Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Town and Parish Councils held on 03/03/2008
LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK FORUM – THE BIG DEBATE - BACKGROUND PAPER
JOINT MEETING WITH THE TOWN AND PARISH COUNCILS
3rd MARCH 2008
LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK FORUM – THE BIG DEBATE
INTRODUCTION AND AIMS OF THE FORUM
This Paper provides some background information for the Local Development Framework Forum that will take place at the joint meeting with the Town and Parish Councils on 3rd March. It provides an introduction to the Local Development Framework (LDF) and sets out the background and context to some of the key issues that the LDF will address and which will be considering at the Forum.
One of the aims of the LDF Forum is to give representatives of the towns and parishes the opportunity to start discussing some of the options for Waverley in terms of how and where to accommodate the new housing that will be required over the next 15 – 20 years.
Another aim of the Forum will be to give the town and parish representatives the opportunity to identify key issues for their town or village that we should be considering as part of the LDF. For example, this may be by identifying what makes a community good and what is needed to make it better. We want to build up a picture of the issues that matter to local communities and we recognise that the Town and Parish Councils have an important role to play in this.
THE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
In 2004, the Government introduced a new system for the development of planning policy at the regional and local level. At the regional level, the regional planning body (in our case SEERA) is responsible for producing the
Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS)
. The RSS for this area will be the South East Plan. Local authorities such as Waverley will be responsible for producing the
Local Development Framework (LDF)
. The LDF will contain a suite of planning policy documents that, over time, will replace the planning policies in the current Waverley Borough Local Plan. The documents that form the LDF are known as Local Development Documents (LDDs). They will fall into two categories:
Development Plan Documents (DPDs); and
Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs)
THE CORE STRATEGY
The Core Strategy DPD is the most important document in the LDF and usually the first DPD to be produced. It will set out the overall strategy for the area, including the high level strategic policies, from which other more detailed policy documents will flow. Although the Core Strategy is very much an evolving document, we have identified the broad scope in terms of the subjects that it is likely to cover. These include:-
A spatial settlement strategy
Housing land provision
Affordable housing and other housing and accommodation needs, including the needs of gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople
Leisure and recreation
The role of rural areas (including the rural economy)
Climate change issues
Sustainable development and design
CORE STRATEGY TIMETABLE
The timetable for the production of the Core Strategy is split into three main stages:-
the Issues and Options stage;
the Preferred Options stage; and
the Examination stage
We are currently at the
Issues and Options
stage. As the name suggests, this is the stage at which we identify the key issues that Core Strategy should be addressing, together with the options for dealing with these. The current timetable is for the Issues and Options stage to run until October this year.
stage is when the Council identifies the preferred approach to addressing the key issues, such as the preferred strategy for delivering new housing. Work is due to commence on the Preferred Options in the autumn and these will be developed with a view to public consultation on the Preferred Options in May/June next year.
Following the consultation on the Preferred Options, the Council will finalise the Core Strategy prior to submission and formal
by an Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate. It is currently proposed that the Core Strategy will be submitted to the Government in December 2009 and the anticipated date for adoption is December 2010.
OTHER LDF DOCUMENTS
The Council’s programme for the production of LDF documents is set out in the Local Development Scheme (LDS), which is updated annually. In addition to the Core Strategy, the current LDS provides the timetable for two other documents that are closely linked to the Core Strategy. These are:-
a Site Allocations DPD (to identify specific sites for new housing development and other uses that are derived from the Core Strategy); and
a Planning Infrastructure Contributions SPD.
The draft of the proposed Planning Infrastructure Contributions SPD was considered by the Council’s Executive on 4th December and approved as the basis for the public consultation. That consultation finished on 15th February. The representations are now being considered and the intention is that the SPD, with any necessary amendments, will adopted by the Council at its meeting on 22nd April.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE CORE STRATEGY ISSUES AND OPTIONS
There are currently three key strands of work leading to the identification of the Issues and Options for the LDF Core Strategy.
The Evidence Base
It is essential that the new Core Strategy, and other LDF documents, are underpinned by a sound evidence base. There are already a number of sources of evidence available. However, it was considered that to develop the new Core Strategy, specific evidence was needed on some of the key issues. As a result there are a number of on-going studies that will be important sources of evidence for the LDF:-
A Housing Land Availability Assessment (HLAA)
A sub-regional Housing Market Assessment (HMA) (jointly commissioned with Guildford and Woking BCs)
An Employment Land Review (ELR)
A study of town centre retail needs
An affordable housing viability study.
