Shropshire Council

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Local Plan partial review - Issues and strategic options consultation

  • Period: 23 January 2017 - 20 March 2017
  • Status: Closed
  • Audiences: Everyone
  • Topics: Housing, Planning, Environmental maintenance, Site development, Community and living
  • Type: Public

Please note, although the consultation period has now ended, we will still accept responses until the end of the day on 24 March.

Scope of the consultation

Topic of this consultation:

This consultation seeks views on the key issues and strategic options for the partial review of the Shropshire Local Plan. It covers the following strategic options:

  1. Housing requirement
  2. Strategic distribution of future growth
  3. Strategies for employment growth
  4. Delivering development in rural settlements

Scope of this consultation:

We are seeking views of all parties with an interest in the proposals, so that relevant views and evidence can be taken into account in deciding the best way forward.

Geographical scope:

These proposals relate to the administrative area of Shropshire Council.

Impact assessment:

The Issues and Strategic Options document has been subject to Sustainability Appraisal, has been screened under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, and been subject to an Equality and Social Inclusion Impact Assessment (ESIIA). The reports of these assessments are available on this page.

Duration:

This consultation will run from Monday 23 January 2017 and will conclude on Monday 20 March 2017.

After the consultation:

We plan to issue a summary of responses on the Council’s website within three months of the closing date of the consultation.

How to respond to this consultation

**If you've been having any problems submitting consultation responses via email, please ensure that they are addressed to planning.policy@shropshire.gov.uk**

Please click on the "Get involved" tab above to find out more about how and and where you can respond.

You will need to download and read the documents attached to this page, in particular the "Issues and strategic options consultation" document. This document contains the information you will need to respond to the questions, which are also included to enable you to start thinking about your answers as you work through it. You will also then be able to refer back to this document as you work through the online response form.

If you do not wish to use the e-survey form above, then please complete the survey form available on this page and send it by email to: planning.policy@shropshire.gov.uk or by post to:

Shropshire Council
Planning Policy & Strategy Team
Shirehall
Shrewsbury
SY2 6ND

The consultation will be undertaken in line with the standards set out in the Council’s published Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) and national guidance.  Consultation documents will be made available on the Shropshire Council web-site, and paper copies will be provided at libraries and council offices in the main towns. A significant number of organisations and individuals will be notified directly of the publication of the consultation documents by email in accordance with the SCI.

Confidentiality and data protection

Information provided in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be subject to publication or disclosure in accordance with the access to information legislation (primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004).

Consultation plan

Overview

The consultation on the Issues and Options document has been informed by the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI). 

The Issues and Options consultation marks the beginning of the ‘Pre-Submission’ stage of the Plan’s production. The pre-submission stage is intended to be where people can comment on the emerging plan in an informal manner. Later stages are more formal and focus on the ‘soundness of the Plan. 

The SCI commits the Council to preparing and consulting on an Issues and Options consultation, with later stages, such as preferred options, discretionary.  The Council are therefore meeting the requirements of the SCI through the preparation of the Issues and Options document. 

Consultation Period

The Consultation will run for eight weeks between Monday 23 January and Monday 20 March 2017. 

Notification

The Council will notify all those currently on the consultee database by e-mail.  This represents approximately 4,000 contacts made up of local and national organisations, individuals, parish and town councils, adjoining authorities (including adjoining parish and town councils), statutory bodies (such as the Environment Agency), agents and developers, interest groups, and anyone else who has asked to be included on this list.    

The Council will inform Shropshire’s Parish and Town Councils via the Association for Local Councils (ALC).

The Council will issue a Press Release shortly before the start of the consultation providing an overview of the consultation and how to get involved.  There may be a further opportunity to issue a subsequent press release towards the end of the consultation period to ensure people are aware of the end date. 

Viewing the Documents

In line with the SCI and previous successful consultations, this will primarily be a web-based consultation with all consultation material available via the ‘Get Involved’ section, with a link to the consultation documents from the Planning Policy pages. 

