Local Plan Updates – May 2021

Ashford –The Ashford Local Plan 2030 was adopted in February 2019.   

Aylesbury Vale – The second stage of Main Modifications were presented to the Inspector to consider them along with the representations. The hearing statements submitted in response to the Inspector’s Agendas for the Main Modifications hearing sessions are available on the Main Modifications Hearing Sessions page. The Inspector arranged for further hearings on the VALP and these took place from Tuesday 13 April to Friday 16 April 2021.  

Basildon – On the 29th of January 2021, the Council submitted a written response to the Inspectors IIQs. The Council is now awaiting a response from the Inspector, setting out the next steps for the Local Plan Examination. The Council’s response to the IIQs draw largely from existing Local Plan evidence base, but also draw on the urban capacity work within the adopted Basildon town centre regeneration strategy.  

Bexley – Reg 18 consultation has now closed, and publication of the Draft Local Plan is planned for later in the year. The Council have now consulted on the preferred approaches and are looking carefully at all the views received, finalising the evidence, and preparing a Draft Local Plan. Publication of the Draft Local Plan (Regulation 19 Stage) in late spring/early summer 2021  

Braintree – see North Essex Authorities for section 1 of the local plan (below). The Section 2 Local Plan is currently subject to an examination by inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The adoption of the Local Plan Section 2 is expected to be in winter 2021/early 2022. Section 2 Hearings are anticipated in July 2021  

Brentwood – The Brentwood Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination on 14 February 2020. An Overview of the Local Plan policies to be included in the Monitoring Framework has been added to the Examination Document Library. The hearing sessions ended on Thursday 11 March 2021. The Inspectors wish to give relevant participants the opportunity to respond in writing on the Councils recent additional evidence, but only where this is applicable to original representations. Written comments must be received by the Programme Officer by 10 May 2021 

Broxbourne – Broxbourne Local Plan was adopted at the full council meeting on Tuesday 23rd June 2020 during a virtual meeting.    

East Cambridgeshire – The Council is currently consulting on a very limited partial update of its 2015 East Cambridgeshire Local Plan. It is running from 26 March to 7 May 2021. One area has been identified as being in need of update, namely Policy GROWTH1 which uses an out of date housing requirement figure.The Single Issue Review Stage 1 consultation document, available on the website, is the first formal stage of the review process.  

Castle Point – Castle Point Borough Council submitted the Castle Point Local Plan 2018 -2033 to the Secretary of State on 2 October 2020 for examination. This is in accordance with regulation 22 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (as amended). Philip Lewis BA (Hons) MA MRTPI has been appointed by the Secretary of State as the Planning Inspector for the examination of the New Castle Point Local Plan 2018-2033. Hearings are expected to start in May.  

Central Beds – Central Beds consultation on the Proposed Main Modifications, along with a Sustainability Appraisal (SA) Report and Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) Addendum is now closed. All representations made to consultation will be forwarded to the Inspectors, once processed, then published after processing is complete. Adoption of the plan is expected by September 2021.  

Chelmsford – The Chelmsford Local Plan 2013-2036 was adopted on 27 May 2020 during their virtual Extraordinary Council Meeting.    

Cherwell – Consultation was undertaken to inform a review of the adopted Cherwell Local Plan 2011-2031. The Council produced a Community Involvement Paper which was subject to a six-week period of public consultation. The consultation ended on Monday 14 September 2020. The Cherwell Local Plan 2011-2031 (Part 1) Partial Review – Oxford’s Unmet Housing Need was formally adopted as part of the statutory Development Plan by the Council on 7 September 2020. The Plan provides the strategic planning framework and sets out strategic site allocations to provide Cherwell District’s share of the unmet housing needs of Oxford to 2031.  

Chiltern and South Bucks – Following the Inspectors’ comments on a failure on the Duty to Co-operate, at its meeting on 21 October, Buckinghamshire Council resolved to withdraw the Local Plan.   

Colchester – See North Essex Authorities (below) for section 1 local plan update. Each authority will now work on their individual Section Twos of their Local Plans. Section One contains overall strategic direction for growth, while Section Two will cover more localised aspects. In January 2021 two Inspectors were appointed to examine the Section 2 Colchester Local Plan. Section Two of the Colchester Local Plan – Hearing sessions took place between 20 and 30 April 2021 separately after Section One. 

