Published November 30, 2017 at 13:17
Introducing a new planning blog by Councillor Christine Lamb, Portfolio Holder for Regulatory Services. The regular feature will contain updates and look ahead to forthcoming projects.
Local Plan Update
Following on from the 11 week consultation on the Council’s new draft Local Plan over the summer, which included seven roadshow events across the borough, the Forward Planning team are busy reviewing all of the responses received. The consultation generated significant public interest and response with nearly 1,800 responses received, over 94% of which were from local residents, with over 3,000 individual comments submitted on various sites, policies or topics. Additionally, six petitions were received. Of the individual comments received 88% raised objections to either the proposed site allocations or proposed planning policies. A short summary of the comments received along with the full content of the comments received will be published today on the Council’s web-site at https://www.rossendale.gov.uk/homepage/10095/local_plan
A significant number of concerns received related to the capacity of the highway network to cope with the additional development proposed and as such the Local Planning Authority have commissioned a Highway Capacity Study which is currently underway. This report is due to be completed in March 2018. The Forward Planning team are also meeting with important infrastructure providers such United Utilities and Lancashire County Council to discuss the impacts of the proposed development on infrastructure such as drainage and education. This is to ensure that the next stage of the Local Plan takes into full account the impacts of any proposed development.
The next stage of the Local Plan will be published in Summer 2018 for a six week period. The length of time is set out by law as are the range of issues that consultees can respond on. All of these comments will then be put together and sent to the Government’s independent Planning Inspectorate who will hold an Examination in public on the plan, probably in late Spring 2019. The Council will then need to take on board the inspector’s recommendations before adopting the final version of the Plan in early 2020.
Rossendale are making good progress in respect of the Local Plan however the underlying risk of central Government stepping in to reduce piecemeal speculative development with no strategic direction still exists. In recent weeks Sajid Javid announced 15 local authorities for which the Government will be taking over their plan-making, remove their plan making powers and write the plans for them. This is due slow progress made by the 15 identified Local Authorities in respect of producing a Local Plan. Rossendale are not one of the identified authorities however this announcement does reinforce the fact that central Government will intervene and produce a Local Plan for those authorities who are not progressing with their Local Plans hence all of the hard work which the Forward Planning team are doing to progress the Authority’s Local Plan.
Brownfield Land Register
Redeveloping brownfield sites is important to the Council. However it is important to acknowledge that brownfield land is often difficult to develop and very constrained. Within a borough like Rossendale specific constraints include flood risk, topography, contamination and viability. In 2016 Rossendale were part of the Government’s pilot brownfield register which identified previously developed land that is available, capable of development and able to deliver five or more dwellings. A pilot Brownfield register was published on the Council’s web-site and provides a list of some sites that are suitable for housing within the borough. By the end of 2017 every Local Authority is required to publish a Brownfield Register and Rossendale have updated the pilot register list of increase the number of suitable brownfield sites within the borough. This will be published before the end of the year. Additionally the Forward Planning Team is working with the Environment Agency and other partners to try to identify solutions to help bring constrained brownfield land forward for development.