However, there will be paper copies of the consultation material and summaries of the supporting documents, available to view at the following Council offices during normal office hours:

  • Shrewsbury: Shirehall Abbey Foregate;
  • Wem: Edinburgh House
  • Oswestry: Castle View
  • Craven Arms: the Gateway

These documents will also be available to view at all libraries during their normal library opening times.

Responding to the Consultation  

An online Response Form will be available for people to complete and submit.  This ‘Survey Monkey’ form will be available on the Consultation Portal section of the Shropshire Council website alongside the other consultation material.  This is our preferred method for people to respond. 

The Response Form will also be available for people to download and complete.  This can then be submitted to the Council via e-mail link planning.policy@shropshire.gov.uk or they can post completed forms to the Council to: Planning Policy, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, SY2 6ND.

Meetings

In using resources effectively, it is not proposed to hold bespoke meetings to publicise the consultation.  Instead it is considered more effective for officers to attend existing meetings as a discrete agenda item in order to communicate the consultation.

ALC Area Committee Meetings  

It is acknowledged that Town and Parish Councils are important local consultees and offer a conduit into wider local communities.  Whilst it is not proposed officers will attend individual parish council meetings,  in using resources effectively it is proposed officers attend and present information to the each of the ALC Area Committees during the consultation period at the following time and dates:    

  • Severn Centre, Highley – 24 January - 7pm
  • Guildhall, Shrewsbury - 26 January - Time and Venue TBC 
  • Methodist Hall, Craven Arms - 2 February - 7.30pm
  • Guildhall, Oswestry - 7 February - 7pm
  • Edinburgh House, Wem – 20 February - 7.15pm

Where resources allow and on request, Planning Policy Officers can arrange and attend meetings at the Shirehall, Shrewsbury with representatives from Parish or Town Councils to discuss the consultation.    

Other Meetings

It is proposed officers will also attend and discuss the meetings of the Shropshire Business Board and the Developer Forums, along with other suitable opportunities with local organisations, to discuss the consultation document and the ‘call for sites’.   

Introduction and background

Why are we reviewing the Local Plan?

The Shropshire Local Plan currently comprises the Core Strategy (adopted 2011) and the Site Allocations and Management of Development (SAMDev) Plan (adopted 2015), together with the adopted Neighbourhood Plans for Much Wenlock and Shifnal. These documents set out proposals for the use of land and policies to guide future development in order to help to deliver the sustainable growth in Shropshire for the period up to 2026.

Local Planning Authorities are required to keep under review any matters that may affect the development of its area or the planning of its development. There is a requirement to objectively assess the development needs of the County and this also permits a longer term view to be taken for the period to 2036.  In addition, there continue to be significant national policy and procedural changes along with opportunities and challenges at the national and regional level which will impact, to varying degrees, on Shropshire. 

These matters should be addressed through a partial review of the Local Plan to help to ensure the continuing conformity of the Local Plan with national policy. Core tasks for this review of the Local Plan are set out in the SAMDev Inspector’s Examination Report (2015) as follows: “The review will include housing requirements (including objectively assessed need), employment land requirements, the distribution of development and a review of Green Belt boundaries, as part of the consideration of strategic options to deliver new development in the review plan period which is likely to be 2016-2036.” (SAMDev IR, Para 23).

To meet the requirements of national policy, the Local Plan needs to identify enough land to provide for future housing and employment to reflect Shropshire’s future needs. These needs are calculated from national data sources and local evidence which track changes in the size of Shropshire’s population and labour supply which derive from both local growth and migration to and away from the county. The partial review needs to establish future growth requirements for Shropshire in a way which is consistent with national policy.

The Council is keen to maintain a robust and defensible Local Plan for Shropshire and the partial review will help to ensure that there is an up to date and deliverable Plan which will help to ensure that local, rather than national policies act as the principal benchmark for planning decisions. Maintaining an up to date Local Plan will support local growth by generating certainty for investment in local development and infrastructure through a policy framework that establishes an up to date and objective assessment of our development needs and supports sustainable development in Shropshire during the period to 2036.