Dacorum – In the next stage in preparing the new Dacorum Local Plan, the council are consulting on the Emerging Strategy for Growth (2020-2038). This sets out the preferred approach to accommodating growth across Dacorum, the sites being proposed and the draft policies that will deliver these and control other development within the borough. Consultation on the Emerging Strategy for Growth closed on Sunday 7 February 2021. The council is currently reviewing and processing each comment.  

Dartford – The Dartford Local Plan reached Publication (Regulation 19) stage February-April 2021.  Written representations were made on the Pre-Submission Dartford Local Plan to 2037 Pre Submission (Publication) Document February 2021 and changes to the Policies map. The representations received are now being reviewed. To be adopted by the council in 2022, the plan needs to be found sound and legally compliant by the Planning Inspectorate after an ‘examination in public’. 

Dover –The regulation 18 consultation ran for eight weeks from: Wednesday 20th January 2021 to Wednesday 17th March 2021. In addition to consulting on the draft Local Plan, the Council is also inviting comments to be made on the Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulation Assessment of the draft Local Plan, the draft Economic Growth Strategy and the draft Open Space, Playing Pitches and Play Areas Strategies. The council is currently reviewing the comments submitted.  

Elmbridge – Work is continuing preparing the new Local Plan, however, due to the COVID-19 situation the production of this work is taking longer than envisaged. The council are currently considering feedback, gathering further evidence and drafting a plan. The new LDS plans to undertake Reg.19 draft plan in January/February 2021.   

Epping Forest – The Inspector published an update note on the progress to the main modifications consultation which can be viewed in the Examination documents. The inspector is currently preparing the Schedule of Main Modifications and more information will be available soon.   

Epsom and Ewell – The date for the next round of public consultation has not been decided yet due to COVID-19. The regulation 18 consultation is expected to run from November 2021 to January 2022. The council expects submittal of the plan will be in October 2022.  

Folkestone and Hythe – On the 6th of July the council received the Inspector’s report into the Places and Policies Local Plan on 26 June 2020.  The Inspector’s overall conclusion is that the local plan meets the government’s requirements and that it is ‘sound’ subject to modifications set out in his report.   

Gravesham – A Regulation 18 Stage 2 consultation ran from 23 October 2020 to the 31 December 2020.  This follows on from the Stage 1 consultation, which closed on 11 July 2018. Once adopted, these documents will form part of the Development Plan. The Council is now preparing a partial review of the Local Plan Core Strategy, Site Allocations and a Development Management Policies Document.  

Harlow – 30 November 2020: Harlow Council published responses to the new household projections consultation, the Inspector’s report on the examination and the final version of the Main Modifications schedule. Harlows Local Development plan was adopted at Full Council on 10 December 2020 and now carries full weight in the consideration and determination of planning applications.  

Hart – The Hart Local Plan (Strategy and Sites)2032 was adopted on 30 April 2020 at the Council’s first “virtual” meeting.   

Havering – In August, the Council published Main Modifications for consultation, this consultation has now closed.  The Council will now record and consider the comments received. The Council proposed several additional ‘minor’ modifications (e.g. typographical errors, clarifications and factual updates) to improve the clarity of the Local Plan. In February 2021 the Council received a letter from the Inspector on 03 February 2021 regarding the new London Plan. The Council is working with the Inspector and the GLA to finalise matters regarding the new London Plan.  

Hertsmere – A new ‘Call for Employment Sites’ was issued to identify a number of new sites being promoted for economic development, which have not been previously submitted to us for assessment. The identification of such sites will, if included in our Local Plan, help underpin the borough’s economic recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The ‘Call for Employment Sites’ process closed on the 18 March 2021.   The publication of the new draft Local Plan for the borough is now earmarked for Spring 2021. The council are currently ongoing stakeholder and development engagement.   

London Plan – On 29 January 2021, the SoS approved the London Plan to be officially published. This was published on the 2 March 2021, therefore, the London Plan 2021 is now an official development plan document.  

