Draft Local Plan 2017-2036

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Foreword

A FRONT DOOR FOR EVERYONE

That is the challenge we face as a society - we need enough homes for everyone - and it is the most pressing and urgent task we have, and at East Hampshire District Council we are determined to play our part in providing those homes.

The challenge we have set ourselves is to produce a Local Plan that provides homes and jobs but also protects and enhances the area's character, natural and built environment, wildlife, and heritage assets for future generations to enjoy.

We want to make sure that high quality homes, fit for today's needs and ready for the future, are built in the best possible locations, in order to create strong communities with all the supporting infrastructure and amenities modern living demands.

That is quite a challenge!

We all need and want our own space in which to live. A place where we can close the door and enjoy our own private space to raise a family, invite friends, be alone and to feel safe and secure. We recognise that being without your own space has a most corrosive effect on our ability to function in society, to maximise our potential, provide for families and older people and even on our mental health.

So, in line with our motto "Improving People's Lives" and our corporate focus on our residents' welfare, we believe that our aim of "A Front Door for Everyone" is both a necessary and an achievable objective.

This Local Plan not only sets out the number and location of new homes, but it offers high level and detailed guidance on all the important matters including economic development and jobs, the provision of housing for all, and the protection and enhancement of the environment.



1. Introduction

Background

1.1 East Hampshire District Council ("the Local Planning Authority") is reviewing its Local Plan. This will provide a policy framework for planning and development for the areas of the district where the council is the Local Planning Authority ("the Area") as shown in Figure 1.

1.2 For more than half of the district, the local planning authority is the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) (See Figure 1). The SDNPA has therefore prepared a Local Plan that will cover the parts of the district that lie within its area. The SDNPA Local Plan is at a more advanced stage than the East Hampshire Local Plan and was examined in late 2018. You can find out more about it at www.southdowns.gov.uk/planning/national-park-local-plan.

1.3 This consultation provides an opportunity to help shape the future of the areas where planning is controlled by East Hampshire District Council as the Local Planning Authority.

The Local Plan review:

  • sets out a long-term vision and objectives;
  • provides a strategy for growth, new homes, employment, facilities and infrastructure to meet the area's needs; and
  • includes policies to manage change while protecting and enhancing the area's heritage and natural environment.

Why are we reviewing the Local Plan?

1.4 The existing Local Plan comprises a number of documents that have been produced by the council.

1.5 These documents were consistent with national planning policy and guidance when the Local Plan was adopted. Since then, national planning policy and practice guidance have been updated.

1.6 The entire district, including the area inside the South Downs National Park, is covered by a joint plan with the South Downs National Park Authority, called the Joint Core Strategy. In the SDNP this will be replaced by the SDNPA's new plan following its adoption.

1.7 More importantly, in January 2018 the government introduced a legal requirement for Local Plans to be reviewed every five years from the date of adoption. The Joint Core Strategy was adopted in May 2014 and will therefore be five years old in May 2019.

1.8 The Local Plan review will consider all development needs and, review and update all current planning policies. The council is aiming to adopt the new Local Plan by the end of 2020. This consultation is the first statutory stage (Regulation 18) of the Local Plan review.

A picture containing text, map Description generated with very high confidence

Figure 1

Which existing policies will be replaced by this Local Plan review?

1.9 The extent to which the existing policies will be replaced by the Local Plan review is part of this consultation process. Local Plans can be reviewed in whole or in part to respond flexibly to changing circumstances.

1.10 This is the first full review of the Local Plan and therefore all existing policies will either be replaced by the new Local Plan or deleted.

1.11 Until the new Local Plan ("the Plan") is adopted, the weight that can be attached to the existing Local Plan policies and to policies that emerge as part of the review, will be dependent on a number of factors, including:

  • the existing and proposed policy's consistency with national policy; and
  • the level of support or objection to proposed policies and the stage that it is at within the adoption process.

What is the purpose of this consultation?

1.12 We are seeking comments and information that will help us to further develop the strategy, site allocations and policies in the Local Plan. Although we have done a lot of work, we will still collect evidence to support these draft policies. This consultation will also identify what other evidence we need. The council has in this draft Local Plan, set out its preferred strategy, proposed site allocations and preferred policies. Some areas are less advanced than others. With regards to the proposed site allocations, as part of this consultation we would like to hear your comments about the sites themselves, as well as what benefits the local community would like to see delivered as part of the sites being developed.