What is a partial review?

The overall strategic approach of focusing growth in Shropshire’s county town, market towns and key centres whilst enabling some controlled development in rural areas to maintain local sustainability will remain as the preferred development strategy. Many of the existing policies in the Core Strategy & SAMDev do not need to be amended and will be carried forward as part of the new Plan. The review will therefore focus on key areas of change, including options for the level and distribution of new housing and strategies for employment growth during the period to 2036, together with any amended policies and new site allocations which are needed to demonstrate that these requirements can be delivered. The existing Core Strategy & SAMDev Plan will remain in force until any new Plan is adopted which is anticipated around 2019.

Given time and resource limitations, the new plan will be less geographically specific in its approach than the SAMDev Plan, with specific sites identified only in Shrewsbury, the market towns and key centres, and at major redevelopment locations which could include Clive Barracks, Tern Hill near Market Drayton and the former Ironbridge Power Station. In smaller rural settlements (including existing Community Hubs and Clusters), development is proposed to be managed in future through criteria-based policies using a consistent set of guidelines to help deliver sustainable development in these settlements.

This consultation therefore invites feedback on choices for each of the following strategic options:

  1. Housing requirement
  2. Strategic distribution of future growth
  3. Strategies for employment growth
  4. Delivering development in rural settlements

In addition to the these strategic options and the matters identified in the SAMDev Examination Report (see paragraph 1.3 above), at a later stage the partial review process will also consider a range of issues including: the role of Shrewsbury and its University Centre; new retail and leisure needs; town centre designations; the need for affordable housing; provision for gypsies and travellers; the redevelopment of strategic sites; and provision to maintain sand and gravel production.

The product of the review will be a new Local Plan document which merges the Core Strategy and SAMDev Plans and contains both strategic policies and more applied policies which primarily inform planning decisions, together with existing (unimplemented) sites and new site allocations.

Strategic objectives of the Local Plan review

The strategic objectives, policies and proposals in the current Local Plan have only been in place for a relatively short period of time since the adoption of the Core Strategy in 2011 and the adoption of the SAMDev Plan in 2015. It is considered that the many of these objectives remain relevant to the sustainable development of Shropshire during the period to 2036.

The following strategic objectives are proposed for the Local Plan review

  1. Provide an appropriate development strategy for Shropshire for the period 2016-2036 through an up to date Development Plan for Shropshire which is fully compliant with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
  2. Ensure a deliverable Development Plan for Shropshire which secures a five year land supply for both housing and employment development and maintains local planning control over decision making, in accordance with the policies in the Local Plan
  3. Support the development of sustainable communities which are thriving, inclusive and safe, ensuring that people in all areas of Shropshire have access to decent affordable homes, jobs, education and training (Core Strategy Objective 1)
  4. Develop the roles of Shrewsbury as a sub-regional centre, and Shropshire’s Market Towns and Key Centres as more sustainable and self-sufficient settlements, providing the main focus for new housing, employment and infrastructure development (Core Strategy Objective 2)
  5. Support rural communities through the delivery of local housing and employment opportunities appropriate to the role, size and function of each settlement (Core Strategy Objective 3)
  6. Promote sustainable economic development and growth by providing a flexible and responsive supply of employment land and premises, and the development of further/higher education and training opportunities, to support business development, satisfy the changing needs and demands of the Shropshire economy, promote inward investment, and help generate skilled, well paid employment opportunities (Core Strategy Objective 6)
  7. Support the development of sustainable tourism, rural enterprise, broadband connectivity, diversification of the rural economy, and the continued importance of farming and agriculture (Core Strategy Objective 7)