Maidstone – A preferred approaches consultation (emphasis on future growth strategies) took place on the 1st December 2020 and closed on Friday 8th January 2021. The Preferred Approaches (Regulation 18) is the second public consultation on the review of the adopted Local Plan 2017. The The consultation document sets out the preferred spatial strategy for development, proposed amendments to existing strategic and development management policies and new development management policies.   

Maldon – The Secretary of State Approved the Maldon District Local Development Plan on 21 July 2017. A review is to be completed by 2022. The Council is carrying out a Call for Sites exercise as part of a review of the Local Development Plan and an associated piece of work called a Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment. The ‘Call for Sites’ closing date 21st May 2021.  

Medway – The consultation on the third stage finished in June 2018, with the stage four publication of the draft plan to be published in 2021. Subject to outcomes of an independent examination by a planning inspector, Medway’s Local Plan will be adopted in 2022.   

Milton Keynes – The local plan setting out how Milton Keynes will grow until 2031, was approved for adoption by full council in March 2019.    

Mole Valley – The Regulation 19 stage 2021 was delayed, to allow full consideration of all of the responses made to the Draft Local Plan consultation held in February and March 2020 and give MVDC enough time to respond appropriately to the concerns raised and amend the Plan accordingly. Since this consultation, the Council has reviewed all representations submitted before considering in detail the changes that need to be made to the draft Local Plan and the associated evidence base documents. The process of making amendments to the Plan is still underway, and it is anticipated that a ‘submission version’ Local Plan will be published in the summer of 2021. 

North Essex Authorities (Braintree, Colchester and Tendring) – The Inspector for Section 1 of the Local Plan has now issued his report finding that Section 1 is sound subject to modifications. The Planning Inspector’s modifications, which have been subject to a recent public consultation, included the confirmation of a new Garden Community on land near the University of Essex on the Tendring/Colchester border. Colchester, Braintree and Tendring Councils will accordingly now be able to proceed with the adoption process and examination of the authority specific policies and allocations in Section 2 of the plan.   

North Hertfordshire – Following the recent hearing sessions held in November and December 2020, the Council have put forward some additional Main Modifications for 2021 relating to: Matter 30: Barkway and Site, Matter 31: Design and Sustainability, Matter 31: strategic housing policies. Hearing sessions took place in February 2021 to consider the Design, Sustainability and Housing Policies main modifications. In the final hearing session the Inspector requested further modifications by March 2021. The new main modifications were approved at a Cabinet Meeting on the 16 March 2021, which are expected to be consulted on after the local elections in May 2021.  

Oxford City – At full Council meeting on 8th June 2020 the City Council voted to adopt the Plan.   

Rochford – Rochford DC is working on evidence for its Reg 18 consultation, which will go to consultation later this year. It will produce a joint part 1 local plan with Southend to cover the cross-border matters, specifically a new garden community.  The LDS suggests the plan will be adopted in Summer 2021.   

Runnymede – At the Special Full Council meeting of 30th July, the Runnymede 2030 Submission Local Plan was endorsed as sound and approved for submission to the Secretary of State alongside the minor modifications schedule. On 31st July in line with the Council’s adopted Local Development Scheme, the Runnymede Local Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State.   

Sevenoaks – Last December, the Council asked for permission to challenge the Judicial Review ruling that upheld the Planning Inspector’s reasons for rejecting its draft Local Plan. The Council was informed on Friday 8 April 2021 that it had not succeeded with the challenge. Officers will be speaking with the Secretary of State to put forward a strategy that ensures a new Local Plan can be put in place as soon as possible.  

Southend-on-Sea – Issues and Options consultation closed on 2 April 2019. Initially, Rochford and Southend were considering collaborating on its plans, however Rochford DC chose to pursue its own plan. Southend-On-Sea Borough Council is expecting to hold a ‘Refining Options’ consultation in Q3 of this year.  Proposed submission Estimated: Spring 2021.   

South Essex Joint Strategic Plan (SEP) – This is a strategic statutory local plan prepared jointly by Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend and Thurrock. There is a possibility for the plan to be demoted to a non-statutory spatial framework meaning it will hold less influence over these areas. SEP is currently preparing an Issues Paper on a range of topics such as housing, employment and environment which they sought residents’ views on in autumn/winter 2020. These will inform the preparation of a Preferred Options document which will be the next stage in the Plan Making progress. They are aiming to consult on this in the second half of 2021.   

