SA Addendum Scoping Report

2 Relevant Policy Context

Preamble

2.1         In order to establish a clear scope for the SA Addendum work it is necessary to develop an understanding of the policies, plans and strategies that are of relevance to the Joint Core Strategy.

The SEA Regulations, Schedule 2 require:

(a) "an outline of the…relationship with other relevant plans or programmes"; and

(e) "the environmental protection objectives established at international, Community or Member State level, which are relevant to the plan and the way those objectives and any environmental considerations have been taken into account during its preparation"    

 

2.2        This chapter sets out the relationship between the additional Joint Core Strategy work and other relevant plans or programmes, the updated policy context for the Joint Core Strategy (since preparation of the 2011 SA Report), including the current environmental, social and economic policy objectives set at the international, European and national level.

Relationship with other relevant plans and programmes

West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy (Part 1)

2.3         The West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy provides a planning framework for the West Northamptonshire area up to 2026. It sets out the long term vision and objectives for the whole of the area and includes strategic policies for steering and shaping development. It identifies locations for strategic new housing and employment and details the infrastructure (such as transport improvements, schools, open space and community facilities) required to support this development. It also defines where development will be limited.

2.4         The Localism Act 2011 and the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 introduced a range of changes to the planning system, and the Joint Core Strategy will now be a Part 1 Local Plan alongside a range of Part 2 Local Plans covering different locations or topics that will contribute to guiding development and use of land in West Northamptonshire for the Plan period up to 2026. Together the Part 1 and Part 2 plans comprise the development plan for West Northamptonshire.

2.5         The West Northamptonshire Local Development Scheme (LDS) is a public statement identifying which spatial planning documents will be produced, when and by whom. It notes that the Joint Core Strategy will enable Supplementary Planning Documents to be prepared and both Master Plans and Supplementary Planning Documents will then be available to guide the development of the strategic allocations within the Joint Core Strategy (including Sustainable Urban Extensions).

Master Plans

2.6          In the absence of an up to date development plan Daventry and South Northamptonshire Councils have produced Master Plans for key sites and areas to assist them in managing current pressures for development. These Master Plans form part of the evidence base for the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy. These Master Plans relate to

  • Daventry Town;
  • Brackley;
  • Towcester; and.
  • Roade Village.

Part 2 Local Plans

 

2.7          The West Northamptonshire Local Development Scheme lists the following Part 2 Local Plans :

  • West Northamptonshire Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Show People Allocations Local Plan - which will allocate sites for occupation by Gypsy, Travellers and Travelling Show People in the West Northamptonshire area.
  • Northampton Related Development Area (NRDA) Allocations and Development Management Local Plan - which will include site-specific allocations (excluding the Sustainable Urban Extensions) and accompanying policies. Allocations will be included covering all land uses, together with policies that will help in the determination of planning applications on specific sites and in the delivery of regeneration, growth and conservation objectives.
  • Northampton Central Area Action Plan - This Plan was adopted in 2013. The Plan reinforces the strategic approach taken to the Northampton Central Area in the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy by developing policy for the transformation of the centre of Northampton and its key role in the sub region.
  • South Northamptonshire Council Settlements and Countryside Local Plan - which will build on the Joint Core Strategy and will include a wide variety of detailed policies to guide the decision making process for future Planning Applications across South Northamptonshire (excluding those parts within the Northampton Related Development Area). It will establish a Rural Settlement Hierarchy for settlements within the District and consider amendments to the existing town and village confines and the identification of areas of important local space within those settlements as well as addressing development needs in those settlements.
  • Daventry District Settlements and Countryside Local Plan - which will build on the Joint Core Strategy and will include a detailed and wide variety of policies to guide the decision making process for future Planning Applications across Daventry District (excluding those parts within the Northampton Related Development Area). It will provide policies for Daventry town, and will establish a Rural Settlement Hierarchy for settlements within the District. It will set out how important areas will be protected within those settlements as well as addressing development needs in those settlements.

Neighbourhood Plans

2.8          Neighbourhood Plans give communities an opportunity to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood. Neighbourhood Plans must be in general conformity with the policies of the Local Plan (Parts 1 and 2). A number of Neighbourhood Plans are currently being prepared in the West Northamptonshire area.

