Central Bedfordshire Local Plan
- Meeting of SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE, Monday, 8 January 2018 1.00 p.m. (Item 62.)
- View the background to item 62.
To receive a report detailing the recommendations to the Executive in relation to the pre-submission draft Central Bedfordshire Local Plan.
The full report will be made publicly available on 3 January 2018 and can be accessed via the following link:-
The Executive Member for Regeneration advised the Committee that the latest iteration of the Local Plan set out the Council’s strategic direction for homes and business development, the detail of which had been informed by a recent public consultation. Members were advised of the decision-making timeline and that comments made by the Committee would be considered by the Executive. Following Executive the document would be assessed by full Council before going out to public consultation, after which the planning inspector would make their judgement on the Plan. Members were reminded of the consequences of not having an up to date Plan or five-year land supply. Concerns had also been raised regarding the new government housing calculation, which would substantially increase the number of homes the authority would be required to deliver.
The Head of Strategic Growth delivered a presentation, which set out the implications of the Oxford to Cambridge arc and the appropriate steps taken to mitigate these. The presentation also outlined the duty to provide for Luton’s unmet need, the approach to the spatial strategy and the release of some green belt land where it was deemed sustainable to do so. Members were advised that during the recent public consultation residents had expressed the importance of limiting the expansion of existing settlements, which had been reflected in the updated Plan.
In light of the presentation Members discussed the following in summary: -
· Concerns regarding the decision making timeline and the date on which the technical evidence base, that would include small and medium growth areas and the size of countryside gaps, would be released. In response it was confirmed that the approach was standard practice and deemed appropriate.
· The site assessment matrix, which it was confirmed would be included in the documentation when published.
· Whether it was possible to fund strategic roads from developer contributions.
· The need for clarity within the document regarding settlement boundaries.
· Whether supporting the document at full Council would prejudice a Member’s ability to comment in detail at a later stage. In response it was confirmed that Members would not be prejudiced from making further comments if they supported the Plan at Full Council. At Full Council Members would be asked to support the document to be released for public consultation, a further opportunity would be provided to comment on individual aspects of the Plan in the usual manner.
· That there were no plans to introduce a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) at this stage as the authority was still awaiting a government response to a CIL review conducted in 2017.
· That details of all partner and statutory consultees would be provided to Members on request.
· That each site within the Plan identified strategic health needs with officers liaising extensively with the CCG and NHS partners in order to identify provision for health care, thus informing the infrastructure delivery plan.
· That formal and informal public open space would be provided in addition to countryside gaps.
· That new developments would be required to detail the infrastructure requirements for each site regardless of any deficit.
· Red delineations, as outlined within the Plan, would not necessarily be filled with development, they indicated areas in which pockets of development could occur.
· Members were encouraged to attend future developer consultations and provide feedback.
· The need to strengthen policy regarding public transport, elderly accommodation and climate change (specifically the retention of water). In response it was confirmed that the wording around each of these elements would be reconsidered.
· The need to hold developers to account when projects were not completed within a timely fashion, notwithstanding the difficulties this presented due to current planning legislation.
· Members were reassured that all steps had been taken in order to meet compliance at the examination stage.
· Concerns regarding a lack of clarity and consistency within the document in relation to the number of villages proposed with the Marston Vale.
· That a contingency in the number of homes proposed would allow for the fact that some would be delivered outside of the Plan timetable, also protecting against the non-delivery of some sites.
1. That the Executive supports the draft Pre-Submission Local Plan attached at Appendix A and that the Council agrees the document for the purposes of Publication.
2. That officers strengthen the wording within the document to protect against the coalescence of existing and future settlements wherever practicable.