Waveney Local Plan

Scale and Location of Growth

026 Scale of Growth

Scale of Growth

1.3 Waveney is an attractive place to live and work and more people migrate into the District from elsewhere in the UK than leave. Additionally, households in Waveney are getting smaller, so even with no population growth there is a need for more housing. If we don't plan to meet the housing needs arising from these two factors, there is a risk that needs won't be met, resulting in a situation where demand continues to outweigh supply. This will push up house prices making it more difficult for younger people to enter the housing market. By not planning for this growth there is also a greater risk that housing developments could be built in inappropriate locations.

1.4 If we do not plan to meet the business growth needs in the District, there is a risk that investment will be targeted elsewhere, meaning workers in Waveney will increasingly need to travel further afield for work. If the Council does not plan for the needs of new retail development there is a risk that the vitality and viability of our town centres will decline.

1.5 The National Planning Policy Framework requires Local Plans to meet 'objectively assessed needs' for housing and economic development. An 'objectively assessed need' is a technical calculation of how many houses and jobs are needed in an area over a period of time.

1.6 The Council has commissioned and produced a series of evidence documents which assess the amount of growth needed for housing and economic development. The key studies are:

  • Strategic Housing Market Assessment (PBA, 2017)
  • Employment Land Needs Assessment (NLP, 2016) and Employment Land Needs update (Waveney District Council, 2017).
  • Retail and Leisure Needs Assessment (Carter Jonas, 2016)

1.7 The Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2017) identifies an objectively assessed need for 8,223 new homes over the plan period, which equates to 374 per year. The study has calculated this based on demographic projections (based on trends over the period 2010-2015). Of the 374 new homes needed annually, 208 need to be affordable to meet local need. However, it is unlikely that this proportion of affordable housing could be viably delivered.

Figure 4 - Total housing growth 2014-2036
027 Homes Maths
1.8 As of April 2017, 3,138 homes have been completed or have permission and are expected to complete within the plan period. This gives a residual need of 5,085 new homes that need to be planned for in this Local Plan. Policy WLP1.1 makes clear that housing targets are minimums.

1.9 Allocations for housing in this Local Plan exceed the minimum level of housing needed. The over allocation will help enable more affordable homes to delivered, particularly given the significant need referred to above. An over-allocation also provides confidence that the overall objectively assessed need will be met even if some allocated sites fail to come forward. In addition there will be further development which comes forward on sites not identified in the plan. These sites will either be within the Settlement Boundaries defined by Policy WLP1.3 or through the exceptions provided by Policies WLP8.6, WLP8.7, WLP8.8 or WLP8.11 or on Neighbourhood Plan allocations.

1.10 The Strategic Housing Market Assessment also identifies a need for 905 additional spaces in care homes and nursing homes over the plan period.

028 Employment1.11 The Employment Land Needs update (WDC, 2017) identified a growth of 5,000 new jobs over the period 2014-2036 in Waveney. This was based on a December 2016 model by Experian adjusted to take into account the likely impact on local employment from growth in the offshore wind sector. As well as jobs in the offshore sector, most jobs growth will be sectors such as health and social care, tourism, retail and construction.

1.12 Around 500 net new jobs will be in sectors requiring new employment premises such as office, factories and warehouses (falling under use classes B1, B2 and B8 of the use classes order). Considering the jobs forecast and the past trends in take up of employment land, the study identifies a need for 43 hectares of new employment land development (use classes B1, B2 and B8).

1.13 Some employment land development has already taken place and some has the benefit of planning permission. Between 2014 and 2017 there was a loss of 1.63 hectares of employment land, however, a further 2.8 hectares has planning permission. Like housing, this Local Plan has allocated more employment land than is needed. It is not expected that the majority of land on the larger allocations in South Lowestoft and Ellough will be developed within the lifetime of the Local Plan. However, it is expected there will be some development on these sites. Like housing, it is necessary to allocate slightly more land than is required to provide choice and flexibility and in case some sites do not come forward.

1.14 The Retail and Leisure Needs Assessment (2016) estimates that by 2032, there will be a need for at least another 2,197sqm of food store development and 11,063sqm of non-food types of retail development (non-food need takes into account an existing commitment of 3,085sqm). However, the study states that forecasts of need beyond five years need to be treated with caution due to the uncertainties in expenditure growth forecasts and market share beyond this time-frame.

1.15 The study forecasts need based on population growth and forecasts of expenditure on food and non-food products. It takes into account the amount of shopping undertaken on the internet and the leakage to other centres such as Norwich.

1.16 In the five year period there is no need for new non-food retail and only a need for 850sqm of food store development. Since the study was completed planning permission has been given for a large out of centre retail warehouse complex in South Lowestoft comprising 4,090sqm of non-food retail and an Aldi food store of 1,155sqm. Planning permission has also been given for a replacement Lidl store in North Lowestoft providing a gain of 111sqm of food floorspace and 27sqm of non-food floorspace (which has recently completed). These commitments mean that there is a remaining need for 6,946sqm of non-food over the plan period and 1,564sqm for food store retail development over the plan period (deep discounter floorspace such as that provided by Aldi and Lidl does not have the same expenditure per sqm as other superstores, therefore only counts approximately half towards the convenience need). The study also identifies the need for more restaurants and cafes, hotels, gyms and a new multiplex cinema to support a growing population.