Report of Chief Executive Officer

Document Sample
Report of Chief Executive Officer Powered By Docstoc
					                                                            MANSFIELD DISTRICT COUNCIL

Report of Corporate Director Customer Services, Community Safety,
                     and Regulatory Services
                 Portfolio Holder for Regeneration


1.     SUMMARY

1.1    The purpose of this report is to consider the continued ‘saving’ of the existing
       planning policies of the Mansfield District Local Plan (November 1998) which
       covers the whole of the District. It responds to the guidance issued from the
       Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) that requires
       requests to continue to ‘save’ existing local plan policies be made to the
       Secretary State by 1st April 2007.

1.2    Key Decision - The report is produced in respect of a key decision identified
       in the Council’s Forward Plan issued on 17th January 2007 because it affects
       all communities within the whole of the district.


       Recommendation to Council

       That the Secretary of State issue a direction to save the policies in the
       Mansfield District Local Plan 1996 – 2006 as set out in Appendix 1 to this
       report, subject to the following provisos:-

       a) The list may be varied at the discretion of the Portfolio Holder for
          Regeneration in consultation with the Corporate Director for Customer
          Services, Community Safety and Regulatory Services, if:-

          i.   Any existing policies or proposals are implemented or superseded in
               the interim;

         ii.   Advised to do so by the Government Office for the East Midlands.

       b) The reasoned justification supporting the list may be extended or amended
          by the Corporate Director for Customer Services, Community Safety and
          Regulatory Services (in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for
          Regeneration) should circumstances change or new information become
                                                            MANSFIELD DISTRICT COUNCIL


3.1   The Government introduced a new development plans system through the
      enactment of the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act on 28th
      September 2004. Whilst the Act signalled the demise of existing local plans in
      favour of new local development documents it allowed for local plans to retain
      development plan status for a period of 3 years from the commencement of
      the Act, and automatically ‘saved’ local plan policies until the 27th September
      2007. It was envisaged by Government that existing local plans would be
      progressively replaced with new local development documents within this
      period thus avoiding the situation where LPA’s were faced with a gap in policy
      in the interim period.

3.2   It is now widely recognised, in particular, by the Government, that the
      transition from the old to the new system may take 5 or more years, and the
      life of ‘saved’ policies for many existing local plans may need to be extended
      beyond the 27th September 2007 deadline. In response the DCLG issued a
      protocol for the handling of requests to extend saved policies beyond the 3
      year period in August last year. It sets out steps local authorities must follow
      together with criteria with which saved policies should comply, if the Secretary
      of State is to extend them. The main criteria are as follows:-

        i.   where appropriate, there is clear central strategy;
       ii.   policies have regard to the Community Strategy for the area;
      iii.   policies are in general conformity with the regional spatial strategy or
             spatial development strategy;
      iv.    policies are in conformity with the core strategy development plan
             document (where the core strategy has been adopted);
      v.     there are effective policies for any parts of the authority’s area where
             significant change in use or development of land or conservation of the
             area is envisaged;
      vi.    policies are necessary and do not merely repeat national or regional

3.3   In addition, the protocol also says that the Secretary of State shall have
      regard to the following;-

            policies that support the delivery of housing, including unimplemented
             site allocations, up to date affordable housing policies, policies relating
             to the infrastructure to support housing;
            policies on green belt general extent in structure plans and detailed
             boundaries in local plans/UDP’s;
            policies that support economic development and regeneration,
             including policies for retailing and town centres;
            policies for waste management, including unimplemented site
            policies that promote renewable energy; reduce impact on climate
             change; and safeguard water resources.
                                                            MANSFIELD DISTRICT COUNCIL

3.4   The deadline date for receipt of the list by the Government Office for the East
      Midlands is Sunday 1st April 2007.

3.5   It is important to note that this process is not an opportunity to amend or add
      in new policies to the existing Local Plan, but purely to ‘save’ existing policies
      where they can be justified, so that they can be utilised after the 27 th
      September 2007.

