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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 27/03/2007
Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002 - Application to Extend 'Saved' Policies Beyond Three Years



APPENDIX S
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE - 27TH MARCH 2007
SPECIAL COUNCIL - 28TH MARCH 2007

ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
13TH MARCH 2007

Title:
WAVERLEY BOROUGH LOCAL PLAN 2002 –
APPLICATION TO EXTEND ‘SAVED’ POLICIES BEYOND THREE YEARS
[Wards Affected: All]
Summary and purpose:

Under the terms of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 policies in existing local plans, such as the Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002, cease to have effect after three years, unless the Secretary of State agrees that policies can be saved beyond that period. The Council is required to formally apply to the Secretary of State, no later than 31st March 2007, for consent to ‘save’ policies beyond the three-year period. This report seeks approval from Members to the schedule setting out which policies should be saved and which policies are no longer required. The report was considered by the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 13th March 2007.

A similar exercise is being undertaken by the County Council with Structure Plan policies.

Environmental implications

The application of local plan policies in decision-making on planning applications is directly linked to the environmental well-being of the Borough. If up-to-date local plan policies are not saved pending replacement by LDF policies then this could be compromised.

Social/community implications

The application of local plan policies in decision-making on planning applications is also directly linked to the social and community well-being of the Borough. Again, if up-to-date local plan policies are not saved pending replacement by LDF policies then this could be compromised.

E-Government implications:

There are no direct implications.

Resource and legal implications:

The identification of policies for saving has no additional resource implications. It is important that up-to-date local plan policies are ‘saved’ and can continue to operate until replaced by new policies in the Local Development Framework (LDF). If policies are not saved then it would be likely to have both resource and legal implications because it would make decision-making on individual planning applications more difficult and would also make it more difficult to defend decisions at appeal.


Background

1. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 introduced the new system of plan-making, which involves replacing the current system of structure and local plans with the new arrangement comprising the regional spatial strategy (RSS), prepared by the regional planning body, and local development frameworks (LDFs) prepared by local authorities. The relevant part of the 2004 Act took effect in September 2004. Part of the transitional arrangements involves the automatic ‘saving’ of policies in existing local plans for three years from enactment of the legislation (i.e. until September 2007), unless replaced within that period by new-style LDF policies. The legislation also makes provision for local authorities to apply to the Secretary of State to save policies beyond the three years.

2. The three-year period was intended to allow local authorities to develop their new-style planning policy documents, starting with their Core Strategies. In practice, the new system has not progressed as quickly as the Government had originally intended. To date, less than a handful of local authorities in the country have Core Strategies that have been successfully taken through the examination process.

3. In August 2006, local authorities received a letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), which was accompanied by a protocol setting out the procedures for applying to the Secretary of State to save existing policies beyond the three-year period.

Protocol for Handling Proposals to Save policies

4. If local authorities wish to save existing policies beyond the three-year period then it is necessary to seek a Direction from the Secretary of State. The Government acknowledges that local authorities will be asking to save a number of old policies beyond the three-year period. In seeking to save policies, it will be necessary for local authorities to demonstrate that the policies they wish to save reflect the principles of local development frameworks; are consistent with current national policy; and that it is not feasible or desirable to replace them by 27th September 2007.

5. Local authorities must submit a list of saved policies and their intentions for them to Government Offices by 1st April 2007. Having regard to other resource commitments, particularly in relation to the submission of the Core Strategy and the work required in relation to the now suspended Examination, it was not possible to progress work on the saved policies sooner. In preparing the list of saved policies, consideration should be taken of the timing of adoption of any Development Plan Documents (DPDs) that will replace saved policies. The Protocol states that the list should be in two parts:- those saved policies that the Council wishes to extend beyond the 3-years saved period, with reasons: and

those saved policies that the Council does not wish to see saved beyond the 3-year period, with reasons.

6. It is expected that through the Annual Monitoring Report (AMR), local authorities will monitor the performance of policies that are still in use, together with progress made so far on replacing them.


Issues that the Government will take into account when considering applications to extend ‘saved’ policies

7. Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 12 states that policies to be extended should comply with the following criteria:-

where appropriate there is a clear central strategy;

policies have regard to the Community Strategy for the area;

policies are in general conformity with the regional spatial strategy or spatial development strategy;

policies are in conformity with the core strategy DPD (where it has been adopted);

there are effective policies for any parts of the authority’s area where significant change in the use or development of land or conservation of the area is envisaged; and

policies are necessary and do not merely repeat national or regional policy. 8. In addition, the Government states that it will also have particular regard to:-

policies that support the delivery of housing, including unimplemented site allocations, up to date affordable housing policies, policies relating to the infrastructure necessary to support housing;

policies on Green Belt general extent in structure plans and detailed boundaries in local plans/UDPs;

policies that support economic development and regeneration, including policies for retailing and town centres;

policies for waste management, including unimplemented site allocations;

policies that promote renewable energy; reduce the impact of climate change; and safeguard water resources. 9. Based on the above criteria, Officers have prepared schedules of the Local Plan policies, (organised by chapter), identifying the policies that Officers consider should be saved beyond September 2007, and those that officers do not consider need to be saved beyond this period. These schedules, which are based on a template provided by the Government Office, are attached as Annexe 1 to this report. They contain sections dealing with the various criteria set out above, together with a comments section in which officers have given the reasons why they consider policies should or should not be saved.

Officer Comment

10. Given that the Core Strategy, which will be the pivotal document in the new LDF, is not going to be adopted by September, officers consider that the majority of existing Local Plan policies will need to be saved beyond that date, in order to maintain a clear and sound base for decision-making on planning applications. In addition, the South East Plan, which will, in due course, set out the regional spatial strategy (RSS) for the area, is still only in draft form and will not be adopted before the end of September.

Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee

11. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered this report at its meeting on 13th March 2007 and, having thanked the officers for the work undertaken in preparing the report, wished to commend it to the Executive and Council.

Recommendation

It is recommended to the Council that the Schedules of Local Plan policies to be saved/not saved be adopted, as attached as Annexe 1.

Background Papers (DoPD)

Letter from the Department for Communities and Local Government dated 11th August 2006.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Graham Parrott Telephone: 01483 523472

E-mail: gparrott@waverley.gov.uk




Comms/exec/2006-07/331