Agenda item

Local Plan Review

Report of Councillor Paul Claussen, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development & Growth.

Minutes:

The Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economic Development and Growth, Councillor Paul Claussen introduced the report that sought Cabinet’s approval for changes to the proposed approach in respect of the Local Plan Review.

 

Andrew Holdsworth, the Assistant Director for Economy and Growth provided Members with a presentation that outlined the context and background of the report, together with the financial implications and the proposed timeline.

 

Councillor Atterwill asked the following questions:

1)    It was understood that the existing Local Plan policies would not hold weight until the new Local Plan would be adopted in 2027.  What would that mean for communities that experience aggressive development, and in particular to those that do not have a Neighbourhood Plan.

2)    Had the Local Plan Working Group agreed to the option proposed.

3)    Would there be flexibility within the budget if more resources were required to carry out the review.

 

In response, Simon Wood, the Director for Planning and Building Control explained that the solution proposed was a pragmatic approach.  The Local Plan policy was one of a suite of policies [for example the five-year land supply] and would be in a robust position to make planning decisions going forward.

 

The Deputy Leader informed Members that the Local Plan Working Group had not been involved or had met to make any recommendations to Cabinet.

 

            The Assistant Director for Economy and Growth advised that the allocation was considered to be generous and would provide the best plan going forward and that the resource allocation would be reviewed continually to ensure it was fit for purpose.

 

            Councillor Morton felt that the Government had encouraged Local Authorities to have Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans and asked how Breckland Council would justify the delay.  In addition, he asked why there was a budget shortfall of £600,000; and as the Council had declared a climate emergency, he felt the Local Plan would help to implement those policies.

 

            The Deputy Leader stated that it had been a constant changing environment that the Officers had been working with and the best decisions had been made on the information that had been provided at the time.  He added that it was a technical report to enable the Council to get back in the right place at the right time.

 

            Councillor Atterwill asked the Director of the Planning and Building Control that the partial review would take place between 2021-2024 but the new Local Plan would not be adopted until 2027, and therefore would the existing policies still hold weight until 2027.  He also asked why the working group had not been consulted upon as he felt it would be diligent to gain input from Members.

 

The Director of Planning and Building Control said that it would not be possible to provide a commitment that those policies would continue to hold weight.

 

The Deputy Leader added that he had made the decision as an Executive Member for the item to be discussed at Cabinet and that it did not have to be taken to the Local Plan Working Group first.

 

The Executive Member for Finance, Revenue and Benefits summarised that the Local Plan had been adopted by Members in 2019 but the Inspectors had said that the Council had until November 2022 to undertake a partial review, specifically in regard to housing, non-travelling gypsy and travellers, accessibility of home standards and economic development. A response had been received from the High Court in July 2021 which was why questions could not be answered until now.  However, work had not stopped, and a decision had been made to look at climate and environmental changes and if this Council wanted to make a difference the Local Plan needed a fundamental refresh.  He reminded Members that it was a technical paper that had outlined the process and that Members would have the opportunity to influence the policies.

Options:

There are 3 options:

1)          Undertake a ‘single policy’ Partial Review that seeks to amend the wording of Policy INF 03 and remove the date by which the Partial Review should be submitted for examination to reflect the submission date proposed for the Substantive Review.

2)          Undertake a Full Review of the Plan only.

3)          Undertake the Partial Review as set out in Policy INF03 and a full review of the Plan within 5 years in accordance with National Planning Policy Framework.

 

Reasons for Recommendation

The Preparation of a Local Plan is a statutory requirement. Plans must be underpinned by an appropriate evidence base, much of which is required at an early stage of the preparation process to inform future decisions over development strategies and allocations.

 

RESOLVED that:

1)         a Single Policy Partial Review of Policy INF 03 is prepared in            parallel with a Substantive Review of the whole Local Plan as    outlined in Section 4 of the report

2)         timetables for both the Single Policy Partial and Substantive reviews are     approved as set out in the revised Local Development Scheme

3)         further work is undertaken and continued challenge and monitoring to          agree the ongoing financial resource required for the preparation of the            Single Policy Partial and Substantive reviews of the Plan

4)         the Statement of Community Involvement is approved for public        consultation for a period of 6 weeks.

Options:

There are 3 options:

1)          Undertake a ‘single policy’ Partial Review that seeks to amend the wording of Policy INF 03 and remove the date by which the Partial Review should be submitted for examination to reflect the submission date proposed for the Substantive Review.

2)          Undertake a Full Review of the Plan only.

3)          Undertake the Partial Review as set out in Policy INF03 and a full review of the Plan within 5 years in accordance with National Planning Policy Framework.

 

Reasons for Recommendation

The Preparation of a Local Plan is a statutory requirement. Plans must be underpinned by an appropriate evidence base, much of which is required at an early stage of the preparation process to inform future decisions over development strategies and allocations.

 

RESOLVED that:

1)         a Single Policy Partial Review of Policy INF 03 is prepared in parallel           with a Substantive Review of the whole Local Plan as outlined in           Section 4 of the report

2)         timetables for both the Single Policy Partial and Substantive reviews are      approved as set out in the revised Local Development Scheme

3)         further work is undertaken and continued challenge and monitoring to          agree the ongoing financial resource required for the preparation of the            Single Policy Partial and Substantive reviews of the Plan

4)         the Statement of Community Involvement is approved for public        consultation for a period of 6 weeks.

 

Supporting documents: