Thursday, 21 December 2017 19:28

Local Plan "Issues and Options" Update

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Local Plan "Issues and Options" Update

Following on from our input to the Portsmouth Local Plan in July (see details here), PCC have summarised the responses received and outlined the next steps they will take.

Read on for more detail...

The full report can be found here: http://democracy.portsmouth.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=126&MId=3881

However, we have taken the liberty of copying the key outcomes and feedback here (check the original for updates or changes), the relevant section is included verbatim below:

Outcomes of the Issues and Options consultation


12. Some 1,800 individual representations were received from 268 respondents. In addition, a petition signed by approximately 160 persons was received. A schedule summarising all the representations received on the Issues and Options document is at Appendix 2 of this report. The full representations (with personal details redacted) will shortly be placed on the Council’s website.

13. Significant issues raised in the representations include the following:
a) Concerns over the levels of housing development proposed across the city. Many recognise the need for more housing, but most respondents questioned whether it was sustainable or possible to deliver the number of homes set out in the consultation document.
b) Comments regarding the significant ecological assets in and around the city, and in particular the Brent Geese, Solent Waders and presence of European designated sites ofimportance for nature conservation;
c) Concerns over traffic congestion, the capacity of schools, health facilities and other infrastructure capacity to meet existing needs and serve housing growth;
d) Significant issues regarding the suitability of proposed uses and delivery of strategic sites identified in the consultation - Tipner, Port Solent and Horsea, St James and Langstone;
e) Concern over the condition of the City Centre and Commercial Road in particular.

14. These and other significant issues raised in the representations are discussed below.
Members should, however, review the full schedule of representations.

Responses to Issues and Options

15. The summary of representations set out in Appendix 2 pulls together the main points raised in the representations into 28 key issues. In addition, a full list of consultation responses (with personal information redacted) will be placed on the Council’s website for transparency. However, Members are provided with the following headline summaries of responses to each question to inform consideration of this paper:

Vision and Objectives Twenty-four respondents disagreed with both the Vision and the Objectives, however forty-nine and forty-seven different respondents agreed with them respectively. Other frequent comments in this section focused on housing, development and roads.
Housing Many respondents suggested that the housing target was too high and infrastructure improvements to support housing development is required. However it was widely acknowledged that there is a need for more affordable housing. A petition with 163 signatories was submitted in support of the Portsmouth Labour Housing Forum affordable housing plan.
Housing Requirements Concern was expressed over the deliverability and appropriateness of planning for higher levels of housing growth. A number of parties noted the government consultation on a new methodology for assessing housing need.
Regeneration and the Local Economy Access to employment opportunities was considered to be a key issue - in terms of providing local employment, the required transport infrastructure connections and through improving skills (e.g. more apprenticeships). Responses wanted to see more diversity in Portsmouth's economy, including investment in technological and creative industries and opportunities for start-ups, as well as more of a spread of opportunities across the city. There was support for making the city centre the priority regeneration site for the city and building on economic opportunities presented by the University of Portsmouth and its graduates.
Employment Requirements There was greater support for seeking a higher level of new employment floorspace, rather than a selective release of existing employment sites for housing. This is considered to be the more sustainable approach to reduce out-commuting and to build Portsmouth's economy. However, some comments requested a more flexible approach to employment land in view of anticipated changes in office market demand and existing vacant
employment land.
Retail and City Centre Comments focused on the need to improve the quality of centres (particularly Commercial Road) in terms of their urban realm, quality and range of uses and accessibility, in order to attract visitors. Overall, there was more support for relaxing existing controls to allow greater diversity in the mix of uses for the possibility of more cultural, dining and leisure uses, as part of creating an evening economy.
Retail requirements There were mixed views on locating additional retail floorspace in the city centre; while some feel it is the most sustainable location they question whether additional retail floorspace would be commercially successful there, or if any new retail floorspace in the city is necessary given national decline. Overall it was thought the emphasis should be on mixed uses. It was advised that the evidence base for retail should be updated regularly to take into account the latest economic forecasts
Tourism and Culture This topic attracted a wide range of comments and suggestions. Overall there was particular support for a more ambitious vision for the city, to include a stronger cultural identity with better recognition and co-ordination of all of Portsmouth's assets. Improving connections to and between key tourism attractions (Gunwharf Quays, Historic Dockyard, Southsea) and the regeneration of the city centre was seen as key for encouraging visitor spend.
Health, Well Being and Open Space Responses highlighted the need to protect and enhance existing open space and health facilities in the city. Access to facilities was also highlighted as important, in particular provision of high quality walking and cycling routes.
Heritage, Design and the Built Environment This topic also produced a diverse range of comments and suggestions, with a majority of respondents supporting or commenting positively on the objective of conserving and enhancing
the city's heritage. On the question of density, a high proportion of those who responded did not support an increase in residential densities.
Tall Buildings A range of views were expressed, with some resistance towards allowing any more tall buildings in the city, other respondents preferred them restricted to certain areas whilst others called for a relaxing of current defined locations, or a mix of both. Particular concerns were the need for high quality design; the safety of tall buildings; the impact on local transport including parking; and issues of social deprivation.
Natural Environment The view was expressed that the background information was lacking in detail with regard to the definition of the natural environment and that the city was not going far enough in scope or ambition. There was opinion that Portsmouth should conserve what it currently has; should stride for biodiversity gain; ensure access to natural environment for all; and work to connect up greenspaces through green infrastructure.
Transport Support for transport options was mixed, with many advocating a mixture of transport infrastructure improvements and promotion of active travel. Key themes included concerns about congestion, air quality and safety
Other Issues Commonly cited issues were infrastructure capacity in the city and the need for a new Infrastructure Delivery Plan; the lack of attention paid to education provision; and levels of student accommodation in the city. Flooding and flood defences were commonly raised; as well as concern that adaptation to climate change was not being addressed with enough attention. It was also expressed that the city should be more proactive with renewable energy generation and striving to meet low-carbon goals.
Identified Work Relatively few respondents commented on this, but further work on future healthcare and education requirements was thought necessary by a number of respondents.

