Draft Local Plan

Ended on the 23rd March 2016
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(103) 1. Introduction

(1) Preparing the Plan

1.1. Brentwood Borough Council is preparing a new Local Plan, a key part of the Brentwood's development plan. This Plan sets out a long term vision for how the Borough should develop over the next 15 years and the Council's strategy and policies for achieving that vision. The Plan proposes land allocations for development and planning policies to guide decisions on the location, scale and type of development and changes in the way land and buildings are used.

1.2. We would like your views on our proposed approach contained within this draft version of the Local Plan. The Draft Plan sets out proposed strategy, policies and land allocations to meet future needs. Following consultation we will consider all comments received and, depending on issues raised, may amend the Plan in light of these. There will then be a further opportunity to comment prior to the Council submitting the plan to the Secretary of State for examination by an independent inspector.

1.3. Once adopted, the Local Plan will be a statutory document and a material consideration in determining planning applications.

1.4. The Draft Plan has been drawn up following extensive consultation and is supported by evidence from a variety of sources. Some background to the document preparation is given in the paragraphs and chapters that follow.

(4) Previous Consultation

1.5. During November and December 2009, Brentwood Borough Council and Local Strategic Partnership consulted on issues and options facing the Borough up to 2031. The 'Pathway to a Sustainable Brentwood' document sought views on a vision, objectives, spatial options to guide future development in the Borough and broad themes, such as sustainable use of resources, environmental protection, and meeting people's needs.

1.6. Between 2007 and 2010 there were separate consultations on a Gypsy and Traveller Development Plan Document. However, the document did not proceed to adoption.

1.7. Following consultation on issues and options in 2009, for pragmatic reasons and in light of changing national policy and legislation, the Council decided to bring the Core Strategy together with site allocations and development management policies to produce a single Local Plan rather than a suite of separate documents as part of a Local Development Framework. This seemed consistent with the new approach to planning that was emerging and is reflected in subsequent legislation and national policy guidance.

1.8. Reflecting a new emphasis on localism and to give local people an opportunity to participate in planning, in May and June 2011 the Council undertook a comprehensive neighbourhood consultation. The 'Your Neighbourhood' consultation sought views on priorities for the Local Plan, neighbourhoods, housing numbers and potential sites.

1.9. Following the abolition of the East of England Plan in early 2013, the Council published its preferred options document for consultation between July and October 2013. The 'Local Plan 2015-2030: Preferred Options' set out the long term vision for how the Council proposed the Borough should develop by 2030 and the draft strategy and policies for achieving that vision.

1.10. Following the conclusion of consultation in late 2013 it became apparent that several issues needed to be reconsidered in light of representations received and Planning Inspectorate decisions to other Local Plan examinations, specifically regarding meeting full objectively assessed development needs. Consequently the Council published its 'Strategic Growth Options' document for consultation in January 2015, which set out all sites suggested to the Council to meet development needs and information on some key issues to consider as part of assessing sites, such as transport infrastructure, local services, and the environment.

1.11. The consultation process so far is depicted in Figure 1.1. All consultation documents and assessments of representations received are available to view on the Council's website at www.brentwood.gov.uk/localplan

(2) Document Structure

Key Themes

1.12. The format of the Draft Plan follows that set out in the Preferred Options document (2013), although structure and order has changed to better reflect the five key themes:

  • Managing Growth
    (includes strategic and general development principles)

  • Sustainable Communities
    (includes housing and provision for Travellers)

  • Economic Prosperity
    (includes employment land, rural economy and retail)

  • Environmental Protection & Enhancement
    (includes Green Belt, natural environment, landscape and built heritage)

  • Quality of Life & Community Infrastructure
    (includes transport, design, infrastructure, community facilities, sport & leisure, flooding & drainage, and utilities)

1.13. There is inevitably some cross-over between policies and these key themes. For the purposes of preparing a document within a structure that keeps continuity with previous consultation versions, the above themes have been retained as chapters while policies and objectives have been moved to fit under their most suitable theme. This helps to clearly develop a narrative across consultation versions as we move forward towards adopting a new Local Plan.

Figure 1.1 Process So Far

FIGURE 1.1: Consultation Process so far

Planning Policies

1.14. When reading the Draft Plan you will notice different types of policies and references, as explained in Figure 1.2. This includes how policies fit into the overall structure of the document and relate the vision and objectives.

Figure 1.2 Types of Policies

FIGURE 1.2: Types of Policies

1.15. In addition, introductory and justification text is provided to supplement the Plan's strategy and policies. This text helps provide context and clarity and so should be read in conjunction with policies.

(2) Life of the Plan

1.16. The Local Plan will cover a specified period of time, or the 'Plan Period'. The plan period proposed in the 2013 Preferred Options was from 2015-2030, in line with the National Planning Policy Framework recommendation that plans should ideally have a life of 15 years.

1.17. When considering whether this is an appropriate time period account has been made of ensuring the Plan has at least a 15 year life from likely adoption as well as the issue of previous years' development shortfall since 2013 and the abolition of the East of England Plan.

1.18. Consequently, this Draft Plan proposes that the life of the Plan be for 20 years, from 2013-2033.

(2) Monitoring and Implementation

1.19. The Preferred Options consultation document (2013) contained a section under each policy and a separate chapter on how policies will be monitored and implemented once adopted. This remains an important consideration, particularly in light of the Council's commitment to publish monitoring data in line with guidance and requirements. The Draft Plan does not identify indicators for monitoring at this stage, but this will be considered as the Plan progresses.

(75) Regulation 18 Consultation

1.20. This stage of public consultation, known as "preparation" or "regulation 18" consultation (1), is an important stage in preparing the Local Plan. While the Council is publishing its strategy, planning policies and proposed land allocations, this Plan remains draft.

1.21. Comments received and further consideration of published and forthcoming evidence will be taken into account as the Plan progresses to the next stage, when it will again be available for public comment before being submitted to the Secretary of State. After this the Plan will be examined by an independent Planning Inspector.

1.22. The Plan has been prepared in light of emerging and ongoing technical evidence. It is subject to change as informed by evidence, national policy and guidance, local changes and consultation responses. The Council is keen to move forward as quickly as possible in order to ensure a Plan can be in place to manage future growth and retain Borough character. However, at this stage the Plan is a work in progress.

(2) How to Comment

The Council would like to know what the community and key stakeholders think about the Draft Plan. Please provide your comments on the draft strategy, planning policies and proposed land allocations.

The Draft Plan is available for public comment for a 6 week consultation period, between Wednesday 10 February and Wednesday 23 March 2016.

You can find out more about the Draft Plan and respond directly on the Council's website at www.brentwood.gov.uk/localplan

Responding online is the quickest and easiest way to comment. Alternatively, you can also respond by completing a comment form, available from the Town Hall or downloaded from our website, and returning this to us.

Hard copies of the Draft Plan are available to view during normal opening hours at the Town Hall or local libraries (Brentwood, Shenfield and Ingatestone).

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