Sustainable Community Strategies

2.9         The Joint Core Strategy has had regard to the elements and land use implications arising from the Sustainable Community Strategies and Community Plans that have been prepared for Daventry District, South Northamptonshire District, Northampton Borough and Northamptonshire County. These have been produced by, respectively, the Local Strategic Partnerships for Daventry, Northampton, South Northamptonshire and the Northamptonshire Partnership Support Unit.

Other strategies prepared by Daventry District, Northampton Borough, South Northamptonshire and Northamptonshire County Councils

2.10        Each Council in the West Northamptonshire area has a number of other strategies that address specific and service delivery matters in the area. These relate to Housing, Economic Development, Air Quality and Waste Management as well as Health, Social Care, Leisure and Cultural Strategies.

Transport, Minerals and Waste Plans

2.11        The Joint Core Strategy and the other Part 2 Local Plans referred to above will have particularly close links with the plans produced by the County Council, namely the Northamptonshire Transportation Plan and the Minerals and Waste Development Local Plan as well as plans for Education and Social Services.

Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Northamptonshire Local Nature Partnership

2.12        The Joint Core Strategy and the other Part 2 Local Plans referred to above will also have regard to the work of the two Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) that cover West Northamptonshire (the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership and the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership) and the work of the Northamptonshire Local Nature Partnership.

 

Updated policy context and relevant sustainability objectives

2.13       The most significant developments for the policy context of the emerging Joint Core Strategy have been the Coalition Government?s abolition of the regional spatial strategies, such as the East Midlands Plan, and the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework that replaced Planning Policy Statements (PPSs) and Planning Policy Guidance (PPGs). Other relevant national strategies, policies and White Papers have also been published since 2011 relating to the natural environment and biodiversity, sustainable development, sustainable transport, and travellers? sites, and their objectives are also summarised below.

National Planning Policy Framework (2012)

2.14       The Joint Core Strategy must be consistent with the requirements of the NPPF, which sets out information about the purposes of local plan-making. It states that:

              "Local Plans must be prepared with the objective of contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. To this end, they should be consistent with the principles and policies set out in this Framework, including the presumption in favour of sustainable development."

2.15       The NPPF also requires Local Plans to be "aspirational but realistic". This means that opportunities for appropriate development should be identified in order to achieve net gains in terms of sustainable social, environmental and economic development; however significant adverse impacts in any of those areas should not be allowed to occur.

2.16       The NPPF requires local planning authorities to set out the strategic priorities for the area in the Local Plan. This should include strategic policies to deliver:

  • the homes and jobs needed in the area;
  • the provision of retail, leisure and other commercial development;
  • the provision of infrastructure for transport, telecommunications, waste management, water supply, wastewater, flood risk and coastal change management, and the provision of minerals and energy (including heat);
  • the provision of health, security, community and cultural infrastructure and other local facilities; and
  • climate change mitigation and adaptation, conservation and enhancement of the natural and historic environment, including landscape.

2.17       In addition, Local Plans should:

  • plan positively for the development and infrastructure required in the area to meet the objectives, principles and policies of this Framework;
  • be drawn up over an appropriate time scale, preferably a 15-year time horizon, take account of longer term requirements, and be kept up to date;
  • be based on co-operation with neighbouring authorities, public, voluntary and private sector organisations;
  • indicate broad locations for strategic development on a key diagram and land-use designations on a proposals map;
  • allocate sites to promote development and flexible use of land, bringing forward new land where necessary, and provide detail on form, scale, access and quantum of development where appropriate;
  • identify areas where it may be necessary to limit freedom to change the uses of buildings, and support such restrictions with a clear explanation;
  • identify land where development would be inappropriate, for instance because of its environmental or historic significance; and
  • contain a clear strategy for enhancing the natural, built and historic environment, and supporting Nature Improvement Areas where they have been identified.

2.18       The NPPF maintains the existing environmental protections – Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest – whilst attempting to streamline and simplify existing national planning policy. The importance of protecting heritage assets and the built environment is also stated, as is an emphasis on the importance of the sustainable design of the built environment.

2.19       The protections to prevent the building of inappropriate development in flood risk areas are retained in the context of the Climate Change Act's 2008 adaptation framework and national carbon reduction and renewable energy targets.

