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Rochford District Core Strategy Examination

The Core Strategy was subject to public examination to determine its ‘soundness’ and ‘legal compliance’ between January 2010 (when the Council submitted the Core Strategy Submission Document to the Secretary of State) and November 2011 (when the Inspector’s Report was published). The different stages of the examination are set out below.

Inspector’s Report Received – Core Strategy found sound - October 2011

The Inspector concluded that the Rochford District Core Strategy was ‘sound’ and ‘legally compliant’, subject to changes. The changes (including those proposed by the Council and the Inspector in her report) are set out in Schedules A, B and C. The Inspector’s required changes (those in Schedules A and C) are binding on the Council (i.e. if the Council now determine to adopt the Core Strategy, these changes must be included).

These documents can be downloaded below.

Inspector’s Report (PDF 143kb)

Inspector's Report - Schedule A (PDF 64kb)

Inspector’s Report - Schedule B (PDF 176kb)

Inspector’s Report - Schedule C (PDF 18kb)

The Rochford District Core Strategy, along with the Inspector’s Report, were presented to the Council, and subsequently approved and formally adopted on 13 December 2011..

Core Strategy Schedule of Minor Amendments (2011) September 2011

The future of the Core Strategy was considered at an Extraordinary Council meeting on 31 August 2011. In summary, the Council agreed to revert back to the Core Strategy as originally submitted for examination in January 2010, with minor amendments, as per the suggestion in the Inspector’s letter of 11 August 2011.
A Schedule of Minor Amendments to the Core Strategy Submission Document was produced and was consulted on between 9 September 2011 and 7 October 2011. The Core Strategy and consultation results were then submitted to the Inspector. More information can be found by selecting ‘Core Strategy Schedule of Minor Amendments (2011) September 2011’ under Related Links.

Implications of the draft National Planning Policy Framework - September 2011

The Inspector invited the examination participants to submit any comments about the implications of the emerging National Planning Policy Framework for the Core Strategy examination. You can find more information about by selecting ‘Consultation on National Planning Policy Framework September 2011’ under Related Links.

Request to Suspend the Core Strategy Examination – July / August 2011

The Council wrote to the Planning Inspectorate on 29 July 2011 to request that the Examination be suspended until December 2011. The decision to make this request was made by Council on 21 July 2011 following recent Court rulings that changes to the planning system by the Secretary of State were unlawful, and in light of the Localism Bill (which had a significant impact on planning at a local level). In short, the Inspector did not agree to this request but set out how the Core Strategy could be progressed. The full response can be viewed by selecting ‘Correspondence to and from the Planning Inspectorate’ under Related Links.

Review of Sustainability Appraisal - June 2011

Following the Forest Heath Case (Save Historic Newmarket v. Forest Heath District Council) which created new case law on how to undertake Sustainability Appraisals, the Council asked the Inspector to delay the issuing of her final report to enable a review of Rochford District’s Sustainability Appraisal to be undertaken.

The Council produced a draft review of the Core Strategy Sustainability Appraisal and comments were invited on this between 13 June 2011 and 11 July 2011. Following analysis of the comments received on the draft document, a final version was produced called ‘Core Strategy Sustainability Appraisal Addendum 2011’. Please see ‘Review of Sustainability Appraisal’ under Related Links for more information. The Core Strategy Sustainability Appraisal Addendum 2011 was then submitted to the Inspector on 26 July 2011.

Implications of planning policy changes announced in the 2011 budget – April 2011

The Inspector asked participants of the examination if they had any views as to how the planning policy changes that were announced in the 2011 Budget (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. More information can be found by selecting ‘Responses to Budget Statement April 2011’ under Related Links.

Responses to Cala Homes Judgement February 2011

On 7 February 2011 a judgement of the High Court relating to the weight that can be given to the Secretary of State’s intention to abolish Regional Spatial Strategies was made (Cala Homes (South) Limited v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government).

Examination participants were provided with an opportunity to comment on this judgement and the implications for the examination. More information can be found by selecting ‘Responses to Cala Homes Judgment February 2011’ under Related Links.

Core Strategy Schedule of Changes – October 2010

The Government announced in May/June 2010 that Regional Spatial Strategies were going to be abolished, and it was suggested that this should be a material consideration. The Inspector asked for views on this (see ‘Responses to Government Statement June 2010’ link below).

Therefore during the examination, in light of the Government’s announcement to abolish Regional Spatial Strategies and their associated targets, the Council decided to review the housing numbers set out in the Core Strategy Submission Document. The Core Strategy Schedule of Changes was produced in October 2010. This also included additional Topic Papers on issues resulting from changes to government policy and a Sustainability Appraisal of these changes (an assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts of the amendments to the strategy). More information can be found by selecting ‘Core Strategy Schedule of Changes October 2010’ under Related Links.


Affordable Housing Hearing Session – September 2010

A separate hearing session on affordable housing took place in September 2010 to consider the findings of the Affordable Housing Viability Study. More information can be found by selecting ‘Affordable Housing Hearing Session – September 2010‘ under Related Links.

Implications of the Government’s statement on Regional Spatial Strategies and changes to PPS3 – June 2010

Following the change in Government in May 2010, a statement was issued which set out the Government’s intention to do away with Regional Spatial Strategies (the East of England Plan covers Rochford District). These plans set regional housing, employment and other targets which local planning authorities have to conform to. Guidance was issued that the Government’s intention could be a material consideration in plan making, which would mean that the regional targets would not have to be followed.

PPS3 which is the national planning policy statement on housing was reissued in June 2010 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 Inspector asked those participating in the examination for their views on how these changes may impact on the Core Strategy. More information can be found by selecting ‘Responses to Government Statement April 2010’ under Related Links.

Additional Information Requested by Inspector Post Examination – May 2010

During the hearing sessions in May 2010, the Inspector requested that the Council produce additional information for the Core Strategy examination. More information can be found by selecting ‘Additional Information Requested by Inspector Post Examination – May 2010’ under Related Links.

Examination Hearings – May 2010

The Core Strategy hearing sessions began in May 2010 following the pre-hearing meeting – more information on the pre-hearing meeting can be found under Related Documents, and information on the May hearing sessions, including the matters and issues for discussion, can be found by selecting ‘Examination Hearings May 2010’ under Related Links.

Core Strategy Submitted to Secretary of State – January 2010

The Core Strategy was submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination on 14 January 2010. The Core Strategy is the main 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, the Council also 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.

Reference Document title
SUBDOC1 Core Strategy Consultation Statement
SUBDOC2 Core Strategy Submission Document
SUBDOC3 Core Strategy Topic Paper 1 - PPS25 sequential test
SUBDOC4 Core Strategy Topic Paper 2 - Indicative Core Strategy infrastructure costs
SUBDOC5 Equalities Impact Assessment
SUBDOC6 Core Strategy Habitat Regulations Assessment
SUBDOC7 Letter of Conformity – Core Strategy conformity with the Regional Spatial Strategy
SUBDOC8 Local Development Scheme 2009
SUBDOC9 Notice of Submission
SUBDOC10 Replacement Local Plan policies to be superseded by the Core Strategy
SUBDOC11 Soundness Self Assessment
SUBDOC12 Statement of Community Involvement
SUBDOC13 Core Strategy Submission Document Sustainability Appraisal


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