Can the Principle of “Localism” survive the Duty to Cooperate between Castle Point and Neighbouring Authorities attempts at Cooperation?

Local Development Scheme July 2017
This Local Development Scheme (LDS) sets out the programme for preparing planning policy documents in Castle Point. This version replaces all earlier versions of the LDS, including that issued in March 2016.
By giving this a new title will not hide the fact that there has been failing via the Core Strategy and two other versions of a Local Plan!

Castle Point Borough Council seeks to prepare a local planning framework based on a series of statutory and non-statutory planning documents as development plan documents and supplementary planning documents, covering strategic and local matters.

The LDS sets out the Council’s programme for achieving this.

Perhaps an indication as to why other plans have failed, let’s investigate;

In order to ensure that the planning policy documents that are prepared by Castle Point Borough Council are robust, and do not come under criticism at examination or appeal, the Council will be seeking to ensure that its evidence base is complete and that all work has been carried out in accordance with the relevant legislation and guidance.

Is this a suggestion that all other works have not been ROBUST and therefore unable to withstand criticism?
Or, worse still;
That the previous works were not carried out in accordance with relevant legislation and guidance!

This includes ensuring that consultation is effective, and also ensuring that opportunities to work with our neighbouring Councils, Essex County Council and other service providers have been fully considered and integrated into the documents where appropriate, consistent within the “Duty to Co-operate”

A Robust Evidence Base
Any development plan document must be based on adequate, up to date and relevant evidence about the economic, social and environmental characteristics and prospects of the area and takes account of relevant market and economic signals to inform judgements about demand.

Having an up to date local planning framework reduces the risk that the presumption contained in the NPPF will apply, to grant permission where the existing Local Plan is absent, silent, indeterminate or out of date.

This statement unfortunately speaks in-itself.

Some of the documents listed as being complete, are quite simply, out of date!

Not everyone within the local community engages with planning consultations regardless of the amount of effort taken by the Council. As a result, it is also necessary to use empirical evidence to ensure that the needs of everyone represented by the Council are fully considered.

Clearly there has been a huge failure on the Councils part to engage with our community

Community Engagement
Every planning policy document will need to be the subject of consultation in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

In practice, before each consultation, a consultation plan will be prepared by the Council detailing how the Council will:
• Promote the consultation; • Make information available; • Engage with residents; and • Manage consultation data.

It is the aim of the Council in all cases to engage as widely as possible with “duty to co-operate” bodies, statutory and non-statutory consultees, local residents and businesses on plans and proposals that may affect them.

Clearly there has been a huge failure on the Councils part to engage with our community despite seemingly its best efforts. CPBC blames the community for its failure of a successful community involvement outcome.

What CPBC appear to have missed is that the community feel, done too, by not being asked.

A petition of over 10000 signature demanding infrastructure prior to any further large-scale housing development, not being recognised by CPBC as community engagement is rather typical!

IMG_1557

Largest ever Canvey Island Petition: Ignored by Castle Point Borough Council!

Empirical evidence (based or acting on observations or experience NOT ON THEORY) has been the fundamental failure of the content of several of the evidence based documents used to support the previous debacle of CPBC Local Planning. To continue with this style of documentation will once again make the CPBC Local Development Scheme not only challengeable but unsound.

The NPPF explains that, to be sound, policies must be justified. The evidence will play an important role in ensuring that this is the case and that the local planning framework is sound.
The evidence base requirements for each of the documents in the Local Development Scheme are set out in the detailed programmes. Once a piece of evidence is completed, it is published on the Council’s website for inspection.

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING IN SOUTH ESSEX.
CPBC will, in its response letter to the SOS, as to why intervention is not required in the formulation of its Local Plan, suggest that considerable weight be given to the fact that CPBC partakes within the protocol of the MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING IN SOUTH ESSEX ( MoU)
This despite declaring that its Local Development Scheme 2017 will not come to fruition until late 2019. This in the hope that other neighbouring Authorities may take some of its housing needs.
The National Planning Policy Framework encourages authorities to prepare joint, non-statutory documents, particularly where this provides evidence of having effectively cooperated to plan for issues with cross boundary impacts.

Whilst the Duty to Co-operate is not a duty to agree, local planning authorities should make every effort to secure the necessary cooperation on strategic cross boundary matters before they submit their Local Plans for examination. Compliance with the Duty to Cooperate will need to be demonstrated at examination, prior to assessment of compliance with the tests of soundness.

The legal requirement of the Duty to Co-operate is noted as being separate from, but related to the Local Plan, Tests of Soundness.

In keeping with the principles of localism, this MoU respects the principle of the individual local development plan-making functions of the South Essex local authorities. Therefore, it will not seek to determine the locations for development within local authority administrative areas.

Furthermore, it will not seek to include prescriptive or directive policies which would limit the ability of the individual local authorities to meet their development needs in a locally appropriate manner.

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One response to “Can the Principle of “Localism” survive the Duty to Cooperate between Castle Point and Neighbouring Authorities attempts at Cooperation?

  1. Editor
    The question seems to be is the proposed Government intervention of CPBCs plan making process inevitable. The previous Ministers for Communities and Local Government, had been let down badly after expressing confidence that this council will developed its previous Local Plan in a timely manner. The reality is that after the considerable expenditure of public money this latest Local Development Scheme, at further cost, will not come forward for examination until 2019, that once again depending on its acceptance.
    The fear is that it will take a great deal more than a dear Eric type of letter to convince the present minister Sajid Javid MP that the Governance of CPBC is not only credible, but capable of developing a sustainably sound local plan.

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