PROPOSED SUBMISSION SOUTH SOMERSET LOCAL PLAN 2006-2028 - EXAMINATION SUSPENSION: PROPOSED MAIN MODIFICATIONS NOVEMBER 2013

Consultation Document

6 Point for Clarification 1: Consequential Modification to Policy SS3 Delivering New Employment Land

Proposed Main Modification PMM6: Introduction of interim guidance on how applications for growth in employment land is determined in Market Towns and Rural Centres prior to adoption of the proposed Site Allocations Development Plan Document

6.1 This Proposed Main Modification is suggested by the Council and relates to changes arising from paragraphs 61 and 62 of the Inspectors Preliminary Findings, 3 July 2013.

Justification for Change:

6.2 During the Examination the Council agreed to insert a new paragraph in the Local Plan in the text preceding Policy SS5 ‘Delivering new housing growth’ to clarify the Council’s approach towards development in the directions of growth prior to the Site Allocations DPD being adopted in 2015. The Inspector is seeking further clarification on this matter and considers that the additional text already proposed amounts to a Main Modification as it would be required in the interests of effectiveness.

6.3 The Council consider that a similar change is also required for Policy SS3 Delivering new employment land as it relates to delivering additional greenfield employment land located in the directions of growth. Therefore, additional text is required to clarify the Council’s approach towards employment land development in the directions of growth prior to the adoption of the Site Allocations DPD.

Issue Summary:

6.4 The Council is proposing broad directions of growth for a number of market towns. In principle such direction may be supported by a Sustainability Appraisal but there is a lack of detail about how these directions would be translated into detailed proposals.

6.5 Paragraph 157 of the NPPF advises that Local Plans should allocate sites to promote development and provide detail on form, scale, access and quantum of development. Paragraph 17 suggests that a framework should be provided within which decisions on planning applications can be made with a high degree of predictability and efficiency, and paragraph 154 states that only policies that provide a clear indication of how a decision maker should react to a development proposal should be included in the plan.

6.6 In relation to the policy on delivering housing growth, the Inspector considers that the requirements of the NPPF as set out above would not currently be fully met and therefore greater clarity needs to be provided, particularly regarding the relationship between each individual direction of growth and the decision making process. It is considered that the key concern is that the delivery of appropriate development for each market town and rural centre is not adversely affected by substantial additional provision at one or several of these settlements brought forward by market forces before the Site Allocations Development Plan Document is adopted. Whilst the Inspector refers to Market Towns only it is felt that this issue is also relevant to Rural Centres. In addition, whilst the Inspector only has this concern in relation to Policy SS5, the Council consider that it is also pertinent for Policy SS3 on delivering employment land.

Implications for Supporting Text:

6.7 The supporting text should make clear that the scale of development for each market town and Rural Centre is a key material factor to consider when dealing with employment applications prior to the Site Allocations DPD.  Market Towns and Rural Centres differ in that early proposals for Rural Centres are not constrained by identified Directions of Growth

6.8 The Proposed Main Modification is presented in the table below (any new text is underlined and deleted text is shown as crossed through).

Ref
PSSSLP
Page
PSSSLP
Policy/
Para
Proposed Main Modification
Examination
Issue
Source
PMM6
36
4.63
Insert the following paragraph after paragraph 4.63:
 
The Local Development Scheme targets the adoption of the Site Allocations DPD in May 2015.  In the intervening period a permissive approach will be taken to the consideration of planning applications for employment land (use class B1, B2, B8) development that fall within the Directions of Growth subject to consideration against the policy guidance in the NPPF, key policy SD1, the scale of growth and settlement hierarchy for South Somerset, and other Local Plan Development Management Polices.  Whilst Rural Centres do not have ‘directions of growth’; however, the same key policy considerations will apply i.e. NPPF, Policy SD1, the scale of growth and settlement hierarchy for South Somerset, and other Local Plan Development Management Polices.  The approach taken allows sites to be brought forward at any moment, whilst not detracting from the delivery of appropriate levels of growth in all the market towns and rural centres to continue to support sustainable communities. 
Issue 3
Further consideration by the Council following the Inspector’s point of clarification in his Preliminary Findings (3 July 2013)
PMM6 
41
Policy SS3
Add as second paragraph to Policy SS3
 
“Prior to the adoption of the Site Allocations Development Plan Document, a permissive approach will be taken when considering traditional employment land proposals in ‘directions of growth’ at the Market Towns.  The overall scale of growth (set out below) will be a key consideration in taking this approach, with the emphasis upon maintaining the established settlement hierarchy and ensuring sustainable levels of growth for all settlements.  The same key considerations should also apply when considering traditional employment land proposals (wherever located) adjacent to Rural Centres.”
 
Issue 3
Further consideration by the Council following the Inspector’s point of clarification in his Preliminary Findings (3 July 2013)