People in the Yorkshire Dales National Park are being invited to put forward potential sites in their towns and villages for new housing.
Letters have been emailed to about 400 organisations and bodies including all Parish Councils in the National Park.
Members of the public, including landowners, are encouraged to take part in the consultation, which started on Wednesday (6 January) and will end on 26th February.
The call for housing sites constitutes the third public consultation on a new Local Plan, to cover the period 2023-2040. The Local Plan will determine where development will and won’t take place across the whole National Park.
The first consultation on a new Local Plan took place from December 2019, when people were asked general questions, such as what they thought were the most important planning issues in their part of the National Park. In summer 2020, a second consultation garnered views on housing numbers, low carbon development and farm related development; the views of young people were sought specifically.
Carl Lis, Member Champion for Sustainable Development at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “We’ve listened to what people have told us in the first two consultations. Whilst there is support for a more ambitious Local Plan, there is also a sizeable minority who think we should not be planning for any more new housing in the National Park. Now the time has come to get down to detail and start drawing lines on the map. I would like to ask communities to think carefully about whether their town or village has capacity for more housing and, if so, where development should happen. In other words, I am urging local people to help identify the land that is suitable for housing development in their area, and the land that is not.
“Now is the time to get involved if you would like to shape the development in your area, as the Local Plan determines the principle of developing land. The new Local Plan will guide all decisions on development in the National Park from 2023 onwards.”
In November 2019 a Strategic Housing Market Assessment recommended that at least 50 additional dwellings needed to built every year in the Yorkshire Dales National Park to counter population decline and increase the stock of affordable housing. The new consultation asks whether that target should be even higher, to enable the population to grow.
Mr Lis continued: “Quite a number of sites that were allocated for new homes the last time we created a Local Plan, eight years ago, regrettably remain undeveloped. It’s been very disappointing to see new housing completions at a low level in the National Park for several years running. So, as part of this consultation, we will need to understand whether there is any point carrying over housing sites allocated in the existing Local Plan that have stood undeveloped.
“I would like to see sites being allocated for new housing only where there is a genuine commitment to build. All comments and suggestions for sites will be carefully considered in this consultation, but speculators are not welcome. It’s vitally important we get this right because without new homes, it is very likely that the resident population in the National Park will decline. To make the National Park a better place, we need to see affordable new homes being built and permanently occupied.”