To consider the report by the Senior Planning Policy Officers (attached)
The Committee considered the Local Plan Review Report by the Senior Planning Policy Officers (NDC & TDC) (circulated previously).
The Senior Planning Policy Officer (TDC) addressed the Committee and outlined the report. He highlighted the following:
· Extensive work had been undertaken to prepare draft responses in the PAS Assessment toolkits, with work ongoing to finalise the assessments.
· At the end of 2020 it had been agreed by the two Councils that the NDTLP would be reviewed and updated on a comprehensive basis, without which the current plan could potentially be out of date by the end of October 2023.
· The agreed approach had regard to: a series of external pressures; a reconsideration of local priorities; and an opportunity to address policy gaps.
o Appendix (a) Local Plan Review Assessment: Opportunity to consider how well the plan is performing and if remains effective
o Appendix (b) Local Plan Form and Content Checklist: Opportunity to consider whether the provisions of the plan conform to national policy.
· The draft findings were that the Local Plan:
o Remained broadly effective in shaping and delivering development
o Was generally achieving the delivery of affordable housing and infrastructure associated to growth
o Was on-the-whole contributing to the delivery of economic development on allocated sites.
· There were recognised areas of silence or non-compliance, which had generally resulted from changes to national planning policy, these included:
o Approach to Town Centres
o Demonstrating a 5-year housing land supply
o Approach to calculating housing requirement
o Coastal Change Management Areas
o Accommodation for Travelling Communities
o Biodiversity Net Gain
· The draft conclusion, provided through the PAS Toolkit Assessments was most Local Plan provisions remain fit for purpose and are broadly in conformity the national planning policy with the significant exception of a five-year housing land supply
· In reviewing approaches for taking the Local Plan forward three broad options were suggested
o 1) Comprehensive Update
o 2) Partial Update / Plan Supplement or
o 3) Slow down, pause or do nothing for now.
· Each approach had ‘pros and cons’ but it was noted that a comprehensive update did not mean that the effective parts of the existing plan would be disregarded. It was possible that a supplement could be considered to ‘fill gaps’ in the plan.
· A comprehensive update would need to be based on updated evidence with new plan period and a five-year housing supply would need to be demonstrated at the point of adoption.
· Most site remained deliverable but it would need to be considered whether those sites were still the ‘right sites’.
· A 5YHLS would need to be demonstrated at the point of adoption.
· The proposed next steps were:
o Complete further technical work – through the PAS Toolkit
o Engage with Members to establish “red-lines” – Member workshops
o Make use of PAS support to facilitate decision making and delivery objectives
o Report back to JPPC with Options and Recommendations relating the scope of the Local Plan review/update.
The Chair confirmed that large sections of the NDTLP were doing the job and there was potential to fix those sections which were not performing as effectively as anticipated.
In response to questions, the Senior Planning Policy Officer (TDC) advised
o There were plans to set up workshops with members in order to get them to engage with this work. There needed to be a conversation and identify what they wanted from any update to the plan.
The Chair noted that he felt that in July 2022 there was a preference to look at a partial review of the Local Plan and identify which elements needed work. There was not long to sort this out before the next elections (May 2023).
The Committee members noted:
o Often the NDTLP was blamed for problems which were not part of its remit. The Local Plan had no method of control over developers or highways
o There was ‘not a lot wrong’ with the majority of the Local Plan
o The scope of the work within the timescale was a challenge
o SPDs could be developed where required
o Resources were needed to enable the issues of climate change and the 5YHLS to be tackled.
o Working in smaller breakout groups at any workshops could be beneficial.
RESOLVED that the Local Plan Review Report be noted and its contents be supported.