Agenda item

Local Development Framework (Standard Item) (Agenda item 8)

To receive an update.


The Principal Planning Policy Officer informed Members of the progress on the Breckland Local Development Framework (LDF). He explained that, although Breckland was in the third year of the new system, and it was appreciated that there was some anxiety over the time taken to produce the LDF, Breckland was making reasonable progress. 


In Spring 2007 the LDF team had consulted on ‘Development Choices’ – around some critical issues for the LDF including housing numbers, job numbers and retail floorspace figures.  This had generated 1400 comments all of which could be viewed on-line at  Broadly, the consultation had advised the Council that it was on the right lines but that it needed to develop further which villages became Local Service Centres, the balance of growth between towns and a strategy for thriving and sustainable rural communities.


The next LDF milestone was public consultation on the final draft of Strategy and Core Policies.  Before this consultation could take place with the public there remained a number of areas of work which needed to be finalised over the next 2 months before the draft was able to go through the various Committee cycle.  This included a Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment – a thorough analysis of all sustainable housing options, a revised Strategic Flood Risk Assessment and a detailed Assessment of European Wildlife Sites (which was underway).  Much of the work would be in the public domain once it entered the Committee process towards the middle/end of October with the public consultation to follow.   Work on the LDF site specifics would need to start in the Autumn 2007 with dialogue between Officers, Town and Parish Councils and Ward Members to develop revised inset plans.  An LDF newsletter on the timetable would be sent out to all Town & Parish Councils and stakeholders in September which would be available on-line.


Members were advised that on 30th September 2007 the Local Plan and Norfolk Structure Plan would expire; although there was a process for saving Local Plan policies beyond this date. Whilst there were over 150 policies in the Local Plan, the core 20 policies which were being used on a daily basis would be saved and would meet the Government’s strict criteria for the saving of Local Plan policies.


A key task for the LDF was to define a number of villages as Local Service Centres.The emerging Regional Plan allowed for LDFs to allocate development to large villages with good level of services.  The services were:


-          Primary school in the village and access to a Secondary School nearby

-          Health care facilities

-          Retail and service provision to meet everyday needs

-          Local employment opportunities

-          Public transport provision


This was the first time in 15-20 years that plan-making had been able to consider the potential of larger villages for further development.  Despite growth in the rural areas, the closure of village services and commuting had increased and identifying a number of Local Service Centres had the following benefits:


·         Signalling to service providers (ie Police, PCT, Education) where to focus its resources to protect and enhance service provision in the rural areas


·         Enabling further development to support service provision and meet local needs (eg affordable housing)


·         Limited development could help deliver community aspirations (eg open space)


There were two potential categories of Local Service Centre Villages. 


Category 1:  Villages that would see some growth (up to 100 homes) over next 15 years (ie. 4 - 7 homes a year); and


Category 2:  Villages that would see limited growth (infilling) but efforts to protect and enhance remaining services.


Defining the number and role of Local Service Centre Villages remained a key task for the LDF and the Council needed to be in a position to consult on a definitive list by the end of the year.  To aid this process Overview and Scrutiny Panel 1, at its next meeting on 18th September, would focus on Local Service Centre villages. 


Members were advised to email any questions they might have to the Principal Planning Policy Officer.