Single Issue Review (SIR) of Core Strategy Policy CS7 - Overall Housing Provision and Distribution - Preferred Option (3rd Regulation 18 Stage)

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1. What is this consultation about?

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. This consultation document, on the council's review of Core Strategy Policy CS7, is your opportunity to contribute to how Forest Heath will look and function in the future.

1.2 Following on from the Issues and Options consultations held in 2012 and 2015, this third Regulation 18 consultation sets out the council's preferred option for the level of housing to be provided within the district and two alternative housing distribution options, one of which is the council's preferred option. This document will be subject to an 8 week period of statutory consultation between 4 April and 8 June 2016. We welcome responses from both the public and statutory stakeholders.

1.3 Help in explaining some of the technical aspects is provided in the full glossary at Appendix A and in accompanying leaflets and consultation materials, available on line http://westsuffolk.jdi-consult.net/localplan/

1.4 The consultation documents are available to view on the council's website at the web link above. Details of how to comment on this document are set out below.

Evidence which has helped inform this document

1.5 We have used a number of documents based on research and evidence to develop the options in this Single Issue Review. A summary of the key evidence is summarised in the short report 'Local Plan Evidence Base' available at the web link above.

View Comments (1) (1) Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations (Screening) Assessment

1.6 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 options under consideration. The interim SA Report also explains how 'scoping' work was undertaken in early 2015, which included consultation on a Scoping Report (see http://westsuffolk.jdi-consult.net/localplan/). The Scoping Report draws together information about the district to establish a sustainability baseline and determine the key issues and objectives that should be a focus of SA.

1.7 The Habitats Regulations (SI No. 2010/490) require 'appropriate assessment' of land-use plans that are likely to have a significant effect on a 'European site' (certain internationally designated wildlife habitats) either alone or in combination with other plans or projects. The options in this document have been subject to screening to determine whether they are likely to have a significant effect on any European site and hence whether 'appropriate assessment' will be required at a later stage in the plan-making process, if those options are taken forward. The process of screening and, if required, appropriate assessment under the Habitats Regulations is commonly referred to as Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) and the initial stage as HRA Screening. The HRA Screening Report has been prepared by independent consultants LUC on behalf of the council.

How to make comments

1.8 We ask that responses are made online by visiting the council's public consultation website http://westsuffolk.jdi-consult.net/localplan/

1.9 Alternatively, written responses will be accepted and a paper response form can be obtained
by telephoning 01284 757368
or emailing planning.policy@westsuffolk.gov.uk

1.10 Please return paper response forms/letters to:

Strategic Planning Team
Forest Heath District Council
West Suffolk House
Western Way
Bury St Edmunds
IP33 3YU

All responses must be returned by 5pm on 8 June 2016.
Please note that late responses will not be accepted.

1.11 When making a comment it is important to be as specific as possible, setting out the question you are referring to and your answer.

1.12 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.

1.13 The questions are 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.

1.14 Where there are groups who share a common view on an issue in the document, it would be helpful if that group could send in a single response indicating how many people it is representing and how the response has been authorised.

What happens next?

1.15 The responses to this consultation will help inform the preparation of the submission (final) document which will set out the council's final strategy for the level and distribution of housing across the district. Consultation is programmed to take place on this final draft in September 2016.

1.16 Following this, the final draft of the Core Strategy Policy CS7 and the consultation comments received, will be submitted to the Secretary of State for an independent planning examination scheduled to take place in early 2017.

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