To consider the Review of the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan. Report by the Senior Planning Policy Officers (NDC and TDC) (attached).
An informative slide presentation was given by TDC and NDC Senior Planning Policy Officers.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer (TDC) addressed the Committee, highlighting key elements of the report and reporting on key findings, observations and recommendations provided by the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) and the outcomes generated from the member survey and workshops.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer (NDC) presented highlights of reforms to National Planning Policy and the wider legislative reforms. This included the potential impact on plan making and decision taking, including time frames, short term and medium term proposals, implementation of planning reforms and looking at ways forward and the options for future plan making.
Councillor James highlighted his concerns, as to the value of undertaking a partial review, reflecting on the issues raised in the committee report. While recognising that some issues may be able to be addressed by a partial review, other matters that would impact on spatial strategies, significantly relating to rural growth opportunities and biodiversity would not be able to be addressed other than by a full review of the Local Plan. He questioned what could be achieved from a partial review and what policy areas would be reviewed and to what extent.
The Chair said although he shares a lot of Councillor James concerns regarding rural issues there is a need to be innovative about tackling some of those issues, which could include the use of neighborhood plans and supplementary planning documents. The Chair advocated that undertaking a full review would put off changes that are needed in the rural areas, which is not acceptable. Following a discussion on a range of agricultural issues, he advised that the scope of the problems experienced by this sector could not be addressed solely by the Local Plan.
Councillor Clarke left the meeting at 11am.
The attending Officers addressed the following issues raised by Members:
· The approach to accommodating growth in the rural area relating to housing, economic opportunities, agriculture and the protection of the environmental assets.
· The scope of expanding rural employment opportunities enabled through a partial or full review of the Local Plan.
· The timeline for determining the Five Year Housing Land Supply position and the technical examination of housing sites through the HELAA Panel.
· Impact on resources, of a partial or full review of the Local Plan.
· The timeframe for delivering a partial or full review of the Local Plan, having regard to proposed changes to national planning policy.
· The potential scope of a partial review of the Local Plan.
Following further discussion, it was proposed by Councillor Yabsley, seconded by Councillor Worden and –
That the Joint Planning Policy Committee recommend to the Full Councils of NDC and TDC:
(a) to move to a targeted and focused partial update to the NDTLP, the potential scope of which is indicatively set out within Appendix 5, that specifically explores opportunities to address:
i. specific elements of the adopted local plan that are no longer consistent with national planning policy;
ii. specific policy provisions in the adopted local plan that are currently considered to be ineffectively worded or would benefit from clarification;
iii. those areas of policy whereby the adopted local plan is currently silent; and
iv. policy provisions which no longer conform to the majority views of the Councils.
b) that the approach to updating the local plan is kept under review having regard to any relevant changes to the local and national context;
(c) that the scope of the update is established, the appropriate development plan vehicle for its delivery be established and a revised Local Development Scheme (LDS) presented to a future meeting of the Joint Planning Policy Committee for consideration and approval (or through such other mechanism as to be agreed with Members); and
(d) that work commence on a partial review of the Local Plan with immediate effect but that the formal decision of the review of the Local Plan (for Plan making purposes) be deferred until resolution of the following:
i. the results of the current national consultation regarding change to Plan making;
ii. the results of the review of the 5YHLS position;
iii. a review of our position related to the Plan period; and
iv. completion of the Duty to Cooperate process.
(e) that concurrently, Officers explore and pursue actions and interventions to support the positive and effective implementation of the adopted North Devon and local plan.
(Vote: For 8, Against 2)