National Planning Policies

1.13 The Local Planning Authority wants the Plan to reflect the aspirations and choices of its local community. However, the Plan must comply with specific requirements set out in national planning policy and legislation. It must:

  • reflect national planning policies set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and associated National Planning Practice Guidance;
  • contribute to the achievement of sustainable development and be supported by a Sustainability Appraisal and Habitat Regulations Assessment;
  • aim to meet full housing and infrastructure requirements;
  • have regard to the other strategies of the Local Planning Authority and its partners;
  • demonstrate joint working on cross-boundary issues;
  • take into account evidence of environmental constraints on development and the need to conserve the built and natural heritage; and
  • be deliverable within the Plan period taking account of identified constraints, infrastructure requirements and viability considerations

Challenges facing East Hampshire

1.14 The most important challenge facing the Plan is to deliver growth to meet local needs and to consider any needs that cannot be met in adjoining areas, in particular the SDNP. The aim is to maintain and reinforce our communities sense of place while, wherever possible, enhancing the area's character, environment and heritage. More specifically, the Plan needs to:

  • deliver sufficient new housing to address needs;
  • provide a range of housing that meets needs, for example related to size, tenure (including affordable housing) and specialist accommodation;
  • provide space to enable local businesses to grow and to support and diversify the local economy;
  • ensure that new or improved infrastructure is delivered to support the population increases and planned new development, including transport improvements, utilities and measures to reduce potential adverse environmental impacts;
  • plan for improved local and cultural facilities to meet the needs of the growing and ageing population;
  • provide for new and improved open space and green infrastructure;
  • achieve high quality design and encourage innovation;
  • preserve outstanding heritage and historic assets; and
  • protect and enhance the area's biodiversity and habitats, including designated areas of national importance and positively plan for addressing the implications of climate change.

What new Local Plan work is being undertaken?

1.15 As well as consulting, the Local Planning Authority has been, and is, undertaking a number of studies to provide evidence for developing the Plan's strategy and policies. Further studies and evidence work will be undertaken at later stages of the Plan process. Key evidence to support the Plan to this point includes:

  • East Hampshire Land Availability Assessment 2019
  • East Hampshire Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Accommodation Assessment August 2017
  • Interim Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment 2018
  • East Hampshire Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment 2018
  • East Hampshire District Council Landscape Capacity Study, 2018
  • Interim East Hampshire Local Plan Infrastructure Plan 2019
  • Interim East Hampshire Local Plan and Community Infrastructure Levy Viability Assessment 2019
  • Sustainability Appraisal of the emerging East Hampshire Local Plan 2017-2036, Interim SA Report 2018
  • Habitats Regulations Assessment of East Hampshire's Regulations 18 Local Plan
  • East Hampshire Retail and Main Town Centre Uses Study 2018
  • East Hampshire Neighbourhood Character Study 2018

1.16 Further studies to inform the next iteration of the Plan will include:

  • East Hampshire Local Plan Transport Assessment 2019

Sustainability Appraisal, Habitats Assessment, Health Impact and Equalities Assessment

1.17 Sustainability Appraisal is a key element in developing the Plan strategy and policies. The Local Planning Authority is legally required to carry out an appraisal of the sustainability of all proposals. This assesses how the Plan will encourage sustainable development, by contributing to our economic, social and environmental objectives.

1.18 The Local Planning Authority is also required to carry out a Habitat Regulations Assessment to protect internationally important countryside and wildlife.

1.19 As part of its commitment to improving the outcomes of its policies for its residents and visitors, the Local Planning Authority is also undertaking an Integrated Impact Assessment which includes assessing the health and equalities impact of the Local Plan.

1.20 All these assessments will be consistent with the statutory regulations related to Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitat Regulations Assessments and duties related to equalities.

How will the new Local Plan affect and support Neighbourhood Plans?

1.21 A small number of neighbourhood planning groups in the areas covered by the new East Hampshire Local Plan have either 'made' (Alton, Medstead and Four Marks, and Bentley) or are preparing neighbourhood plans (Bramshott and Liphook, Ropley, Rowlands Castle, Bentworth, Beech). Neighbourhood plans must be in line with the strategic policies of the adopted Local Plan. Once 'made' neighbourhood plan policies form part of the development plan used when determining planning applications.

1.22 As the Plan moves forward, the current neighbourhood plans may need to be reviewed to bring them in line with the new Plan.

1.23 As part of the Local Plan review process, the Local Planning Authority will support neighbourhood planning groups and discuss potential changes.

What are the next steps?

1.24 All representations received to this consultation will be considered by the Local Planning Authority, grouped, summarised and published for information. Taking account of the consultation responses and further evidence work, the Local Planning Authority will prepare and publish (Regulation 19) a Proposed Submission Local Plan for consultation. This is the Plan which the Local Planning Authority ideally wants to adopt.

1.25 This will also be consulted upon for at least six weeks and comments at that stage must only relate to the Plan's 'soundness'. This is anticipated to take place in the summer 2019.

