Stafford Borough Council is currently consulting on its issues and options document for the new Local Plan which will cover the period 2020 – 2040. Given the COV 19 outbreak the deadline had been extended and was due to expire at 12 noon on 21st April 2020. The document includes the level of housing and employment land that will be required for the Borough over the next 20 years. The purpose of the new Local Plan is as follows:
- Set out a refreshed vision for the development of Stafford
- Highlight the key issues to be addressed;
- Provide objectives to guide continued growth and policies so that new development meets local needs in line with national policy set out through the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF);
- Provide a strategy and policy framework for the delivery of development and the decision-making process for future planning applications in the Borough;
- Identify the scale and location of development;
- Describe how the development will be implemented.
When complete the new plan will update the existing plan for Stafford Borough which runs from 2011 -2031. The plan will include policies for the development and protection of land and will provide site allocations for new development. It is currently anticipated that following the consultation period, the information gathered will be considered and reflected upon with a preferred options report being available by 2021. The timescales moving forward as set out in the Council’s local development scheme are as follows:
- Preferred Options Report – January 2021
- Formal Publication of the Proposed New Plan – June 2021
- Submission of the proposed new plan to the planning inspectorate – December 2021
- Examination of the proposed new plan – March 2022
- Adoption of the new local plan – October 2022
Whilst the new Local Plan is being prepared planning decisions will be taken on the basis of existing statutory development plan documents i.e. the Plan for Stafford Borough 2011-2031 (June 2014) the Plan for Stafford Borough Part 2 (January 2017) and relevant neighbourhood plans within the borough.
The issues and options document recognises the importance of introducing measures to combat climate change and includes options as follows:
- Energy Efficiency – it is recognised that there is an increased requirement for buildings to be more energy efficient, the document asks if the Local Plan should require development to built to a standard in excess of the current statutory building regulations and asks what further policies could be introduced
- Renewable Energy – it is identified that the Local Plan should make suitable provision for the transition to a low carbon and renewable energy network. Significantly the document asks which renewable energy technologies should be utilised? And also whether the Council should introduce a policy requiring larger developments to source a certain percentage of their energy supply from on-site renewables
- Water Efficiency – the document asks the question as to if the Council should implement a higher water standard than the Building Regulations standard of a maximum 110 litres a day consumption
The documents also raises significant questions in respect of the Development Strategy for the borough significantly which of the annual housing requirement figures best meets Stafford housing need and if the proposed settlement hierarchy is suitable. Detailed sections on Economic prosperity, the delivery of town centres, housing delivery, the quality of development, environmental quality, and health and wellbeing are all included within the document with opportunities to comment upon the suitability of identified proposals.
The full document is available at (PDF): https://www.staffordbc.gov.uk/sites/default/files/cme/DocMan1/Planning%20Policy/New%20Stafford%20Borough%20Local%20Plan%202020-2040/Issues_and_Options_Consultation_Document_Feb2020.pdf