Memorandum by Persimmon Homes (South Yorkshire)
Ltd (SHC 20)
THE SUITABILITY OF BRODSWORTH QUARRY (DONCASTER,
SOUTH YORKSHIRE) TO BE REDEVELOPED AS A MILLENNIUM VILLAGE TO
ASSIST MEETING THE STATED AIMS OF THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
The importance of building Millennium Villages
is not just to meet the current needs of the housing market but
also to have a wider positive impact upon the population as a
whole. It is in this context that my clients feel attention should
be drawn to the opportunity to instigate another Millennium Village
at Brodsworth Quarry north of Doncaster South Yorkshire. For some
time now the land owner and my client Persimmon Homes (South Yorkshire)
Ltd have been in consultation with the local community adjoining
the site and there is a real appreciation amongst the local population
that the redevelopment of this former quarry site may have major
positive impacts upon the wider community. These impacts are not
just improved environments but improved access to facilities and
services. Also important is the impact that such a building project
will have on the overall image of the area which is one of Doncaster's
more disadvantaged locations. Significant development here of
the size proposed is recognised as being able to significantly
alter the market profile not just for new dwellings but also for
second hand stock and the rented sector.
Development Land and Planning Consultants have
been requested to make this submission on behalf of Persimmon
Homes (South Yorkshire) Ltd with particular reference to the Deputy
Prime Minister's comments regarding Millennium Villages. Our clients
control an area of land in Doncaster (South Yorkshire) to the
north of the Town Centre which we consider would make a suitable
location for a Millennium Village and as such assist in addressing
not only the future housing needs of the area but just as importantly
would address issues such as community building and failing housing
Our clients interest is a former quarry that
has been excavated under a number of different permissions over
a long period of time. This former quarry which is located adjacent
to the settlement of Adwick le Street with the housing areas of
Woodlands and Highfields forming its northern and eastern boundaries.
Also to the north is the large scale sub regional employment allocation
of Red Farm which has now been started and has completed the junction
improvement on the A1(M). To the west is the former waste tip
from the Colliery. This tipped area is being regarded by Yorkshire
Forward to provide informal leisure opportunities for the local
population although access to the area is poor due to the former
quarry in between it and the residential areas. The tip and the
other higher ground to the south provide an enclosed setting for
a well contained planled extension to the existing settlement.
The much higher levels are considered to be fundamental to the
future growth of Milton Keynes and as such to the achievement
of the Deputy Prime Minister's stated objectives in his speech
of 18 July 2002.
It would be incorrect to assume that all of
South Yorkshire is suffering from poor housing markets many areas
of good quality private housing has seen substantial increases
in recent years but other areas notably areas of social housing
has experienced poor markets (Study of Yorkshire & Humber
Housing Markets by Centre for Urban Studies University of Birmingham).
This is possibly due to the fact that many younger people in the
area are rejecting this form of tenure and are entering private
market housing or even private rented, despite in some cases the;
latter being of poorer quality.
As well as a strong contrast between areas of
high market demand and failing markets there is also the issue
in South Yorkshire of continuing out migration and the aging of
the population as the younger members of the population leave
the area. Sheffield has lost some 36,400 population, in contrast
Doncaster has only lost 4,000 people but this still represents
some 1.4% of the population since 1981.
In these circumstances the dwelling provision
made in the RGP12 might appear generous however it is important
to note in any assessment of housing requirements to 2016 the
changes that have taken place since the 1996 household forecasts
on which the RPG figure is based.
The situation is not just that the RPG figure
is, in light of much more recent information, substantially under
supplying the housing needs of the area, but that other changes
to the economy have also impacted upon household formation since
even the 1996 household forecasts were published. The household
projections are not estimates of total need but forecasts of effective
demand for housing under recent socio-economic conditions. As
such these forecasts are likely to fluctuate depending upon a
number of variables including:
Increase in GDP Per head of 0.25%
per year may result in an increase of 5% in the household projections
Decrease of mortgage rate by 1% over
period of the projection may result in an increase of 7% in household
projections to 2016.
Decrease in unemployment by 1% over
period of projection may result in an increase of 1% in household
projections to 2016.
Source: "Projections of households
in England to 2021" Annex G.
These variables may not be independent and their
results can not be summed. The following changes however all suggest
that the economic conditions are moving in the direction of increased
forecasts of demand. Since 1996 the following has occurred:
The continued support for the economic
growth of the region.
