Site Allocations Local Plan - Further Issues and Options (Regulation 18 Stage)
1 Background to this consultation
1.1 Forest Heath District Council is planning for long term growth so that there is certainty in how and where our settlements will grow. We are preparing this Site Allocations Local Plan document to guide development. Your input will help make the best decisions.
1.2 The purpose of this consultation document is to stimulate debate to identify the most appropriate sites for housing, employment and community and leisure use. We welcome responses from both the public and statutory stakeholders.
1.3 This Site Allocations Local Plan document forms part of Forest Heath District Council's Local Plan and is a formal development plan document. It will provide a planning framework for the allocation of sites in Forest Heath district up to 2031.
1.4 This Issues and Options consultation updates and supersedes the Issues and Options consultation undertaken in 2006. This document will be subject to an eight week consultation period between 11th August and 6th October 2015.
1.5 The consultation documents are available to view on the council's website at West Suffolk Local Plan. Details of how to comment on this document are set out below.
1.6 In preparing this document we will:
- identify sufficient land to make sure we have a good supply for homes, jobs, shops and services;
- listen to our residents, businesses and communities to help shape decisions about the best locations for development;
- balance the issues and assess the most appropriate way forward.
1.7 We are planning for long term growth so that there is certainty in how and where settlements will grow within the district. This will allow service providers to plan and deliver the necessary infrastructure to enable the planned growth to happen when it is required. This includes facilities such as roads, sewers and water infrastructure.
1.8 A draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) accompanies this Site Allocations document, and begins to set out the infrastructure issues and requirements for the district. Comments on the draft IDP can be made on the Council's public consultation website at West Suffolk Local Plan.
Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations (Screening) Assessment
1.9 The Sustainability Appraisal (SA) is an appraisal of the economic, social and environmental sustainability of an emerging local plan, and alternatives. An interim SA Report is published alongside this consultation document, with a view to providing further information on the merits of the alternatives that are currently under consideration.
1.10 A Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report draws together information about the district to establish a sustainability baseline and determine the key challenges for the area. A revised Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report (May 2015) has been prepared to support the Sustainability Appraisals of the draft Site Allocations document and Core Strategy Single Issue Review documents. The information compiled in this report will form the foundations of the sustainability appraisals, which will be used to test how well the emerging Local Plan aligns with sustainability objectives. The report can be viewed at West Suffolk Local Plan.
1.11 A Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) forms part of a European Directive that requires 'appropriate assessment' of plans and projects that are, either alone or in combination with other plans and projects, likely to have a significant impact on certain designated habitats. The options in this document have been subject to a Habitats Regulations (Screening) Assessment under the requirements of the Habitats Directive 92/42/EEC.
How to make comments
1.13 Alternatively, written responses will be accepted and a paper response form can be obtained by telephoning 01284 757368 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
1.14 Please return paper response forms/letters to:
Strategic Planning Team
Forest Heath District Council
West Suffolk House
Bury St Edmunds
1.15 When making a comment it is as important to be as specific as possible, setting out the question you are referring to and your answer.
1.16 Please be aware that any representations made on this document will be available for everyone to view, regardless of whether they are submitted by post or online.
1.17 There are questions set out at various points within this document. If you wish to submit supporting material with your response it would be helpful if you can do so electronically and include a summary of the content within the question response.
1.18 Where there are groups who share a common view on an issue in the document, it would be helpful if the group could send in a single response indicating how many people it is representing and how the response has been authorised.
Call for sites
What happens next?
1.20 The key stages in the preparation of the Site Allocations Local Plan document to date can be summarised as follows:
- December 2006 - initial Issues and Options completed following evidence gathering, development and appraisal of options in consultation with a variety of stakeholders
- April 2010 - Forest Heath Planning Committee approval of a Final Issues and Options Consultation document.(Document did not proceed to formal consultation stage in view of the High Court Challenge to the Core Strategy);
- November 2013 - a further Issues and Options draft Site Allocations document agreed with councillors (consultation period itself postponed pending Counsel advice and further work on supporting documentation including the requisite Sustainability Appraisal (SA)/Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA);
- August/October 2015 - consultation on this updated Site Allocations Further Issues and Options consultation document.
1.21 Early 2016 - The responses to this consultation will inform a further consultation document, setting out the Council's preferred strategy for the allocation of sites across the district.
1.22 Following this, a final draft of the Site Allocations document will be prepared, which the Council will submit to the Secretary of State for an independent planning examination. This final draft will be known as the Submission Document and when it is published in 2016 there will be another and final opportunity for the public and stakeholders to comment.