Date published: 22 June 2021
Plans to protect retail centres in rural areas and steer towards a carbon net-zero position across Central Lincolnshire are contained within a series of key policy updates as part of the review of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan.
The Central Lincolnshire Joint Strategic Planning Committee (CLJSPC) considered a revised draft of the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan at its meeting yesterday, (June 21).
Central Lincolnshire covers the combined area of the City of Lincoln, West Lindsey and North Kesteven and the joint Local Plan provides the strategic framework through which local planning decisions are taken within each locality.
Initially adopted in 2017, it is now being revised as part of a systematic review to ensure it remains current and consistent with both latest national guidelines and local circumstances – for example population change, the expected closure of RAF Scampton and the increased emphasis on the need to take positive climate action by each partner council.
Members approved for the new draft plan to go out for an extended eight-week consultation from the end of June.
Committee Chairman, Cllr Owen Bierley, said the suggested changes built on a very strong position of the current adopted plan and were the consequence of a detailed and exhaustive five-year review to sense-check everything and ensure it was in line with current circumstances.
“It’s been a huge challenge to review an otherwise already very good Local Plan, which has given us some very robust data and clarity of vision to inform a comprehensive plan that I believe is in complete alignment with our shared aspirations for the Central Lincolnshire area,” he said.
“With this in place, we need to consult with our residents, partners and developer community to get their take on it and ensure we draw on as many responses and as wide a view as possible.”
Whilst the Local Plan will remain familiar, retaining broadly the same vision and objectives, there have been some policy changes/updates together with structural changes to the document to aid navigation of the policies, which will mean it looks quite different.
Key policy changes include:
- Climate change: Following a mandate from CLJSPC Members to pursue a Carbon Neutral Local Plan, a number of climate change policies have been included to help deliver this, including a requirement for net-zero-carbon homes and a framework for considering renewable energy infrastructure.
- Retail: In recognition of some of the challenges facing retail the Draft Local Plan seeks to protect more local retail centres in rural areas; in the face of uncertainty in both the industry and from national policy changes allowing shops to change use without the need for planning permission.
- Housing: Reflecting the Government’s new housing needs methodology and the Central Lincolnshire’s housing and economic needs assessment evidence, the housing requirement of the plan has been reduced from 1,540 homes each year under the 2017 Local Plan to between 1,060 and 1,325 homes each year in the new plan, meeting the overall requirement of 29,150 dwellings across the plan period from 2018 to 2040.
- RAF Scampton: A new draft policy, designed to safeguard the future of RAF Scampton once the site has been decommissioned, has been included. It highlights RAF Scampton as an ‘opportunity area’ and requiring a masterplan prior to any major development. The policy aims to provide a framework which will enhance and protect the area whilst remaining adaptive and responsive to future decisions on the decommission and disposal of the base.
- Settlement Hierarchy and Allocations: Following a change in National Policy, sites for 10 or more homes within small and medium villages are specifically allocated which remove the need to apply growth percentages and gives greater certainty to communities.
Outgoing Committee Chairman Cllr Richard Wright thanked everyone involved in drawing together the consultation draft, saying that the revision was necessary to keep the area’s planning framework up to date and in line with changing community emphasis.
“We are all so much more minded on our individual and collective responsibilities in respect of climate change now than we may have been in 2017 and it is essential that we create a supportive environment in which we can embrace advances in technology and construction practice and changes in the way we live and work to ensure the plan is dynamic and responsive to the needs of Central Lincolnshire going forwards,” said Cllr Wright.
Leader of City of Lincoln Council, Cllr Ric Metcalfe, said: “The local plan offers a joined-up approach by the authorities of Central Lincolnshire to manage growth responsibly for the public good.
“It can set a favourable policy framework to help us achieve net zero carbon for the safety and well-being of our communities and future generations.”
In light of COVID-19 restrictions and the school summer holidays, members approved a longer consultation period from the standard six to eight weeks to allow the public ample time to respond.
The Draft Local Plan will go out to public consultation at the end of June, running for 8 weeks. Please keep a look out for further details from each partner council and on the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan website
Responses from this consultation will form the basis of a further review. A final consultation of the Local Plan is expected to take place in Spring 2022 before going forward for Examination in Public in summer 2022.
Notes to Editors:
- Settlement Hierarchy’s essentially put settlements into order of their size (essentially a banding system). National Policy requires growth to be focussed on the largest and most sustainable settlements; equally growth should be commensurate with the size of the settlement.
- Allocations are areas of land which are specifically identified within a Local Plan as land appropriate for development. You have allocations for housing, employment etc.
- This is the first time a draft of the Local Plan has been published following the Issues and Options consultation stage held in June 2019.