NJL secures approval of Reserved Matters at Heald Green
NJL are delighted to have secured planning permission for a reserved matters scheme of 202 dwellings on behalf of Bloor Homes. The grant of consent follows the landmark Green Belt appeal decision for the Seashell Trust which was approved by the Secretary of State in April 2020.
Comprehensive Local Engagement
The proposals represent the culmination of a lengthy 14 month process of engagement with the Council and the local community. Following multiple iterations on the site layout and house types, we have been really impressed with Bloor’s positive and flexible approach to taking onboard feedback and making every effort to address concerns raised.
Given the history of the site’s planning history it was key that a comprehensive community engagement exercise was undertaken. NJL inputted into the preparation of consultation materials and communications strategy through the use of online and social media platforms. Whilst social media has emerged within the planning process, this has undoubtedly been accelerated from the outbreak of the COVID-19 and implementation of lockdown restrictions. What was certainly noticeable was how the use of social media engagement drove through the key benefits of new housing to a wider, younger audience than more ‘traditional’ methods of the past. This resulted in 242 individual expressions of interest for a new property, all of which came from within the catchment of Stockport and a third within the local ward. This statistic in itself captured the extent of pent up demand for new family housing in the local area, driven principally by the authority’s lack of a five year housing land supply.
Noting the growth ambitions for high density development in Stockport town centre and the Council’s recent announcement on their own local plan preparations, the consultation feedback came as a timely reminder of the significant demand for family housing and the importance for authorities to ensure that plans are capable of meeting all needs as required by the NPPF.
Further to our involvement through the consultation process, NJL project managed the application submission within a 7 week timeframe from the first pre-application meeting with the Council alongside a design review presentation with Places Matter.
The Importance of Achieving Quality Design
Having secured the principle of development, the scrutiny placed on the reserved matters application was ensuring that high design quality was achieved across all aspects. The announcement of National Design Codes and proposed NPPF amendments in January 2021 added further weight for the local authority to examine the design through the application process. Alongside E-scape Urbanists, NJL inputted into the preparation of a Design Code which supported the application and established the principles on design standards. This Code will not only inform the approved development but future phase(s) to be brought forward by Bloor Homes.
Paramount to the success of the scheme and final design solution was the balancing of several factors. This included the underlying cross-funding case with Seashell Trust and the need to achieve a certain density of development, the unforeseen impacts of the pandemic outbreak, and matters of principle established under the outline planning permission. From our involvement at the outline stage, NJL provided strategic planning advice to establish a strong framework for the site layout and access strategy.
Working with the Council on detailed design matters, some key outcomes for the development can be summarised as follows: