Proposed Submission Site Allocations and Policies (incorporating IP-One Area Action Plan) Development Plan Document

Ended on the 5th March 2015
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CHAPTER 1: Introduction

1.1 This introduction provides an explanation of:

  • what the document covers;
  • what status this document has and how it relates to other documents forming part of the Ipswich Local Plan; and
  • how this stage of the process fits in to the production process for the Site Allocations and Policies (incorporating IP-One Area Action Plan) development plan document.

What the Document Covers

1.2 This plan is a combination of two previous draft plans: the Site Allocations and Policies development plan document and the IP-One Area Action Plan. Its formal title is the 'Site Allocations and Policies (incorporating IP-One Area Action Plan) development plan document'. It is hereafter referred to simply as the 'Site Allocations plan'.

1.3 The Site Allocations plan covers three main areas of policy. Firstly it identifies a wide range of sites across the whole Borough, which should be allocated for development or afforded a degree of protection from development (Chapter 4). Secondly it sets out policies for town centre uses such as retail and leisure (Chapter 5). Finally it provides development guidelines for six opportunity areas within IP-One where significant development and public realm improvements are anticipated (Chapter 6). Policies and proposals specifically for the IP-One area are included throughout the relevant sections of the plan, with only the additional development guidelines set out in a separate chapter for the Opportunity Areas. The policies contained in the plan are referenced 'SP' meaning sites policy.

1.4 It does not cover the Borough-wide strategy for growth, or overall housing and employment figures for Ipswich. These are dealt with through the adopted Core Strategy and Policies development plan document (the 'Core Strategy'), which is currently under review. It does replace the remaining 'saved' policies from the 1997 adopted Ipswich Local Plan, which were primarily site or area related policies. The updated policies map also replaces sites and designations from the 1997 adopted Proposals Map as indicated by the adopted Core Strategy Proposals Map key.

1.5 This Site Allocations plan also includes two non-policy based parts. Part A provides the context to the whole document, which explains among other things the Ipswich Local Plan and how all Ipswich's planning documents fit together. Part D considers policy implementation, targets and monitoring proposals.

1.6 A sustainability appraisal incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment has been carried out alongside the preparation of this draft plan. The full results of that exercise are available in a separate report.

What status this document has

1.7 In formal terms, this document fulfils the requirements of regulation 19 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. This relates to inviting representations about the draft plan before submitting it formally to the Secretary of State.

1.8 When it is formally adopted it will be formally part of the statutory development plan and, therefore, it will carry significant weight in the determination of planning applications via the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act section 38(6):

"� for the purpose of any determination to be made under the planning Acts the determination must be made in accordance with the (development) plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise."

1.9 The National Planning Policy Framework indicates that, before the adoption of the draft Site Allocations plan, the Council may give weight to its policies in decision-making according to the stage of preparation reached, the extent to which there are unresolved objections to relevant policies, and their degree of consistency with policies in the National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 216 and also National Planning Practice Guidance).

1.10 At this stage, the Council has adopted this document as a material consideration for use in the determination of planning applications (and other relevant applications). However, the weight to be given to the contents of this document will be limited, because it is still only part way through the preparation process.

1.11 The weight that could be given to the policy direction will increase if there are no negative comments about it received during the publication stage (regulation 19) consultation. The Council intends to make an early assessment of comments received to the draft plan after the close of the consultation period to consider in more detail the weight that might appropriately be given from then on to different parts of the document.

How this stage of the process fits in to the production process for the Site Allocations and Policies plan

1.12 The production of the Site Allocations plan is a five stage process as set out below:

Stage 1: Notification of the intention to prepare a plan, inviting representations on its content and considering the representations made (regulation 18) [1] ;

Stage 2: Publication of the plan, consultation on it and considering the representations made (regulations 19-20);

Stage 3: Submission of the plan to the Secretary of State (regulation 22);

Stage 4: Independent examination of the plan and publication of the Inspector's recommendations (regulations 23-25)

Stage 5: Adoption of the plan by the Council (regulation 26).

1.13 This draft Plan relates to stage 2 of the process, which is called the publication stage. The Council publicises the version of the plan that it intends to submit to the Secretary of State for examination and invites representations to be made on the draft plan. The representations submitted will be considered at the examination in due course. This publication stage follows several rounds of public consultation during stage one, including the most recent consultation on a draft Site Allocations Plan from January to March 2014.

1.14 It is the intention that, following Stage 2, submission will take place in July 2015. Stages 4 and 5 would take place in autumn 2015.

1.15 The submission document (i.e. Stage 3) would effectively be a final draft of the document with the only permitted material changes thereafter being as a result of the Inspector's Report that concludes the Independent Examination stage.

1.16 It should be noted that the Independent Examination is all about testing whether the Council's documents are legally compliant and 'sound'. At an Examination, an Inspector cannot make a change to the submitted document if that change is not itself sound in terms of all the tests of soundness, or if that change would potentially undermine the consultation process and/or the sustainability credentials of the plan.

1.17 A summary of the tests of soundness is contained at Appendix 1 and a list of all the policies contained in this plan at Appendix 2.

1.18 The revised Local Development Scheme (September 2014) provides more details on the various stages and the process involved in producing documents.

[1] Town & Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012

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