South Northamptonshire – On Wednesday 22 July 2020 South Northamptonshire Council resolved to adopt the South Northamptonshire Local Plan (Part 2) 2011-2029 at its meeting of Full Council. Building on the West Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy (WNJCS) which was adopted in December 2014, it was prepared to help further guide planning decisions in the area and forms part of the Development Plan for the District, along with the WNJS and “made” neighbourhood plans.   

South Oxfordshire – The South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035 was adopted at a meeting of Full Council on 10 December 2020. It now forms part of the development plan for the district and replaces the South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2011 and Core Strategy. Bioabundance has launched a legal challenge against the plan, on the basis that it does not align with the 2008 Climate Change Act. Its second attempt was refused by a second High Court judge. 

Spelthorne – The next stage of the Spelthorne Local Plan consultation (Regulation 19) is delayed as Members of the Local Plan Task Group review the results of the Preferred Options consultation and consider the Local Plan strategy moving forwards. The Council anticipates that the consultation on the Publication Local Plan (Regulation 19) will take place in mid-2021. The consultation will take place after the Local Plan Task Group have evaluated the results of the Preferred Options consultation, finalised the Local Plan strategy and have made recommendations to the Council’s Cabinet. Following this final consultation, the Local Plan will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for an Examination in public.  

St Albans – The Inspectors’ Post Hearing letter was received by the council, expressing serious concerns on the soundness of the plan. The proposal to withdraw the Plan went to the Cabinet, which met on the 19th November, who approved the withdrawal of the local plan. The Council has commenced preparing for its new local plan. The ‘call for sites’ closed on Monday 8 March 2021. The LDS suggests that the regulation 18 consultation will run in January/February 2022.  

Surrey Heath –The next consultation on the emerging Local Plan is intended to take place later in 2021. The LDS suggests that Consultation on a Draft Plan and Draft Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment will take place in October – November 2021.   

Swale – The Council are now consulting on a review which sets out the amount and location of new housing and employment development and the planning policies to guide development in the borough for the period 2022 to 2038. The Regulation 19 consultation on The Swale Borough Local Plan Review (Reg 19) Pre-Submission Document began at 9am on 8th February 2021 and closed on the 30th of April 2021. The Council are now considering all the comments received.  

Tandridge – The public hearing sessions for the Local Plan concluded on 28 November 2019. The Council received the Inspector’s preliminary conclusions and advice on the Tandridge District Council Local Plan 2033. The letter was discussed at the Planning Policy Committee on 20 January 2021 and the Council sent their initial response to the Inspector. The Inspector responded to the Council’s initial response in his letter dated 10 February 2021 and the Council has sent a response to this outlining the anticipated timeframe for the work. The Council is progressing with the high-level transport modelling on Junction 6 of M25, and the Inspector has agreed that it can undertake this work. Until the modelling is finalised, the Council will not make any decisions around the future of the Local Plan: 2033. 

Tendring – See North Essex Authorities (above).  Tendring District Council, by decision at the meeting of Full Council on Tuesday 26 January 2021, has formally adopted the Tendring District Local Plan 2013-2033 and Beyond: North Essex Authorities’ Shared Strategic Section 1 Plan. On the 8th January 2021 dates for the hearings were decided. The Stage 2 hearing sessions commenced on Tuesday 23rd February 2021 and ended on the 3rd of March.   

Thanet – At the meeting of the Council on 9 July 2020, Thanet District Council adopted the Thanet Local Plan (to 2031), with the Modifications recommended in the Inspectors’ Report. The Council also adopted the Thanet Landscape Character Assessment as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The adopted local plan is available to be viewed on the website.   

Three Rivers – The consultation on the Potential Sites Document closed in 2018. As a result of this consultation a further 27 sites were submitted and will be included in the Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment informing the emerging Local Plan. The Additional Regulation 18 Consultation is set to start May/July 2021. Publication stage is expected to be in November/December 2021.  

Thurrock – The South Essex Plan is a Joint Strategic Plan that will form part of the statutory planning framework for south Essex. It is being prepared by the 6 south Essex local councils of Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend and Thurrock, working together with Essex County Council. The Council are currently preparing an Issues Paper on a range of topics such as housing, employment and environment which we will be seeking residents’ views on in the first half of 2021.  

