Urgent! Last chance to respond to JLP – 26th April
Joint Local Plan (JLP)
South Hams District Council have now joined forces with Plymouth and West Devon Councils to produce a Joint Local Plan (JLP) within which the Neighbourhood Plan will play a crucial role in determining the planning policies at a community level.
The planning framework
A new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has been produced by government which defines how the different tiers of planning will interact in delivering national planning policies, in particular but not exclusively targets for new house building.
The old local plans, including the South Hams local plan are no longer NPPF compliant. In future local plans are to be based on housing market areas (HMAs). In Cornwall and Devon other local authorities have been quick to define their own HMAs – based on Cornwall as a single entity (despite thousands of East Cornwall residents crossing the Tamar into Plymouth every day to work), Torbay, Exeter and Barnstaple. This left Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon as a remnant HMA despite the eastern part of the South Hams looking towards Torbay and Exeter.
There are advantages to this new approach – the authorities can pool their resources, there is only need for a single consultation and a need for only one inspection and approval.
The three authorities are therefore consulting on a new joint local plan which must look forward 15 years as a minimum. In actual fact the new plan takes a 20 year forward look – 2014-34. The target is to complete the new plan by January 2017 – a target set by government – and adopt it by the autumn of 2017.
It is intended that the local plan framework is supported by a network of neighbourhood plans which must ensure that local plan objectives are achieved but allow local communities to specify the planning policies which they wish to see applied in their locality. There is a new Neighbourhood Planning Bill proposed in the next Queens Speech which will give neighbourhood plans a more secure legislative foundation and will include new arrangements for plan review without the need for further referenda.
New housing targets
The new plan has calculated that new housing provision during the period 2014-34 totals 30,300. The level of housing need was established using a nationally accepted housing protocol (Peter Brett Associates) and is based among other factors on current population growth rates. The plan also makes provision for new employment to support this growth and also improvements in infrastructure – transport, schools, etc.
This new housing is to be delivered as follows:
Plymouth (including parts of Brixton, Bickleigh and Sparkwell parishes) -21,000
Main towns (Totnes, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge, Ivybridge, Tavistock and Okehampton) – 5,500 (of which 3,500 in the South Hams towns). Each have individual targets for new housing.
Local centres – 1,000 (of which 500 are in the South Hams centres of Modbury, Yealmpton, Salcombe and Stokenham in South Hams). These centres have individual targets assigned to them – see below for Modbury.
Villages – 1,000 (700 in the South Hams villages). There are no individual targets for the villages of which there are 72 in the South Hams. It is expected that they will all bring forward allocations through their neighbourhood plans. If it looks like this will be insufficient then by then end of the first two years targets are likely to be forced on them by SHDC.
Windfall sites (e.g. barn conversions) – 1,200 (800 in South Hams)
Dartmoor – 600
What is included in these targets? Some of the total is already covered by existing consents so is difficult to be very precise and each of the local authorities are checking their supply figures to ensure they do not overcommit against the new HMA target.
The target for Modbury
The target for Modbury is as follows:
RA1 (existing consent) – 93 (check?)
RA2 (in pipeline) – 20 (this could be extended if thought appropriate)
New sites – 80
The JLP is currently assuming that the new site total will be delivered on the land adjacent to and accessed through RA1 and behind Long Park.
The role of neighbourhood plans
Local NPs will be used to determine the detailed planning policies at community level. This will include tenure, second homes, plot sizes and densities, house types, design standards and parking. In order for them to be enforceable they must be credible and supported by the local community and SHDC.
Housing needs surveys will be required to underpin policies on tenure.
It was explained that Neighbourhood Plans would run on their own timescale, as yet there were no completed Neighbourhood plans in the South Hams.
The planning officers were asked how neighbourhood plans (like Modbury’s) which were currently being drawn up and consulted upon could feature in the JLP when the deadline for consultation on the latter is so short. The answer was:
Any emerging issues from NP consultations should be flagged up with SHDC as they emerge and they will be respected right up to the deadline for the plan to be completed in January 2017.
In terms of development control the latest adopted plan takes precedence so even if the NP is adopted after the JLP it will be enforceable so long as it is consistent with the overall thrust of the JLP. There has to be a balance between delivering on government targets and giving local communities power to decide what happens in their area.
The best way to ensure that NPs are both credible and enforceable is to keep in close contact with SHDC via liaison officers. NP groups are also urged to work together to share best practice and to liaise with their local centres and towns.
Timetable for Consultation
The Joint Local Plan is following the below timetable:
June 2016 – Public engagement on sites and policies
October 2016 – Draft Joint Local Plan published
January 2017 – Submission of the Joint Local Plan
Spring/Summer 2017 – Public Examination
Autumn 2017 – Adoption by the three councils
SHDC JLP Info: http://www.southhams.gov.uk/jointlocalplan
Thank you to Alison Wood and Phil Smith for attending the event and providing the excellent summary.