Draft Greater Norwich Local Plan – Part 1 The Strategy

Ended on the 16th March 2020
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Schedule of Corrections - This schedule will be added to if further corrections are required through the consultation process.

SECTION 1 – INTRODUCTION

Why we are producing this plan

All planning authorities need to produce a local plan to guide planned growth in their local area. Our current plans mainly run to 2026 and we now need to plan further ahead to 2038 to keep our plan up-to-date in rapidly changing times and to meet Government requirements.

In the Greater Norwich area Broadland District Council, Norwich City Council and South Norfolk Council are working together to produce a single plan. This also includes working closely with Norfolk County Council and the Broads Authority.

Work has been undertaken over the past two years on the development of the plan which has included a call for developers and landowners to put forward sites and two previous consultation exercises.

We are following a process set out by Government on how local plans should be developed. This includes following the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework. The final plan will be examined by the Planning Inspectorate who will make a judgement on whether it is sound and fit for purpose. This plan has been structured in a way to meet these requirements which means some aspects of it are repeated.

The Greater Norwich Development Partnership is now embarking on consultation on the draft local plan (Regulation 18) and aside from publishing the document there will be various events during the consultation period where you can meet with the team to discuss the content and ask any questions face to face. Any views you wish to put forward must be submitted in writing.

Once this consultation has been completed an updated local plan and set of supporting documents will be assembled and as part of the next stage, the Publication stage (Regulation 19). The Publication stage will include further consultation on the plan prior to submission to the Government. However, the Publication stage is more of a technical process, for example covering legal aspects and therefore it is vital that any comments and views you have now are made as part of this consultation.

Setting the scene – a vibrant place to live and work

  1. The Greater Norwich economy draws on Norwich's role as the regional capital, the dynamism of other strategic employment locations such as Norwich Research Park, excellent higher education facilities including the University of East Anglia and Norwich University of the Arts, as well as rapidly improving transport links.
  1. Our strengths also include the excellent quality of life on offer, our wonderful natural environment, and our heritage - from the vibrant and historic city centre of Norwich to our dynamic market towns and villages. Combined, these will play a pivotal role in Greater Norwich's economic success.
  1. In putting this plan together, we must take a long-term view of our development needs to allow the housing, jobs, services and infrastructure we need to be provided at the right time and in the right places. Such a long-term plan-led approach is both good planning and required by Government.
  1. The Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP) therefore not only provides the planning strategy, it also identifies the sites to meet Greater Norwich's growth needs from 2018 to 2038 sustainably.

Planning to our strengths

  1. Greater Norwich is recognised nationally as a key engine of growth and one of the fastest growing parts of the country. It is an area establishing itself as a leader in science, technology and advanced manufacturing with strong connections to Cambridge as part of the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor. We must continue to build on our strengths and are committed to help turn world class knowledge and ideas into world class jobs, particularly in life sciences and biotechnology, agri-tech, food and drink, information and communication technology (ICT), digital creative industries and high-value engineering. These are all significant growth sectors, but we also need to support and boost other sectors underpinning our economy such as financial services, culture and tourism.
  1. To do this, we must make the most of our main strengths whilst also planning flexibly for new jobs, homes and infrastructure. The GNLP must also assist the move to a post-carbon economy and protect and enhance our many environmental assets. It needs to ensure that we can deliver well-designed new development to create attractive, sustainable, resilient and inclusive new communities. This will ensure that Greater Norwich continues be both a great place to live, work and visit, as well as a place capable of attracting new investment and jobs.
  1. Making sure that jobs, infrastructure and housing developments take place is key to the success of the GNLP. In recent years, significant new infrastructure such as the Broadland Northway road and public transport and cycling improvements have been delivered, with more planned, while jobs growth has been strong and there has been a major recent increase in housebuilding.

Planning flexibly for a changing world

  1. We live in a world of rapid technological, economic, population and climate change. This provides both challenges and opportunities, with Greater Norwich in a strong position to make a major contribution to the UK's transition to a post-carbon economy. Our world leading role at the forefront of food and health research at Norwich Research Park, fast growing digital creative industries in the city centre and high value engineering at Hethel are just some of the examples of how we are well placed to play a leading role in clean growth.
  1. The proposed 2025 ban of heating new homes with fossil fuels, the proposed 2040 ban on petrol and diesel engines and the nation's 2050 commitment to achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions will become major factors affecting development through the plan period, particularly in relation to energy policy and urban transportation. It is therefore essential that we plan flexibly for this changing world.

