The Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager presented the Council’s response to the Planning for the Future Government White Paper.
During the delivery of this presentation the following matters were highlighted for Members’ consideration:
· Officers were suggesting in the response that there was a need for further clarity about the proposals that had been made by the Government in the white paper and the implications for how planning would operate in future at the local level.
· The white paper proposed changes to the content required for Local Plans and the ways in which the plans would be developed in future.
· Whilst it generally took between six and eight years to develop a Local Plan under existing arrangements, the proposals in the white paper would require Councils to develop a new Local Plan within 30 months.
· The aim of the white paper was to make the planning system more responsive.
· Local Plans would no be made up of three zonings: growth areas, renewal areas and protection areas.
· Green belt policy would not be changing in respect of developments. However, further clarification was needed in relation to how green belt policy interacted with requirements for developments in protected areas.
· Under the terms proposed in the white paper the number of houses that would need to be developed in future in each area would be determined centrally rather than at the local level.
· The white paper also proposed that Development Plan policies for each Council would be determined at the central level rather than locally.
· There were proposals to abolish the duty to co-operate. The Council had acted on this duty in the past and clarification was needed about how the wider housing needs of the region would be addressed without this duty to co-operate in future.
· Officers were keen to ensure that the right to be heard at the end of the Local Plan process was not removed.
· The white paper proposed a new arrangement for infrastructure funding. Under this proposal Section 106 funding arrangements would be replaced with a new infrastructure levy, though it was unclear how this would be set. There was a risk that if the levy was not determined locally the levy would not cover the full costs of the infrastructure works required for that development.
· The white paper also proposed an increase in the size of developments that would trigger the requirement for affordable housing to be built as part of that development. Should this be agreed the target would be to provide affordable housing in developments of 40 or 50 houses rather than the 11 houses in the current threshold.
· Officers would need to start working on the Local Plan as soon as possible to ensure that the Council’s planning policy was compliant with future requirements. The outcomes of the initial stages of this work would be reported to Members at a meeting of the Planning Advisory Panel early in the new year.
Following the presentation of the report Members discussed a number of areas in detail: ... view the full minutes text for item 32