The Local Plan will address local housing need, the economy, environmental considerations including the climate emergency, community infrastructure as well as strategic infrastructure needs, and is being prepared with the climate emergency at the centre of our thinking. Specifically the Local Plan is a document produced by Winchester City Council in its role as the local planning authority, to set out what development may be allowed up to 2038. It does not cover the whole of the district because the South Downs National Park Authority has responsibility for planning matters in a large part of the council’s area (around 40% of the district) and they have made their own plan.
The plan will make site specific allocations to meet identified development needs of the future. Once we have fully engaged with the local community and it has been through all of its formal stages, it will be used to assess planning applications and appeals.
The Local Development Scheme (LDS) sets out the council’s programme for the production of planning policy documents that form the Winchester Local Plan. The latest LDS was approved by the Council’s Cabinet (Local Plan) Committee on 21 July 2021 and was brought into effect immediately. The LDS can be viewed here.
The Local Plan preparation process doesn't start with a blank sheet of paper. Our current Local Plan includes two documents: Local Plan 1 – Joint Core Strategy (adopted 2013 and covering the period up to 2031) and Local Plan 2 – Development Management Policies and Site Allocations (adopted 2017). Much of the development in the existing Local Plan already has planning permission - this means the future development strategy is partly determined, at least for the early period of the new Local Plan. The Strategic Issues & Priorities (SIP) document identified the issues to be addressed in the new Local Plan and builds on the evidence base, and our experience of the pandemic. In the SIP document we did not make choices about our ‘preferred options’, or specific sites; we simply presented a range of questions and invited comments on what the Local Plan should cover, and how it should deal with these matters.
We want everyone in our district, and those who ‘look in’ on it, working here and visiting the area, to be involved in the process of creating our new Local Plan. We undertook early engagement to help us identify the right priorities and gain feedback from a wide range of people, businesses and organisations, on the various options for accommodating sustainable growth across the district. There will be a number of further opportunities to comment and be involved in the Local Plan – please see stages below.
All the feedback that we’ve received from the Strategic and Priorities consultation is now being used to help us inform and develop the new draft Local Plan (‘Regulation 18’ stage) which will be published on our website. At this next stage of the process we will identify the development strategy (how the development we have to plan for will be distributed across the areas of district that lie outside the South Downs National Park), identify which specific sites are proposed to be allocated for development, in order to deliver the growth strategy and a range of other policies that are needed to deliver the new Local Plan.
There will be an opportunity for you to comment on the contents of the draft Local Plan (Regulation 18 Plan) and for you to tell us if you have any concerns or suggestions about any of the proposals or allocations that have been included in the draft Local Plan, or how we can improve it.
The feedback gathered will help us finalise our new Local Plan (Regulation 19 stage). There will then be a further consultation so that any refinements can be made before submitting the plan for examination. When the consultation is complete and all feedback has been considered, everything is forwarded to an Inspector who will be appointed by the Secretary of State to oversee a Local Plan Examination. The Inspector will then hold a Local Plan Examination and invite people to attend. Members of the public, businesses and organisations can be present, however the Inspector will determine who is eligible to speak at the examination (including those who have made comments at this stage of the process).
Once the Local Plan Examination process has concluded we will receive a report from the Inspector, and subject to the Inspector agreeing to the contents of the Local Plan, or the council making any suggested changes that need to be consulted on, the City Council will adopt its new Local Plan. The adopted Local Plan will replace the current Local Plan.
When preparing a Local Plan we are required to assess its potential impacts . We are preparing an Integrated Impact Assessment which includes Sustainability Appraisal, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Habitat Regulations Assessment, Health Impact Assessment and Equalities Impact Assessment. The initial report sets out the assessment of the Strategic Issues and Priorities consultation document. More details are available at the link below.
The link also provides more information about how the new Local Plan will fit with ‘Neighbourhood Plans‘ which have already been prepared or are underway in some areas of the district.
In addition, there is more information at the link below about the Government’s proposed changes to the planning system in August 2020, which would affect the process of how we make a Local Plan.
It is important that we have a clear vision and achievable objectives for the future of the district over the Plan period. Whilst the vision set out in the existing Local Plan is still relevant, there is one important change in that the Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, and the vision for the new Local Plan needs to reflect this.
Our proposed ‘Sustainable Development Objectives’ are classified as environment, economic or social objectives as together these underpin ‘sustainable development’. Carbon Neutrality is a fundamental overarching objective with which the other sustainable development objectives must align