Revocation of the East Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy

2.20       The revocation of the Regional Strategy for the East Midlands in 2013 gives the responsibility for strategic planning to local authorities to enable a locally-led planning system comprising local and neighbourhood plans. In support of this approach to strategic planning the Government introduced a statutory duty to co-operate (in section 110 of the Localism Act 2011) for local authorities in planning for cross-boundary strategic priorities constructively, actively and on an on-going basis.

2.21       The Strategic Environmental Assessment[1] of the revocation of the East Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy found that both significant positive effects and the significant negative effects of revocation would be similar to retaining the East Midlands Plan for the majority of policies (i.e. there would be little difference in effects). However, the SEA found that there were likely to some short term uncertainties regarding effects until Local Plans are in place.

Natural Environment White Paper 2011

2.22       This document sets out the Government's latest plans to protect and improve England's natural environment. The key recommendations in the White Paper, include:

  • Reconnecting with Nature:
    • New Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs);
    • Biodiversity offsetting;
    • New Local Nature Partnerships; and
    • Phasing out peat use.
  • Connecting people and nature for better quality of life
    • Green Areas Designations;
    • Support for parks, gardens, and tree planting which benefit people and nature alike in the urban environment;
    • Promoting more children experiencing nature;
    • Strengthening local public health activities which connect people with nature; and
    • A new environmental volunteering initiative (“Muck in 4 Life”) to improve places in towns and countryside.
  • Capturing and improving the value of nature
    • New Natural Capital Committee;
    • An annual statement of green accounts for UK plc; and
    • A business-led Task Force to expand the UK business opportunities from new products and services which are good for the economy and nature alike.

Delivering UK Sustainable Development Strategy – ‘Securing the Future’ 2011

2.23       The strategy published by Defra aims to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life without compromising the quality of life for future generations. The strategy publicises four shared priorities:

  • Sustainable consumption and production.
  • Climate change and energy.
  • Natural resource protection and environmental enhancement.
  • Sustainable communities.

2.24     The strategy also sets out indicators to give an overview of sustainable development and priority areas in the UK. They include 20 of the UK Framework indicators and a further 48 indicators related to the priority areas.

Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s Wildlife and Ecosystem Services 2011

2.25       The aim of this Defra Strategy is to guide conservation efforts in England up to 2020. Moving further on from 2020, the ambition is to move from a net biodiversity loss to gain. The strategy includes 22 priorities which include actions for the following sectors:

  • Agriculture.
  • Forestry.
  • Planning and Development.
  • Water Management.
  • Marine Management.
  • Fisheries.
  • Air Pollution.
  • Invasive Non-Native Species.

Planning Policy for Traveller Sites 2012

2.26       This document sets out the Government's planning policy for traveller sites, replacing ODPM Circular 01/2006: Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites and Circular 04/2007: Planning for Travelling Showpeople. It sets out the Government's aims in respect of traveller's sites, including:

  • To ensure that local planning authorities, working collaboratively, develop fair and effective strategies to meet need through the identification of land for sites.
  • To encourage local planning authorities to plan for sites over a reasonable timescale.
  • That plan-making and decision-taking should protect Green Belt from inappropriate development.
  • For local planning authorities to ensure that their Local Plan includes fair, realistic and inclusive policies.
  • To increase the number of traveller sites in appropriate locations with planning permission, to address under provision and maintain an appropriate level of supply.
  • To reduce tensions between settled and traveller communities in plan making and planning decisions.
  • To enable provision of suitable accommodation from which travellers can access education, health, welfare and employment infrastructure.
  • For local planning authorities to have due regard to the protection of local amenity and local environment.

Door-to-Door Strategy for Sustainable Transport Integration 2013

2.27       The strategy published by the Department for Transport focuses on four core areas which need to be addressed so that people can be confident in choosing greener modes of transport:

  • Accurate, accessible and reliable information about different transport options.
  • Convenient and affordable tickets.
  • Regular and straightforward connections at all stages of the journey and between different modes of transport.
  • Safe and comfortable transport facilities.

               The strategy also includes details on how the Government is using behaviour change methods to reduce or remove barriers to the use of sustainable transport, and working closely with stakeholders to deliver a better-connected transport system

1. Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Revocation of the East Midlands Regional Strategy, Environmental Report, AMEC Environment & Infrastructure UK Limited. October 2012 [back]