Draft Site Allocations and Policies (incorporating IP-One Area Action Plan) Development Plan Document
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 sets out a policy approach to managing development in identified areas (Chapter 4). Secondly it identifies a wide range of sites, which should be allocated for development or afforded a degree of protection from development (Chapter 5). Thirdly it sets out policies for the IP-One area and provides development guidelines for six opportunity areas within IP-One where significant development and public realm improvements are anticipated (Chapters 6 and 7).
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 focused 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 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 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. This relates to inviting representations about what the plan ought to contain before it reaches the formal ‘submission’ stage. In doing so it repeats and updates earlier work undertaken up to and including the Preferred Options consultation carried out in 2008 on the two separate Site Allocations and IP-One documents.
1.8 When it is formally adopted it will be formally part of the statutory development plan alongside the adopted Core Strategy and, therefore, it will carry significant weight 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 This draft version of the Site Allocations Plan gives an indication of the preferred wording of the Council’s new planning policies. Government guidance suggests that:
“Planning applications should continue to be considered in the light of current policies. However, account can also be taken of policies in emerging Development Plan Documents. The weight to be attached to such policies depends upon the stage of preparation or review, increasing as successive stages are reached.”1
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 this is an early stage in the 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 consultation. The Council intends to make an early assessment of comments received to the draft plan after the close of the consultation period and to prepare a report on these that will set out 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)2;
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 still relates to stage 1 of the process. The Council consulted on Preferred Options for the two plans, Site Allocations and IP-One, in early 2008. However, because of the time that has now elapsed, another round of informal consultation is considered necessary on a full draft plan. This also responds to comments received at the Preferred Options stage that it was difficult to comment constructively on policy detail in the absence of proposed policy wording.
1.14 It is the intention that Stage 2 formal consultation will take place in mid 2014 with submission following in autumn 2014. Stages 4 and 5 would take place in late 2014 and early 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 ‘sound’ and that 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 July 2013 provides more details on the various stages and the process involved in producing documents.
1 Paragraph 18, The Planning System: General Principles, ODPM, 2005 2 Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012