1.26 At that stage, the Local Planning Authority will consider representations and then decide whether it should make any further amendments to the Plan. All representations and any proposed further amendments to the Plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State for examination by an independent planning inspector. The inspector will determine if the submitted Plan meets the required legal and procedural requirements, and when judged against national planning policy requirements the strategy and policies are 'sound'. If the Plan is found sound, the Local Planning Authority will then adopt it.

1.27 The key stages in the preparation of the new Local Plan review are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Local Plan process

The Plan Period

1.28 The Plan will need to focus on a defined period of time. The NPPF suggests Local Plans should be drawn up over an appropriate time scale, preferably 15 years. The plan period for the new Local Plan has therefore been set as 2017 to 2036. The start is when work initially commenced on evidence base and the end is 15 years from the potential date of formal adoption, allowing for some flexibility in the programme.

Bringing together Local Plan Documents

1.29 The East Hampshire Local Plan currently comprises three documents:

  • Joint Core Strategy adopted 2014
  • Housing and Employment Allocations Document adopted 2016
  • Saved Policies of the Local Plan Second Review adopted 2006.

1.30 The Development Plan, which the Local Plan forms a part of, also includes the Hampshire Minerals and Waste Plan adopted in 2013 and several made neighbourhood plans. The Minerals and Waste Plan is not the responsibility of East Hampshire District Local Planning Authority, this lies with Hampshire County Council as the Mineral and Waste Authority. Neighbourhood plans are not for the Local Planning Authority to review; this is the responsibility of neighbourhood planning groups.

1.31 Since their adoption there have been changes to national policy. Most of the site allocations have either been developed or have started on site. In relation to the saved Local Plan Second Review Policies from 2006, more of these policies are likely to require significant amendment as they were drafted pre-the original NPPF and there have been significant changes in national policy since they were adopted.

1.32 In terms of reducing confusion around the multiplicity of plans, the review process provides the opportunity to tie all plans together in a single document.

1.33 A key benefit of bringing together the spatial strategy and the site allocations into one document is to make it very clear to landowners and developers where new development will be accepted and where it will not. It is important that future growth in the local area is truly plan-led to avoid the large-scale speculative development communities experienced between 2014-2016.

The Duty to Co-operate

1.34 The Plan must be prepared in accordance with the Duty to Cooperate. This sets a legal duty for the Local Planning Authority and other public bodies. They must engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis on planning issues which affect more than one local planning authority.

1.35 The government more recently introduced a requirement for local planning authorities in association with the Duty to Cooperate to produce Statements of Common Ground at each stage of the Local Plan process. These set out what authorities do and do not agree on in relation to strategic cross boundary issues.

1.36 East Hampshire District Local Planning Authority continues to work with, neighbouring local planning authorities (Waverley Borough Council, Winchester City Council, Hart District Council, Basingstoke Borough Council, Havant Borough Council and the South Downs National Park Authority), Hampshire County Council, statutory advisory bodies (the Environment Agency, Natural England and Historic England) and other infrastructure providers to ensure that the Local Plan addresses cross-boundary issues and reflects wider strategic priorities, including considering any needs that cannot be met in adjoining areas. The Local Planning Authority continues to consult with residents and businesses, including working with neighbourhood planning groups.

Implementing the Local Plan Policies

1.37 A number of policies in the Local Plan set out general planning criteria that will be applicable to most forms of development. To assist applicants and other users of the Plan, these are listed below:

  • Policy S4: Health and wellbeing
  • Policy DM5: Amenity
  • Policy DM28: Resource efficient design
  • Policy S24: Planning for climate change
  • Policy S27: Design and local character

1.38 However, it is important to appreciate that the Local Plan should be read as a whole. The individual policies and proposals must not be considered in isolation from each other. Often several different policies will be applicable to a single development proposal. In reaching decisions on planning applications, the Local Planning Authority and others involved in decision-making will consider all the relevant plan policies, together with other material considerations to reach a decision based on a planning balance.

1.39 For this reason, cross referencing of policies in the Local Plan is considered unnecessary and inappropriate. The repetition of standard planning criteria in every policy has similarly been avoided.

Structure and form of the new Local Plan

1.40 The primary role of a Local Plan is to provide clarity for all on what the Local Planning Authority considers will be acceptable development. It can also fulfil other roles. It can be regarded as a promotional document to attract inward investment, or to support the ambitions of existing residents or businesses. It can support bids for funding from central government, and other sources, e.g. Heritage Lottery Funding.

1.41 The Plan has the potential to be a dynamic document addressing things that enhance the quality of life and improve how a place works. It addresses a wide range of issues from a spatial perspective. It can provide and encourage a more 'joined up' approach in the Local Planning Authority's and other organisations' decision making and actions. This will steer decisions on how to allocate resources and encourage co-operation on important social, environmental and economic issues.

