As part of our work on the Jaywick Sands Place Plan, we identified the need for better design guidance to help property owners and potential developers submit proposals that would be both flood safe, and appropriate to the unique environment of Jaywick as a place. Applications coming forward were demonstrating a number of significant issues and planning officers were finding it difficult to balance up the relevant considerations and make decisions that would represent an improvement to the environment. At the same time, it is vitally important to incentivise and encourage property owners to replace existing unsafe homes with better quality, flood safe, housing.
We were subsequently commissioned by Tendring District Council to develop a Supplementary Planning Document to address this gap and following public consultation in 2022, the SPD has now been adopted. We worked closely with the Environment Agency in order to develop appropriate, place-specific guidance that will enable the improvement of housing quality and flood safety for residents. This innovative, place-specific approach will mitigate the risks posed to a community who are increasingly vulnerable to climate change.
The SPD removes barriers to the rebuilding of homes that are not flood safe, while ensuring that new development that does not take unsafe homes out of habitation is required to meet stringent tests. It makes rebuilding or improvement of their homes more accessible to existing homeowners by providing clear guidance and worked examples for typical plots. It will also benefit planning officers in determining planning applications and pre-application submissions, where previously they lack guidance on how to balance the different aspects of design, regeneration benefits and flood safety.
Jaywick Sands is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, due to its location and topography, the unique layout of the settlement, and the nature of the homes it contains. The wider engagement undertaken around this project has also helped to raise local awareness of climate change issues, and is benefitting the development of a long-term regeneration framework for the community.