Agenda item

Local Plan Update


The Strategic Planning Manager presented the report, which was an update on the Local Plan. He outlined the meetings officers had with representatives from the Department for Levelling up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC). The DLUHC representatives praised the two Regulation 18 stages of the Plan, and recommended a visit from the Planning Inspectorate early in the plan-making process, to assess baseline work and inform further policy preparation. They also provided officers updates on the transition process for the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.


He then updated the Committee on the emerging Local Plan. Two Regulation 18 consultation stages were scheduled for autumn 2022 and autumn 2023. The first of these would include larger non-Green Belt sites, as well as a specific focus on smaller sites (<1 hectare), in accordance with National Planning Policy Framework requirements. He advised that these plans were focused on best use of land, and would encourage development that complemented local character, and was in line with Council policies such as Net Zero. He advised the Committee that Regulation 18 consultations allow officers to refine the Plan and ascertain what it needs to contain. The Committee discussed the skeleton structure for the first Regulation 18 consultation and its cost-cutting themes.


The Planning Policy Officer then provided an overview of the updated Settlement Hierarchy. The range of services considered and their weighting were updated to be in line with Council priorities and to ensure development was sustainable. She advised the Committee that, in consultation with the relevant Members for the areas, two settlements had been reclassified as service villages. In response to questions, she further advised that the population data for the Hierarchy would be re-examined once the 2021 census data was released. She also explained that the capacity of services in an area could be a consideration for a future audit to further inform sustainable development.


The Strategic Planning Manager then gave an overview of studies that made up the Evidence Base for the Local Plan. He advised the Committee that site assessments would take this evidence into account, with a design-led approach to ensure development matches local character. The Local Plan also involved close work with the Housing Team regarding equity in infrastructure provision, to ensure all demographics have their needs met.


The Committee discussed the risk of overdevelopment and urban sprawl. They were informed that Plan focused on Best Use of land, which would prevent the coalescence of settlements, and that this “best use” would be informed by the evidence base. The Chairman used his discretion and allowed Cllr Edwards-Winser to address the Committee, who raised a question in regards to housing figures.

They discussed the means through which the housing deficit was calculated, and the need for a single clear data set, to which the Chief Officer for Planning and Regulatory Services agreed to provide an explanation for any deviance from the Office of National Statistics’ figures. 


Action: For the Strategic Planning Manager to provide a detailed explanation of the Housing deficit data set to be given to Members.


Resolved: That the report be noted.


Supporting documents:


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