Planning for Rutland’s Future - Issues and Options Consultation

Ended on the 30 September 2022
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1. Introduction

1.1 A New Local Plan for Rutland

This consultation document is the first stage of public consultation for the preparation of the Rutland Local Plan. It seeks views on a range of planning issues and proposed options for the future development of the County. The Local Plan will set out the strategy for the amount, location and design of new development, and at the same time take the opportunity this provides to drive forward the Council's ambitions and aspirations on matters such as climate change, meeting affordable housing needs and promoting biodiversity.

The preparation of a new Local Plan provides the opportunity for local people and all other interested parties to help shape what the County will look like over at least the next 15 years and thereby create the policy framework that will help guide investment and development decisions over the plan period. In essence, it looks to establish the right amount and locations for future growth, and then guide the form, scale, and type of any future developments.

The document is drafted with full awareness of the profound and ongoing impact of Covid-19 and also of the possible implications arising from the Government's White Paper: Planning for the Future, which may radically change the nature and process of preparing Local Plans in the future. Going forward the preparation of a new Local Plan for Rutland will seek to continue to respond to these and other changing circumstances.

The current adopted development plan documents (Core Strategy Development Plan Document, Site Allocations and Policies Development Plan Document and Minerals Core Strategy and Development Control Policies Development Plan Document) are becoming increasingly out of date over time. It is important to have a five-year housing land supply at all times so that the Council and communities in Rutland can influence planning decisions, to ensure that development is sustainable and high quality.

In making the decision to withdraw the submitted Local Plan, the Council has committed to positively prepare and submit a new Local Plan informed by an updated evidence base for the benefit of the County of Rutland, its residents and businesses that will:

  1. Deliver the corporate plan vision and themes for the County;
  2. Provide for sustainable growth to meet its objectively assessed housing and employment needs, utilising and promoting sustainable transport wherever possible, which will combine to contribute towards achieving the Government's net zero carbon emissions 2050 target;
  3. Protect and enhance the County's heritage, character and natural capital (including air quality, water resource management and biodiversity); and
  4. Ensure the timely delivery of all necessary infrastructure.

In addition, the Council has resolved to develop robust and effective strategic partnerships to support plan-making through the duty to cooperate and required for a viable, deliverable and sound plan.

For all the above reasons, the Council is proceeding with plan preparation, with this first stage being a public consultation on issues and options.

1.2 Call for Sites

Alongside this consultation, the Council has issued a "Call for Sites" to provide the opportunity to suggest potential development sites for allocation in the new Local Plan. There is a separate process in place to enable sites to be put forward for consideration. Details can be found on the Council website.

Following the Call for Sites, the Council will prepare a Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) listing all sites suggested for development. Inclusions of a site in the SHELAA does not mean that the site will be allocated for development. The SHELAA provides the "long list" of sites which will be subject to a detailed site assessment and technical appraisal When account is taken of the technical information and site assessment, the Council will propose preferred sites to be allocated and consult on these in a draft Plan.

At this first stage of consultation on Issues and Options, no sites are proposed for development. This will happen when a draft Plan is consulted. The Call for Sites list is likely to be a long one (and may get longer) but a large proportion of sites promoted for development will not ultimately be proposed for allocation.

1.3 Structure of the consultation document

The document is split into four chapters:

  • the first chapter sets the context for the preparation of the Local Plan;
  • the second chapter sets out a proposed vision, set of objectives and raises the question of priorities for the Local Plan;
  • the third chapter, comprising most of the document, sets out key issues and options for each of main topic themes;
  • the final chapter deals with what happens next.

For each key issue identified in the third chapter, there is a commentary on the background to this, together in most cases with a presentation of either the policy options or policy approach to addressing the issue. A policy option is a suggestion for a type of policy that could be used to address the key issue. Policy options generally represent a decision that will need to be taken on the direction of future policy. A policy option may relate to the introduction of a new policy requirement, or a change in current policies in some way - for example, introducing different criteria that may need to be applied. The policy options are generally exclusive to one another, but it might be that a combination or elements of each is considered the best way to address the issue and are therefore the preferred option. A policy approach is a direction of travel or intent for how the Council proposes to address the key issue. Policy approaches may relate to the general direction of the policy content itself or may be more general or procedural approaches to addressing the issue through the review, for example in terms of the evidence that will be gathered, or possible extra guidance that will be produced, or factors will be considered in addressing the issue. The policy approaches should all be read as a package and do not represent a choice needing to be made between them.

