User Research Plan 2018

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Section 1: Introduction

Local Planning Framework

1.1 The User Research Plan, when adopted, will form part of the Southend-on-Sea (hereafter referred to as 'Southend') Local Planning Framework. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act (2004) introduced the system of Development Plan Documents (DPDs). The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has introduced changes to national policy and guidance replacing previous Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) and Planning Policy Statements (PPS). The NPPF refers to the collection of DPDs that make up the statutory plan for a Local Planning Authority (LPA), which includes this User Research DPD, as the 'Local Plan'.

1.2 Southend-on-Sea's Core Strategy DPD was adopted in December 2007. The Core Strategy DPD sets out the Borough Council's spatial strategy and strategic planning policy framework for Southend. It contains the vision and strategic objectives for the spatial strategy, key development principles, detailed core thematic policies and a monitoring and implementation framework. The Core Strategy DPD is a strategic level document that provides the framework for subsequent DPDs, including the D User Research DPD.

1.3 The Borough Council has also adopted the following Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) which provide further guidance and advice in relation to delivery of the Core Strategy.

  • Design and Townscape Guide SPD (adopted 2009). This document provides clear contextual development and design guidance and should be referenced within all development proposals;
  • Planning Obligations Guide SPD (adopted 2010, revised 2015). This document provides developers, landowners, the community and the Borough Council with guidance in relation to potential planning obligations or developer contributions in relation to development. The document also includes procedural information and contact details to assist in the negotiation of legal agreements; and
  • Streetscape Manual SPD (adopted 2014). This document provides guidance to ensure a coordinated, high quality streetscape is sustainably achieved within the Borough.

1.4 These DPDs and SPDs collectively form the planning policy framework for the Borough and to which all development should have regard to ensure that development in Southend will be undertaken in a sustainable manner that contributes to local regeneration objectives and improvements to the quality of life of residents, businesses and visitors of the Borough.

1.5 The Council is also preparing a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule, which will be informed by the policies in this User Research DPD. Local authorities can choose to apply CIL to specified developments in their area. The levy can apply to new residential and commercial development, and the proceeds can be spent on providing infrastructure to support the development within that authority's area. A key consideration in setting CIL is to ensure that, in general, development within the Borough will still be viable after it has complied with planning policies, including the policies contained within this User Research DPD.

User Research Policies Document

The Purpose of this Document

1.6 The User Research DPD sets out the Borough Council's policies for positively managing development in Southend and will be used to assess and determine planning applications. The policies in the User Research DPD will replace a number of Southend Borough Local Plan Saved Policies, as outlined in Appendix 9. The document will advise people who are considering development on the nature of proposals that are likely to be acceptable.

1.7 The User Research DPD reflects the spatial vision and objectives of the Core Strategy DPD and includes more detailed local policies for the management of development. Where appropriate, cross-references are made to the relevant Core Strategy Strategic Objectives and Policies, as set out in Appendix 2 and 3 respectively, that the User Research policies will assist in delivering and the relevant core strategy policies that the policies will expand upon.

1.8 The User Research DPD provides the framework in which to manage Southend's built environment and ensure successful place-making to ensure that the Borough is a place where people want to live work and enjoy. This document will contribute positively to the health and well-being of residents, businesses and visitors alike and consequently will deliver sustainable development and support balanced communities.

Relationship between Policies

1.9 All policies within this User Research DPD should be read alongside national planning policies, the policies of the Core Strategy DPD, other Development Plan Documents and guidance in Supplementary Planning Documents that comprise the Local Planning Framework.

1.10 It is important to note that this User Research DPD should be read as a whole, as the policies are cross cutting and inter-relate. Decisions on development proposals will have regard to all relevant policies within this Development Plan Document. The fact that a particular policy may specifically support or encourage a certain type of development does not alter this requirement.

Sustainability Appraisal

1.11 A Sustainability Appraisal is an assessment of the potential significant social, environmental and economic impacts of development and forms an integral part of the plan making process. It ensures that all policies and proposals are prepared with a view to contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. The Sustainability Appraisal forms an iterative process with all stages of the User Research DPD being assessed. These appraisals have been used to assess alternative policy options, assist decision-making and identification of the most sustainable policies to take forward. The final assessment of the sustainability and the potential significant effects of this plan can be found in the Sustainability Appraisal Report which is available on the Borough Council's website www.southend.gov.uk.

Habitats Regulations Screening Report

1.12 Southend and the surrounding districts are home to a number of important designated sites for nature conservation. Habitats screening is an assessment of the potential significant effects of a policy on European Sites designated for their nature conservation importance. These include Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas, and international Ramsar sites. The Habitats Regulations Screening Report is available on the Council's website www.southend.gov.uk/ldf. The User Research DPD has taken account of the conclusions of the screening report to ensure that it will not have any significant impact on European sites, either alone or in combination with other plans and strategies.

Policies Map

1.13 The User Research DPD is accompanied by a Policies Map, available on the Council's website, which illustrates land use designation related to policy (including those referred to in the Core Strategy (2007) policies, where applicable).

National Planning Policy

1.14 National Planning Policy provides the framework within which councils can produce their own distinctive local plans, which reflect the needs and priorities of their communities. Planning law requires that applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan, including this User Research DPD, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

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