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Local Plan frequently asked questions

General information on the Local Plan

What is a Local Plan?

Why do we need a Local Plan?

Doesn't Uttlesford already have a Local Plan?

Why it is important?

Will I have the opportunity to provide my feedback on the Local Plan?

Where can I find out more about the Local Plan?

Where are the homes going to be built?

What happens if the council cannot find enough sites to meet the housing need?

Why don't we just build where nobody lives, so development doesn't affect anyone?

How much affordable housing will be provided and where will it go?
 

Services

How will local services and infrastructure cope?

Will we get the additional infrastructure before development takes place?
 

The plan-making process

What stage are we at now?

What consultation has Uttlesford District Council done so far?

Have the responses to the previous consultation/s been taken on board?

What's next?

 


General information on the Local Plan

What is a 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.
 

Why do we need a Local Plan?

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.
 

Doesn't Uttlesford already have a Local Plan?

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these policies are still in force but since the National Planning Policy Framework was published in 2012 some are now out of date, and cannot be used and there is a need to deal with issues that have changed since 2005.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.
 

Why it is important?

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.
 

Will I have the opportunity to provide my feedback on the Local Plan?

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.
 

Where can I find out more about the Local Plan?

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 planningpolicy@uttlesford.gov.uk.
 

Where are the homes going to be built?

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 at http://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/lpconsult . 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.
 

What happens if the council cannot find enough sites to meet the housing need?

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.
 

Why don't we just build where nobody lives, so development doesn't affect anyone?

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.
 

How much affordable housing will be provided and where will it go?

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?
 

 

Services

How will local services and infrastructure cope?

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.
 

Will we get the additional infrastructure before development takes place?

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

What stage are we at now?

The decision-making process has been temporarily paused. This is because the council is taking care to ensure all the necessary evidence is in place in order to ensure that the elected members have all the information they require to make informed decisions based on up to date information. This will ensure that the best decisions are made to support a decision by the independent Planning Inspectorate that the Local Plan is sound.

A revised programme of work for the Local Plan is being prepared and will be publicised shortly.
 

What consultation has Uttlesford District Council done so far?

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.

You can view the full consultation report and results here: www.uttlesford.gov.uk/lpconsult
 

Have the responses to the previous consultation/s been taken on board?

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.
 

What's next?

The next stage is for the District Council to publish a revised Local Plan Timetable and this will set out the timing of decisions on the preferred spatial strategy for the Local Plan together with details of the consultation arrangements that will support the preparation of a sound Local Plan for the district.