What it is and why we are reviewing the Local Plan so soon after adoption
On 29 July 2020 Lancaster City Council formally adopted its Local Plan: Strategic Policies and Land Allocations DPD and Review of the Development Management DPD. This document shapes the future of the Lancaster district up until 2031, and plans for more housing, new employment, open spaces, shops and community facilities, all of which are necessary to create places in which people want to live, work and do business.
On 30 January 2019, the council declared a climate emergency. Whilst the newly adopted Local Plan does seek to address climate change, it was too far advanced in the plan preparation process to incorporate some of the actions and directions of the climate emergency declaration. We are therefore entering into an immediate Local Plan review to ensure that the aspects of this important agenda are adequately considered and include the necessary mitigation and adaption measures necessary to address the climate emergency.
This video gives background information as to why the review is taking place.
Due to the current pandemic, we need to minimise meeting up with people however we value your views, as such from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd October 2020 we launched a number of 'topic' videos to support the Review of the Local Plan . Planning Officers were on hand everyday from 10am-12pm and again 3pm-7pm to answer any questions or queries that anyone had following the launch of each video.
It doesn't end there!! We are always available to talk by phone (9am to 5pm) so please contact us if you have any queries
|Monday 19th October||
Heritage and Climate Change
|Wednesday 21st October||
Blue-Green Infrastructure (the natural environment)
|Friday 23rd October||
|Tuesday 20th October||
Energy Efficiency in New Housing
|Thursday 22nd October||
The first stage in the process was a scoping consultation to help the Council decide which planning policies should be re-visited in the review of the local plan. The eight-week consultation took place from 25 September to 20 November 2020. Whilst the consultation has now closed we do want to keep an open dialogue and we will continue to welcome comment or suggestions until January 2021.
The Council has started considering the responses received to the Scoping Consultation. Consideration of the responses will help shape the review of the Strategic Policies & Land Allocation DPD and Development Management DPD. Further consultation will follow in early 2021 as the Council works towards publishing reviewed documents.
The Council have answered a series of frequently asked questions in relation to the Local Plan, in terms of both how it has been prepared and what will happen next. More details can be found here, (scroll to the drop down tab via this FAQ link).
In addtion as we move forward in reviewing the Local Plan we will add further FAQ below:
A launch event took place at 10am on 1st October 2020 to provide our duty-to-co-operate partners with detail information on the plan review and why we are undertaking it. A number of questions were raised during the event and the information below explores these.
On the topic of biomass boilers and other biomass uses can Lancaster make sure that they are not burning old growth forests from overseas?
The use of biomass boilers in developments in the district is something that can be considered and explored as part of the review and the details of this will be investigated as part of the evidence base work that is underpinning the plan. The Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment work that is being undertaken will also have a key role to play in evaluating the environmental (as well as social and economic) effects of proposed policies.
We recognise that many aspects that people would like us to introduce through policy won’t necessarily be achievable. We need to consider soundness and the overall viability. For example if we set energy efficiency standards or micro-renewable requirements that are too great, the overall viability of a scheme may be compromised and the scheme may therefore not come forward (and with it other benefits such as affordable housing or education provision for example). We therefore need to ensure that what is required through planning policy is justified and effective and ultimately a sound approach.
A question was also raised at the launch in relation to developing active travel networks and ensuring that those with mobility needs (wheelchair users and prams for example) are adequately considered.
This is certainly something that we can ensure is strengthened in the policies as part of the plan review.
A question was raised in the launch event about the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) work that was undertaken for the adopted Local Plan and whether there was anything in this that might assist in this review.
We are undertaking a reassessment of the original SA/SEA as part of this process, with work on the scoping report element underway now. This involves looking at all the existing plans and programmes. We will be consulting on this for a 5-week period in the coming weeks. The Scoping report work will feed into the full SA/SEA and ultimately affect the content of the reviewed Local Plan to ensure that the potential significant social, economic and environmental effects have been adequately considered.
In terms of Bailrigg Garden Village, as discussed in the meeting, the Area Action Plan DPD is being produced by the Council which will consider a range of potential means of ensure the development is as ‘green’ as it can be.
How much influence can the Local Plan Review realistically have in practice on developers to build to a higher carbon saving standard?
Whilst we aim to do as much as we can at the local level to address the climate emergency, we have to work within the overall planning guidelines and national policy framework. In some cases, the targets and expectations placed upon developers are set at a national level and we at the local level cannot amend this. We are hopeful however that soon to be published information on energy efficiency in relation to homes (by central government) for example will allow us to take some more locally based action and set standards that developers must adhere to.
The Development Management team does already work with developers at the planning application stage to ensure that these climate related issues are well considered, however we aim to sharpen the policies that they can use in these negotiations as part of the review wherever we can (where national policy guidance will allow).
Does the Government’s publication of the new Planning White Paper, which proposes comprehensive reforms to the planning system mean that the preparation of the Local Plan Review is premature? Does its preparation not risk unnecessary duplication of effort?
The Government has recently published its Planning White Paper which proposes a fundamental review of the planning process, and concern was raised at the review launch that perhaps the plan review is premature or risks duplication of effort until we know the full proposals. However, it is considered that the White Paper is not at an advanced stage and is likely to take time to advance to a stage where the new proposals and any transitional arrangements are published. In the meantime, we intend to push on with our partial climate change review to make sure we meet the requirements of the climate emergency declaration to ensure we tackle climate change without delay. In addition to this, work on the climate change agenda will also be needed to feed into the Full Local Plan review that will follow this partial review.
How can the Local Plan be brought to bare more effectively on reducing the number of journey’s made by private car? Particularly for local journeys within the main urban areas of the district?
Modal shift and is an area that we are looking into in significant detail. The current Adopted Plan sets out commitments on this and we aim to sharpen this further through the review. We need to further recognise the need to alleviate our current reliance on the private car for getting around, and instead focus on making more sustainable modes of transport, like walking, cycling, buses and trains, more accessible, more convenient and therefore more likely be to seen as a realistic alternative to the private car.
Promoting these measures won’t only encourage more active lifestyles, but it will also help to improve the quality of the air along the District’s busiest roads, reliving pressure along the key transport corridors (like the M6) and also opening up capacity for more sustainable forms of transport, such as cycle and bus lanes. Lancaster is predominantly a rural district, so this means that for many that private modes of transport can’t ultimately be replaced but they can be improved. Measures such as the increased deployment of electric vehicle charging points across the District will help to facilitate this transition to more sustainable methods of transport and we are doing significant work on transport matters alongside the county council who are the highway authority for Lancaster.
The City Council will work closely with colleagues at Lancashire County Council who are the Highways Authority for Lancaster district, on many transport related issues who in turn also work closely with public transport providers and operators, such as stagecoach as was queried during the launch event. In addition, a representative from Stagecoach also spoke as a commentator at one of the People’s Jury meetings and details of this can be found here
The People’s Jury is now drawing to a close with the recommendations from the jury due to be presented to the Council in early November 2020. As it stands there is no permanent jury proposed, however it is likely that there will be some follow up once these recommendations have been forwarded to the Council.
How much emphasis can the Local Plan Review have between the roles of mitigation and adaptation to Climate Change? Can a greater role be given to the role of adaptation given this is more the responsibility of local authorities?
We will be looking at both areas as part of the review and would welcome thoughts as part of the scoping consultation process on which areas stakeholders and residents feel should be considered and how this can be achieved.
If you would like to be kept up to date on the progress of the Local Plan review or other planning policy matters then join our mailing list. Please be aware that all responses to planning policy public consultation will be published on the website.