Local Plan frequently asked questions
General information on the Local Plan
The plan-making process
General information on the Local Plan
A Local Plan is a district-wide plan which identifies the vision and aspirations for the future of the area, planning policies, and allocations identifying the sites or areas which can be developed and those which should be protected.
Uttlesford's Draft Local Plan will help shape future development in the district up until 2033 and set out the level and distribution of growth, including new homes and businesses. It will also set out sites and areas of the district that must be protected from development over the Local Plan period.
It will include the development management policies which are proposed to be used to assess planning applications as they come forward, to ensure that they deliver a high standard of development that meets the objectives of the District Council.
The Local Plan enables the District Council to support the local economy and in doing so help meet housing and employment needs whilst ensuring the special character of the District is safeguarded. Without it, the District Council would lose the ability to secure and co-ordinate the development and infrastructure that are needed.
The District Council's current Local Plan was adopted in 2005. Most of these policies are still in force but since the National Planning Policy Framework was published in 2012 some are now out of date, and cannot be used and there is a need to deal with issues that have changed since 2005.
We now need to develop an up-to-date Local Plan to meet Uttlesford's needs up until 2033.
The Local Plan is not simply about how many homes are needed. It is also about ensuring that Uttlesford remains an attractive place to live, work and visit.
The Local Plan will:
· set out where new homes are most sustainably and suitably to be located;
· support the success of our local businesses;
· ensure the right facilities and infrastructure are delivered by developers; and
· protect and enhance our historic and natural environment.
Yes - there will be an opportunity for everyone to have their say on the plan at key stages in the process and the arrangements will be fully publicised and also included in this website.
All the background studies which inform the plan-making process are available via this website on the Local Plan evidence and background studies page.
Comments and feedback that have so far been submitted during the consultation periods can be viewed at http://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/lpconsult
If you have any further questions you can also contact the Planning Team (10am-4pm, Monday to Friday) by email email@example.com.
In Autumn 2015 the District Council undertook an Issues and Options consultation and seven different development scenarios were considered and the detail is set out on our Local Plan consultations page. These scenarios were:
1. all development allocated in new settlements
2. all development distributed in villages
3. all development in the two main towns of Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow; and
4. combination of development in main towns and villages; and
5. a hybrid solution involving new settlement(s), main towns and villages
The District Council concluded that a hybrid distribution strategy is the most sustainable and the next stage in the process will be to identify which are the preferred locations.
The District Council is committed to address the housing need within Uttlesford and to do this in a sustainable way that is linked to the provision of necessary infrastructure whilst protecting the special environmental quality of the district in line with national planning policy. The approach will be subject to scrutiny by residents and a range of stakeholders that will include development promoters. An independent Inspector (Planning Inspectorate) will consider the arguments in a Public Examination and the conclusions of which are likely to be binding on the District Council. If sufficient sites to meet housing need are not provided within the District then the Inspector will consider how this need will be met either by provision in adjacent local authority areas or by allocating additional land within the district.
The District Council is committed to put forward a sustainable development strategy that balances the need to provide new homes and jobs with necessary infrastructure (such as good transport links, schools and shops) whilst protecting the special environmental quality of the district in line with national planning policy.
The current policy of the District Council is to require developers to provide 40% of new houses as affordable on sites of 15 or more dwellings (or sites of 0.5 hectares); and 20% provision on sites of 11- 14 dwellings (or sites of 0.17hectares - 0.49 hectares). Further details are set out in the Affordable Housing Strategy and Developer Contribution Guidance at Housing Strategy 2016-21. On the issue of where the new affordable houses are to be built, please see the question above: Where are the homes going to be built?
All the potential locations for new homes and jobs are being assessed to identify the local services and infrastructure that will be needed to support the level of development proposed. Where there is a need for additional capacity then consideration will be given to how this capacity will be provided and if there is sufficient development value in the proposed scheme to ensure that the developer is in a position to provide the infrastructure at the appropriate stage in the development of the proposed scheme.
Where development is proposed then the Local Plan will set out the infrastructure needed and provide more information about this. It is recognised that timing of the provision is a key consideration in deciding on the acceptability of a proposed development.
The plan-making process
The council is working to a new timetable for the emerging Local Plan. The timetable, called the Local Development Scheme, was updated due to the large number of comments received in Regulation 18 (Draft) Local Plan consultation, which ran from July to September 2017. People were asked for their views on the sites put forward for development, and almost 6,000 comments were made by over 2,000 individuals and organisations.
The council has looked at all the comments and is carrying out further work to address some of the issues raised, including the water cycle study, archaeology, heritage, employment, transport and sports facilities. This will add to the background work the council has already done.
The timetable means the Cabinet and Full Council will consider the next version of the local plan - called 'pre submission'- in June, with another round of public consultation starting in early summer.
A Call for Sites exercise was held between April and June 2015. This was an opportunity for developers, landowners and other interested parties to come forward with land that might be suitable for development. The details can be found here: www.uttlesford.gov.uk/sites.
Between October and December 2015 the council ran an Issues & Options consultation, which was designed to help us better understand the development and vision strategy, such as whether people would prefer to see a new settlement or development built around existing towns and villages. It also sought views on topics such as infrastructure planning, employment, housing affordability, leisure and open space, and the natural and historic environment.
A Regulation 18 (Draft) Local Plan consultation ran from Wednesday 12 July until 5:00pm on Monday 4 September. The consultation covered:
- The Core Strategic Policies (the overarching plan for how the district will develop)
- Locations and numbers of new houses and employment sites
- Development Management Policies (how planning applications should be decided
A main part of the draft proposals, as consulted on by the Council in July last year, are three new garden communities - North Uttlesford, Easton Park, and West of Braintree.
The Council expects any garden communities to set a standard for modern living, with well-designed homes, jobs, services and community facilities supporting a high quality of life and creating healthy, safe and vibrant places. The garden communities would also add to the future economic success of the District and wider area.
Whilst recognising the ambition and scale of the proposals, the Council wants the settlements to be built to garden community principles. A key element in achieving these principles is to ensure essential infrastructure such as schools, roads and leisure facilities, including opportunities for new country parks, are built at the appropriate time. In order to do this the Council has employed a team of people who will look to bring maximum benefits from the new settlements to new and existing communities.
The team is looking at a wide range of delivery options for how to bring the communities forward (*see notes). The decision on which options to use will develop over the coming months as part of the negotiations with landowners. The final decision on the best approach for each garden community will be made in due course.
You can view the full consultation report and results here: www.uttlesford.gov.uk/lpconsult
Yes - responses to previous consultations have been considered. Along with other evidence and national policy, they will help to inform the policies and eventual site selections.
The Cabinet and Full Council will consider the next version of the local plan - called 'pre submission'- in June, with another round of public consultation starting in early summer 2018.