Site Specific Allocations

Adopted January 2011

LOW7 - Gunton Park, off Old Lane, Lowestoft

Allocation: Housing and Open Space

LOW7.jpg

Context
2.85 LOW7 is a greenfield site outside the main built up area of Lowestoft. The A12 to Great Yarmouth passes close by to the west. Gunton Park is the current home of the Lowestoft and Yarmouth Rugby Club. There is a car park and single-storey clubhouse to the east of the site, while the rest of the area consists of flat, grassed playing pitches. Large trees surround the site by the Old Lane entrance and to the south and west. New housing is located at Gunton Park Mews to the northeast of the site. A private access road leads to these houses from the entrance to this site off Old Lane.

2.86 The site is mainly bordered by housing, with the exception of a paddock to the southwest and the Gunton Hall car park that runs along most of the southern boundary. A footpath from Gunton Avenue to Old Lane runs between this car park and the tree-lined boundary of the site. Pedestrian and cycle routes are available from the entrance of the site to/from Corton and Lowestoft. Bus stops are located close by on Corton Long Lane and the A12 Yarmouth Road.

LOW7 Image 1.jpgProposed Development
2.87 This site is a greenfield open space, and lies outside the main built up area of Lowestoft. As such it would not normally be considered an appropriate location for housing development, or to be in accordance with Core Strategy policies CS01, CS11 and CS14. However, the loss of open space needs to be balanced against the benefits of developing increased and improved facilities for rugby in an alternative location. Housing development in this location would help enable this.

2.88 This site is only being progressed as an allocation for housing on the strict condition that an open space, of a greater size and quality is provided in the form of playing pitches for Rugby in another, at least equally accessible, location. In terms of assessing the quality of replacement provision, regard will be had to the number of pitches provided and the range of facilities provided. Profits from the sale of the land for housing should contribute towards funding this improved facility, but housing development should not take place on the site until an alternative location for playing pitches has been agreed and delivered. The allocation for sport and leisure development (LOW11) at Oakes Farm, Carlton Colville provides an opportunity for the Rugby Club to relocate, should they decide that moving to the south of the town is an acceptable option.

2.89 Some open space has already been lost to development in this area, as the former tennis courts to the northeast of the site have recently been developed for housing. In addition, the open nature of this site contributes to the semi-rural low density character of the area. This points to a need to protect some open space in this location, and it is not considered appropriate to develop the entire site for housing. An area of publicly accessible open space should be retained on the northern third of the site, since this is where Gunton Park Mews is located and where most other housing backs onto the site.

2.90 Housing development should be concentrated on the southern side of the site. To minimise the impact on the character of the area, including through traffic generation, the site should be developed at a lower density (24/ha) than would usually be required. A range of types and sizes of dwellings should be provided, including 35% affordable housing. This percentage requirement was established through a site specific viability assessment[1] which took into account known abnormal costs and site specific requirements. The requirement for affordable housing will only be reduced in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated that a lower percentage of affordable housing is needed to ensure the site remains financially viable when taking into account unforeseen development costs.

LOW7 Image 2.jpg2.91 The site is located close to the edge of the town, and has good access to services and facilities. The Tesco supermarket is within walking distance, and the site is well linked to pedestrian and cycle routes and the public transport network. The Highway Authority require that the footpath that runs along the southern boundary of the site is maintained to at least its existing width. Vehicular access should preferably be off Old Lane, and improvements to the current access would be required. A Transport Assessment will be required.

2.92 The County Archaeologist considers there is high potential for archaeological remains to be defined at this location, given the size of this site. It is recommend that a condition relating to archaeological investigation should be attached to any planning application.

2.93 There have been recent land drainage issues affecting the southwest corner of the site, although corrective works may since have remedied the problem. This will need to be taken into account when developing the site.

Policy LOW7

Land at Gunton Park of Old Lane, Lowestoft, (4.0ha), is allocated for housing (60 units) and open space. The site will be developed in accordance with the following site specific criteria:
• Development of this site should not take place until a replacement site, of a larger size and higher quality, for the provision of rugby playing pitches within the Lowestoft area has been agreed and delivered.
• Vehicular access should preferably be off Old Lane, and improvements to the current access will be required.
• A Transport Assessment will be required.
• An area of publicly accessible open space of not less than 1.36 ha should be located along the northern boundary of the site.
• Housing development should be located on the remaining 2.64 ha of land towards the south of the site at an approximate density of 24 dwellings per hectare.
• A mix of housing of different sizes and tenures should be provided, including 35% affordable housing with the mix to be based on the findings of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment and agreed with the District Council Housing Officer. The affordable housing requirement will only be reduced in exceptional circumstances to ensure the site remains financially viable when taking into account unforeseen development costs.
• A condition relating to archaeological investigation should be attached to any planning permission.
• A Flood Risk Assessment should be prepared as part of the application process to assess and mitigate the risk of flooding from surface water drainage.

Implementation
2.94 Delivery of the development will be by a developer and the Lowestoft and Yarmouth Rugby Club. This is likely to be in a medium term timescale but is dependent upon identifying a suitable alternative site and relocation of the existing club facilities.