Proposed Submission Development and Site Allocations (DaSA) Local Plan
1.1 Legislation establishes a clear "plan-led" planning system and requires local planning authorities to produce a Local Plan for its area.
1.2 In September 2014, the Council adopted its Rother Local Plan 'Core Strategy', which sets out its vision, overarching development strategy and strategic policies for development and change, and conservation, for Rother District over the period up to 2028. The Core Strategy identified the need to prepare this further Plan to both set out more detailed 'development policies' for certain topics in order to assist in determining proposals and to identify specific 'site allocations' to deliver the agreed housing and other development targets.
1.3 This Development and Site Allocations ("DaSA") Local Plan is effectively "part two" of the Council's Local Plan. It has been prepared to be in general conformity with the Core Strategy and has the same time horizon.
1.4 Together with the Core Strategy, this DaSA Local Plan provides the basis for determining planning applications in much of the district and supersedes all generic policies and relevant spatial policies from the earlier 2006 Rother District Local Plan. The superseded 2006 Local Plan policies are identified in Appendix 2.
1.6 This Local Plan has taken account of a wide range of evidence and inputs, including comments made on the earlier 'Options and Preferred Options' version of the Plan and site submissions. Details of the comments received and responses to them can be found in the accompanying Consultation Statement.
Core Strategy context
1.7 The Core Strategy established a 'Vision' for the District to be recognised for its high quality of life and a strong emphasis on developing vibrant, safe, balanced and inclusive communities. Sustainable growth, including economic growth which encourages young people to stay in the area, and greater prosperity for all are seen as vital to this. There are supporting visions, objectives and strategies for Bexhill, Rye, Battle and the Rural Areas of Rother.
1.8 The Core Strategy sets targets for the numbers of additional homes and business floorspace over the period 2011-2028. These targets, which have been accepted through an 'examination in public' of the Plan, balance the need for more homes, improving economic opportunities and social well-being with maintaining the special character and particular environmental qualities of the District that make it an attractive place to live.
1.9 The housing development target for the District as a whole is for at least 5,700 new homes to be built over the plan period. The majority, some 3,100, are to be at Bexhill, with 475-500 dwellings at Battle, 355-400 dwellings at Rye, at least 100 dwellings on the fringes of Hastings and 1,670 dwellings across villages.
1.10 Of course, a number of homes have been built since the Core Strategy was prepared, as well as new planning permissions granted. Chapter 12 presents an update of housing requirements for all towns and villages for which a need for further allocations is indicated in the Core Strategy.
1.11 The Core Strategy also looks to provide for at least 100,000 square metres (sqm) of additional business floorspace over the plan period, with respective minimum requirements of 60,000sqm at Bexhill, 10,000sqm at Battle (including Marley Lane), 10,000-20,000sqm at Rye/Harbour Road, 3,000sqm in the Hastings fringes and 10,000sqm across the Rural Areas. Chapter 8 summarises the progress to date, while the Employment Sites Review Paper provides a background to the outstanding quantitative and qualitative requirements.
1.12 In addition to its spatial strategies, the Core Strategy also sets out a number of overarching 'core', or strategic, policies that address key issues facing the District under the following themes:
- Sustainable Resource Management
- Local Housing Needs
- Transport and Accessibility
- Implementation and Monitoring
1.13 The full list of Core Strategy's policies, which should be read in conjunction with policies in this Plan, is reproduced at Appendix 1 for ease of reference.
1.14 The Core Strategy replaced the broader policies of the earlier 2006 Rother District Local Plan. This Local Plan now supersedes most of the remaining more detailed 2006 Local Plan polices, as listed at Appendix 2, exceptions being a few 2006 policies, mainly site allocations, not covered by this Local Plan but within a neighbourhood area where a Neighbourhood Plan is yet to be made.
Regard to other development plans/strategic policies
1.15 While the Core Strategy's overarching policies were developed in collaboration with adjoining authorities in relation to cross-boundary strategic issues, under the Council's 'duty to cooperate', this Plan has also involved proper liaison with other local planning authorities on cross-boundary issues. Where there are common issues across the wider area, consideration has been given to related policies of neighbouring authorities, whilst recognising respective contexts and priorities.
1.16 Of note, the 'East Sussex, South Downs and Brighton & Hove Waste and Minerals Plan', 2013 also forms part of the statutory development plan for the area and provides the strategic framework in relation to proposals for such uses. It is supplemented by a 'Waste and Minerals Sites Plan'. Further details are available from East Sussex County Council.
1.17 As acknowledged in the adopted Core Strategy, regard must be had to the UK Marine Policy Statement, along with Marine Plans and designations, as these are developed, to ensure integration with the marine planning regime. The Marine Management Organisation's (MMO) South Inshore & South Offshore Marine Plan provides a framework for marine and coastal activity that operates in parallel to the terrestrial planning regime. In fact, Rother District Council shares responsibility with the MMO for the intertidal zone, which includes the tidal waters of any estuary, river or channel. Proposals within such areas will therefore need to be in accordance with current Marine Planning Policy.
