Report by Corporate Director Alistair Cunningham
Cllr Toby Sturgis presented the report which (i) detailed the outcome of consultations on the local plan review that took place in 2017; (ii) detailed the implications for plan making arising from revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF); (iii) sought endorsement for preparation of the required statement of Common Ground with Swindon Borough Council to inform the matters to be addressed in a Joint Spatial Framework; and (iv) sought approval for a revised Wiltshire Local Development Scheme (LDS).
Cllr Sturgis explained that the report brought together the outcomes of the Autumn 2017 Wiltshire Local Plan Review consultation and amended Government policy now included in the revised NPPF. The NPPF recommended the next steps for the review of the Wiltshire Local Plan with a view to an adopted plan being in place by Summer 2021. The LDS is also updated to take into consideration progress with made and advanced neighbourhood plans as at January 2019, the timetable for the Wiltshire Housing Site Allocation Plan and the continued commitment to review minerals and waste plans.
The Cabinet noted that maintaining an up-to-date Local Plan in accordance with the NPPF would support Plan led growth across the county to support sustainable and resilient communities, safeguarding the authority from speculative and unplanned development.
In response to questions from Cllrs Mathew and Thorn about the recently agreed motions by Council on 26th February 2019 in relation to Climate Change, the Leader confirmed that the process to consider the motions had commenced through the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and their request to the Environment Select Committee to consider establishing a Task Group to take the matter forward. Cllr Sturgis confirmed that the views and recommendations of the Task Group would be taken into account during the review of the Local Plan, that the Council had sufficient expertise and a knowledge base within the current Planning Team structures to take the climate change issue forward, and that in fact Wiltshire was one of the leading authorities incorporating climate change policies in its day to day activities. Cllr Sturgis also explained that the content of the motions referred to above, were already subject to National Policy, and a full public consultation would be undertaken on the Plan in due course.
In response to additional questions from Cllr Thorn about (i) the possibility of an A350 market area; (ii) the number of new homes to be provided up to 2036 and detailed in the Local Plan; (iii) the hierarchy of market towns and demand for new homes in specific areas; and (iv) outcomes of recent peer reviews about the delivery of new homes at larger strategic sites with associated infrastructure; The Leader, Cllr Whitehead and Cllr Sturgis commented that (i) the A350 was considered by the Local Enterprise Partnership as an economic corridor and due to its length, making the A350 a market area would become unmanageable, even though it was recognised that the two issues were linked; (ii) The Government were currently consulting on the methodology to be used to determine the required housing numbers for each Council, and this information would be available at a future meeting for the Cabinet to consider; (iii) consideration is given to a number of factors when determining the most appropriate sites for housing, including landscape, bio-diversity and employment, deliverability and viability issues.
1. To agree that the proposed Chippenham Housing Market Area, Salisbury Housing Market Area, Swindon Housing Market Area (Wiltshire part) and Trowbridge Housing Market Area (as amended), as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, are an appropriate basis for housing distribution within Wiltshire and should inform the development of a preferred strategy for the Local Plan.
2. To endorse the preparation of a Statement of Common Ground with Swindon Borough Council to clarify the strategic cross boundary issues between the two authorities and the future role of the Joint Spatial Framework.
3. To agree the revised Wiltshire Local Development Scheme at Appendix 2 to the report.
4. To authorise the Director for Economic Development and Planning, in consultation with the Director of Legal and Democratic Services, Cabinet Member for ‘Spatial Planning, Development Management and Property’, to make minor amendments to the Local Development Scheme in the interests of clarity and accuracy before publishing it on the Council’s website.
5. Delegates authority to the Director for Economic Development and Planning, in consultation with the Director of Legal and Democratic Services, Director of Finance and Procurement and Cabinet Members for ‘Spatial Planning, Development Management and Property’ and ‘Finance, Procurement, IT and Operational Assets’ to undertake subsequent reviews and updates to the LDS with any significant modifications being referred to Cabinet as appropriate.
Reason for Decision:
Section 15 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011) requires the Council to prepare and maintain a Local Development Scheme (LDS). The LDS sets out a rolling three year programme to deliver local planning documents. Delegated authority allows for future updates to the LDS to be undertaken in an efficient manner.
The revisions to the LDS and use of the Housing Market Areas will allow progress to continue to be made on maintaining an up-to-date Local Plan for Wiltshire in line with revised national policy.