As part of the update to our Local Plan, Rother District Council is required by national planning policy to undertake a Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA).

The HELAA will assess the development potential of sites for housing and economic land (including renewable energy schemes) across the district and consider whether they are suitable, available and achievable for development. The HELAA will form an important part of the evidence base for the new Rother Local Plan.

To submit a site for consideration through the HELAA please visit the Call for Sites page.

The HELAA will be the latest iteration of other land availability studies undertaken by the Council in the past.  It follows on from previous land capacity studies and a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) (2010 – updated 2013), undertaken to support the Core Strategy (adopted 2014) and the Development and Site Allocations Local Plan (adopted 2019).

The HELAA will be an ‘evidence-base’ document to aid plan making and not a statement of Council policy. It will not pre-empt or prejudice any future Council decisions about sites, nor will it determine whether a site should be allocated for future development, as that is the role of a Local Plan or a Neighbourhood Plan. It will not determine whether a site should be granted planning permission.

The HELAA will inform the preparation of the new Rother Local Plan by identifying potential land that may be available for development.

Carrying out the HELAA will enable the Council to:

  • Identify specific sites and broad locations with the potential for housing and economic development;
  • Assess the development potential of sites; and
  • Appraise the suitability, availability and achievability of different sites for development in line with national policy and guidance.

The HELAA will consider sites which are submitted to the Council by landowners, developers and site promoters, together with sites that are identified by officers. It will be prepared in accordance with Planning Practice Guidance.

As required by Planning Practice Guidance, the HELAA will be undertaken on a district-wide basis. Notwithstanding this, many towns and parishes are covered by (existing and emerging) Neighbourhood Plans, which may have involved their own “call for sites” and site assessments. The HELAA does not constrain this process in any way.

The HELAA is scheduled to be published in support of the Council’s forthcoming Preferred Options and Alternatives Consultation which is tentatively programmed for Summer/Autumn 2021. An updated timetable will be published in due course.