1.18 Of particular note, in view of the close physical, economic and social links with neighbouring Hastings, the close collaboration established during the preparation of respective Core Strategies has continued, with policies for sites in the Hastings Fringes in this document dovetailing with ones in Hastings.
1.19 In terms of transport, regard is had to the East Sussex Local Transport Plan 2011-2026 and its more recent Implementation Plan 2016-2012. Also of note is its emerging Walking and Cycling Strategy. Looking further ahead, there is a concerted local initiative to bring high speed rail to the area, as an extension of the Javelin service from Ashford, into Rye and Bexhill, as well as Hastings and Eastbourne. This would provide a major economic boost to the area, as demonstrated by an economic study in 2017. However, it is subject to on-going technical work and funding decisions, so would likely not be introduced until towards the end of the Plan period. Hence, this will be further considered in the review of the Local Plan.
Regard to the National Planning Policy Framework
1.20 National planning policies are contained in the 'National Planning Policy Framework' (NPPF). Local planning policies should be consistent with national planning policies, unless there are reasons justifying a local exception. The NPPF is also a material consideration in determining applications.
1.21 The NPPF defines the purpose of the planning system in terms of contributing to "sustainable development", with three interdependent economic, social and environmental objectives. It includes a 'presumption in favour of sustainable development', which is applied locally through Core Strategy Policy PC1.
1.22 The NPPF is supported by extensive 'Planning Practice Guidance' and complemented by separate 'Planning policy for traveller sites' and 'National Planning Policy for Waste' documents.
1.23 The first NPPF, published in 2012, has recently been revised through the publication of a new NPPF in July 2018. While this Local Plan has been prepared to accord with the 2012 NPPF, notably in terms of housing provisions (which are set by the current Core Strategy), regard has also been had to the 2018 NPPF. Hence, it is believed that this Plan's policies, as set out in Part A and Part B, are also consistent with this latest statement of Government policy.
Structure of the document
1.24 The Local Plan has two principal parts:
Part A: Development Policies
1.25 These complement the 'core policies' already included in the adopted Core Strategy (and those in the NPPF) and relate to topics where further elaboration is considered necessary to provide a proper basis for local development management.
1.26 They are laid out under the Core Strategy's thematic headings, as highlighted above. For the main part, these are generic policies that would apply to a relevant situation anywhere in the District, but also includes policies relating to certain localities, notably in relation to land inside or beyond development boundaries' (although individual boundaries are contained in Part B), the High Weald AONB, 'Strategic Gaps' (being tracts of land between the settlements identified in Policies HF1 and RY1 of the Core Strategy) in the Pevensey Levels hydrological catchment and in parts of Fairlight where there are coastal erosion and drainage issues.
Part B: Site Allocations:
1.27 Chapters in this Part of the Plan set out site specific proposals that are being proposed to meet the requirements of the Core Strategy. It covers Bexhill and villages that are not covered by Neighbourhood Plans.
1.28 Policy proposals not only deal with new housing development, but also include, for example, proposals regarding business and retail uses and open space. All existing settlement development boundaries, again excluding those covered by Neighbourhood Plans, are also reviewed.
Strategic and non-strategic policies
1.29 Essentially, it is the Core Strategy that sets the strategic policies of the Local Plan, while those of this Plan are generally viewed as "non-strategic" – but still important and warranting statutory expression. However, insofar as the affordable housing policy (DHG1) refines the thresholds set by Core Strategy policy LHN2 and policy DHG2 refines Core Strategy policy LHN3 in respect of rural 'exception sites', these are strategic policies. In addition, insofar as the policies in this Plan for the Strategic Gaps (DEN3) and Combe Valley Countryside Park (HAS1) give spatial expression to Core Strategy polices RY1(xii), HF1(iii) and HF1(i) respectively, they are also regarded as strategic.
1.30 A district-wide 'Policies Map', identifying the coverage of a series of component 'Inset Maps' which identify the location of spatial policies, is incorporated with this Local Plan. Where policies refer to the Policies Map, this should be taken to include references to the Inset Maps.
Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment (SA/SEA)
1.31 Undertaking a SA/SEA is a requirement of land-use plans to help ensure that they contribute to achieving sustainable development. The SA/SEA assesses reasonable policy options, as well as the policies, against sustainability objectives. The full SA/SEA Assessment, covering both development policies and site allocations, is published as a separate document accompanying this Plan.
Habitats Regulations Assessment
1.32 While a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) was undertaken for the Core Strategy to consider the potential impacts of the development strategy on international sites of nature conservation importance - being primarily the Dungeness Complex of sites that straddle the Rother/Folkestone & Hythe boundary in the east of the District and the Pevensey Levels, straddling the Rother/Wealden boundary in the south-west of the District – a further Assessment has been carried out for this Plan. This is also published as a separate document accompanying this plan, and has informed both its policies and the SA/SEA.
Other Evidence documents
1.33 All documents that support this Local Plan are published online in the Background Evidence section of the Planning Policy part of the Council's website.