Tonbridge and Malling – The Inspectors’ letter to the Council explained that due to Duty to Cooperate and other legal compliance issues, the council need to reflect further on these issues before they write to set out their thoughts in more detail. Following the Inspectors’ letter of 19 October they have now written again to the Council.  Following the Inspectors’ letter of 19 October they have now written again to the Council. On the 1st of February the Council responded to the Inspectors’ letter to ask them to review the provisional conclusions on compliance with the DtC. The Inspectors’ responded to the Council’s letter on 29 January 2021 sticking to its original decision, claiming that this cannot extend to ignoring a failure to comply with the DtC which cannot be rectified during the examination. The Council responded that this will inevitably cause delay in the Local Plan Process.   

Tunbridge Wells – Consultation on the Draft Local Plan and the Sustainability Appraisal took place between 20 September and 15 November 2019. Response reports setting out all duly made comments have been published and will inform the Local Plan going forward. The latest LDS suggests there will be a Pre-Submission Local Plan consultation in March-April 2021. Currently  representations can be made online during the ten-week consultation related to matters of compliance with legal and procedural requirements and the ‘soundness’ of the Local Plan. Comments must be received by the Council no later than 5pm on Friday 4 June 2021.  

Uttlesford – Councillors have decided to withdraw the Local Plan and start work on preparing a new plan for the district at an Extraordinary Council Meeting (ECM) on Thursday 30 April.  The council will be carrying out extensive engagement on a wide range of different themes, starting with ‘Where you live’ from 11 November 2020. This programme of ‘mini consultations’ will be aligned to the Community Stakeholder Forum meeting schedule and is due to run until the end of April 2021. The Call for Sites is running from 15/01/20210 6:00PM to 21/04/20210 5:00PM. In February, the council agreed on several non-binary policies to demonstrate how new planning applications should tackle climate change.  

Vale of White Horse – The Local Plan 2031 Part 2 was adopted by Full Council on Wednesday 9 October 2019.   

Watford – Watford Borough Council has prepared its final draft of the Local Plan. This will set a vision for Watford up to 2036 and guide planning decisions and new development. The documents were open to public consultation until the 18th of March 2021. The plan is expected to be delivered in June 2021.  

Waverley – The pre-submission consultation on Local Plan Part 2 began ran from 27 November 2020 to 29 January 2021. The Council will now process all of the responses to the consultation that they have received. Next the Council will decide whether to submit the Local Plan Part 2 to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government for examination by an appointed Inspector.  

Welwyn Hatfield – The first three days of the Stage 9 hearing sessions took place on Tuesday 23, Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 February. The responses to the consultation on the Objectively Assessed Need, ended on 26 January 2021 and can be viewed on the website. A Hertfordshire County Council supplementary education statement in respect of Little Heath Sites HS24 and HS25. This document is included in the current consultation on selected Examination Documents which closes on 12 February. The responses to the recent consultation on two Examination documents can be viewed on the website. The Stage 9 hearing sessions commenced in February and March 2021.  

Woking – The Council submitted the Site Allocations DPD and its supporting documents to the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on 31 July 2019. The Inspector indicated provisional dates for the Examination hearing sessions, which were held in the weeks commencing 2 and 9 December 2019. Representations received during consultation on the Annual Monitoring Report (which closed on 9 March 2020) are available. The Proposed Main Modifications to the Site Allocations DPD, alongside a number of supporting documents, were consulted on from 18 September to 14 December 2020.  Woking Borough Council submitted all representations received on the main modifications to the Development Plan Document (DPD) to the Inspector on 12 March 2021. The consultation has now ended and officers are processing responses.   

Wycombe – In July the High Court dismissed a legal challenge to the adoption of the Wycombe Local Plan submitted by local residents’ group, Keep Bourne End Green (KBEG). KBEG subsequently applied for permission for the case to be heard in the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal has now refused permission to appeal against the High Court’s decision to uphold the Local Plan. The judgment states that the decision is final and cannot be reviewed or appealed. This brings an end to the legal challenges lodged against the Wycombe District Local Plan.