This page gives some details of greenspace planning issues in the Lancaster district
1. National Planning and other Policies
The coalition government introduced sweeping changes to National policy in 2012 - a large number of Planning Policy Guidances (PPGs) were replaced by a single document. This sets out general principles (a framework) rather than detailed guidance. Local Authorities then have to write their own policies and guidelines that deliver these more general principles.
Several other national policies are relevant to Green Infrastructure. For example: Climate Change policy, Agricultural and Fishing Policies (largely driven by EU directives) and improving water security and quality. A list of these can be found at www.gov.uk/government/policies
2. Regional and County-wide Policies
There used to be a North-West regional spatial strategy, but this was revoked by the Secretary of State in April 2013. Planning powers were instead strengthened at a local level by the Localism Act (2011). So the next step down from National policies and strategies is at County level. Most Lancashire County Council strategies can be found here. Relevant Green space strategies include:
3. District-level Plans and Policies
The principal planning policy is Lancaster District's 'Local Plan', which is made up of several documents. Three have now been approved by the Planning Inspectorate and formally adopted by the City Council. Others are going through this process, which can take several years to complete. As they become more developed, they carry increasing weight in planning terms. Until they are fully adopted however, the last Local Plan (2004) and any updates remains current, A 'strikethrough' edition of the local plan can be downloaded here. This shows which policies are currently in force, with the replaced policies struck out.
Taking any planning document from conception to formal adoption takes several years. When the National Planning Policy Guidelines (PPGs) were replaced by the National Planning Policy Framework in 2012, one new planning document, the Core Strategy, had been adopted by the City Council in 2008. Two further document have recently been adopted by the City Council: the Development Management Development Plan Document (DPD) and the Morecambe Area Action Plan. These were adopted by the City Council in December 2014. These are all robust documents which have been approved by the Planning Inspectorate.
The Development Management Document sets out the detailed policies that the City Council will apply when determining planning applications. It sets out the detailed design and sustainability principles that must be achieved. The Morecambe Area Action Plan establishes the detailed planning policies for the regeneration priority area of Central Morecambe, identifying the main development opportunities for this area and specific planning policies.
In addition, the City council produces a Corporate Plan every year; this is more of a business plan and has an emphasis on employment and economic development. The current version is downloadable from the right side.
The two recently adopted documents of the new Local Plan are:
A key document in the new Local Plan will be the part that shows what land is allocated to what use. This is called the Land Allocations DPD (DPD = development plan document). The council has already made considerable progress on this document having undertaken a number of consultations and engagement sessions over recent years. The most recent, the 'Meeting future housing needs' consultation, took place over the summer. This sought to investigate opportunities to deliver an additional 5,000 new homes in the district. The 2013 evidence base that underpinned this consultation is available to download from the right.
Since undertaking this consultation, new population projections for the country have been published. Whilst new population projections were anticipated, the increase on revision to the previous set was more than anticipated. In light of this information the council has committed to refreshing its evidence base in relation to this area of work. Note: whilst population projections are of course important components of the evidence underpinning this work, the calculations are based on multiple information sources. Of particular significance will be the forthcoming householder projections which are due to be published by the Department for Communities and Local Government shortly, and importantly the district’s own local employment and economic projections evidence base which is currently being finalised.
One round of consultation was undertaken in 2014, with the planners asking for opinions on various options e.g. enlargement of some villages, an urban extension, re-defining green belt areas. It is anticipated that this work will be commissioned in early 2015. This consultation, together with an updated evidence base, will feed into the preparation of the a draft Land Allocations DPD, which is likely to be published for consultation in early 2016. The 2004 Local Plan did not have a land allocation map; there were policies for different areas instead. You can see the current position of the council's land allocation process here.
All these policies are informed by consultation and studies by consultants. One of the most relevant studies for greenspace was the PPG17 study, (2007, revised 2010). This can be downloaded from the right.
Note: all information is given in good faith but we are not experts! If there are any mistakes or omissions, please let us know.