Core Strategy Issues & Options

Ended on the 8 December 2006
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3.1 "Issues" are the problems, difficulties and challenges that the Core Strategy should help to address.

3.2 These may be directly concerned with the use of land or buildings, but may also relate to wider social, economic or environmental concerns that impact on where and how we live and work.

What is Rother like and what are the trends?

3.3 Everyone will have their own impressions of where they live and the things that are good and bad about it.

3.4 The Council has sought to present a range of characteristics of the district and, where possible, of the constituent parts of it in 'Rother in Profile'.

Plan 1: District area, Settlements of 500+ dwellings, Trunk Roads and Main Line Railways.

Plan 1

3.5 This provides an objective information base for discussion about key issues.It also provides helpful indicators to inform strategy development.

3.6 The 'Profile' identifies both the positive characteristics of the District in terms of environmental quality and relative safety on the one hand, and the poor economy on the other.It also highlights some variations across the District. A summary of these characteristics is attached as Appendix 2.

3.7 The 'Profile' also identifies a number of "drivers for change" which are seen as influencing future trends.These are also incorporated in Appendix 2.

3.8 It is intended that 'Rother in Profile' is a "living" document.It will be updated in response to any comments on its scope and on the issues and options.

3.9 The key issues are initially grouped in relation to five broad themes:

Key Issues and Themes

Theme 1: Balanced, Safe and Inclusive Communities

3.10 Key issue: How to plan for the diverse needs of all sections of local communities, including in terms of the nature and affordability of housing, the need to feel safe and have well-developed community support networks?

Theme 2: Prosperity for All

3.11 Key issue: What are the most effective and appropriate means of increasing the income available to local people, including via a range of career and learning opportunities, to support improvements in people's standards of living?

Theme 3: Communications and Accessibility

3.12 Key issue: How to address poor connectivity with the wider region and London, localised congestion and high reliance on car use, given the likely level of strategic transport investment and trends in movement patterns and communication technologies?

Theme 4: Quality in the Built and Natural Environment

3.13 Key issue: How to meet the demands for housing, employment and associated infrastructure in ways that conserve and enhance the high quality natural, built and historic environments and, at the same time, respond to increasing climate change and energy conservation imperatives?

Theme 5: Community Infrastructure and Facilities

3.14 Key issue: How to ensure that the necessary physical infrastructure and facilities are available to support sustainable communities and to achieve more sustainable development, including:

  • ensuring adequate water supply
  • planning for surface water and foul drainage
  • managing waste
  • providing high standards of education and healthcare
  • providing for local shopping needs
  • providing sufficient and effective recreation and other community facilities

3.15 The issues and options for particular parts of the District, and especially possible approaches to development are considered in Sections 10 - 16.

3.16 This firstly considers general principles, how much development to plan for and the potential of existing settlements to accommodate this. It then follows a similar structure as the Local Plan and looks to develop 'Area Strategies' for:

(A) -Bexhill, together with the Hastings fringes

(B) - Battle

(C) - Rye

(D) - Rural areas

Managing future trends and uncertainties

3.17 Planning ahead over such a long time period has obvious difficulties.Looking back 20 years to 1986, the use of computers, let alone the internet, was still in its infancy, the threat of global warming was still a scientific discussion, and increases in leisure time were being predicted.Locally, there were approved schemes for a Winchelsea bypass and for a western bypass for Bexhill and Hastings.

3.18 The interplay of trends - the "drivers for change" (see Appendix 2) is hard to predict, especially for issues at the global level, and this unpredictability inevitably increases over time.

3.19 This makes long-term vision setting more vital. To manage uncertainty, any strategy should have a degree of flexibility, as well as monitoring and review arrangements, built into it.

3.20 Also, the pace of change is rarely even, with economic markets acting in a cyclical way and housing development often sensitive to these.

3.21 While maintaining a steady rate of development is desirable in terms of a continuity of supply of accommodation, Rother faces particular difficulties in achieving this.

3.22 The economy remains relatively weak in the region and, despite regeneration efforts, could take time to improve. Also, growth is dependent upon new infrastructure, notably the Bexhill Hastings Link Road and, hence, is vulnerable to delays in it.

3.23 These factors may suggest a more conservative approach to growth, with provision for a steadily increasing level as the economy and infrastructure provision improves.

3.24 Conversely, a view may be taken that an early growth impetus would stimulate economic regeneration and growth, as well as new infrastructure.

(56) Question 1 - What are the key issues for development and change up to 2026?

In considering this, you are invited to comment specifically on:

  • Are the 'broad themes' correctly defined?
  • Are the key issues correctly defined?
  • Does the 'Profile' fairly reflect the main characteristics of the district?
  • Are the 'drivers for change' in the 'Profile' correct, and are any more significant?

(16) Question 2 - How should future uncertainties be managed?

In considering this, you are invited to comment specifically on:

  • What approach to the rate of growth is most appropriate for Rother?
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