Each policy option and policy approach is followed by a question or set of questions to allow you to respond to the suggestions made. Some questions are specifically open ended, especially where planning policy development is at an early stage.

1.4 Current Local Plan

The Local Plan once adopted will replace the current Rutland Local Plan (2006-2026) which comprises:

  • The Core Strategy DPD (2011) sets out strategic planning policies, housing and employment requirements, and how development should be distributed between towns, villages and the countryside;
  • The Site Allocations & Policies DPD (October 2014) allocates land for the development needs set out in the Core Strategy and sets detailed policies on a range of topics, used to inform decisions on planning applications;
  • Minerals Core Strategy and Development Control Policies DPD (2010).

Other Local Plan Documents that form part of the Rutland Development Plan include 'made' Neighbourhood Plans (Barrowden & Wakerley, Cottesmore, Edith Weston, Greetham, Langham and Uppingham) which contain locally specific policies for development within the designated Neighbourhood Plan areas. Neighbourhood Plans covering the parishes of Ketton & Tinwell, Market Overton, North Luffenham, Oakham & Barleythorpe and Whissendine are also under preparation. In addition, the made plans for Edith Weston, Langham and Uppingham are under review.

There are also supporting documents which are a material planning consideration when deciding on planning applications and take the form of Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD).

1.5 Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulation Assessment

The Sustainability Appraisal (SA) is a legal requirement, and its role is to assess and improve the economic, social and environmental effects of the Local Plan and to monitor its impacts. The SA helps the Council to assess the relative merits of a range of different options and alternatives and helps to determine appropriate options that will deliver the best outcomes for Rutland. It also helps identify measures that will be required to help reduce any harmful effects from the plan. The SA 'tells the story' of the plan-making processes. It documents how decisions have been made and how they have been informed by environmental and sustainability concerns.

The results of the appraisal are set out and analysed in an SA Report which sits alongside and informs each stage of the Local Plan review process. An SA Report of the Issues and Options report has been prepared and is available on the Council's website. It will be updated as the Local Plan review progresses to record each stage.

'Scoping' is the first stage of a sustainability appraisal (SA) and the first exercise is to identify the key sustainability issues facing the County that the Local Plan needs to take account of. Scoping also looks at the wide range of international, national and local plans, strategies, policies and laws that will influence the Local Plan, and identifies any targets within them that the Local Plan should help achieve. Scoping also sets out the assessment framework that will be used in the SA and presents a range of objectives that the Local Plan's strategy, sites and policies should seek to achieve.

It is also required by law for the Council to consider the impacts of the Local Plan on European designated sites including Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas and Ramsar sites of which there are a number within or close to Rutland. This process is called the Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA).

1.6 Links with the Corporate Plan

The Local Plan will help to deliver parts of the emerging Corporate Plan for the County Council (2019-24), particularly with respect to delivering sustainable development and vibrant communities.

In addition, the preparation of the Local Plan will be aligned to the development of a new Corporate Plan that will cover the period from 2022 to 2027. This Corporate Plan will set out the Council's main commitments, including targets for key services over the next five years. Importantly, the new Corporate Plan will also provide details of how Rutland County Council will use its policies and services to help contribute to the goals contained within the Future Rutland Vision.

1.7 Climate change and carbon reduction

In January 2021, the Council formally acknowledged the climate crisis and set out a series of actions which it would take to ensure that the Council's own activities were net zero by 2050

The Local Plan provides an opportunity to roll out measure aimed at carbon reduction and ensuring resilience to the effects of climate change, to all new development to support the Councils wider climate crisis objectives.

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Infographic shows two different balancing scales. The first shows traditional fossil fuel power station weighing heavier than a single tree. The second shows the scales balancing up with the use of more trees on one side and renewable energy on the other side

1.8 National Planning Policy and Guidance

The Local Plan must also take account of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2021) and Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).

