1. Introduction

1.

Purpose of the Plan

The Local Plan sets out land use policies and proposals for the Borough up to 2011. Its main purpose is to guide new development and the provision of facilities. It provides a sound basis for making decisions on planning applications. It will influence private and public investment and help to deliver objectives and proposals in other plans.

2.

Preparation of the Plan

The Local Plan supersedes the first Borough wide Local Plan adopted in 1993. Since its adoption many of the policies and proposals have been found to be robust. However, for a number of others the situation has changed. For example the large Woodlands housing allocation was not progressed (following the dismissal of an appeal), and the industrial allocation at Tenlons Road, Nuneaton was developed for housing. There is therefore a need to comprehensively review the previous Plan but where policies are still relevant and robust they will be updated and carried forward in the new Plan.

The Local Plan has been prepared in accordance with the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 and in particular Planning Policy Guidance Note 12 “Development Plans” issued by the Department of Environment, Transport & the Regions (DETR). The Guidance Note identifies a number of stages:

Pre-deposit consultation - to seek community views on the key issues which will influence the direction of the Plan.

First Deposit Plan - to seek community views on the draft policies and proposals.

Consideration of objections/views - discussion with objectors to see if changes can be made to the Plan to overcome objections.

Second Deposit Plan - to incorporate changes and seek views on those changes.

Local Plan Inquiry - to hear objections and representations.

Inspector’s Report and consideration of modifications to Plan.

Adoption of Plan.

The most significant feature of the process is the involvement of the community at the earliest stage. The preparation of this Plan involves the biggest consultation and interactive process ever carried out for a Local Plan in the Borough.

3.

Context for the Local Plan

A very wide and developing context for the preparation of the Local Plan is demonstrated in the appended Local Plan Policy Framework.

A hierarchy of planning policies and plans have a significant influence on the Local Plan.

(a) National Planning Guidance/ Policy

Since 1988 the Government has issued national planning guidance in the form of Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPG) and more recently Planning Policy Statements (PPS). These cover a wide range of topics such as Delivering Sustainable Development (PPS1), Green Belts (PPG2), Housing (PPG3), Industry (PPG4), Planning for Town Centres (PPS6) and Biodiversity and Geological Conservation (PPS9).

The Government Office for the West Midlands will want to ensure that the Local Plan policies and proposals are consistent with PPGs and their subsequent replacement by Planning Policy Statements (PPSs). If the Government Office is not satisfied it will raise objections to the Plan.  The Secretary of State has the power to issue a direction requiring changes to the Plan before adoption, or may even call in the Plan or part of it for determination.

(b) West Midlands Regional Planning Guidance

The Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the West Midlands published as Regional Planning Guidance 11 (RPG11) in June 2004 sets out the broad strategic land use policies that apply specifically to the West Midlands region. The RSS incorporates the Regional Transport Strategy (RTS), providing a Spatial Strategy to guide the preparation of local authority development plans and local transport plans so they can deliver a coherent framework for Regional development. The responsibility for the RSS and its future review lies with the West Midlands Local Government Association in participation with bodies including local authorities, the Government Office for the West Midlands, businesses and other public organisations.

(c) Warwickshire Structure Plan- 2001

In line with the Regional Planning Guidance (now RSS) Warwickshire County Council has prepared a Structure Plan for the period up to 2011. This sets out strategic land policies for Warwickshire. In particular, it sets out targets for housing and industrial allocations for each district. The Plan was adopted in August 2001. The Local Plan has to be prepared in accordance with the adopted Structure Plan.

The Local Plan first deposit plan cannot be issued until the County Council states whether the Plan is or is not in general conformity with the Structure Plan. Where the Plan is not in conformity the statement counts as an objection to the Plan. The County Council's response to the first deposit draft was that, with one exception, the draft was in general conformity with the Structure Plan.

Although there is a strong planning policy framework guiding the preparation of the Local Plan, community aspirations are also important influences. Local Plans can depart from national and regional guidance providing this can be justified by local circumstances.

4.

