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Core Strategy – Inspector seeks views on implications of planning policy changes announced in the 2011 budget

The soundness of the Core Strategy is currently being examined by the Planning Inspectorate.

As part of this examination, the Inspector undertaking the examination is asking participants if they have any views as to how the planning policy changes that were announced in the 2011 Budget recently (particularly the Written Ministerial Statement 'Planning for Growth' issued by The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Minister of State, on 23 March 2011 and the further details contained in the Treasury's 'The Plan for Growth') might affect the case of participants and the soundness of the Core Strategy.

The letter from the Inspector inviting comments can be viewed via the link entitled 'Letter sent on behalf of the Inspector (6.4.2011) - Budget 2011', under Related Documents towards the bottom of this page.

Core Strategy - Schedule for production of Inspector's final report

Following the closure of the Rochford Core Strategy Examination hearings on 2 February 2011, and in accordance with paragraph 5.32 of the Inspectorate's Procedure Guidance, unsolicited material and 'responses' after the last hearing session that have not been requested by the Inspector will not be accepted.

The following is a proposed timetable for the production of the Inspector’s report, based on the Judgement on the Cala Homes case being received by Tuesday, 8 February 2011:

Letters to respondents to Schedule of Changes subsequent to Cala Judgement – 10.2.11.

Responses to these letters to be received by Programme Officer by 12noon – 24.2.11.

Fact Check Report to be received by Council – To be confirmed

Final report to be issued – To be confirmed

Following correspondence received from the Planning Inspectorate today, 5.4.11, there will be a further delay in Rochford District Council receiving the fact checking report.

As soon as an estimated date for the receipt of the report has been confirmed the website will be updated.

Core Strategy Submitted to Secretary of State

The Core Strategy has been submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination. Rochford’s Core Strategy is the main, overarching document of the Rochford District Local Development Framework - a collection of documents that will determine how the District develops in the future, over the next fifteen years and beyond.

In addition to the Core Strategy document, the Council has submitted a number of supporting documents to the Secretary of State. These include the representations submitted during pre-submission consultation, as well as the results of previous community involvement and other evidence.

The examination process includes a number of hearing sessions to discuss various elements of the Core Strategy.

The majority of these hearings have taken place.

However, since the start of the Core Strategy examination there have been a number of changes to government policy following the election of the coalition government. In particular:

  • Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) have been revoked. RSS set regional policy which local authorities were required to adhere to in developing their own strategies. For example, the East of England Plan (the relevant RSS for Rochford District) stated how many new homes must be built in the District. Please see East of England Plan revoked under Related Links at the bottom of this page for further details.
  • PPS3 (the government planning policy statement on housing) has been reissued with the following amendments:
    • The definition of previously developed land (in Annex B) now excludes private residential gardens
    • The national indicative minimum density of 30 dwellings per hectare is deleted from paragraph 47

The government has announced that, in the longer term, the “Localism Bill” will be introduced which will provide the legal basis for the abolition of Regional Strategies, and new ways for local authorities to address strategic planning and infrastructure will be introduced. The government has stated, however, that it is important for local planning authorities to carry on delivering Local Development Frameworks (of which Core Strategies are a critical part) and has provided local authorities with guidance on how they should continue to do so during the transitional period. A link to this guidance on the Planning Inspectorate’s website is provided at the bottom of this page under Related Links, entitled Guidance for Local Authorities following the revocation of Regional Strategies.

Following the recent changes in government policy, the Inspector carrying out the examination into Rochford District’s Core Strategy wrote to participants in the examination process, including the Council, asking for their views on how these changes may impact on the Core Strategy.

The Council has issued its response. To view this, and those of other participants, please see Responses to Government Statement under Related Links at the bottom of this page.

Further consultation on the Core Strategy

Following our response to the Inspector’s letter, we produced additional Topic Papers on issues resulting from changes to government policy; a schedule of proposed changes to the Core Strategy; and a Sustainability Appraisal of these changes (an assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts of the amendments to the strategy). These documents were subject to a period of consultation (ending 5pm on 30 November 2010). The results of this consultation will be submitted to the Inspector for consideration as part of the Core Strategy examination.

Any queries on the Core Strategy examination should directed to the Programme Officer, Lissa Higby, on programme.officer@rochford.gov.uk

Core Strategy and the Allocations Development Plan Document

The Hearings that commenced on 11 May 2010 related to the Rochford Core Strategy and not to the Allocations Development Plan Document.

The Rochford Core Strategy is the over-arching policy document intended to guide future development in the District. The Allocations Development Plan Document is a separate planning document which looks at specific sites and is at a much earlier stage than the Core Strategy. Community involvement on allocation options has recently taken place and a pre-submission version of the Allocations Development Plan Document will be prepared.

A further six week period of public consultation will then take place before a final version of the document is agreed.

The results of this consultation and other evidence, including a sustainability appraisal will be submitted to the government in 2011, with dates dependent on progress with the Core Strategy examination.

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