Strategic context

Shropshire is a large, diverse but predominantly rural, inland county. There are a range of interactions taking place affecting Shropshire which cross its boundary with adjacent areas in Herefordshire, Worcestershire, the Borough of Telford and Wrekin, Staffordshire, the West Midlands conurbation, Cheshire and across the English-Welsh border. These include: cross border service provision such as shopping, health, education and leisure; transport links and commuting patterns, any potential inter-dependencies between housing markets and economic areas and protection of the Green Belt. These interactions are the subject of on-going discussion with neighbouring planning authorities under the ‘Duty to Co-operate’. The spatial context for the Local Plan Review is described in detail in the Authority Monitoring Report (AMR) which is available on the Council’s web pages. More detailed facts, figures and trends concerning the Shropshire context are also available on the Council’s webpages here: http://shropshire.gov.uk/facts-and-figures

Shropshire: Strategic Challenges and Opportunities

The existing Local Plan and particularly the Core Strategy was prepared against the backdrop of the global economic recession which significantly affected the economies of both the UK and Shropshire. The current Local Plan has continued to plan for an economic upturn to assist the recovery which has now started to take effect across Shropshire under the positive influence of its objectives, policies and development strategies. 

The influence of the Local Plan and the resurgence of demand and investment in Shropshire have coincided with proposed national infrastructure and investment programmes within the UK economy. The national agenda for political and administrative devolution has brought forward the Combined Authority for the West Midlands conurbation and the drive towards establishing the Midlands Engine to channel investment into the region.  This agenda has also created further opportunities through the earlier devolution of authority to Greater Manchester as part of the drive to create the Northern Powerhouse providing a second route to channel investment into the west and north of England.

These emerging channels for investment are expected to be helpfully drawn together by the national infrastructure investment in the High Speed 2 (HS2) link providing a rapid transit route between the south-east region and the regions of the north to encourage investors to look beyond the London conurbation and the Home Counties. HS2 will deliver a close link to Shropshire through the proposed interchange at Crewe which will provide a further channel for investment through a proposed investment zone located around the Northern Gateway centred on Crewe.

The emergence of these exciting investment opportunities in the sub-regions around Shropshire is timely in relation to meeting the challenge established in the SAMDev Plan the Inspector’s Examination Report (2015) to undertake an early Partial Review of the now adopted Local Plan. In setting out the core tasks for the Partial Review it is necessary to review our future housing and employment land requirements and to refresh our land supply and policies to help meet our future needs and to capture the opportunities in and around the County.

The past few years have seen a change in Shropshire’s fortunes with the scale of investment evident in the widespread resurgence of residential development and key investments by existing business across the County. This resurgence in the County was set against the backdrop of the healthy projections for the UK economy for over 2% growth through 2017.  The national economy and the fortunes of the County may be further challenged by the decision to leave the European Community as a result of the Brexit referendum in the summer of 2016 and the negotiations on the UK exit strategy which have now commenced. 

In light of this context, the following strategic opportunities and challenges have been identified:

Opportunities

  1. The Combined Authority for the West Midlands brings together the metropolitan authorities with adjoining areas to drive forward the Midlands Engine. Shropshire has the potential to benefit from this enterprise via the M54 corridor and key investment locations at Wolverhampton, Telford, Shifnal, Albrighton, Bridgnorth; at major redevelopment locations which could include Clive Barracks, Tern Hill near Market Drayton and the former Ironbridge Power Station; and at those created around RAF Cosford in Shropshire
  2. The Northern Powerhouse and Northern Gateway together aim to re-invigorate the North West region. The Northern Gateway will drive the creation of an investment zone around the HS2 interchange at Crewe with the effects extending through physical proximity and journey time/distance into the Shropshire economy.  This is expected to create direct opportunities for the northern Market Towns of Oswestry, Whitchurch and Market Drayton and also Ellesmere and Wem. 
  3. The positive effects of the Northern investment potential will also be experienced through the rail network with the potential to influence other areas of the County.
  4. The opportunities created through these external influences are expected to enhance the investments being delivered within Shropshire and in the adjoining areas of the Local Enterprise Partnership in Telford & Wrekin and Hereford.  The joint working within this partnership will be led and influenced through the Strategic Economic Plan being refreshed along with the Partial Review of the Shropshire Local Plan.