Community Aspirations

The Local Government Act 2000 gives Councils the power to carry out actions to improve the economic, social or environmental wellbeing of their area.  This is a radical change as prior to the Act Councils were only able to undertake activities specifically approved by Parliament.  Therefore, the Act enables a much wider role for Councils in the achievement of community wellbeing and aspirations.

One of the requirements of the Act is a duty to draw up community strategies.

(a) Community Plan- "Shaping Our Future" 2004-2007

The Council has taken part in a wide partnership of public and private organisations to draw up the second Borough Community Plan.  The Plan sets out action plans under 8 themes:

Community Involvement

Transport and Access

Town Centres

Health, Welfare and Housing

Natural and Built Environment

Economy and Employment

Community Safety and Crime

Lifelong Learning.

Although the Local Plan is land use based it will have an important role in helping to deliver some of the actions identified in the Community Strategy.

(b) Corporate Plan

The Council's Corporate Plan 2005 to 2011 sets out the Council's purpose, core values and key aims.

The 4 key aims are:

  1. Social well being
  2. Economic well being
  3. Environmental well being
  4. Excellent services 

To deliver these aims, the Council has adopted 18 objectives, 12 of which relate to social, economic and environmental well being, while six relate to the achievement of excellence in the services we provide.

The twelve well being objectives are based on the themes and priorities of the Community Plan.

Many of these aims and the objectives that serve them have direct relevance to the preparation of the Local Plan.  A number of other plans and strategies have an important influence on the preparation of the Local Plan.

(i) Warwickshire County Council

The County Council has adopted a Minerals Local Plan and a Waste Local Plan.

The County has also prepared the Local Transport Plan 2000, a five year plan which sets out transport policies and proposals for Warwickshire.  The Government transport grant settlement has been based on the Local Transport Plan and will have a big influence on changes in transport infrastructure and facilities for the Borough.

(ii) Borough Council

 The Borough Council has adopted a number of plans/strategies.

The Housing Strategy 2002-05 is based on a comprehensive housing needs survey jointly commissioned for the Housing Strategy and the Local Plan.  This has changed some of the assumptions on housing need - in particular the type of affordable housing that will be needed in the next few years.

Other important plans include the Local Natural Environment Plan (including the Green Map), the Playing Field Strategy and the evolving Leisure and Culture Strategies. 

(iii) Other Partnership Plans

The Nuneaton & Bedworth Safer Communities Partnership has prepared a Crime & Disorder Strategy.

(iv) Adjoining Local Authorities

 Regard must be given to policies and proposals in adjoining local authorities.  The following are relevant:

Coventry Unitary Development Plan

North Warwickshire Borough Local Plan

Rugby Borough Local Plan

Leicestershire Structure Plan

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Local Plan.

(v) Requirements of other service providers

Government Circular 03/98 highlights the rising prison population and overcrowding problems within existing prisons.  The Circular identifies the Midlands as one of four main priority areas and HM Service have recently identified the West Midlands as a priority area of search for additional places.  Furthermore the Service notes that Nuneaton and Bedworth is well located strategically to meet the urgent need for additional prison places in the region.  Whilst no specific proposals have been made, or sites identified, the Plan does include a criteria based policy to deal with a firm prison proposal should it arise during the plan period.

5.

Review and Monitoring

The Government requires Councils to keep all matters under review that are expected to affect the development of their area or the planning of its development. All policies and proposals should be expressed in a form which will facilitate monitoring and review.

There has been a fundamental shift in the approach to allocating land for development from one of “predict and provide” to one of “plan, monitor and manage”. This places emphasis on effectively monitoring implementation of the Plan.

The strength of the Plan is not just in its initial content, but also in the quality of its monitoring systems. The aim is to provide for a more intelligent and responsive forward planning system.

The Plan should be reviewed at least every 5 years although changes in part may be required sooner.

6.

Status of Local Plan

Section 54 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 states "where in making any determination under the Planning Acts, regard is to be had to the Development Plan, the determination shall be made in accordance with the Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise."

Therefore the starting point for all planning decisions is the Development Plan. In the Borough the Development Plan consists of the Warwickshire Structure Plan and the Borough Local Plan.

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Disclaimer: This interactive website version of the Local Plan exists for representative purposes only. The paper version remains the definitive version.