2. Guiding Principles

1.

The Local Plan Vision

The Government has made it clear in its planning policies that the overriding objective is to obtain sustainable development.  A simple definition of this is development which meets the present needs of the community while protecting the needs of future generations.

In 1999 the Government published “A Better Quality of Life, A Strategy for Sustainable Development in the U.K.”.  The Strategy was based on four broad objectives:

maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and development

social progress which recognises the needs of everyone

effective protection of the environment; and

prudent use of natural resources.

The main theme for the Local Plan is “Building Sustainable Communities”.  This is recognition of the overriding need for sustainable development and the need to provide for thriving communities well served by facilities.

The Government expects Councils to carry out a full environmental appraisal of Development Plans.  This should be part of the Plan preparation and apply to all policies and proposals.

2.

Sustainable Criteria

Using examples of other plans and guidance available, the Council has drawn up its set of sustainability criteria under 13 headings:

The Most Effective Use of Land
Land of Leisure and Recreational Importance
Biodiversity and Geology
A Quality Built Environment
Air Quality
Water Resources
Energy Efficiency
Health and Leisure
Educational Opportunities
Housing Provision
Accessibility
Social Inclusion    
The Local Economy

An example of the “The Most Effective Use of Land” criteria is “to make the best use of brownfield land”.

The Council felt it was vital that the community was involved in giving priority and weight to the criteria under each heading, so that the Local Plan evolved in line with community aspirations.  Extensive consultation has taken place including interactive sessions with pupils in four of the Secondary Schools in the Borough, as it is their future that needs to be protected.

3.

Key Issues

In line with the advice given in PPG12 and PPS12 the community was consulted to identify what should be the key issues in guiding the preparation of the Plan.  Questionnaires and Forums were used to obtain views.  The following key issues were identified.  Not surprisingly, a number overlap with sustainability criteria.  They are grouped under the headings of the rest of the Written Statement.

(a) Housing

Use of brownfield sites rather than greenfield - a sequential approach to allocating land.

Smaller urban extensions rather than large allocations.

New development sited close to good transport routes, particularly enabling better use of existing public transport.

More housing in and adjacent to town centres.

Better mix of housing within new development.

Better use of existing building stock - promotion of conversions and living over shops.

Support for canal side developments.

Affordable housing in line with identified needs, particularly housing for low income first time buyers.

(b) Employment

Improvement in the environment of existing industrial estates.

Need to cluster new development with existing estates.
    
Need for better training - multi-skilled people.

Good access is essential.

Should restrict sites to specific needs.

(c) Shopping

Probably no additional retail floorspace required in Nuneaton and Bedworth town centres.

Encourage other uses in Town and District Centres, particularly leisure uses.

Need to improve appearance and environment of existing shopping centres.

No out of town shopping uses.

Possible new local centre associated with Coventry Colliery regeneration.

(d) Recreation

Maintain existing open spaces within urban areas, particularly where there is an existing shortfall.

New development should provide opportunities for new recreational facilities.

Should only be limited types of recreation allowed within the Green Belt.

If new recreational priority areas needed should preferably be adjacent to existing ones or use reclaimed quarry sites.

Better use of educational facilities.

Extend Green Track system for recreational walks.

Maintain allotment provision.

Provision for horses.

(e) Environment

Protect Green Belt.

Protect ecologically important areas - create and enhance wildlife sites and natural reserves.

Reduce pollution - use of more tree planting to absorb pollution.

Give more emphasis to recycling and energy conservation.

Achieve better design in new development - prevent excessive height of buildings.

Prevent further light pollution.

(f) Transport

Concentrate new development near existing transport routes and improve that infrastructure.

Achieve improvements in public transport.

Maintain car parking provision, particularly in Town Centres.

Improve Town Centres by removal of traffic within centres.

4.

Objectives

It is common for plans to set out objectives to guide the preparation of the Plan.  The evolving West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy has guiding principles, the Warwickshire Structure Plan 2001 has 13 objectives and the Council’s Corporate Plan contains objectives relevant to the Local Plan.  Although these will be taken into account it was felt that the guiding principles should be those which have come out of the pre-deposit consultation - the key issues identified above and the use of the sustainability criteria for all policies and proposals. 

5.

Background Papers

In addition to the plans and documents mentioned in Chapter 1, a number of background technical papers were produced to enable preparation of the Local Plan.

  1. Housing Position Statement.
  2. Urban Capacity Study and assessment of sites put forward for development.
  3. Assessment of Possible Employment Sites.
  4. Open Space Assessment.
  5. Identification of community facilities including public transport routes.

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