Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19

Document Section Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19 Expansion of Minster Cemetery CM04 [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 925
Respondent . - St Johns College [View all comments by this respondent]
Agent C Mills - Savills
Response Date 01 Oct 2018
Response Type OBJECT
What is the nature of this representation?
  • Object

The landowner has no in principle objection to offering additional  land for the delivery of an expansion to Minster Cemetery. This is subject to suitable evidence base on need being secured through the planning application and/or Examination process. Thanet District Council officers have confirmed that they have not collated any evidence base to justify the need for a cemetery extension under this emerging policy. Whilst Minster Parish Council has offered the enclosed
justification during pre-application discussions, it is considered this needs further exploration to ensure that the plan requirement is in fact justified and consequently sound.

Assuming that the Inspector is content that a sufficient evidence of need is identified, it is reiterated that the landowner is content to offer the relevant parcel of land to Minster Parish Council.

Instead concerns are raised over the precise wording of policy CM04. The use of the phrase 'Land is to be provided' ... 'as part of the adjoining housing allocation' implies that the land will be provided as an integral part of the housing-led scheme, effectively implying that it is required as part of this allocation. However, it is reiterated that any identified need for the cemetery extension results from broader need in the locality and not as a result of the proposed housing allocation. As such, it is necessary to reiterate that any land offer over and above direct mitigation for the scheme will be offered to Minster Parish Council to purchase (likely at agricultural land value) in order to comply with relevant legislation and national policy. Reference is made to the following extract of the Planning Practice Guidance, which sets out the fundamental tests:

Planning obligations may only constitute a reason for granting planning permission if they meet the tests that they are necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms, directly related to the development, and fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind. These tests are set out as statutory tests in the Community Infrastructure Lew Regulations 2010 and as policy tests in the National Planning Policy Framework.23b-001-20161116

In light of this, the policy wording of CM04 is considered ambiguous and requiring modification to ensure that it meets the legal requirements and national policy standards outlined above. The policy must not risk any ambiguity as to the expectations that  the housing-led allocation is required to 'provide' a cemetery extension in order to come forward.

Do you consider the document is Sound? No
What changes do you suggest to make the document legally compliant or sound? It is suggested that CM04 is rephrased as follows:
'The expansion of Minster Cemetery will be supported. Any ancillary cemetery uses must be
compatible with housing-led allocation H012'.

It is anticipated that discussions may be required in relation to the needs justification for
the cemetery extension into which St John's College expect to input. It is reiterated that the
landowner does not seek to dispute a need exists for the expansion of Minster cemetery. However, it is felt discussions are needed to ensure that the evidence base on which the policy is based is fair, justified and the most suitable way in which to calculate need during the plan period.

St John's College also seek to engage in discussions regarding the precise wording of the policy and assurance that the policy meets the relevant requirements with regards to the CIL Regulations and national policy requirements with respect of planning obligations.
Do you consider it necessary to participate at the oral part of the examination? Yes