Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a Local Plan?
A Local Plan is a planning document which sets out the spatial framework for the future development of an area. It contains detailed policies to guide decisions on planning applications. It allocates sites for housing and employment development, and protects other areas such as public open spaces.
Without a Local Plan, we will have less control over the quality and location of development. With a Local Plan in place we will be more able to direct development to appropriate locations and deliver local priorities.
The Local Plan is drawn up by the local planning authority in consultation with the community and is subject to an independent examination in public by an independent inspector.
Why does BCP Council need a Local Plan?
It is a legal requirement from the government to have a Local Plan in place in order to plan for the future development needs in an area. Local Plans are the starting point for guiding decisions about development proposals and planning applications. They help ensure the right development takes places in the right places, setting a spatial framework to guide change across an area. Local Plans, together with Neighbourhood Plans, are used to determine planning applications.
The government have set a deadline of December 2023 for all councils to have up to date Local Plans in place. Currently we are working with three adopted Local Plans that cover the three preceding council areas (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole). These will be superseded once the BCP Local Plan is adopted.
What is the draft ‘Issues and Options’ document? Is it a Local Plan?
The Issues and Options consultation is the first stage of developing a Local Plan for the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area by helping to identify the key issues for our area and suggest ways we can address these through recommendations and options
At this stage, we have set out recommendations and options so that we can get feedback from our residents, businesses, statutory bodies and other organisations before we decide on a preferred approach.
We are also consulting with all necessary statutory and non-statutory bodies, organisations, businesses and individuals in accordance with our Statement of Community Involvement. You can also comment on any of the accompanying evidence base documents. We will summarise all the responses received, and this summary will be published at the next stage of consultation later in 2022.
Other more detailed FAQs
Why do we need to build so many new homes?
The government has stated that nationally 300,000 homes need to be built. They have set out a formula known as the ‘standard method’ so that each English local authority can calculate its minimum housing needs. For the BCP area, the standard method results in a minimum need of 2,667 homes per year. The government planning guidance makes it clear that local planning authorities should try and plan to meet the number of homes needed as calculated by using the standard method. However, the government explain that the use of the standard method is not mandatory and an alternative approach can be used in exceptional circumstances. We explain about our two options to approaching the number of homes we need in the consultation document.
Where will most of the homes be provided?
The main areas of growth will be focused within Bournemouth and Poole town centres. These areas will be the focus of commercial, leisure and cultural activity and will therefore see the most intensive development, with taller buildings and the greatest numbers of new homes. Other sites across the built-up area have been identified as having the potential for new homes and these can be viewed on our interactive map.
How were the sites that are shown as having potential for new homes identified?
The sites identified have come from our Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment.
The assessment looks at what land is suitable for housing, if it is available and where the delivery of housing is likely to be achievable. This includes a number of sites which were put to us by land owners, developers, agents, local businesses and individuals in the area.
Will the sites shown on the maps and listed in the consultation document be allocated for development?
At this stage we are asking for people’s views about all the potential sites. The decision on allocation of sites will ultimately be made following this public consultation.
How will existing infrastructure and services cope and what new infrastructure and services will be provided to support the growth?
Infrastructure is a key component of the Local Plan making process. It is important that we have a thorough understanding of infrastructure provision and requirements. An Infrastructure Capacity Assessment will be undertaken and an Infrastructure Delivery Plan will enable provision to be considered as the Plan progresses. All new development, housing in particular, will contribute to the delivery of appropriate infrastructure either directly or through a financial contribution. We are already working closely with the relevant agencies to ensure that the exact infrastructure requirements of specific sites can be understood.
What is a Section 106 Agreement?
An s106 Agreement is a legal agreement which set out the amounts of money, or physical infrastructure, that will need to be provided by the landowner/developer and when these need to be provided once permission is granted. This can include contributions towards doctor's surgeries, schools etc or the direct provision of facilities. The Section 106 agreement is a legally binding document and failure to follow it may invalidate the planning permission.
How will transport infrastructure be provided to meet growth?
We propose to deliver a safe, sustainable and convenient transport network with a step change in active travel behaviour. This will ensure the necessary transport infrastructure is in place to make it easy for everyone to get around and reduce inequality through a range of measures, starting with directing development to the most sustainable and accessible locations to reduce the need to travel by car and maximise opportunities for walking and cycling and taking public transport. We will set out the strategic transport schemes which will widen transport choices by these means. We also propose that new developments should include all infrastructure that is necessary to the sustainable development of the site and to mitigate any impacts on the wider transport network.
How do you make sure the Local Plan doesn’t have an impact on the environment?
It is a legal requirement that all Local Plans are scrutinised through environmental reports, called the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment. These reports consider the impact of the Pplan on the environment/wildlife, people and the economy and set out how any negative impacts will be addressed.
How will wildlife be protected from development pressures?
A large part of our area supports rare species of plants, animals and habitats, which are currently protected under a combination of European and English law. Ecological sensitivities have been taken account of when assessing individual sites and the Local Plan will be subject to Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). The Local Plan will ultimately include various policies which require new proposals for development to protect existing wildlife and promote biodiversity.
How will the Local Plan take account of the climate emergency?
The Council has declared a climate emergency and published its first Action Plan in December 2019 for consultation. The Action Plan recognises the role the Local Plan has in helping to facilitate the move towards carbon neutrality. Any proposals within the Local Plan will need to take account of national policy, including in relation to climate change.
How does this Plan relate to the Neighbourhood Plan my community is preparing?
A Local Plan provides the overall development strategy for an area and a Neighbourhood Plan has to generally conform with then strategic policies in the Local Plan and national policies and guidance. Once made, Neighbourhood Plans form part of the Development Plan and are used to inform planning decisions within that area. Neighbourhood planning groups will be kept informed as the Local Plan progresses. If a Neighbourhood Plan is made before the Local Plan is adopted, neighbourhood planning groups will need to consider whether aspects of the Plan require review once the Local Plan for Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole is adopted.
Where can I look at the evidence that supports the Local Plan?
Our evidence base can be viewed at bcpcouncil.gov.uk/localplan. There are several pieces of work that are ongoing which will be completed in 2022 to inform the draft of the Local Plan.