3.6   Members will be aware that the Council’s revised Local Development Scheme
      approved for submission to the Government Office by Full Council at its
      meeting on 14th November 2006 indicates that the existing local plan will not
      be fully replaced by new local development documents until September 2010.
      It is therefore recommended that appropriate ‘saved’ policies from the
      Adopted Mansfield District Local Plan 1998 be extended for a further 3 years
      to ensure the District has a sound basis for making decisions in the interim

3.7   A comprehensive review of all the ‘saved’ policies in the Local Plan has taken
      place against the Government’s criteria in order to ensure that the list of
      policies we request to continue to be ‘saved’ have been rigorously considered.

3.8   The full list of the existing local plan policies together with the intentions for
      them is set out in Appendix 1. It sets out assessment of each policy against
      the government’s criteria together with reasons, ordered by local plan chapter,
      with policies recommended to be saved first followed by policies
      recommended not to be saved after. Discussion with the Government Office
      for the East Midlands over the list has revealed some informal support for our
      general approach to ‘saved’ policies but at the time of drafting this report no
      formal response has been forthcoming. It is therefore requested that
      Member’s delegate Officer’s to make any necessary amendments to the list
      upon the advice of the Government Office, and in consultation with the
      Portfolio Holder for Regeneration (Recommendation a)ii).

3.9   In summary, the report recommends that request be made to retain all the
      existing policies that can be justified as set out in Appendix 1. There are,
      however, the following exceptions:-

       a)    where a proposal for development has been implemented, for example,
             policy M1(a) which relates to the safeguarded route for the Rainworth

       b)    the employment and housing land provision figures in Policies E1 and
             H1 which have been overtaken by more up to date employment and
             housing requirements set out in the Adopted Nottinghamshire and
             Nottingham Joint Structure Plan 2006 (JSP) and the Draft East
             Midlands Regional Plan 2006 (RSS8);

       c)    the Policy M2(G) relating to the local highway improvement scheme to
             the Hermitage Lane Railway Bridge which has since been identified as
             neither feasible nor desirable by the County Council now that
                                                            MANSFIELD DISTRICT COUNCIL

             alternative routes are available via the Hamilton Road/Quarry Lane link
             and the MARR;

       d)    the Policy H5(W) that allocates land off Wood Street at Market Warsop
             for housing within a zone of high probability of flood risk as defined by
             the Environment Agency where more vulnerable development such as
             housing should now be avoided unless the exceptional test can be met;

       e)    the Policies H8 and H9 which are now out of step with the
             government’s approach to planning for open space, sport and
             recreation in PPG17 (2002), and the local need to take a more refined
             approach that considers both the quality and the quantity of open
             space provision within the district; and

       f)    the Policy U6 which is at odds with the government’s approach to flood
             risk in PPS25 which sets out a more stringent approach to avoid
             inappropriate development in areas at risk from flooding, and to direct
             development away from areas at highest risk.


4.1   It is a statutory requirement for a Local Planning Authority to produce a
      development plan setting out local policies to manage the spatial development
      of its area. The Council currently meets this requirement through the Adopted
      Mansfield Local Plan which is ‘saved’ in its entirety under the Planning and
      Compulsory Purchase Act for a period of 3 years from the 28 th September
      2004. In the reformed planning system the policies of the local plan would
      lose their development plan status on this date unless the Secretary of State
      makes a direction to extend specified policies beyond the 3 year period.

