Spatial Options Consultation

New Local Plan: Spatial Options Consultation

What is the Spatial Options Consultation?

The Council is in the process of preparing a new Local Plan which will set the strategy for the District to 2040. The new Local Plan will replace a number of the adopted policy documents which form the local development plan for the District, including the Core Strategy.

Our new Local Plan will need to take a vision-led approach to planning for economic growth, housing, infrastructure and the environment.

We are currently consulting on the latest stage of our new Local Plan – the Spatial Options document and its accompanying draft Integrated Impact Assessment.

The Spatial Options document is the second stage of consultation on the new Local Plan, following the Issues and Options document in 2018.

The Spatial Options document sets out a range of options relating to the key themes that make up our local area. We recognise that not all of these options are equally sustainable or appropriate.

We need to ensure that the right options are selected to achieve a sustainable vision for Rochford over the next 20 years and beyond. The document also presents a range of settlement profiles, allowing you to tell us the parts of your local town and village that need improving, protecting or growing over the next 20 years.

What is the Statement of Community Involvement consultation?

The Council is also consulting on an updated Statement of Community Involvement. The Statement of Community Involvement is a document that sets out how and when the Council will involve local communities in planning matters.

The Council’s existing Statement of Community Involvement was adopted in 2016. Legislation requires that a Statement of Community Involvement is reviewed every 5 years.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and other changes to the planning system, this review has identified a number of minor changes that could be made to the Statement of Community Involvement as part of this review.

How can I get involved?

The quickest and simplest way of accessing the documents is by using our online consultation portal. 

If you are unable to use the online portal, you can also view a physical copy of the document in local libraries and Council offices when open. Please note these locations may have restricted operating ours due to ongoing Coronavirus restrictions.

We have also made an interactive map available showing opportunities and challenges relating to our Spatial Options.  A guide to using the map is also provided under Related Content.

We are aware that planning issues can be technical and difficult to understand at first glance. As a result, we have publish some Frequently Asked Questions which are linked from the Related Content section. These Frequently Asked Questions will be updated regularly.

Officers from the Strategic Planning team held an online information webinar on Wednesday 25 August. Information was provided about the consultation and responses were given to questions submitted in advance by members of the public. The webinar has been uploaded to the Council’s Youtube channel and can be watched back by those unable to watch live. Written responses have also been given to all of the questions submitted by members of the public, including those that could not be answered verbally during the webinar. These written responses are available at Spatial Options Virtual Webinar: Question Responses.

Both consultations will closed at 5pm on Wednesday 22nd September 2021. The Council reserves the right to reject any late comments.

Interested parties are also encouraged to sign up to our planning mailing list

What happens next?

Once the consultations have closed the Council will consider all comments made and publish feedback reports summarising the main issues raised and providing an initial response.

The new Local Plan will then progress to the next stage, taking account of all representations received. A timetable for the preparation of the new Local Plan is provided on page 7 in the Local Development Scheme document in Related Content.

The Statement of Community Involvement will progress to Full Council where the Council will need to consider what changes are required to the document and to consider adopting it.