Growth Options document

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SECTION 1 - INTRODUCTION

Why are we producing the Greater Norwich Local Plan?

1.1 The Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP) will provide the planning strategy and identify the sites for growth across the three districts of Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk until 2036. We have to take a long term view of our development needs to 2036 to allow the housing, jobs, services and infrastructure we need to be provided at the right time and in the right place. Such a long term plan-led approach is good planning and is required by Government.

1.2 The Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) has been established to co-ordinate production of the plan. The GNDP consists of the three district councils, with the support of Norfolk County Council and the Broads Authority.

1.3 Greater Norwich is a key engine of growth nationally. The area is one of the fastest growing parts of the country and is establishing itself as a leader in science, technology and manufacturing. The partners are committed to helping to turn world class knowledge and ideas into world class jobs, particularly in key growth sectors such as the life sciences and biotechnology, agri-tech, food and drink, creative and digital industries, high-value engineering. We also need to support and boost other sectors such as tourism.

1.4 To do this, we must make the best of our main strengths including our vibrant, historic city centre, which will play a pivotal role in the economic success of Greater Norwich, our attractive suburbs, towns and villages, key strategic employment locations such as the Norwich Research Park (NRP), the varied and attractive environment, the area's heritage, excellent higher education facilities and rapidly improving transport links.

1.5 Significant new infrastructure is currently being delivered or is planned. This new infrastructure, along with foreseeable technological changes such as digital communications improvements and further changes that are more difficult to predict at present, will inevitably affect how the area grows to 2036. It is therefore essential that we plan flexibly for a changing world.

1.6 Whilst planning flexibly for new jobs, homes and infrastructure, the GNLP must also protect and enhance our many environmental assets and provide for well-designed new development which will create attractive, sustainable new communities. This will help to ensure that Greater Norwich continues to be a great place to live and work.

1.7 To achieve our aims, the GNLP will need to reflect the Government's requirements for local plans set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) along with priorities set out in other strategies, agreements and initiatives which provide the context for growth in Greater Norwich. These include the Greater Norwich City Deal, the Norfolk Local Transport Plan, the Norwich Area Transportation Strategy (NATS), national and regional rail and road investment strategies and programmes, the existing New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Strategic Economic Plan and its emerging Economic Strategy and the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor initiative.

1.8 The Norfolk Strategic Framework (NSF), which is currently being produced, will also have an influence on the GNLP. It is an agreement between planning authorities in the county on approaches to strategic infrastructure, housing and jobs numbers and common policy approaches.

1.9 The currently adopted strategy planning to 2026, the Joint Core Strategy for Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk (JCS), along with adopted Site Allocations Plans, Area Action Plans (AAPs) and Neighbourhood Plans in each of the three districts, set out where a high proportion of the growth required by the GNLP to 2036 will be located. As such, they will have a considerable influence on the new plan.

1.10 This means that the GNLP will need to plan for the additional growth needed to 2036. We will also need to have an eye on the long term beyond 2036. To establish how this can best be achieved, we need to identify the broad strategy for where the additional growth will be located, the sites for that growth and how we should plan for issues such as supporting the economy, environmental protection and good design.

1.11 This will involve discussions, including this consultation, and later decisions, on the additional growth needed and the options for distributing the growth close to Norwich, around towns and larger villages and in more rural areas. It is important to bear in mind, however, that whichever growth options we choose in this strategy, current commitments[1] mean that the majority of the growth will be focussed in and around Norwich.

1.12 The key to the success of the GNLP will be ensuring the delivery of jobs, infrastructure and housing takes place. Jobs growth has been strong since the depths of the recession in 2011 and infrastructure is being significantly improved. However, like the rest of the country, not enough of the housing we need is being provided. The GNLP will be part of a wider package of joined up measures the councils are taking to work with the Government, New Anglia LEP, the development industry and service and infrastructure providers to fund and deliver the high quality growth Greater Norwich needs. To support delivery the councils are working in partnership as the Greater Norwich Growth Board (GNGB). The GNGB oversees decisions on investment in infrastructure to support growth and deliver on existing planning targets. The GNGB will continue to support delivery of the GNLP.

The consultation

1.13 This "Regulation 18" consultation on the plan is your chance to comment on how much growth will take place and how and where it will happen.

1.14 This document, the Growth Options for the GNLP, forms the main part of the consultation on the plan. The document covers the broad planning strategy for the area and thematic strategic policies for growth. It consists of the following sections:

  1. This Introduction
  2. A Spatial Portrait of Greater Norwich
  3. The plan's Vision and Objectives
  4. The Strategy
  5. Identifying Development Sites (linking to the Site Proposals document)
  6. Topic Policies
  7. Monitoring.

1.15 The second consultation document is the Site Proposals document. It provides the opportunity for comments to be made on sites submitted for different uses through the Call for Sites which was held in 2016 and those submitted subsequently up to July 31st 2017. It also enables people to propose additional sites and to give views on settlement boundaries.

1.16 The two documents are supported by an Interim Sustainability Appraisal which is also available for comment. This evaluates the alternatives identified.

1.17 Each section of this document has specific consultation questions for you to respond to. There is an open question at the end of the document to enable you to make any additional comments you feel necessary. Wherever possible, please could you set out reasons for your responses and any additional evidence that you think may be relevant. Some questions are mainly aimed at "technical consultees" such as infrastructure providers and environmental bodies, but we welcome evidenced views from everyone.

1.18 For some issues we have identified favoured options for the plan approach we think should be taken. In other cases, generally where we are continuing to collect evidence or where different policy approaches could be taken, we have identified what we believe to be reasonable alternative options. In some cases we have also identified why other approaches would be unreasonable. We welcome your views on any or all of the options and their justification.

1.19 The consultation runs from 9am on 8th January 2018 to 5pm on 15th March 2018.

1.20 Consultation responses should preferably be made online at www.gnlp.org.uk. However, written responses can be made on a request form. The forms are available by phoning us on 01603 306603.

Next steps

1.21 We will use your consultation responses to inform the evidence base for the Regulation 19 Publication version of the plan.

1.22 The Regulation 19 version will be the councils' chosen plan, including the growth strategy, general policies and site allocations. It is scheduled to be published in summer 2019 when it will be possible to make comments on the legal soundness of the plan.

1.23 Those comments will then be considered by a government appointed Inspector at the plan's Public Examination scheduled to start in June 2020, with adoption scheduled for December 2020.

1.24 When adopted, it is expected that the GNLP will supersede the current JCS and the Site Allocations documents in each of the three districts.

1.25 The GNLP will not amend existing adopted Development Management policies for the three districts except in very specific circumstances where limited policy changes may be required.

1.26 The future role of the adopted Area Action Plans for Long Stratton, Wymondham and the North East Growth Triangle (NEGT) and Neighbourhood Plans will be considered in plan making.

[1] Commitments are existing planning permissions and land allocations in adopted plans.

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