Core Strategy Issues & Options
4. VISION AND OBJECTIVES
A 'sustainable development' agenda
4.1 The over-arching aim of 'sustainable development' is identified in Section 1.
4.2 The Government's Strategy looks for polices that accord with its five sustainable development principles of 'living within environmental limits' and 'ensuring a strong, healthy and just society', and doing this through 'achieving a sustainable economy', 'promoting good governance' and 'using sound science responsibly'.
4.3 It also recognises that this is a long-term agenda, requiring action at all levels.
4.4 In fact, 'sustainable development' is seen as the core principle underpinning planning.
4.5 Clearly, the new Core Strategy should continue to develop the vision for a more sustainable future for Rother District.
4.6 This is already substantially reflected in the current Rother District Local Plan's approach to quality of life. It seeks:
To provide a high quality of life based on vibrant and inclusive communities, access to a wide range of jobs and respect for the built and natural environment.
Development and change should contribute to this vision, and thereby to the Community Strategy, in a positive and sustainable manner, properly supported by the necessary infrastructure, services and community facilities.
4.7 Under the new planning system, one of the main ways in which sustainable development should be ensured is through a requirement to undertake a formal 'Sustainability Appraisal' and 'Strategic Environmental Assessment'. This will be published alongside the Preferred Options at the next stage.
What should characterise Rother in 2026?
4.8 The Rother District Local Plan identifies the following overall aims:
Aim 1 - To ensure that the environment is conserved and enhanced and that new development contributes to local character, cultural identity and amenities
Aim 2 - To ensure that there is adequate infrastructure and services to support thriving communities and facilitate new development
Aim 3 - To meet housing needs in the most sustainable manner, with particular regard to affordability and quality of housing
Aim 4 - To secure a more prosperous and diverse economy
Aim 5 - To promote a safe, efficient and sustainable transport system
4.9 These were subject to recent scrutiny through Public Inquiry, but perhaps tend to reflect a more traditional approach to land-use planning, rather than a broad, spatial perspective.
4.10 In fact, the Core Strategy is now expected to be the "spatial expression" of the Community Plan - as far as possible within the regional planning framework.
4.11 Therefore, the Local Plan's aims have been reviewed against the Community Plan and its component Action Plans. They have also been assessed against the County-wide Community Plan.
4.12 In addition, those elements of the Council's Corporate Plan 'vision' that have a spatial dimension need to be taken into account in refining the Local Plan aims.
4.13 The further matters to be incorporated a vision statement are:
- emphasising the overall aim of quality of life
- incorporating a specific regard to future generations, and global issues
- recognising local distinctiveness and diversity
- giving greater focus to sustaining strong, safe and supportive communities
- including a 'social equity' dimension where the needs of all groups are respected, and efforts are made to reduce areas of greater deprivation
- giving particular encouragement and support to young people and supporting economically active lifestyles
- elaborating on the economic aim to embrace increasing skill levels, as well as a focus on helping local businesses to grow
- promoting more leisure and cultural opportunities as a basis for healthy community life
4.14 The Core Strategy will subsequently incorporate a greater spatial element in the vision.This will be developed at the next stage, as the strategies for particular areas of the district are refined.
4.15 The aims will be reviewed in response to feedback and also in the light of progress of current work on Parish Action Plans.