Extra time needed for joint local plan

Published: Tuesday, 30th October 2018

National changes to planning rules as well as how housing needs are calculated have impacted on plans to produce a Joint Local Plan for Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

The councils for the two areas were due to start a further round of consultation on a draft plan in the coming weeks.
 
But the plan has been put on hold to consider the publication of the new revised National Planning Policy Framework and changes to the new government standard methodology for assessing housing need.
 
In a jointly-released statement Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council said: “In order to assure the Joint Local Plan is sound and robust, further work now needs to be undertaken. It is vital that we consider the housing need and supply issues in light of the policy changes before confirming proposed sites in the city and borough.
 
“Other areas – such as the Greater Manchester Combined Authority – have taken the same decision over their local plan process.”
 
Both councils confirmed they are committed to continuing to work together on the Joint Local Plan which will shape how both areas develop in the coming years.

Work will continue on all other aspects of the plan to assure these national policy implications are considered, and government is aware of the timetable.
 
The emerging Joint Local Plan will shape where new housing, roads and development will take place in both the city and borough. It will also act as a basis for safeguarding the environment, and be a critical tool in guiding decisions about individual development proposals.
 
To meet the area’s growth aspirations, a minimum of 199 hectares of employment land and 27,800 new homes have been highlighted as being required across both areas between 2013 and 2033. 
 
In July this year the government issued a revised National Planning Policy Framework. 
 
Central to the new framework is the introduction of a standard formula for the calculation of housing need to determine the minimum number of homes to inform strategic policies. 
 
This is the starting point in calculating the ‘objectively assessed need’ which ultimately determines the number of houses required to meet the needs of the Joint Local Plan area. 
 
The government has very recently decided to re-consult on the standard formula for housing need, following the recent release of household projections. Therefore it is not possible to determine the housing need figure until this is completed. The government consultation on the standard formula is not due to be completed until 7 December 2018.

The changes will be discussed at the next planning committee meeting in Stoke-on-Trent, to be held next Wednesday (7 November).

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