What is the ‘Call for Sites’?
Local Authorities will undertake a call for sites and broad locations for potential development, under a ‘call for sites’ consultation. The purpose of the call for sites consultation is for each Local Authority to meet their emerging housing and employment (retail, leisure, cultural, office, community, warehouse etc.) requirements. The call for sites consultation is an early opportunity for individuals, landowners, developers and other interested parties to submit their sites or broad locations to their Local Authority, for potential development.
The Local Authority call for sites shouldn’t be confused with call for sites consultations associated with Parish and Town Council’s, who will be in the process of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan. These Neighbourhood Plans and their associated call for sites consultations will be discussed in a forthcoming blog.
What sites can be submitted?
Local Authorities will need to assess a range of different site sizes, from small scale opportunities to large scale developments (e.g. village and town extensions). National guidance stipulates that Local Authorities should consider all sites and broad locations which are capable of delivering five or more dwellings or economic development on sites of 0.25+ hectares (or 500m²+); however, this doesn’t rule out sites which fall beneath these thresholds.
Local Authorities will consider both greenfield (undeveloped) and brownfield (previously development / existing built form) sites, which are within or adjacent to built-up boundaries of existing settlements, alongside other sites within the countryside.
How to submit?
Local Authorities will require the submission of their detailed call for sites application forms, alongside a map identifying the boundary of the proposed site, either electronically or via post. Details of the call for sites consultation and associated application forms, will be provided on the Local Authorities website. It should be noted, that the consultation deadline publicised by Local Authorities are not definitive and there is always the opportunity to submit sites after the consultation period has passed.
How sites are assessed?
Upon the closure of the call for sites consultation, Local Authorities will begin to assess the suitability of each site within a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) / Strategic Housing Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) or similar. This is a lengthy process; hence the possibility to submit sites for consideration, even when the publicised consultation deadline has passed.
These assessments form an important part of the Local Authorities evidence base for their current and forthcoming Local Development Framework, as they identify sites (housing, employment etc.) which are potentially developable and deliverable within the area.
It should be noted, that not all sites put forward to the Local Authorities for consideration, will be included within the SHLAA or similar.
If a site is included within the SHLAA or similar, it does not imply that it will automatically be included as an allocation in the Local Development Framework. Only those sites that are needed to meet requirements and which meet the criteria in terms of site size, location and suitability are likely to be allocated.
Furthermore, a site’s inclusion within the SHLAA or similar, does not in itself determine whether a site should be granted planning permission. However, it will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.