A decrease in mortgage rates of 1.5%.
A decrease in unemployment in the
Doncaster to 5.7% by 2001 a decrease of approximately 9% since
The impact of all these factors is to increase
the effective housing demand. It is therefore highly likely that
with economic conditions favourable to housing need becoming effective
housing demand that the levels of household formation from the
same population may increase by up to 7%.
The low level of housing requirements set in
RPG12 requires all South Yorkshire authorities to reassess all
of their greenfield allocations (table 1 below) and all but Barnsley
have either a formal or an informal moratorium on greenfield development.
There are growing concerns that this is not leading to regeneration
but assisting to fuel both house price rises in areas with a string
market and further outward migration. This moratorium does not
concern itself with the delivery of dwellings but are justified
by urban capacity studies which indicate an academic potential
rather than deliverable sites. It is the understanding amongst
the councils that as so little new land is required then there
is no urgency in development plan review as decisions regarding
housing development on both greenfield and previously developed
land will be upheld on appeal due to the level of "potential"
suggested in these studies.
GREENFIELD REQUIREMENTS AS A RESULT OF THE
RPG "BROWNFIELD TARGET" AS SUBMITTED TO THE EIP PANEL
|Housing land provision at 1998
|Other permission||Brownfield element, current|
|RPG total||RPG brownfield|
|Brownfield %||Existing greenfield commitments
||Total additional greenfield required by|
|Additional Greenfield releases above existing commitments
It is our concern that opportunities such as the one represented
by our client's site are not being brought forward or considered
due to the weight being attached to PPG3 and the capacity studies
that have had no level of public consultation. As the above table
indicates all areas are required to identify significant levels
of previously developed land for future housing needs as well
as reconsider all greenfield allocations. The proper arena for
making such allocations is the development plan process and yet
there is no urgency to undertake reviews despite the fact that
all of the plans in the sub region are out of date. The lack of
urgency with regard to the review process means that opportunities
such as that represented by my clients site can not be considered
by the public.
This previously excavated site is presently covered by a
greenbelt designation however its exclusion from this designation
could be justified under Policy P1 of RPG12 which suggests that
development within transport corridors (including greenbelt sites)
could be considered for development where such sites offer benefit
in terms of "very significant advantages" in terms of
reduced car dependency compared to other alternatives. It is our
opinion that the site subject of this representation does offer
such significant advantages.
The site is of such a size as to provide a number of facilities
such as shops, nursery, doctors, possibly a school and employment.
These facilities will argument the existing facilities close by,
such as the shopping area at Woodlands which consists of a variety
of services including food and non-food shops and a public library.
The development will also provide a comprehensive set of
footpaths and cycleways which will connect the residential and
employment areas proposed with the existing and proposed residential
areas to the north as well as the Red Lodge employment allocation
which is currently under construction with some major parts now
occupied. There is the potential to create pedestrian links to
the existing shops, as there is a proposed cycleway/footpath,
that runs to east of the site, which could be linked in with the
existing footpaths in the residential areas of Woodlands. Increased
accessibility to and from the site is fundamental to the approach
to integrate the development with the existing area. It is the
potential to access improved services as well as the perceived
environmental improvements that are encouraging local communities
groups to support this proposal.
Access to the public transport system maybe easily extended
into the proposed development and this improved service would
also have benefit to the adjoining residential properties.
Doncaster is only 6.5 km away and is easily accessible by,
a regular bus service and by train from Adwick Train Station which
is also served by the local bus. Doncaster centre offers a wide
range of facilities, from supermarkets to clothes shops including
entertainment such as cinemas, bars and other leisure activities.
The station also provides links to Doncaster, Wakefield, Sheffield,
Leeds, York and other local destinations. The services leave the
station on average every half an hour, until approximately 23:00.
There are six schools within 2 km of the site. There are
five primary/junior/infant schools and one secondary school. The
nearest schools are the Woodlands Junior and Infant Schools, located
some 900 metres north of the site, within easy walking distance.
Informal discussion has already taken place with residents groups
as to the ability to upgrade this facility to take additional
pupils or the provision of a new school on the development itself
to meet the needs of both the existing and future residents. The
secondary school, Adwick School is located approximately 1.8 km
north of the site. All of the schools surrounding the site have
spare capacity and this is indicative of the changing nature of
the population in this part of the area. New private led regeneration
could in our view assist to stem this decline and add vitality
and additional expenditure into the local economy.
