Emerging Local Plan - Overview

We are preparing a new Local Plan for South Cambridgeshire that will set out the policies and land allocations to guide the future development of the district up to 2031. The timetable for the preparation of the Local Plan is set out in the Local Development Scheme. Visit News and Updates for current information on the preparation of the Local Plan.

Once adopted, all planning applications will be assessed against the planning policies in the Local Plan. Also once adopted the Local Plan will replace the Core StrategyDevelopment Control Policies DPDSite Specific Policies DPD and 'saved' Policy CNF6 from the Local Plan 2004.

Stages in the Preparation of the Local Plan

The following stages have been undertaken or will be undertaken in preparing the new Local Plan.

1. Evidence Gathering

Evidence gathering and preparation of the Local Plan began in 2011. The Local Plan is supported by a number of evidence base and supporting studies.

2. Issues & Options Consultations

Three rounds of public consultation on issues and options for the Local Plan were undertaken:

Through these consultations we sought your views on options for how the district should be developed over the next 20 years.

Previous to this, we had undertaken two rounds of public consultation in 2006 and 2009 on issues and options for Gypsy and Traveller planning policies and proposals to inform the preparation of a Gypsy and Traveller DPD. In January 2012, we made the decision that planning policies and proposals for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation should be included in the Local Plan rather than in a separate DPD.

3. Proposed Submission Consultation

Public consultation on the Proposed Submission Local Plan was undertaken in July - October 2013. This consultation provided an opportunity to comment on the draft Local Plan, including its policies and land allocations.

4. Submission of the Local Plan

On 28 March 2014, the Local Plan and its supporting documents were submitted for independent examination to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government via the Planning Inspectorate.

5. Examination of the Local Plan 

The Secretary of State has appointed Laura Graham BSC MA MRTPI as the Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate to carry out an independent examination of the Local Plan. She is being assisted by Alan Wood MSC FRICS. The Inspectors task is to establish whether the Local Plan is ‘sound’, taking into consideration comments made on the Proposed Submission Local Plan.

Miss Graham and Mr Wood have asked us and objectors a series of questions as set out the Inspectors Matters & Issues, and as a result have received written statements and heard evidence at examination hearings held between November 2014 and July 2017.

The Inspectors will now consider the evidence received and report on their findings, including advising if changes are needed to make the Local Plan sound. It is anticipated that Miss Graham and Mr Wood will recommend modifications necessary to make the Local Plan sound. The Inspectors proposed modifications will be subject to public consultation and they will consider the comments received before issuing their final report.

6. Adoption of the Local Plan

We will consider the Inspectors final report, and make the necessary changes to the Local Plan. A meeting of Full Council will then be asked to adopt the Local Plan.

Sustainability Appraisal

Sustainability Appraisal is an integral part of the plan making process and its overall aim is to help ensure that the Local Plan makes an effective contribution to delivering 'sustainable development'. By assessing the extent to which emerging policies and proposals will help to achieve 'sustainable development', and by understanding the potential adverse effects these emerging policies and proposals might create, the Sustainability Appraisal process provides opportunities for plans to be improved.

  • Scoping Report - this identifies issues of particular importance to the district that should be considered and provides the context for the Sustainability Appraisal undertaken at each of the stages in the plan making process.

  • Initial Sustainability Appraisal Report - this is undertaken alongside the Issues & Options stage of plan making and provides information and analysis of issues, details of how alternative approaches were identified (and why alternatives were not considered reasonable), and a comparison of the potential impacts of those alternatives approaches.

  • Draft Final Sustainability Appraisal Report - this is undertaken alongside the draft plan stage of plan making and assesses the draft policies and allocations selected for the final plan, considering the likely significant effects of the plan as a whole, how they can be mitigated or enhanced, and how impacts can be monitored. At this point the appraisal identifies reasons why an option is eliminated.

  • Monitoring - the results of regular monitoring of the sustainability appraisal objectives are published in the Annual Monitoring Report, and are used to help indicate when a review of the plan is required.

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