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2.2 - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the new Local Plan?

The new Local Plan will set out the policies and proposals to guide future growth and development in the Borough of Oadby and Wigston. Our new plan will set out the development needs of the Borough and where these will be located.

Why do we need a Local Plan?

National legislation (namely Section 13, 15 and 62 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended)) requires councils to prepare a local development plan in order to shape future development and the use of land in their area. The Local Planning Regulations 2012 sets out the process by which councils must prepare, consult, submit for examination and adopt such plans. The local development plan must set out the general policies to deliver the development strategy for an area and any specific policies relating to particular land uses or areas in the Borough.

What happens if we don't have a Local Plan?

If we don't prepare a Local Plan we will not be able to manage and plan for change and growth in the Borough. Planning applications need to be determined in accordance with an up to date development plan. If the Borough Council were to reject development proposals without good reason and without reference to up to date planning policies we could be open to challenge through appeal. The National Planning Policy Framework says that if we don't have a local plan or our plan is out of date then we should grant planning permission for sustainable development. The definition of whether a development is sustainable is open to interpretation so without a Local Plan there is the risk of development taking place in locations we would not want to see built on, for example, valuable Greenfield land or open spaces.

What will the new Local Plan cover?

The new Local Plan will contain the strategic vision, objectives and spatial strategy for the Borough. It will also update the Borough's development needs in terms of housing and employment development as well as allocation of other land designations such as green wedges, countryside and local green space. The new Local Plan will also review and update the development control policies currently set out in the saved Local Plan 1999.

Why do the current local planning documents such as the Core Strategy need updating?

All plans and strategies require regular updating to take account of legislative changes, respond to change and ensure that the evidence that underpins them is still correct and relevant. The Borough Council continually monitors its adopted plans and policies to check they are working, are still 'fit for purpose', whether legislation updates require changes to be made and is the evidence base still robust and sound.

We are updating our local planning documents because there has been legislative changes since the Core Strategy and Town Centres Area Action Plan were adopted and also we have been updating our evidence base in relation to areas such as housing needs, climate change, green infrastructure and flood risk.

What is the Key Challenges consultation?

This Key Challenges consultation is the first stage in the review and revision of our currently adopted local planning document.

It is likely that this document does not identify all of the key challenges that are relevant to the Borough and this is why we are consulting with residents, stakeholders, developers and anyone else with an interest in the Borough to find out what their views are. The representations that we receive from this stage of consultation will be used to help develop the next stage of the preparation of a new Local Plan. This will be consulted on at a later date in the process.

What is the duty to co-operate and how are cross-boundary issues dealt with?

The duty to co-operate was created in the Localism Act 2011, and amends the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. It places a legal duty on local planning authorities, county councils in England and public bodies to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis to maximise the effectiveness of Local Plan preparation in the context of strategic cross boundary matters. The duty to co-operate is not a duty to agree. But local planning authorities must make every effort to secure the necessary cooperation on strategic cross boundary matters before they submit their Local Plans for examination. At the examination, Local planning authorities are required to demonstrate how they have complied with the duty in preparing their Local Plan.

The duty to co-operate seeks to ensure that local planning authorities lead strategic planning effectively through their Local Plans, addressing social, environmental and economic issues that can only be addressed effectively by working with other local planning authorities beyond their own administrative boundaries. The aim is to encourage positive, continuous partnership working on issues that go beyond a single local planning authority’s area. Areas that will require good cross-boundary discussion are for example, housing market and travel to work areas, river catchments and ecological networks, transport, infrastructure, flood risk management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and biodiversity.

Oadby and Wigston Borough Council currently works closely with the other local planning authorities in Leicestershire to gather pertinent robust evidence on cross-boundary issues and develop ways of addressing such issues strategically. For example, the Borough Council, as part of the Leicestershire Housing Market Area, is currently engaged in agreeing the distribution of housing numbers between all Leicester and Leicestershire authorities.

At the time we submit our plan for Independent Examination by the Planning Inspectorate, we intend to prepare a duty to co-operate statement to demonstrate who we have cooperated with, the matters we have discussed and how the conclusions of these discussions have informed the development of the new Local Plan.

Has a Sustainability Appraisal been carried out of the Key Challenges document?

The Local Plan has to be accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal which considers the environmental, economic and social impacts of the Plan.

The Key Challenges document is not accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal because at this stage, reasonable options for the Plan have not been set out. Reasonable options will be considered based on the response to this consideration. From this, preferred options will emerge and be consulted upon. A Sustainability Appraisal report will be consulted upon alongside the preferred options consultation. The Sustainability Appraisal report will record the process of considering the reasonable options and selecting the preferred options.

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