Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) 2009

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St Albans City and District Council is required to carry out a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) as a key part of the evidence base for its Local Development Framework. This assessment provides a comprehensive review of potential housing sites across the District and will help the Council to make important decisions over the delivery of sufficient land for housing to meet the District’s future needs.   In particular, it will inform the preparation of the Council’s Core Strategy, Site Allocations and Development Policies Development Plan Documents (DPDs).

Government guidance explains that, although the SHLAA is an important evidence source to inform plan making, it does not, in itself, determine whether a site should be allocated for housing development. Such decisions will therefore need to be taken by the Council as part of work on its Development Plan Documents (DPDs).  The date at which this SHLAA was base-lined was 31st March 2009.

There have been significant changes in circumstances since 31.3.09. The changes include:

the publication of and responses to the Emerging Core Strategy; an advisory visit to the Council by David Vickery of the Planning Inspectorate in November 2009; SADC Cabinet decisions, including that of 21st January, that “... existing Areas of Housing Search in the Green Belt be withdrawn from the current Local Development Framework Core Strategy Document”; data in regard to dwellings built and permissions granted from April 1st 2009 – 31st March 2010 and the latest information regarding individual sites, including additional deliverable and developable capacity gained through the District Vision work.  It should be emphasised again that the 2009 SHLAA is a “snapshot in time” at 31st March 2009 only.

The draft SHLAA document was published on the Council’s website for public consultation on 4th September 2009.  Councillors, key stakeholders and all 23 respondents to the draft SHLAA Methodology were also made aware of its publication.  There were 73 responses from Landowners/Agents, 5 from Organisations and 2 from individuals.  This feedback and further information was taken into consideration prior to producing this final SHLAA.

For clarification, the term “suitable” is used throughout the SHLAA as being in accordance with the definitions used in PPS3 and in the SHLAA Guidance:

“A site is suitable for housing development if it offers a suitable location for development and would contribute to the creation of sustainable, mixed communities”. 

This definition of “suitable” was helpfully expanded upon in the Planning Advisory Service document Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment - Frequently Asked Questions at question 16:

“What does “suitable” mean in relation to deliverability/developability?

The answer depends on context…Where there are a large number of possible sites, it may be of necessary to think in terms of sites being potentially suitable for housing, on the understanding that decisions about strategy may rule out sites in some locations in favour of others”

The considerations throughout this SHLAA have therefore taken the most appropriate interpretation, given the very large number of possible sites in this District.  Suitability is therefore regarded as meaning “potentially suitable”, with strategic decisions subsequently to be made as part of DPD creation, selecting some locations in favour of others.

Please note that, where sites are identified in this study, this does not necessarily mean that planning permission for residential development will be granted nor that they will be allocated for housing in future development plans. Conversely, the non-inclusion of a site does not necessarily mean it would not be considered for allocation in future plans or receive planning permission for residential development.

SHLAA 2009 Appendices

For those who wish to see further detail, the SHLAA Appendices are located here www.stalbans.gov.uk/planning/Planningpolicy/library/shlaa.aspx.  

Please be aware that some of the Appendices are extremely large.  For clarity and to avoid double counting, individual sites within the parts of the district analysed as Areas Of Search have been included in the main SHLAA document only in the context of the Area Of Search within which they fall.

Date of last review: 18 March 2015