Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment and South Featherstone Link Road

Published: 12 March 2020

At the Parish Council meeting held on 9 March 2020 Councillors agreed that an amendment would be been made to the document.  The second paragraph now reads ‘Councillors were briefed on’ which replaces ‘We discussed’.

Statement from: Ackworth Parish Council

Ackworth Parish Councillors met with Wakefield Council officers, Neville Ford, Service Manager for Planning and Transportation Policy, and Rob Ellis, Team Leader for the Spatial Policy Team.

Councillors were briefed on the South Featherstone Link Road, the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), and the Draft Wakefield District Local Plan (WDLP).

Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA)

Neville Ford explained that the Government requires Local Authorities to draw up a SHLAA. It is a list compiled from any developer, landowner or individual all of whom can submit an area of land to be included in the SHLAA.

The Local Authority must include all areas of land submitted.

Just because an area of land is included in the SHLAA it does not mean that the site will be allocated for housing in the Local Plan or that planning permission will be granted. The SHLAA does not in itself determine whether a site should be allocated for development. It is the role of the SHLAA to provide information on the range of sites which are available to meet the local authority’s requirements, but it is for the local plan itself to determine which of those sites are the most suitable to meet those requirements.

It is extremely difficult for developers to get planning permission for developments in the green belt. There is a difference between 'green-belt land' (which is land designated as green belt on the ‘policies map’ associated with an adopted local plan) and green-field land' (which is generally land which has not been built on before).

Local Plan (LP)

The Government also requires the Local Authority to prepare a Local Plan (LP) that will guide future development. The initial draft Wakefield District Local Plan shows no land allocated for development in Ackworth up to 2036.

South Featherstone Link Road

An indicative route for the South Featherstone Link Road is shown included in the current LP, called the Wakefield Local Development Framework. A revised alignment has been carried forward to the draft Wakefield District Local Plan. The possible line of the Link Road is included to inform future plans, funding bids and potential future development. This does not mean that the road will definitely be built, nor that it will follow this exact route. The project is at a very early stage. There needs to be a feasibility study to make the outline business case for the road; if the outline business case is made and accepted by Wakefield Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority then a full business case will be prepared to secure funding and planning consent will also need to be secured. There will need to be extensive consultation. Neville Ford pointed out that these issues would be happening at a time when the Climate Emergency was raising strategic issues at a national and local level pertaining to car types, car numbers and the whole interface of private and public transport. All this makes predictions about the future of the link road highly speculative at this early stage.

The only potential development site shown on the draft LP that is associated with the Link Road is on the southern edge of Featherstone. A consortium of landowners is promoting this site for allocation in the Wakefield District Local Plan. No developer has applied for planning permission to build on this area of land..

There will be public consultation beginning in May on a revised draft of the WDLP. The consultation documents will be available on Wakefield Council's website and a paper copy of the draft plan and its policies maps will be sent to all public and community libraries. Following this consultation the draft plan will be submitted to the Government for examination in public by a planning inspector.