New Local Plan – policies
11.1 Our new Local Plan is an opportunity to review our existing policies and introduce the new policies and approaches that will be the foundation for guiding development across South Gloucestershire for the period 2025 – 2040.
11.2 The purpose of local plan policies is to provide direction and clarity on where development is expected to take place. They outline the number and types of homes, jobs, services, and facilities, as well as infrastructure that will be expected to be developed in South Gloucestershire. Planning policies also safeguard and seek to enhance our green infrastructure, biodiversity, historic assets and buildings, and unique areas of character across the authority. They also respond to the challenges of climate change as we set new approaches and standards for all new development to minimise energy use and reduce the carbon emissions associated with development, and ensure we generate more of the energy we require from renewable and low carbon sources.
11.3 The focus of this plan is to prioritise updating some policies in line with the council’s objectives, the National Planning Policy Framework, and the work of the West of England Combined Authority. Particular attention will be on Climate and Nature emergencies – which reflect the Declaration of Climate Emergency 2019, addressing the housing crisis and ensuring deliver homes that are affordable. Other objectives of the plan can be found in section 2.
Status of policies drafted and prepared so far
11.4 Between November 2020 and March 2021, we consulted residents and the wider community on the issues and priorities we identified during the first step of preparation of our new Local Plan. This was Phase 1 consultation. During this phase we consulted on 11 policies.
11.5 In the Phase 2 of public consultation – that took place between February and April 2022 – we started a conversation about planning for new homes and jobs in our rural communities and urban areas. During this stage we consulted on strategic green infrastructure and environment, making effective use of land, houses in multiple occupation, rural exception sites and community led rural housing, and biodiversity net gain.
Change since Phase 2 consultation
11.6 As we explained in section 1 since the Phase 2 consultation happened, some circumstances have changed which means that we have to update our priorities and objectives during this new stage of the consultation. In summary this related to:
- the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has stopped to work on their Spatial Development Strategy (SDS)
- the leadership of the South Gloucestershire Council has changed in May 2023
- government proposals for National Development Management Policies – to set many common Local Plan policies at a national level
11.7 As a result, this has also had an impact on what policies our Local Plan now needs to include. We therefore need to focus on the policies that will address the priorities of South Gloucestershire, and any relevant cross boundary issues. In Appendix 1 we have identified those policies which are strategic and non-strategic that will be contained in our new Local Plan, and replace a range of our existing adopted policies.
11.8 We have also identified in our Local Plan Delivery Programme that we intend to prepare a supporting development plan document (DPD). This will provide an opportunity to update and replace all relevant polices in the Core Strategy and Policies Sites and Places Plan, which have not been updated as part of our new Local Plan.
11.9 Furthermore since the West of England Joint Waste Core Strategy (JWCS) was adopted in 2011, there has been significant change to the context of waste arisings and waste management in South Gloucestershire. At a national level, this includes updates to the NPPF and PPG, neither of which were material considerations at the time of adoption of the JWCS, and the enactment of the Environment Act 2021 and associated emerging regulations, which bring in statutory targets for residual waste, recycling and waste collections. At a local level, the ‘Resource and Waste Strategy 2020 and beyond’ was agreed at Cabinet in March 2020, which sets out an ambitious vision for Waste services to: reduce consumption, particularly of single-use items; increase recycling to 70% by 2030, from a current rate of 59.9%; and reduce waste going to landfill to an ambitious net zero.
11.10 Relevant policies within the JWCS will therefore be updated for the new Local Plan in the Publication draft (Regulation 19) to ensure these operate consistently with national policy and remain effective throughout the course of the SGLP. This will consider a strategic policy related to waste arisings and waste management, and development management policies related to waste management facilities at site-level and larger facilities where considered necessary.
11.1 We also need to keep under review the government’s proposed Planning Reforms, this proposes setting a wide range of National Development Management Policies, that are likely to update and set some of our Core Strategy and Policies Sites and Places policies at a national level. The outcome of this will influence the scope of any future supporting development plan document for planning policies.
New Local Plan – overall policy framework
11.12 We aim to set out the overall policy framework for the new Local Plan in the Publication draft (Regulation 19). This will contain policies covering the following:
- a final strategy for homes, jobs, infrastructures, confirming the locations and sites that form our preferred strategy
- further information on safeguarding land for transport and infrastructure
- a full set of draft policies that will bring together policy drafts from Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3, along with strategy and spatial policies
11.13 It will also confirm which policies in the Core Strategy (CS) and Policies, Sites and Places Plan (PSP) will be saved for the time being until replaced by national development management policies or future development plan document, which will be prepared following adoption of our new Local Plan.
11.14 The full set of policies for the new Local Plan will be presented in the publication draft (Regulation 19). At this stage we have set out the range of policies, their titles and whether they replace existing policies or new, to reflect the policy framework for our new Local Plan in Appendix 1 – New Local Plan policies.
Existing and new area-based policies
11.15 The Core Strategy of the current Local Plan contains locational policies for each area of the district (CS25, CS29, CS30, CS32, CS34, CS35). We will consider whether to update these at the Publication draft (Regulation 19) or deliver through other policies of the new Local Plan or through subsequent plans or SPDs.
11.16 In regard to the site allocation and new neighbourhood policies included in the Core Strategy of the current Local Plan (CS26, CS27, CS28, CS31, CS33), we will retain them or replace them with new allocation policies depending on the extent of the planning permissions and the stage of development of these sites.
11.17 You can view the set of existing and new area-based policies that we mentioned above in Appendix 2 – Existing and new area-based policies.
Policies being consulted on in Phase 3
11.18 During consultation we are sharing new and updated draft Policies covering:
- Climate Change Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilience
- Energy Management in New Development
- Embodied Carbon
- Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Systems
- Community Energy
- Affordable Homes
- Sites for Gypsies and Travellers
- Sites for Travelling Showpeople
- Internal Space and Accessibility Standards
- Mineral Working and Restoration
- Economy and Jobs
- Town Centres
- Strategic and Major Sites Delivery Policy
- Stewardship Arrangements
11.19 We welcome your thoughts and comments on the wording and approach of these policies. We will continue to develop and refine the draft policies covering those topics and will bring forward updated versions at the Regulation 19 draft plan stage of our new Local Plan’s development. Future versions will build upon the comments received, latest national planning policy position and to reflect any new technical evidence and information.
List of adopted policies
11.20 We have set out in Appendix 3 – List of adopted policies our proposed approach to either ‘replace’, save, or delete the full range of existing adopted planning policies in the Core Strategy and PSP.
11.21 Those being replaced, reference the emerging or future new Local Plan policies that will be set and confirmed in our Regulation 19. A large number have already been consulted on at Phase 1 and Phase 2, with a further range being consulted on in this consultation document. Find out more in Appendix 1.
11.22 Those proposed to be ‘saved’ are considered to still be in conformity with the National Planning Policy Framework and will continue to have full weight. Until either replaced in a support development plan document for policies, to supplement our new Local Plan or replaced by National Development Management Policies.
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