BMSDC Joint Local Plan - Pre-Submission Reg19 (interactive) 2020

Ended on the 24 December 2020
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01 - Introduction

(14) 01.01 The Babergh and Mid Suffolk Joint Local Plan (hereafter referred to as 'the Plan') is an important document which will provide the strategy for the growth of Babergh and Mid Suffolk. It will set out the strategy for development up to 2037, including land allocations. Once adopted, the Plan will replace the existing local planning policies for both Babergh and Mid Suffolk.

Why do we need a Plan for Babergh and Mid Suffolk?

(2) 01.02 Planning involves weighing up economic, social and environmental factors to achieve the most balanced and sustainable way forward.

01.03 The current development planning system was established through the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and subsequent amendments, such as the Localism Act 2011 which introduced neighbourhood plans. The national approach to planning policy matters is set out principally in the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF 2019) and Planning Practice Guidance, but also within documents covering specific topics such as the Marine Policy Statement and Planning Policy for Travellers Sites.

(3) 01.04 The NPPF 2019 sets a presumption in favour of sustainable development, requiring that local planning authorities plan positively to meet the development needs of their area. The Plan policies for Babergh and Mid Suffolk will sit alongside the NPPF 2019, and where appropriate, supplement policies based upon local circumstances.

01.05 In accordance with Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act (2004) the policies and allocations set out in the Development Plan, once adopted, will provide the primary consideration in determining applications, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk's Current Development Plan

(2) 01.06 The current Development Plan for Babergh consists of the saved policies of the Babergh Local Plan, Alteration No. 2 (2006), the Babergh Local Plan (2011 – 2031) Core Strategy and Policies (2014) and the 'made' (adopted) neighbourhood plans[1]. For Mid Suffolk, the Development Plan comprises the saved policies of the Mid Suffolk District Local Plan (1998), the First Alteration to the Mid Suffolk Local Plan (2006), the Mid Suffolk District Core Strategy Development plan Document (2008), and the Mid Suffolk District Core Strategy Focused Review (2012), the Stowmarket Area Action Plan Mid Suffolk's New Style Local Plan (2013) and the 'made' (adopted) Neighbourhood Plans[2]. The Minerals Core Strategy (incorporating Development Control Policies) (2008), the Minerals Specific Site Allocation Plan (2009), and the Waste Core Strategy Development Plan Document (2011) produced by Suffolk County Council (SCC) also form part of the Development Plan. The Plan will replace the Local Plans and alterations (saved policies), the Core Strategies, and the Stowmarket Area Action Plan.

(1) 01.07 When made (adopted), any new Neighbourhood Plans shall also become part of the development plan and shall be considered alongside the Plan when determining planning applications. Neighbourhood Plan groups have an opportunity to work with the relevant District Council in order to share information and bring sites forward for allocation where they would assist to meet the levels of growth in the Plan.

The Joint Local Plan

(1) 01.08 The Plan will set out planning policies to set the context for protecting the Districts' valuable natural and built environment and ensure that new development is delivered in a sustainable way.

01.09 The Plan is primarily based upon and in conformity with national planning policy and legislation, whilst having full regard to relevant strategic and locally significant matters.

Why do we need a Plan to deliver growth?

(4) 01.10 In accordance with the NPPF standard methodology, the Plan must accommodate identified housing needs along with employment and community facilities and services in Babergh and Mid Suffolk respectively. The Plan will set out a strategy to accommodate this in full in accordance with national policy requirements. Preventing growth across the two Districts is not an option. Levels of housing need in the area are high and new homes will have to be provided to meet this need.

(5) 01.11 Rates of annual housing delivery in Babergh and Mid Suffolk have been approximately 20% below the levels of current delivery since 2014/15. From 2018 onwards, the annual rate of housing to be delivered has also increased by around 30%-40% in each council area, compounding delivery issues. A 'plan led' approach is fundamental to shaping future delivery and provides a mechanism to coordinate the delivery of infrastructure necessary to support growth. Development should be planned to secure the delivery of key infrastructure projects across the County, such as the improvements to the A14 network, as well as localised infrastructure schemes within communities.

The Plan

01.12 The Plan will be set out in 3 parts:

  1. Part 1 – Objectives and Strategic Policies
  2. Part 2 – Non Strategic Delivery Policies
  3. Part 3 – Non Strategic Place and Allocation Policies.

(1) 01.13 Part 1 sets out the strategic policies to address Babergh and Mid Suffolk's priorities for the development and use of land by establishing the overall strategy for the pattern, scale and quality of development (and any relevant cross boundary issues). The policies will make sufficient provision for:

  1. Housing (including affordable), employment, retail, leisure and other commercial development;
  2. Infrastructure; and
  3. Conservation and enhancement of the natural, built and historic environment, including landscapes and green infrastructure, and planning measures to address climate change mitigation and adaption.

01.14 Part 2 will include more detailed policies for management and delivery of types of development and Part 3 detailed policies for specific places and neighbourhoods. This includes new housing and land allocations, provision of infrastructure and community facilities (such as schools, healthcare and cultural facilities) at a local level, establishing design and construction principles, conserving and enhancing the natural and historic environment and setting out development management policies.

01.15 The Plan will articulate policies to influence delivery across four priority areas that district councillors have identified will have the most positive impact on that future:

  • Housing;
  • Economy;
  • Environment;
  • Healthy Communities & Infrastructure.

01.16 The Councils of Babergh and Mid Suffolk, as the Local Planning Authorities, need to work with a large number of organisations and individuals to produce a local plan and determine planning applications. Alongside working with infrastructure providers and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils work closely with the other local authorities across Suffolk, including with the County Council.

(1) 01.17 Viability is a factor which has a significant role and influence over planning policies and development proposals. The Plan has to be deliverable. This means that the cost of meeting the requirements of policies, combined with the costs of meeting national requirements, such as building regulations, and local infrastructure need to be assessed and factored into the emergence of all policy proposals and allocations.

Delivery & Places

(2) 01.18 The Plan will have a focus upon managing the delivery of sustainable development which supports the areas' economic growth ambitions; the important rich historical and natural environment; the extensive network of existing communities; and enables development through facilitating the delivery of infrastructure.

(2) 01.19 The Plan will have regard to emerging neighbourhood plans being prepared in the District and will provide a context for new neighbourhood plans to be prepared against.

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