Development Management - Proposed Submission

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Section 1: Introduction

Local Development Framework

(5) 1.1 This document is the Development Management Development Plan Document: Proposed Submission’ document. The ‘Development Management’ Development Plan Document, when adopted, will form part of the Southend-on-Sea Local Development Framework (LDF). The LDF was introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and comprises a number of statutory planning documents called Development Plan Documents (DPDs) and non-statutory further guidance set out in Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs).

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-on-Sea. 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 Development Management DPD. Diagram 1 sets out the LDF and how the Development Management DPD fits within the development plan structure.

1.3 The Borough Council has also adopted the following 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; and
  • Planning Obligations Guide SPD (adopted 2010). 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.

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-on-Sea 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.

Diagram 1: Southend-on-Sea Local Development Framework

LDF Diagram

Development Management Policies Document

The Purpose of this Document

(2) 1.5 This document is the Proposed Submission version of the ‘Development Management’ DPD. It will set out the Borough Council's policies for positively managing development in Southend-on-Sea and will be used to assess and determine planning applications. The policies in the Development Management DPD will replace all of the remaining policies in the Southend-on-Sea Borough Local Plan Saved Policies. The document will advise people who are considering development on the nature of proposals that are likely to be acceptable.

(1) 1.6 The Development Management 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 that the development management policies will assist in delivering and the relevant core strategy policies that the policies will expand upon.

1.7 The Development Management DPD provides the framework in which to manage Southend-on-Sea’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.

(2) 1.8 All policies within this 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 Development Framework.

1.9 It is important to note that this Development Plan Document 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.

Consultation and Community Involvement

1.10 One of the key elements of the new LDF planning system is the recognition of the need for the earliest and fullest community involvement in the preparation of new planning documents. The Development Management DPD has been subject to an ‘Issues and Options’ consultation stage and this proposed submission version has been informed by consideration of representations received on that consultation and on other relevant LDF consultation documents. The consultation process followed is compliant with the adopted Statement of Community Involvement. Diagram 2 sets out the production timetable and key dates for the Development Management DPD.

Diagram 2: Development Management DPD: Timetable



Production Stage Key Dates
Issues and Options Consultation (Regulation 25) June - August 2010
Proposed Submission Consultation March 2011
Submission of Document to Secretary of State for Independent Examination June 2011
Pre-examination Meeting August 2011
Independent Examination Hearing Sessions October 2011
Inspector's Final Report December 2011
Adoption February 2012

1.11 The Borough Council has undertaken extensive community consultation that considers a variety of issues. The key consultations exercise undertaken that have informed this Development Management DPD are set out below.

Development Management DPD: Issues and Options

1.12 The ‘Issues and Options’ consultation on possible development policies took place between 21st June and 9th August 2010. The purpose of the Issues and Options stage was to explore how detailed development management policies could guide development in a sustainable manner. The Council wanted to gather the public and stakeholder’s views about the general direction of proposed policy to meet Southend-on-Sea specific issues. The Borough Council put forward a ‘suggested approach’ for each policy theme as part of the consultation alongside alternative options with the reasons they were considered less favourable. The process has provided local people with the opportunity to shape the look and feel of Southend-on-Sea and its communities, including consideration of environmental and social interests. The responses received at this stage informed the production of the development management policies.

1.13 The consultation covered the requirements of the Planning Regulations (as amended 2008). This included the requirement for authorities to consult ‘specific’ and ‘general’ bodies (as defined in regulations) on the ‘content’ of the Development Management DPD. The Borough Council chose to use the Regulation 25 stage to not only seek guidance from the ’specific’ and ‘general’ bodies on whether the current approach is one they support but also to engage the public. Given the level of public opinion already amassed from the consultations cited below, the Council was able to develop its suggested policy approach.

Town Centre Area Action Plan: Issues and Options

1.14 The ‘Issues and Options’ consultation on the future scope and scale of development in Southend Town Centre and central area took place in January 2007. The purpose of the consultation was to explore approaches to regeneration of the town centre and its surrounds. Views were invited on opportunities for strategic development sites/areas within the town centre, as well as exploring sustainable approaches to the provision of various land uses (such as retail, office, housing and a range of other town centre uses) and supporting infrastructure requirements (including parking, transport access and public open space/public realm). Particular questions were posed relating to the boundary of the Area Action Plan (and its relationship to the Seafront Area Action Plan) and the extent and nature of the ‘central business district/town centre’.

Seafront Area Action Plan: Issues and Options

1.15 An ‘Issues and Options’ consultation on the future development, enhancement and / or protection of the seafront took place in January 2007. The consultation sought to establish where areas should be protected from unsuitable development and where new development opportunities to regenerate the leisure and tourism offer should be located. It proposed a series of ‘zones’ along the length of the seafront and explored associated development policy responses. In addition it sought to explore development policy responses to cross cutting issues such as transport and parking, flood risk and biodiversity, the use of the River Thames and open space provision. Particular questions were posed relating to the boundary of the Area Action Plan (and its relationship to the Town Centre Area Action Plan).