The 2021 NPPF sets out that Local Plans include strategic policies to address key strategic issues, as well as policies which help inform decision making on planning applications It requires Local Plans to set out an overall strategy for the pattern, scale and quality of development, and make sufficient provision for:

  • Housing (including affordable housing), employment, retail, leisure and other commercial development;
  • Infrastructure for transport, telecommunications, security, waste management, water supply, wastewater, flood risk and coastal management, and the provision of materials and energy (including heat);
  • Community facilities (such as health, education and cultural infrastructure); and
  • Conservation and enhancement of the natural, built and historic environment, including landscapes and green infrastructure, and planning measures to address climate change mitigation and adaptation.

This Issues and Options report has been prepared in the context of the current legislation, policy and guidance which provides the legal basis for plan making. In progressing the preparation of the Local Plan, the Council will carefully follow national developments and ensure any new national requirements are incorporated into the Plan making process. All the proposed options must therefore be accompanied by a clear caveat that they are proposed in the context of the current situation and may need to be significantly amended as the Local Plan Review progresses should national planning reforms be brought forward.

1.9 Timetable for the production of the new Local Plan

The proposed timetable is set out in the revised Local Development Scheme (April 2022). This envisages a further round of consultation during Summer 2023 and a statutory consultation on a Pre-submission Local Plan in Spring 2024. The steps in the plan making process are set out below:

Step One: Community Choices

This is also known as the 'Issues and Options' stage. Here, you tell us how you would choose to tackle the important issues that will affect the future of our county. This doesn't just mean housing, although the scale and location for future growth are important considerations. It means the environment, jobs, transport and infrastructure. Your choices will be looked at alongside detailed evidence and analysis of the same key issues to create a starting point for a new Rutland Local Plan.

Step Two: Developing the Plan

This stage is also known as the 'Regulation 18' or 'Preferred Options' stage. At this point, we publish a draft n early version of the Local Plan supported by evidence and hold another consultation. This is so you can tell us if you think the Plan takes the right approach to deal with the important issues that we looked at during Step One. If you don't agree, there is scope for you to comment on what is proposed. you can suggest a different approach. The Local Plan is then developed further, using all this feedback and taking account of evidence.

Step Three: Finalising the Plan

This is also known as the 'Regulation 19' stage and involves further consultation on the Local Plan that the Council proposes to submit to the Government. a largely finished Local Plan. Steps One and Two look long and hard at the key issues facing Rutland and decide how best to address these issues through the Local Plan. Having gone through these earlier steps, the Regulation 19 consultation doesn't ask for views on alternative options. It's a final chance to comment specifically on whether the Local Plan is legally compliant and sound.

Step Four: Submitting and Adopting the Plan

The plan is submitted to the Government for an independent examination which will consider all responses made regarding its soundness and legal compliance received at Step three. This is likely to include a public hearing undertaken by a Planning Inspector who will consider whether the plan is sound and may recommend modifications to it.

Diagram showing Timetable for preparing the new Local Plan, described below


Local Plan Preparations

Winter 2021 - Spring 2022

Early Plan preparation work

This Consultation

Consultation on Issues and Options

Summer 2022 - Spring 2023

Prepare preferred options

Summer 2023

Consultation on draft Local Plan (Regulation 18)

Summer 2023 - Winter 2023/24

Preparation of proposed submission Plan (Reg 19)

Spring 2024

Regulation 19 Consultation

Summer 2024

Prepare for submission to Secretary of State (Reg 22)

Autumn 2024 - Autumn 2025

Independent Examination (Reg 24)

Autumn 2025

Adoption and Publication (Regulation 26)

Ongoing 2025 -

Review and Monitoring

The timetable will be kept under review as the production of the Local Plan progresses.

1.10 Glossary and Hyperlinks

Several acronyms are used widely in this document. Each is referenced in full when first used. The most common acronyms in the document are listed below:

  • DPD – Development Plan Document;
  • SPD – Supplementary Plan Document;
  • DLPA – Local Planning Authority;
  • NPPF – National Planning Policy Framework;
  • PPG – Planning Practice Guidance;
  • CS – Core Strategy Development Plan Document; and
  • SAP – Site Allocations and Policies Development Plan Document.

A Glossary of Terms that have been commonly used in this document is provided at Appendix 1.

Hyperlinks are used within this document to other documents. If hyperlinks will not open using Internet Explorer, it is suggested that you try using alternative browsers such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

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