The closure of the quarry and other extraction industries
including the Coalmine to the immediate north of the site has
resulted in the loss of employment opportunities, the UDP, allocates
a significant portion of land immediately to the north of the
site for employment/industrial use. This allocation is bringing
jobs back into the area and this proposal would provide an opportunity
for people to live and work close to home. The employment site
would be accessible along the proposed cycleway/footpath that
runs along the eastern edge of the site north to the employment
site. It is our opinion that the development of this employment
allocation will require a range of housing to support it, if people
are to be provided with the opportunity of living and working
in close proximity.
With regards to leisure facilities, there are a number of
leisure opportunities both formal and informal located around
the site. The potential to upgrade these facilities as well as
providing additional facilities on site have been subject to discussion
with the local population. There are already some playing fields
500 metres south east of the site and an area of public open space
in Highfields some 600 metres east of the site. There is a large
area of public open space, located 450 metres to the east, which
includes Hanging Wood, this has a number of footpaths, including
the proposed cycleway/footpath running through and alongside it.
A more formal park, called "The Park" is located 800
metres north east of the site. A leisure centre and sports ground
and playing fields are located approximately 1.2 km from the site,
and is within easy walking and cycling distance, the centre is
also accessible by bus.
With regards to the ability of the existing highway system
to accommodate additional traffic caused by new development, the
site will feed the Great North Road via Green Lane, which has
sufficient capacity to ensure there is no significant impact upon
traffic congestion in the area.
In respect of the sites suitability for development in environmental
terms it was previously quarried and is now derelict, with very
limited scrub vegetation presently growing on parts of the site
much of the remainder is still bare bedrock. The site lies below
the level of the surrounding land due to the quarrying, this provides
effective screening from the open countryside and development
here would avoid any impacts upon views of the landscape to the
south of the site. The woodland planting defines the site boundaries
on the southern and eastern edges can be retained although the
proposed development will strengthen of existing peripheral landscaping,
helping to soften edge of the development.The site has been surveyed
and there is no indication of any protected plants or species
existing within or using the site. Development of the site and
the subsequent introduction of additional planting and potential
wildlife habitats will assist in helping to attract and encourage
wildlife to the area.
Work undertaken by the client's engineers has confirmed that
if restoration was a considered alternative then it is unlikely
to result in land of agricultural grade 4.
This submission has demonstrated that the Brodsworth Quarry
site, if developed, will comply with the criteria for sustainable
development, as put forward in a wide range of national and local
guidance. It would in our opinion represent a significant contribution
to providing for housing need without developing greenfield land
requirement as set by the RPG.
The site represents a viable and suitable location for housing
development, it is located on the former Brodsworth Quarry the
site is located in close proximity to shops and schools, it is
also is close to a number of bus stops that provide regular services
to local shops and further afield such as Doncaster centre. A
large area of land immediately to the north is proposed for employment
use, this combined with the development of the site for housing
would help revitalise the area.
It is nevertheless acknowledged that development of the site
will need to address a number of issues to ensure the potential
for sustainable development that currently exists is fully realised.
The following undertakings will form an important part of
any future development of the site and help ensure the development
Improved pedestrian/cycle links along Green Lane.
Inclusion of Bus Stops along Green Lane, and into
Improved links with the proposed cycleway/footpath.
Formation of wildlife habitats (possible in co-ordination
with the Yorkshire Forward project to the west).
Inclusion of a variety of housing types and tenures.
Inclusion of small elements of employment, shopping
and community facilities.
In considering the potential for new sites to be identified
as Millennium Villages the Deputy Prime Minister is requested
to give this location serious consideration as it would have the
advantage of assisting to build a community which has suffered
economic and population decline. New development in this location
will assist in restoring the housing market for private sale and
rented (both private and SRLs). The proposal already has the support
of elements of the community and the developer and landowner have
already started negotiations with the Highfields Community Partnership
whose area is adjacent to this site.
At present it does not have the support of Doncaster Council
as they are unwilling to consider the sites potential outside
of the development plan process. While this is understandable
the fact that the development plan is out of date and progress
on the review is considerably slower than that required in terms
of the guidance my clients have sought this opportunity to raise
the issue directly with the Deputy Prime Minister as the site
is of a size and character which could easily fit within the established
criteria for a Millennium Village.