Southend Central Area Action Plan: Issues and Options

1.16 In June 2010, the Borough Council published for consultation a further Issues and Options document for the Southend Central Area. It built on the foundations laid by both the Town Centre and Seafront Issues and Options Reports published in January 2007 and the Central Area Masterplan (CAM), prepared by Renaissance Southend Limited (RSL) following an extensive consultation process.

1.17 In November 2007 the Borough Council endorsed the principles of the Central Area Masterplan draft Development Framework. A year later in November 2008 the Borough Council agreed to adopt the Central Area Masterplan prepared by RSL as a design brief and interim guidance.

1.18 The Southend Central AAP Issues and Options Report therefore took forward the guiding principles from the Central Area Masterplan and established a revised boundary which included the Central Seafront Area and extended the area to include gateway neighbourhoods to the north. This revised boundary took into account representations received on the above Issues and Options consultation questions and the benefits of aligning the boundary with the Central Area Masterplan.

Other Relevant Consultations

1.19 This development Management DPD has also taken account of the following consultations:

  • Planning Obligations and Vehicle Parking Standards DPD: Preferred Options consultation (November 2006 to January 2007);
  • Design and Townscape SPD consultation (March to April 2009); and
  • Essex Planning Officers’ Association Vehicle Parking Standards (March to April 2009).

Sustainability Appraisal

1.20 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 preferred policy option and alternative approaches in the Issues and Options Document were subject to an initial Sustainability Appraisal. This appraisal has been used to assist decision-making and identification of the most sustainable policies to take forward.

1.21 All policies in this submission document have been subject to a final Sustainability Appraisal. 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/ldf.

Habitats Regulations Screening Report

1.22 Southend-on-Sea 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. A policy should only be approved after determining that it will not adversely affect the integrity of such sites. The Development Management Policies Issues and Options consultation document was assessed for any significant impacts on European sites within or outside Southend-on-Sea. The screening report concluded that suggested policies in the Development Management Policies Issues and Options consultation document will not have any significant impact on European sites, either alone or in combination with other plans and strategies. The statutory bodies agreed with these conclusions. The Habitats Regulations Screening Report is available on the Council's website www.southend.gov.uk/ldf. The Development Management 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.

Economic Challenge

1.23 The UK economy entered a period of recession in 2008/2009 and experienced the biggest quarter-on-quarter economic decline since 1980. The economic recovery process has begun, but at a slow rate and the economy remains fragile. Coupled with a weak economy, the Government has to tackle a Government spending deficit that has exceeded an unprecedented £156 billion. The Treasury will also undertake a Spending Review, reporting in the autumn following consultation with all tiers of Government and the private sector. This current fragile economic situation is having a direct impact upon public and private investment decisions, which in turn is likely to affect the delivery of new houses, employment opportunities and infrastructure schemes, in the Borough.

(1) 1.24 The Borough Council, however, is committed to providing a flexible and effective Planning Framework to guide development decisions in a way that best meets the needs and aspiration of local people and the business community. This means planning for the longer term now to provide certainty for the development industry ready for when the economy recovers.

What Happens Next?

1.25 The Development Management DPD: Proposed Submission document represents the Borough Council's final draft. Upon publication, and prior to submission of the DPD, there will be a period of 6 weeks where representations can be made on the policies contained in this document. At this stage in the process, representations must relate to either, the legal compliance of the plan (under the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004) or whether the plan is sound (that is, justified, effective, and consistent with national policy). The representations will then be taken into account at the independent Examination-in-Public.

1.26 In order to comply with Government guidance and to help ensure that representations are submitted in a format that the Planning Inspector and the Council can easily use, they must:

  • Clearly identify which policy or paragraph the representation relates to;
  • Identify what test of 'soundness' or legal requirement the representation relates to;
  • State whether the document is considered 'sound' or 'unsound'. If unsound explain what needs to be amended and why in order to make the document sound;
  • State whether the issue has been raised at previous consultations. If not the representation should explain why the issue has not been raised previously; and
  • State whether the respondent would like to appear at the public hearing.

1.27 The Development Management DPD: Proposed Submission can be viewed and downloaded from the Council’s website. Representations should be made using the Council's online interactive consultation system, which can be found at www.southend.gov.uk. Alternatively, representations may be submitted using the following means:

By email to: debeeskinner@southend.gov.uk

By post to:
Strategic Planning,
Department of Enterprise,
Tourism & the Environment,
PO Box 5557,
Civic Centre,
Southend-on-Sea,
SS2 6ZF

1.28 Please be aware that representations made on this document cannot be treated as confidential i.e. they will be in the public domain. Representations received after the closing date of the consultation period cannot be considered. Please make sure we receive your representations by 5pm on 29th April 2011.

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