1.42 Many plans however have ended up being documents that are 'dry', overly long, full of technical language and not user friendly; particularly for the non-planning professional. This review provides the opportunity for East Hampshire District Local Planning Authority to make the Local Plan a better presented and structured document.

1.43 The Local Plan is broken down into 5 chapters with a glossary and other appendices at the back. Chapter 1, the introduction, sets out the context and purpose of the Local Plan. Chapter 2 lays out the overarching long-term spatial vision and accompanying strategic objectives. Chapter 3 sets out the spatial strategy determining the amount and location of new development, and the key diagram. Chapter 4 sets out how places will change during the plan period 2017-2036 and includes the proposed site allocations. Chapter 5 is broken down into 4 sections. These set out the policies that will ensure delivery of the strategic objectives and realisation of the spatial vision. In each section strategic policies are followed by a set of more detailed policies that provide further details. A guide to the strategic policies and the detailed policies and how to use and interpret them can be found below.

The Strategic Policies

1.44 The strategic policies start with the prefix 'S…'. For emerging neighbourhood plans or those 'made' neighbourhood plans that wish to undertake a review, it is important to note that policies in a neighbourhood plan must be in line with the strategic policies within the adopted Local Plan.

1.45 These policies are broken down by a series of headings:

  • Strategic objectives: How the policy assists in delivering the strategic objectives contained within Chapter 2.
  • Why we need the policy: This sets out the justification for the strategic policy. For instance, to deliver national policy objectives or to support the delivery of partners' strategies and local priorities (e.g. other council strategies).
  • The strategic policy: The draft strategic planning policy.
  • Implementing the policy: This section sets out further detail on how the policy will be implemented. Historically such information in a development plan was referred to as supporting text.
  • Key supporting documents: This section sets out the information that has informed the policy, such as the published evidence base.
  • What existing policy does this supersede?: This identifies which current development plan policies that the strategic policy will replace or if it is a new policy.
  • Monitoring the policy: This sets out the monitoring indicator and the sources of data. These will be used to inform and produce the Authority Monitoring Report.

The Detailed Policies

1.46 Detailed policies start with the prefix 'DM…'. These policies are there to support the implementation of the strategic policies and are also broken down by a series of headings which are as follows:

  1. Strategic objectives and related Local Plan strategic policies;
  2. Why we need this policy;
  3. The policy itself;
  4. Implementing the Policy;
  5. Key supporting documents (where applicable);
  6. What existing policies does this supersede;
  7. Monitoring the policy.

1.47 A Local Plan should make clear which policies are strategic policies. They should be limited to those necessary to address the strategic priorities of the area to provide a starting point for any detailed policies that are needed. Strategic policies should not extend to detailed matters that are more appropriately dealt with through non-strategic policies. Non-strategic policies can be within a Local Plan or a neighbourhood plan.

1.48 Non-strategic policies can be replaced by neighbourhood plans. Not all communities wish to prepare a neighbourhood plan, so it is important for the Local Plan to cover these detailed matters. This does not preclude neighbourhood plans from being prepared and covering the non-strategic policies for their areas.

Responding to this consultation

1.49 This draft Local Plan is available for public consultation for a period of six weeks between 5 February 2019 and 5pm 19 March 2019.

1.50 There are a series of consultation questions set out throughout the draft Local Plan, and replicated on a questionnaire.

1.51 Your response to the questions can be submitted through our online portal: http://easthants.jdi-consult.net/localplan/

1.52 Alternatively, a questionnaire can be downloaded from our webpage, completed and sent to us:

By email: localplan@easthants.gov.uk

By writing to: Planning Policy

East Hampshire District Council,

Penns Place,

Petersfield,

Hampshire,

GU31 4EX

1.53 Please note: the comments received during this consultation cannot be treated as confidential so please do not include any personal information within your comments. Responses will be published on the Council's website, together with the name and/or organisation name of the respondent.

1.54 If you have any further queries regarding any of the issues raised in this document, please contact the Planning Policy Team.

1.55 All documents will be held at the Local Planning Authority and representations will be published online. All responses will be publicly available and identifiable by name and organisation (where applicable). Please note that any other personal information provided will be processed by the Local Planning Authority in line with the Data Protection Act 2018.

Consultation questions

CQ1. Supporting this draft Local Plan is a Sustainability Appraisal, Habitats Assessment and Integrated Impact Assessment. Do you have any comments on these documents?

CQ2. Do you have any questions on current evidence documents?

CQ3. Do you consider any evidence to be missing to further support the Plan (noting some evidence is interim at present)?

CQ4. Do you have any comment on the Duty to Cooperate at this stage?


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