How the GNLP fits in with other planning bodies and strategies

  1. Our ambitions for delivering sustainable growth through the GNLP must reflect the Government's requirements for local plans set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This, along with other national, regional, county and local strategies, agreements, initiatives and priorities, provide the context for development in Greater Norwich.
  1. Projects of national significance, such as infrastructure linking offshore windfarms to the national grid and improvements to trunk roads (the A11 and A47 in Greater Norwich), are assessed at the national level.
  1. At the regional level important strategies and initiatives include the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership's existing Norfolk and Suffolk Economic Strategy (NSES), the emerging Norfolk and Suffolk Local Industrial Strategy, which builds on the NSES, and the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor initiative. These set the context for economic growth.
  1. At the county level, the Norfolk Strategic Planning Framework (NSPF) is an agreement between planning authorities on approaches to strategic infrastructure, housing and jobs numbers and common policy approaches. Importantly, the NSPF, along with agreements with neighbours in Suffolk, states that Greater Norwich will provide for all its housing and jobs growth needs within its own boundaries as will its neighbours. It also states that Greater Norwich City Deal growth requirements, agreed with Government in 2013, will be met through the GNLP. The Norfolk Strategic Planning Framework and work with Suffolk authorities meet the Government's requirement for a Statement of Common Ground and the "Duty to Co-operate".
  1. Transport priorities which influence the GNLP are set out in several other strategies including: the Norfolk Local Transport Plan; the Norwich Area Transportation Strategy; the emerging Transport for Norwich strategy and Transforming Cities[2] . These are in addition to national and regional rail and road investment strategies and programmes.
  1. Norfolk County Council is the Minerals and Waste local authority. It is preparing a local plan review to consolidate its three current adopted plans into one and to extend its plan period to 2036. The GNLP therefore does not cover minerals and waste issues.
  1. At the local level the district councils' visions, objectives, priorities and ambitions have influenced this strategy, mainly through the GNLP Vision and Objectives. These documents are the Broadland Business Plan 2019 to 2023, the Norwich City Vision 2040 and South Norfolk's vision, delivered through its 'Moving Forward Together' document.

The GNLP and other local plan documents

  1. The currently adopted strategy plan to 2026, the Joint Core Strategy for Broadland, Norwich and South Norfolk (JCS), along with adopted Site Allocations Plans, Area Action Plans (AAPs) for the Growth Triangle, Long Stratton and Wymondham and Neighbourhood Plans in each of the three districts, already set out where a high proportion of the housing (82%) and jobs growth required by the GNLP to 2038 will be located.
  1. When adopted, the GNLP will supersede the current JCS and the Site Allocations documents in each of the three districts. The great majority of the undeveloped sites in the Site Allocations plans are re-allocated through the GNLP[3].
  1. The GNLP will not replace existing adopted Area Action Plans for Long Stratton, Wymondham and the Growth Triangle (NEGT) or Neighbourhood Plans, though in some cases additional allocations are made through the GNLP in these areas.
  1. The GNLP will also not amend existing adopted Development Management policies for the three districts except in circumstances where limited policy changes, identified in this plan, are required to implement the strategy[4].
  1. Further detail on retained and superseded plans is in appendix 4.
  1. While the GNLP sets out plans for the additional growth needed to 2038 and identifies the best ways for establishing long-term growth, we also need to look beyond the end date of the plan by setting a strategy that can be sustainably added to in the long term.
  1. This document proposes a broad locational strategy for sites and contains thematic strategic policies covering crucial issues such as supporting the economy, environmental protection and good design.
  1. With the exception of sites in smaller villages in South Norfolk (see below), the Draft GNLP Sites document details the proposed sites for growth. This includes those that have already been identified which are being carried forward, together with new ones.
  1. The Draft GNLP promotes housing choice and supports economic activity within the rural parishes that surround market towns and key service centres. It also aims to provide a greater degree of opportunity for smaller builders to develop with their local supply chains. Given its greater number of villages and the links to other adjoining areas, South Norfolk Council has decided to progress a separate development plan document to provide the sites to meet the overall housing numbers for its village clusters set out in this plan. Therefore, it is not one of the objectives of the GNLP to identify the village clusters in South Norfolk and consequential housing allocations in these areas.
  1. South Norfolk Council intends to prepare a separate village clusters plan covering sites for small-scale housing in the rural parishes of South Norfolk that collectively form primary school clusters, whilst the Broadland village cluster plan forms part of this Local Plan. The aim is to progress this South Norfolk Village Clusters Housing Site Allocations document as quickly as possible with an aspiration for every village cluster to have new development and a focus on smaller sites in accordance with the overarching GNLP strategy that identifies that sites for a minimum of 1,200 additional homes (on top of the existing commitment of 1,349 homes) will be allocated in this South Norfolk cluster plan.
  1. The GNLP should be read as a whole in considering development proposals.
  1. All policies in the GNLP Strategy and Sites document are strategic[5]. This means that the GNLP policies provide the strategic background for:
    1. existing local plan policies;
    2. future revisions to local plan documents and
    3. policies and proposals in Neighbourhood Plans, which should be in conformity with the GNLP.

Consultation Questions for Section 1 – Introduction

  1. (32) Please comment on or highlight any inaccuracies within the introduction.
  2. (24) Is the overall purpose of this draft plan clear?

[2] Transforming Cities is a national fund for sustainable travel improvements which Transport for Norwich secured £6.1 million from in early 2019 and is bidding for further funding.

[3] Subject to evidence of delivery by 2038.

[4] This draft plan identifies which other plans will be superseded by the GNLP. The publication (Regulation 19) version of the plan will identify any other policies in retained plans which will be superseded by the GNLP.

[5] This is in line with National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 23. Neighbourhood Plans can also allocate sites.

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