These studies will be crucial in supporting the development of realistic options on key issues such as the location of new housing or the Council’s planning policies for the delivery of affordable housing.
Links between the LDF Core Strategy and the Sustainable Community Strategy
It is essential that there is a link between the local Community Strategy and the LDF, particularly the Core Strategy. We are fortunate that at the same time that we are preparing the new LDF Core Strategy, the Council is also involved with the review/refresh of the Waverley Community Strategy. The timing of this is ideal in terms of linking the work on the Community Strategy with that of the LDF. One of the aims is to link consultation events/activities for the Community Strategy and the LDF.
It is also important that the LDF is closely aligned with the plans and strategies of other key service providers in the locality. This involves working with key partners through the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) and separately.
Community and Stakeholder Engagement
Another key aspect of the new planning policy system is consultation and community engagement. This can take many forms. For example, during the early stages in developing a document such as the Core Strategy, informal discussions will take place with key stakeholders. This is very much a two-way dialogue. We are anxious to ensure that we are aware of their issues and priorities so that they can be fed in at an early stage. As the document develops, we will want to engage the wider community.
This Forum will provide an early opportunity for the Town and Parish Councils to contribute to the identification of the key issues for the Core Strategy and the development of realistic options to deal with these.
THE “BIG DEBATE” (HOUSING DELIVERY AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE SOUTH EAST PLAN)
As explained above, one of the main issues that the Core Strategy must include is the Council’s overall strategy for the delivery of new housing. There are many factors that will influence the shape of the LDF. One of the most important is the South East Plan, not least because it will set out the housing requirements for each district between 2006 and 2026. Coupled with the new national planning policy on housing in Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 3, there are some real challenges for the LDF on this issue. At this stage of the process, the intention is to identify realistic options for delivering the required new housing. The Council is very keen to ensure that the local community and other stakeholders get the opportunity to contribute to what is being called the “Big Debate”.
In the past we have relied heavily on the supply of “windfall” sites to deliver the required housing. Windfall sites are those that have not previously been identified and allocated for housing development. PPS3 places greater emphasis on allocated sites and states that windfalls should only be included where they can be justified. In addition, PPS3 requires us to plan for new housing over a 15-year period, including maintaining a five-year supply of “deliverable” sites. We will have to plan for housing delivery in this way, in the context of the higher housing allocation that is likely to come through the South East Plan.
The draft South East Plan, which was submitted to the Government in 2006, includes a policy requiring Waverley to make provision for a minimum of 4,600 extra dwellings in the period 2006 – 2026 (average 230 per annum). The South East Plan was subject to an Examination in Public (EiP) in 2006/07. In August 2007 the EiP Panel published its report recommending changes to the plan. One recommendation was to increase Waverley’s housing allocation from 4,600 to 5,000 (i.e. an increase from 230 to 250 dwellings per annum). The Secretary of State is currently considering the Panel’s report and is expected to publish the Government’s proposed changes to the plan in the summer. In the meantime, the best estimate is that the figure for Waverley will be 250 dwellings per annum. By comparison, the current Structure Plan housing allocation requires an average of 187 dwellings per annum, and this has been met largely through the contribution from windfalls.
A key piece of work in relation to this will be the Housing Land Availability Assessment (HLAA) that is currently being prepared by Baker Associates. This will provide evidence on the availability of housing land both within and outside settlements and will be crucial in enabling the Council to identify realistic options for housing delivery. The likelihood is that the Council will have some difficult decisions to make on this issue. We are already aware of concerns that have been raised locally about the impact that new housing has on the character of our settlements. People are raising concerns about “Garden Grabbing” and asking for greater protection for existing residential areas. However, the new housing has to go somewhere. Development in existing residential areas has made a major contribution to the delivery of new housing. If the Council were to seek to tighten controls in residential areas, then it is very likely that consideration would have to be given to releasing greenfield sites outside settlements, as there are few other options for delivering new housing.
comms\town and parish councils\2007-08\Background Paper (Appendix C) for Towns and Parishes Forum 03.03.08.doc