To seek approval of the draft Bracknell Forest Local Plan (Appendix A) and the Consultation Strategy (Appendix B) for publication for a period of public consultation between Thursday 8 February and Monday 26 March 2018. Approval is also being sought to update and publish the Local Development Scheme.
The Council considered a report seeking approval to consult upon the draft Bracknell Forest Local Plan (Appendix A of the agenda report) and the Consultation Strategy (Appendix B) for a period of public consultation between Thursday 8 February and Monday 26 March 2018. Approval was also being sought to update and publish the Local Development Scheme.
Andrew Hunter, Chief Officer: Planning, Transport and Countryside updated the meeting on the key elements of the Local Plan consultation which would set out a planning framework for the Borough, including vision, objectives, new planning policies and the allocation of sites for the period up to 2034. He explained that it was important for the Council to have an up to date plan to help provide certainty and set out the council’s framework for development. The draft plan had been developed over a period of time and had involved evidence gathering, member engagement, site assessment, discussions with infrastructure providers and regular reporting through the Local Plan working group. The next stage was to seek public comment on the draft plan.
In response to Members questions the Chief Officer made the following points:
· It would not be detrimental if the proposed timetable was not strictly adhered to but any delay was a delay to the Council establishing up to date planning policies and being able to demonstrate future housing land supply.
· Consultation exhibitions were being run in areas where development sites were proposed and the policy team were working with Parish & Town Council offices and libraries to schedule these exhibitions. The team would be available to answer questions at sessions at varying times including weekends.
· No sites had been submitted for traveller sites but as the plan developed they may be put forward. If no sites were received then the Council would rely upon the policy in the plan relating to that determination.
· All of the evidence base which had been used would be available on the Council’s website as part of the consultation.
· The proposed Local Plan would be updated and amended as a result of the consultation responses.
· If a site was deemed unsuitable, due to contamination for example, it may be withdrawn from the list of proposed sites but would not be substituted as there was some flexibility within the list of sites as the proposed sites could deliver 3,600 houses above the required 3,200.
· Delivering 3,200 houses would just be meeting housing need requirement therefore sites were proposed which could deliver an over allocation of 3,600 houses and give flexibility for the final plan if any sites needed to be ruled out or the numbers on the site changed.
· Every consultation response would be assessed by officers and responded to. At the end of the consultation each comment would be detailed including what response had been made and what impact this had, if any. This itemised list would be appended to the final proposed Local Plan report. The Council would then decide if it agreed with the officer’s assessment as part of approving the final version of the Plan.
· The Policy team were working with water supply companies in preparing a water cycle study to confirm that there was sufficient water supply for the proposed sites. To date no issues had been identified.
· It had been recognised that there was not currently sufficient capacity for waste water to be taken away from the proposed sites and the team was working with providers to explore solutions. Development had the right to connect to existing waste water infrastructure and measures were being considered with suppliers being kept informed.
· It was acknowledged that some of the proposed sites may have previously been rejected through the planning application process. It was a consequence of having to look at growth within the policy environment that sites needed to be revisited for consideration as demands on the area evolved.
· The proposed Local Plan increased the percentage of affordable housing to be achieved on qualifying sites with over ten units to 35%. It was noted however that viability assessments impacted on the deliverability of this figure.
On the proposition of Councillor Turrell, Executive Member for Planning and Transport and seconded by Councillor D Birch it was:
(i) the draft Local Plan (Appendix A) be agreed for consultation and Consultation Strategy (Appendix B) be agreed;
(ii) the draft Local Plan (Appendix A) and other supporting consultation material be published for a period of public consultation starting on Thursday 8 February and ending on Monday 26 March 2018;
(iii) minor changes to the draft Local Plan and other supporting material produced prior to the consultation be agreed with the Chief Officer: Planning, Transport and Countryside in consultation with the Executive Member for Planning and Transport; and
(iv) the Local Development Scheme be updated and published to reflect the timescales set out in the agenda paper.