Challenges

  1. The focus of the HS2 investment will be located to the north of Shropshire and will attract significant interest from other sub-regions similarly affected by this nationally significant infrastructure investment. Shropshire needs to be able to understand the nature of demands to be created by HS2 and ensure that some of these investment needs are met within the County.
  2. Shropshire recognises the opportunities to be derived from other national and sub-regional investments and from the investment and potential of its own vibrant local economy. The County places a premium on the promotion of economic growth but will need to understand and address the barriers to investment and growth to translate this demand into employment and prosperity.
  3. Shrewsbury and Oswestry as the main centres for economic investment expect to see their current principal employment sites come to completion during the plan period to 2036. Whilst new land is available in these locations and within the market towns and other key centres there is a need to further replenish the supply and bring forward a readily available supply of accessed and serviced land for investment.

Evidence base

The partial review of the Local Plan will be informed by an extensive evidence base which will be made available through the Council’s web pages.  This ‘Issues & Strategic Options’ document is based on evidence from the published Full Objectively Assessed Housing Need Report (FOAHN) and Rural Settlement Assessment.

Supporting assessments

Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessments

The Issues and Strategic Options document has been subject to Sustainability Appraisal in line with the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004. A summary and the full report of this appraisal is available to download below.

The Issues and Options document has also been screened under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended) and an HRA Initial Screening Report and a summary of this report are available to download below.

Targeted consultation with Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and the Environment Agency will be undertaken alongside the current consultation.

Equality and Social Inclusion Impact Assessment

The Issues and Strategic Options Consultation Document has been subject to Equality and Social Inclusion Impact Assessment. This assessment is available to download below

Call for sites

This consultation is accompanied by a ‘Call for Sites’, which is a request to private; public; and voluntary sector bodies and individuals to submit potential development sites for consideration within the Strategic Land Availability Assessment (SLAA). The SLAA is a technical assessment of the capacity; suitability; availability; and achievability (including viability) of land for development. The SLAA incorporates the process formerly known as the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) but now seeks to include land for uses other in addition to housing. Sites can be submitted using the Shropshire Council Site Proforma, which must be accompanied by a plan indicating the location and boundary of the site. The Shropshire Council Site Proforma is available on the Shropshire Council website on the planning policy webpages.

The SLAA represents a key component of the evidence base which will support the partial review of the Local Plan. However, whilst the SLAA is an important technical document, it does not allocate land for development or include all locations where future housing growth might occur. The SLAA simply provides information which will be investigated further through the plan-making process.

What happens next?

We will publish a summary of the responses to the Issues and Strategic Options consultation on our web pages. The comments we receive will be used to inform the further development of the partial review of the Local Plan.

The process for completing the partial review of the Local Plan is as follows:

  1. Background evidence base
  2. Development of options
  3. Consultation on issues and strategic options - we are at this stage
  4. Development of final plan
  5. Consultation on final plan
  6. Submission of final plan
  7. Independent examination
  8. Adoption

Documents

The consultation will be undertaken in line with the standards set out in the Council’s published Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) and national guidance.  Consultation documents will be made available on the Shropshire Council website, and paper copies will be provided at libraries and council offices in the main towns. A significant number of organisations and individuals will be notified directly of the publication of the consultation documents by email in accordance with the SCI.

To respond to this consultation use our online form.

Go to the online form »

If you do not wish to use the online form above, please download, print and complete the form attached to this page and send it by post to:

Shropshire Council
Planning Policy & Strategy Team
Shirehall
Shrewsbury
SY2 6ND

Data protection

Information collected in our surveys will only be used by us (Shropshire Council) to inform the immediate and future provision of our services. The information you provide will be kept confidential in accordance with our Privacy Policy. It will not be shared outside of Shropshire Council. Information collected via our online surveys (hosted on the Surveymonkey website) will be stored on SurveyMonkey’s servers in the United States of America and SurveyMonkey gives an undertaking never to disclose the survey questions or your responses to others without permission.