The Local Plan and Local Plan Review
The Eastington Neighbourhood Development Plan and the Stroud District Local Plan were developed in parallel and are supposed to represent the ‘localism’ part of the new planning laws. They were finally approved and adopted in 2016.
The plans had to follow national guidelines, with their presumption in favour of sustainable development, but did allow us to say where within our area/district we thought that development should be focused. They also express and underline our rights to have our traditional character respected along with traditional settlement patterns. This meant that preserving our ‘rural character’ and the distinct identities of our hamlets became a genuine consideration in making planning decisions. The WoS development was considered a ‘strategic’ necessity, and had to be accepted into the plans as a given, but it was hoped that the other policies in both plans would go some way to protecting our environment and way of life here, as well as the identities of the hamlets most affected by WoS.
The NDP in particular allowed us to state that development (other than WoS) in the Parish should be confined to an envelope around Alkerton, with minimal development elsewhere. Sites adjacent to the envelope could be considered as ‘exception sites’ where particular developments considered desirable – such as for affordable housing for local people – might be allowed.
5 Year Review
No sooner was the ink dry on the Local Plan, than the government made it law that the plans were to be reviewed every 5 years. This is a big undertaking and with all the consultations involved etc will take 5 years to complete! The current plan runs from 2016 to 2031, the Review will be completed by 2021 and the revised plan will the run up to 2026 – etc.
As part of the review, SDC are obliged to ‘look ahead’ for potential new development sites should they be needed ( both for housing and employment). At present (Nov 2017) they consider that they have sufficient ‘possible’ development sites for the housing and employment numbers that the Government Inspector requires of them, and that these sites are documented in the plan. SDC will need to review both how this ‘land supply’ is shaping up over the 5 years as well as the inevitable increase in the Government’s requirement over time.
Unfortunately for us, even at this early stage of the review, a couple of what we now regard as ‘exception sites’ ( available only for possible future affordable housing for parishioners) are being considered as mainstream ‘potential’ development sites.
Even more unfortunately, Dale Vince’s two plots (North and South of the A419) in particular – are already being included in the review and could be accepted into the revised plan as possible development sites.
The sad fact is that the mere existence of WoS makes these sites ‘adjacent’ to an existing settlement, which makes them vulnerable!
We cannot stop these sites from being considered in the review, but we CAN lobby against actually including them in the revised plan on the grounds that if/when more employment land is required, there are much more appropriate places to use up first. We do not believe that clustering employment sites around the motorway junction is anything but disastrous for the District
There will be several rounds of Public consultation as the review progresses – Please check our latest posts.