4.2   Whilst the Council has embarked on review of the local plan through the
      preparation of the Mansfield Local Development Framework the raft of new
      policies to replace the existing Local Plan is unlikely to be fully in place until
      September 2010. Unless the saved period for certain local plan policies is
      extended the Council will be left with no local development plan for its area
      and no effective planning policies for decision making on individual planning

4.3   Although it would be possible for the Council to ‘do nothing’ and not to ask the
      Secretary of State to expressly save certain of the existing policies this option
      would either see the plan as a whole lose its development plan status or it
      may mean that important decisions regarding the retention of our policies are
      taken without the full knowledge of changes in local circumstances, and which
      are not in the best interests of the area. In regard to which policies should be
      recommended to the Government Office for saving, the list at Appendix 1 is
      mindful of the assessment criteria for handling such requests set out by the
      Government in the protocol.
                                                                      MANSFIELD DISTRICT COUNCIL


5.1   The existing ‘saved’ local plan policies are the established policies of the
      Council and the costs involved in preparing them through the development
      plan preparation process have already been expended. As such there are no
      budgetary/resource implications with this decision which seeks to retain
      certain of the existing local plan policies as part of the development plan for a
      further 3 years until September 2010.


6.1   The Table below sets out the risks associated with the recommendations and
      the option together with the actions proposed to lessen the risk.

       Risk                Risk                                         Risk   Risk
                           Assessment                                   Level  Management
       Recommendation – make request to the Secretary of State to extend the ‘saved’ period
       of certain of the existing local plan policies
       The Secretary       This scenario would be in accordance         Low    By making request to
       of State issues     with the Council’s aims and objectives.             extend the ‘saved’
       direction to not                                                        period of certain of
       save/save                                                               the existing local plan
       certain of the                                                          policies using the
       policies in                                                             criteria in the Protocol
       accordance with                                                         and including a clear
       the request as                                                          reasoned justification
       set out in the list                                                     the Council is making
       of policies.                                                            the best of the
                                                                               opportunity to
                                                                               influence the decision
                                                                               of the Secretary of
                                                                               State and lessen the
                                                                               risks involved.
       Option – Do nothing
       The Secretary       The existing policies will lose their        Medium By not making a
       of State issues     development plan status on 27                       request to extend the
       direction to not    September unless they are ‘saved’ for               ‘saved’ period of
       save/save           a further period by the Secretary of                certain of the existing
       certain of the      State. If none of the existing plan                 local plan policies the
       policies without    policies are ‘saved’ for a further period           Council would reduce
       the benefit of      this would create a policy vacuum in                its ability to positively
       local knowledge the period before new local                             influence the
       in relation to our development plan documents are                       development of the
       aspirations for     adopted as part of the LDF process.                 district.
       the district.       This would increase the risk of
                           successful challenge against the
                           Council’s planning decisions at appeal,
                           and would result in no statutory policy
                           backing for a number of major
                           unimplemented development proposals
                           in the District. If certain of the important
                           policies are lost whilst other less
                           important ones retained the Council’s
                           existing planning policies would not
                           serve the best interests of the area.
                                                              MANSFIELD DISTRICT COUNCIL


7.1    The Adopted Mansfield District Local Plan sets out the Council’s land-use
       policies for the development of the district. It aligns with the Council’s priority
       of revitalising our district, town centres and neighbourhoods, ensuring decent
       homes for all, and developing a high quality, clean and pleasant environment
       through various policies relating to homes, jobs and shops amongst others.


8.1    The development plan status for the existing ‘saved’ policies of the Adopted
       Mansfield District Local Plan lasts until 27th September 2007 unless extended
       by the Secretary of State.


       a)     Head of Paid Service – None
       b)     Monitoring Officer – None
       c)     Head of Financial Services – None


10.1   The approach to the ‘saving’ of the existing local plan policies has been the
       subject of discussion with relevant officer’s within Planning and Regulatory
       Services and Operational Services, and with the Corporate Director for
       Customer Services, Community Safety and Regulatory Services. The list and
       reasoned justification attached at Appendix 1 is the culmination of these
       consultations. In addition, a draft list was forwarded to the Government Office
       for the East Midlands for their comment prior to any formal submission.
       Although informal support has been received to our general approach as yet
       no formal response on the detail has been received.


       Letter to the Government Office for the East Midlands dated 9 th January 2007
       (File Ref: LDS/01)

       Report Author:       Phil Delaney
       Designation:         Principal Planning Policy Officer
       Telephone:           01623 463182