This weeks’ focus on the Consultation Draft Central Lincolnshire Local Plan looks at the MOD, RAF Scampton and Design, both in their own way having an impact on the character of Central Lincolnshire.
Large areas of Central Lincolnshire have been used for MOD purposes throughout the last century and the military presence has brought, and continues to bring, many benefits, particularly to the economy. Many of these sites are also essential for maintaining the defence and security of the country and so are of national importance.
Central Lincolnshire covers the three council areas of City of Lincoln, North Kesteven and West Lindsey with a strategic planning partnership made up of the two district, city and county councils
Policy S83 provides a clear framework for the re-use of suitably located MOD sites which are surplus to MOD operational purposes. These sites often present a significant opportunity for new housing, economic development and/or regeneration and this policy seeks to manage and influence these opportunities as they arise.
The biggest change to the Local Plan in terms of MOD sites, is the inclusion of the RAF Scampton policy. Whilst the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and the MOD have yet to dispose of the site, regular dialogue continues between these organisations, West Lindsey District Council and the community.
Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Owen Bierley explained the policy has been developed collaboratively and seeks to provide a safeguard for the future of RAF Scampton.
He said: “It focuses on supporting measures that will enhance and protect the area, whilst remaining adaptive and responsive to future decisions on the disposal and development of the site for which the DIO and MOD are responsible.
“The policy identifies RAF Scampton as an opportunity area and requires the preparation of a masterplan in conjunction with, and for approval by, the district council prior to a planning application being submitted. The policy, S74, details 14 points which the masterplan must cover in order for major development on the site to be supported.
“The importance of this site both in terms of heritage and social history cannot be overstated and as such this policy is seen as an important first step in supporting its future.”
Design has always been a key factor in planning policy and following a number of Government initiates design and design principles have come into sharp focus.
The Draft Local Plan looks at Design and Amenity and sets out how Central Lincolnshire will assess development in terms of good design. Taking a holistic approach, it is recognised that to design successful places, all development should meet the aspiration for quality and sustainability.
A fundamental part of achieving high quality sustainable design, and ultimately high quality sustainable places, is the need to develop a thorough understanding of the local character and the qualities which contribute to local distinctiveness.
Policy S52 provides a clear set of standards and considerations under the ten design themes detailed in the Government’s National Design Guide. These are:
- Built form
- Public spaces
- Homes and buildings
Developers are required to demonstrate how these design themes have been considered telling the story behind the scheme and explaining how the policy matters have been addressed within their development proposals in supporting evidence submitted with their planning application.
Cllr Bierley who is also the Chair of the Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee added: “Linkages are also to be made between good design and the impact on health and wellbeing. Policy S63 sets out the expectations of development in promoting, supporting and enhancing physical and mental health and wellbeing. It details three key points in which developments must consider, including the production of Health Impacts Assessments.”
Due to the importance of design and also in recognition of the many locally distinctive places including high streets, market squares, urban neighbourhoods, rural villages, historic environments and landscapes this policy area is considered to be the framework for the development of local design guides or codes by communities in the future.
A number of Neighbourhood Plan Groups are already alive to the opportunities this presents and have started or indeed undertaken work in relation to local design codes.
The deadline to submit responses to ensure your comments are considered is 24 August. All documents can be found by clicking on this link: Local Plan consultation.