Saturday 1 October 2022


January 2023 update

Local Plan Update (LP)

The under-mentioned is a brief summary of item 5 of the Planning Policy Committee (PPC) meeting held  on 19 January 2023. NCS will continue to monitor how the Local Plan progresses:


Members may recall that the emerging plan was effectively  in stasis following the Government letter sent to the Planning Inspectorate in summer 2022.

Mr. Thurlow (Chief Planning Officer) reported that In December 2022 The Government circulated two more documents , a Ministerial Statement and Proposed Changes to the National Planning Policy  Framework (NPPF). He indicated that the three  documents make it clear that the (present) Government intends to radically amend the NPPF and  LP regulations.

Mr. Thurlow highlighted certain changes that will particularly affect Local Plans. 

The “Top-down directions” by the Secretary of State  for housing delivery numbers would be effectively discontinued . (This is relevant to TDC as the current imposed numbers are inexplicably high)

Allocation of Green Belt land in order to meet housing needs will no longer be considered overriding in order to produce building numbers.

The necessity to test soundness of LP’s will be discontinued

Less supporting evidence will be required

Emphasis on building density will be reduced - the priority will be to  ensure that any new building is within the character of the area.


Mr. Thurlow advised that an LP is essential to protect the District from random, speculative building developments. It is considered that the current uncertainty surrounding NPPF and LP regulations provides a window to progress the LP to the advantage of TDC. Specialist Planning Consultants have been retained and are assisting TDC. The PPC resolved to submit a letter of proposals to the 'LP Examining Inspector' in order  to progress the emerging LP this will include a reduction of the plan to a five year span. The consultants will assist in the drafting of the letter which will be circulated for agreement by the full PPC prior to submission.


The full PPC meeting can be viewed on a webcast available via the TDC website.


Stephen Hanks ( Vice-Chair)


September 2022 update

NCS continue to monitor the TDC Planning Policy Committee meetings on this matter. The latest meeting took place on 22nd September. The following is a summary of the present situation - complete information can be viewed via the TDC website:

Members may recall that TDC have been reacting to the Inspector’s (post Inquiry) concerns and have commissioned consultants.

In accordance with The Inspectors requirements TDC have provided monthly progress reports.  They have conformed to an agreed schedule. The Government requires that all local authorities must have their plans approved by the Inspector by December 2023. The TDC schedule for completion will take them very close to this 2023 deadline. To date the Local Plan has cost TDC £3.1 million and they have a budget of £1.1 to complete the work in progress.

On 28th July the former Secretary of State, Greg Clark, wrote to the Chief Executive at the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). This letter directed Inspectors “not to conclude that local plans are unsound or recommend their withdrawal before a new prime minister is appointed, or until the department advises you otherwise”. The letter has introduced a significant degree of uncertainty regarding the Local Plan making process and advised that the government is “considering changes to the planning system". TDC officers expressed concerns that, notwithstanding the tight schedule of outstanding work on the emerging Local Plan, to proceed and spend significant amounts on the planned works would be financially imprudent.  The rationale being that any such changes may undermine or waste work  both completed and planned.

The officers therefore recommended: 

1. That letters are sent from the TDC Chief Executive to the Chief Planner at DLUHC and the Inspector examining the Local Plan;

2. TDC does not proceed with commissioning or undertaking further work for the time-being on the emerging Local Plan; and

3. The Interim Chief Planning Officer be authorised to commence work on a Site Allocations Development Plan Document(DPD)*

These recommendations were adopted.

*The DPD is contained in the existing Core Strategy and is intended to provide a “ hedge” against the uncertainty and allow TDC to proceed with planning within it’s current policy.

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