Tipner Respondents generally supported the allocation of Tipner as a strategic site. However it was suggested that mix-use development should be considered and issues with access,contamination and meeting healthcare and education needs must be considered.

Port Solent and Horsea Island Responses to this were mixed. Some thought the area offered potential for development. New employment and maritime uses were less contentious, but additional residential development was subject of concerns over traffic, contaminated land, the capacity of infrastructure and the character of the area. The importance of the site for Brent geese and waders was highlighted.
St James and Langstone Campus This potential strategic site was commented on by a number of individuals. A significant amount of concern was expressed about traffic impacts, the capacity of infrastructure and potential damage to sensitive ecological assets on and near the site, amongst other issues. Reference was made to the previous consultation in 2014 and the 250 formal responses received at that time from residents and organisations. A full summary of those responses received and issues raised is contained in the report to the Cabinet Member for Planning, Regeneration and Economic Development of 2 December 2014.
Lakeside There were no objections to the continuation of Lakeside as a strategic development site, subject to environmental considerations. It is considered an excellent location for office-led development near the strategic highway network. There is some disagreement from the site management company in terms of the quantity of the proposed B1 office floorspace allocation;they request a more flexible approach to allow a wider mix of supporting uses .
City Centre There was a detailed range of suggestions for the future of Portsmouth City Centre, encompassing the preferred uses, public realm needs, ideas to stimulate retail and employment uses, strengthened identity for distinct parts of the city centre and improved legibility of the connections between them. The city centre's key landowners set out their support for the regeneration of the city centre alongside their preferred approach to the future of their individual sites and the interrelationship with other parts of the centre. The need for a refreshed masterplan for the city centre was highlighted.
Cosham - Respondents called for balance between residential and commercial development along with balance of the retail offering in the town centre as there is a high proportion of certain outlets. There is also a feeling that the area would benefit from quality development.
North End - Responses centred around traffic congestion, poor air quality and that these issues should be tackled as a priority. The retail area was focused on as a zone that needs improvement, citing small retailers as a target group. The general theme focussed on business as opposed to residential investment. 

Fratton - Main topics commented on for Fratton included retail offering, parking and air quality. It was viewed that the area is not a priority for development, but that the ASDA site and surrounds are in need of redevelopment and refurbishment.
Somerstown - Respondents highlighted that continued residential development in the area is preferential and sustainable travel options should be addressed. Other responses included the student population of the zone in both a positive and negative viewpoint.
Seafront There were an assortment of views about the future of the seafront and a range of suggestions for new uses that could be incorporated into the space including more leisure, shops and food and drink uses. Particular issues were the future of the sea defences; the need to improve connectivity with the wider city; the biodiversity value of the seafront; preventing overdevelopment of the seafront; and the future of the Fraser Range area.
Other Strategic Sites or Broad Areas A few additional sites and areas were suggested including, the dockyard, the University area, The Hard (including Brunel House), Frasers Battery in Eastney, and the area around Airport Service Road. Others mentioned areas off Portsea Island including Paulsgrove, Drayton, Farlington and Portsdown Hill. Three respondents highlighted the northern part of the island, specifically Hilsea as a broad area for investigation.
Comments on other documents A limited number of comments were received, some respondents made suggestions relating to detailed points for inclusion in the background documents to inform the work going forward, including amendments to the Sustainability Appraisal. The importance of the Habitats Regulations Assessment was highlighted along with the sensitive ecological sites and species.
Other comments These ranged from reiteration that the plan should firstly meet the needs of current residents and address current restraints such as infrastructure capacity, to suggestions about work to complete and groups to be worked with as part of the Local Plan process going forwards. There were a number of issues raised relating to the consultation process itself,including the documentation produced, the feedback methods utilised and engagement with local people.

 

 

End Notes

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