What is the new Local Plan?
The Council is in the process of preparing a new Local Plan, which will set the strategy for the future development of the District beyond 2025 – the current plan period - until 2040. The new Local Plan will replace a number of the adopted policy documents which form the local development plan for the District.
Once adopted the new Local Plan will replace a number of the adopted policy documents. It will set out the Council’s strategic vision, policies and land allocations, where necessary, for meeting future needs (including housing, employment, community facilities, transport and other infrastructure needed to support development). It will also identify areas for protection, such as sites that are important for wildlife and open space.
What is the timetable for the new Local Plan?
The timetable for preparing the new Local Plan is set out in the Council’s Local Development Scheme (LDS), the latest update to this was adopted on 7 September 2023. The preparation of an LDS is a statutory requirement which enables local communities and other interested parties to understand the Council’s proposed timetable for preparing the Local Plan, and the main steps involved.
What is the evidence supporting the new Local Plan?
There are a number of technical background documents which support the preparation of the new Local Plan (see Related Content). The development of the evidence base is an ongoing and new documents will be added when they become available.
How is the Council engaging with local communities and businesses?
As detailed in the LDS, the Local Plan-making process consists of a number of stages of consultation, each of which offers the local community, and other interested parties, the opportunity to give feedback on the topics, sites and policies being presented. These are listed below. For further information, please refer to the ‘Historic Documents’ section of the ‘Current and Past Planning Policy Consultations’ link in Related Content.
The Council is required to set out the principles for engaging and consulting with local communities and other interested parties on planning matters, by preparing a Statement of Community Involvement. This is updated regularly, and further information can be found via the link in Related Content.
Past Consultation Stages
The Council held community engagement workshops at local parishes in Summer/Autumn 2016 to help shape the first stage of the new Local Plan, called the Issues and Options Document. The purpose of these workshops was to explain the role of the Parish Councils in plan-making and to help build up a clear vision for the future for each parish and the wider district. The workshops were also supplemented by a survey. This early engagement follows the principles for engaging and consulting with local communities set out in the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement, adopted on 19 July 2016. For further information, see link in Related Content.
Issues and Options Consultation
The first formal stage of consultation on the new Local Plan, Issues and Options, took place in late 2017/early 2018. This document set out a comprehensive range of issues and options relating to the future of the District, and how the planning system could help deliver new opportunities. A range of issues were raised through the consultation which have influenced the direction of the new Local Plan since, and which will continue to be explored, alongside further consultation feedback, through the plan-making process. For further background to this stage, please refer to the ‘Issues and Options Document’ link in Related Content, along with ‘Historic Documents’ section in ‘Current and Past Planning Policy Consultations’.
The Council is currently consulting on an updated Statement of Community Involvement until Wednesday 8 September. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and other changes to the planning system, a review has identified a number of minor changes that could be made to the Statement of Community Involvement which are the subject to this consultation.
Spatial Options Consultation
The second (and most recent) stage in the new Local Plan, the Spatial Options consultation took place in Summer 2021. It builds on the feedback from Issues and Options to set out further challenges and opportunities for how the District can change and grow in the next 20 years. It presented a range of ‘Spatial Strategy Options’ for feedback, exploring how different locations and patterns of development could fulfil the District’s housing, economic and infrastructure needs in a sustainable way. It also presented a range of settlement profiles, allowing communities to give feedback on the best ways to help improve, protect or grow these over the next 20 years.
The Spatial Options Feedback Report is now available to view, and views and comments from the consultation will be considered as the new Local Plan progresses.
For further information, please refer to the ‘Spatial Options Consultation’ link in Related Content, along with the section in ‘Current and Past Planning Policy Consultations’.
How do I get involved?
If you would like to be involved in the preparation of the new Local Plan and notified of future planning policy consultations, sign up to the Planning Policy mailing list. This is a simple process requiring a valid email address (see Related Content section).