General questions and the plan-making process
What is a Local Development Plan or Local Plan?
The Local Plan will be used to help shape the direction of future change within the Borough. Among other things, the Plan influences where new homes, jobs, infrastructure, local facilities and green space will be provided. It will set a strategy for how the needs of the Borough can be met, while ensuring that our environment and local character are protected and enhanced.
Why should I comment? How will my views be taken into account?
Once the Plan is officially in place, development proposals over the next 15+ years will need to follow the Plan’s policies. The Plan will help shape the design and location of future development, among other things. It is therefore vital that your views are heard so that the Plan can be informed by local aspirations.
At the end of the consultation the Council will analyse all responses and publish a report summarising the key issues. Representations along with the plan and associated evidence will be taken into account through the examination process presided over by an Independent Planning Inspector.
What has happened to the comments I have made on previous consultations?
Comments made on previous consultations, including Preferred Options (2013), Strategic Growth Options (2015), Draft Local Plan (2016), and Preferred Site Allocations (2018) have been considered and summarised in our consultation statement documents. These are available to view on the Work So Far webpage. All comments made are available to view on our Local Plan Consultation Portal.
What type of development will be built on the sites proposed in the Local Plan and what will it look like?
The proposed allocated sites for residential and employment development have been identified as a result of a detailed site selection process. All sites which were put forward as part of the call for sites have been assessed to determine their suitability, deliverability, and viability. Planning applications for these sites will need to be in accordance with the planning policies found in the Local Plan. Developments will need to be in keeping with the surrounding environment and character of the area.
What is the difference between Regulation 18 and 19?
Regulation 18 stages explored several different policy options, allowing for ‘open’ questions and a wider remit for input during the consultation phases. Under Regulation 18 the Council consulted on Issues and Options (2009), Preferred Options (2013), Strategic Growth Options (2015), Draft Local Plan (2016), and Preferred Site Allocations (2018).
As the plan-making process continues, the number of policy options are refined and become more focussed. This reflects the purpose of Regulation 19 as a planning document with specific policy recommendations for the Borough, resulting in more formal and technical questions in the consultation process. These questions relate to the four Tests of Soundness and whether the Local Plan is compliant with relevant legislation. The representation form focuses on three core areas – is the Plan sound, does the Council adhere to the Duty to Cooperate, and is the Plan legally compliant. Under Regulation 19 the Council has published the Pre-Submission Local Plan (2019).
What is meant by sound and legally compliant? How will I know if the Local Planning Authority adhered to the duty to cooperate?
Soundness: Local Planning Authorities must prepare a Local Plan based on relevant and appropriate evidence base. They are required to publish these documents on their website. The evidence used to develop the Brentwood Local Plan can be found on the Council’s website under Evidence Base.
Duty to cooperate: Throughout the plan-making process discussions have taken place with various statutory consultees and neighbouring authorities. A summary of these meetings can be found within the Duty to Cooperate Statement, published as part of the Regulation 19 consultation. This is a live document and will be updated prior to being submitted to the Secretary of State.
Legally Compliant: Local Planning Authorities must prepare a Local Plan which adheres to the requirements as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), planning practice guidance, and other relevant planning regulations & legislation.
What are the Tests of Soundness?
The Tests of Soundness are set out at paragraph 35 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). There are four tests:
a) Positively prepared: providing a strategy which as a minimum seeks to meet the area’s objectively assessed needs, and is informed by agreements with other authorities, so that unmet need from neighbouring areas is accommodated where it is practical to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development
b) Justified: an appropriate strategy, taking into account the reasonable alternatives, and based on proportionate evidence;
c) Effective: deliverable over the plan period, and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic matters that have been dealt with rather than deferred, as evidenced by the statement of common ground; and
d) Consistent with nation policy: enabling the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the NPPF