Local Plan Partial Update - Options Consultation

Closed 18 Feb 2021

Opened 7 Jan 2021

Overview

The Development Plan in Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) primarily comprises the Core Strategy (adopted in 2014) and the Placemaking Plan (adopted in 2017), both of which cover a plan period from 2011 to 2029. Together these documents form the Local Plan for B&NES. The Council is required to review the Local Plan every five years in order to determine whether it remains fit for purpose or whether all or part of it needs to be updated.

A full review of the Local Plan will be undertaken alongside the WECA Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) which is scheduled for publication in 2023. Therefore, in the interim, B&NES is undertaking a Partial Update of the Local Plan to address a number of urgent issues.

As this is a partial update to the existing Plan, and not a new Plan, the scope of the changes is confined to those areas that can be addressed without changing the spatial priorities; the spatial strategy; or the strategic housing and job growth requirements in the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan.

In March 2019, the Council declared a climate emergency and pledged to enable carbon neutrality in the district by 2030. An ecological emergency has also been declared in response to the escalating threat to wildlife and ecosystems. The Council has also reviewed its corporate strategy. The Council’s overriding purpose is to improve people’s lives and its core policies are addressing the climate and nature emergency and giving people a bigger say. In order to translate the purpose into commitments the Council will operate three key principles:

  • preparing for the future
  • delivering for local residents
  • focusing on prevention

Why we are consulting

The Council’s planning policy framework needs to be updated in order to ensure that it is aligned with these priorities and that specifically it helps to facilitate solutions that address the climate and nature emergency. This can be achieved without altering the spatial objectives set out in the Core Strategy as addressing climate change is already the cross- cutting theme of the existing Local Plan. 

A crucial role of the Local Plan is to maintain the supply of new housing in order to meet the Core Strategy housing requirement with sufficient flexibility to take account of changing circumstances. As referenced in the National Planning Practice Guidance, the Council is undertaking the partial update in order to provide greater certainty about the delivery of the Core Strategy. A plan-led solution to supply will help to ensure that housing is delivered in the most sustainable locations, with the necessary supporting infrastructure. 

Monitoring of the implementation of some Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan policies suggests that some policies need to be updated in order to ensure the outcomes sought are delivered. In addition, some policies may need to be revised or updated to reflect the current National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which was updated after adoption of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan adoption, as well as other legislative changes. Finally, changes in circumstances resulting from COVID-19 and facilitating the post-COVID recovery may require some policies to be revised, principally those related to town centres or economic development.

In summary, the key proposed elements or scope of the partial update are set out below, and feedback is invited on this. 

  • Policies to deliver on the Council’s declaration of climate and ecological emergencies, including those on renewable energy generation, retrofitting, sustainable construction and biodiversity net gain, 
  • Transport and travel policies, including reviewing the parking standards
  • The approach to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), student accommodation, development on the University campuses
  • The district’s housing land supply and type available to meet the Housing Requirement to 2029,
  • The supply of employment land in light of green recovery objectives
  • The role of city and town centres in the context of ongoing changes affecting them
  • Review of some existing allocated development sites
  • Ensuring the efficient and effective use of the Bath Park & Ride sites 

What happens next

Comments submitted will be made available to view on our consultation portal shortly after the consultation has closed and they will be used to inform our work as we progress towards a Draft Plan.

There will be further opportunities to contribute ideas and comment on the content of the Local Plan Partial Update, as the update progresses towards becoming adopted (being official council policy). These are the stages to adoption:

Spring 2021          Formal consultation on Draft Partial Update (Regulation 19) 
Autumn 2021        Plan submission for examination
by a planning inspector appointed by the Secretary of State (Regulation 21)
Winter 2021/22     Examination hearings 
Spring 2022          Adoption

Audiences

  • Bath & North East Somerset

Interests

  • Business
  • Infrastructure