Local Plan Review - Progress
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Cabinet considered the work being undertaken to prepare a revised Local Plan. The Council completed the first stage in this process in July 2018 with a consultation on ‘Strategic Issues’ and the report detailed the outcomes of the consultation and associated developments that would impact on how the Local Plan and further consultations were taken forward. Since the last report to Cabinet in May 2018 the Government had published several new policies including the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which would impact on Local Plans by increasing the presumption in favour of sustainable development, requiring Strategic policies to plan 15 years ahead from their implementation date and that Statements of Common Ground should be agreed with other bodies and local authorities in order to justify Local Plans that cover an individual local authority. The NPPF would be a central consideration in preparing the Local Plan. Since May the Council had also adopted the Framework Supplementary Planning Document for Dartford Town Centre which would help to deliver the aspirations of the current Local Plan and stimulate further opportunities for investment in the town. The Thames Estuary Growth Commission had also reported in the summer with its “2050 Vision” which included a medical campus at central Ebbsfleet and the extension of Crossrail 1 eastwards from Abbey Wood. The Council and its strategic partners (including London Borough of Bexley and the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation) had prepared a Strategic Outline Business Case in support of a full examination of the potential extension of Crossrail to Dartford/Ebbsfleet.
The report detailed the principal outcomes of the Local Plan ‘Strategic Issues’ Consultation. There had been strong support for continuing focus on development in the north of the Borough to protect the Green Belt and support regeneration of the urban area including Dartford Town Centre. The high level strategy for the overall distribution of development in Dartford had also been broadly accepted as was the pressing requirement to plan for a range of transport improvements. The consultation also suggested a need to confirm the future approach to a number of key themes including the scope of the content of the Local Plan, the approach to parts of the north of the Borough where development was not occurring as planned or where new proposals were coming forward, partnership working and funding for infrastructure and achieving efficient use of land in the local context. Responses to the consultation from the London Borough of Bexley and Sevenoaks and Gravesham Councils were also reported. Moving forward it was clear that further technical evidence would be needed to support Local Plans and work was being undertaken to develop a suitable evidence base. The Council was also refreshing its Brownfield Land Register and its Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA). The next stages in the development of the Local Plan, including further public consultation in summer 2019 and early 2020 were outlined.
The Leader of the Council sought clarification on whether certain SHLAA sites, which were clearly contrary to the Council’s policy of not permitting development on ‘green belt’ land, could be rejected now. The Head of Regeneration explained that in view of Government guidance the assessment of SHLAA sites had to be undertaken through a robust process. It was not possible to eliminate Green Belt sites at this stage before this assessment had been carried out.
1. That the responses to the Strategic Issues Local Plan consultation, including summaries at paragraphs 4.2 and 4.3 and Appendix A to the report, be used to inform the next stage in the preparation of the Local Plan;
2. That the Local Plan evidence base position, summarised at paragraphs 5.1 to 6.5 in the report, including ongoing technical work for the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) refresh be used to inform the next stage in the preparation of the Local Plan; and
3. That the Council’s Five Year Housing Land Supply detailed in Appendix B to the report be approved for publication.
Publication date: 07/01/2019
Date of decision: 06/12/2018
Decided at meeting: 06/12/2018 - Cabinet
Effective from: 07/12/2018