting their preferred development sites.
This is an expensive, time-consuming business and, even if it is done really well, isn’t guaranteed to succeed. That’s why so many landowners choose to work with The Strategic Land Group. We can do all of that work for you at our cost and risk. Our fee is a share of the value of the site once it is sold, so if we don’t succeed, it won’t cost you anything. You’ll also get to benefit from our 15 years of experience in promoting housing sites through Local Plans across the country and we’ll help you find a buyer for the site too.
You can find out more about what it’s like to work with us here, or get in touch today for a free, no obligation consultation about how we might be able to help you.