Draft Gloucester City Plan 2016 - 2031

Draft Gloucester City Plan

1.0 Introduction and overview

1.0       Introduction and Overview

1.1       Gloucester is a transforming, growing and regenerating City. Together with the Joint Core Strategy, the Gloucester City Plan will continue Gloucester’s regeneration journey by providing the development framework to guide the City’s future growth up to 2031.

1.2       This is the draft Gloucester City Plan.  It brings together previous consultations and for the first time presents the plan in its entirety and your views are sought on this.  The Plan provides a range of locally specific development management policies and proposed site allocations.

1.3       This stage in the process also represents a further opportunity for sites to be submitted to the City Council for consideration as development opportunities.  See section 1.27 for more information on how to do this.

1.4       The consultation is published in accordance with Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

What is the City Plan?

1.5       The main aim of the Gloucester City Plan is to identify where and how new development will take place within the City’s administrative boundary to deliver the City Vision and to deliver the housing and employment requirements set out in the Joint Core Strategy.  It will also provide a framework for managing and enhancing the City’s historic and natural environment including open spaces, areas of recreation, leisure and environmental protection.  It is important that the Plan works towards delivering the benefits associated with a growing City and supports its on going regeneration.

Why do we need a City Plan?

1.6       The Government requires Councils to prepare a Local Plan for their areas, covering a timeframe of at least 15 years.  Local Plans are key to delivering sustainable development and in setting out the strategic priorities of an area.  They should set out the opportunities for development and provide clear policies on what will and will not be permitted and where.  It’s important the Council has in place an adopted plan as it means development decisions can be made in a coordinated way that gets the best possible results for the community and gives certainty to developers.

1.7       The Local Plan also acts as a mechanism for delivering elements of the wider priorities, strategies and plans of the Council and its partners.  This includes for example the Council’s adopted Gloucester Regeneration and Economic Development Strategy and Cultural Strategy, as well as the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Strategic Economic Plan and the County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

1.8       The Local Plan for Gloucester will consist of two separate but interrelated documents.  The first is the Joint Core Strategy (JCS), which is a partnership between Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council.  The JCS sets the strategic planning framework for the three Councils and addresses issues such as housing and employment requirements, large land allocations and a range of high level development management policies.

1.9       Beneath this is the Gloucester City Plan (GCP).  The GCP covers the administrative area of Gloucester City only and provides a range of locally specific land allocations for different types of development and a suite of development management policies.

1.10     Together they will provide an up-to-date and comprehensive planning policy framework and will replace the Council’s adopted Local Plan from 1983 and interim versions of plans thereafter, including the 2002 plan that is used for development management purposes today.  It will also take forward more recent policies that have been adopted by the Council as interim policy positions.  Once adopted, the GCP will be used to assess planning applications and ensure that development proposals contribute to delivering new development that positively contributes to delivering the vision for Gloucester.

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The wider context

1.11     It is important that the GCP is consistent with the objectives and principles of both the JCS and national planning policy – this is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and supported by the national Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).

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1.12     The City Plan supports the delivery of the JCS and must accord with the objectives and policies within it.  At the time of writing the JCS has reached an advanced stage of preparation and is moving towards the end of the ‘Examination in Public’.  The plan was ‘submitted’ to the Planning Inspectorate in November 2014 and there have been a number of hearing sessions on a whole range of topics.  The Inspector’s ‘Interim Findings’ were received in May 2016 and work is continuing on the ‘Main Modifications’ – these are changes to the plan the Inspector feels are necessary before it can be found ‘sound’ and adopted by the three Councils.

What does the JCS say?

1.13     The JCS partnership was set up to positively address the development needs for Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury local authority areas.  This is because the full development needs of Gloucester and Cheltenham could not be provided for within their own administrative boundaries, and so the decision was taken for the three Councils to work positively and constructively in addressing these needs.  There is also a functional relationship between the three authority areas, together forming the main economic drivers for Gloucestershire.

1.14     The JCS strategy seeks to locate as much development as possible in and around the main settlements of Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.  This is the most sustainable approach, allowing new communities to integrate with existing, and benefit from existing and enhanced access to jobs, services, transport networks and community and green infrastructure.

1.15     For Gloucester City, the JCS sets out a need for 14,350 new homes and for the whole of the JCS area a need for 192 hectares of ‘B’ Class employment land and a minimum of 39,500 additional jobs between 2011 and 2031.  In addition, the JCS sets out an overall forecast of approximately 45,000 sq m (net) of retail floorspace for the City between 2016 and 2031.

1.16     A significant amount of Gloucester’s development needs will be provided outside of the administrative boundary of the City at the ‘strategic allocations’ of land to the north and east of the City. In addition to this, a large proportion will also come from sites located within the boundary of Gloucester City.

Evidence base

1.17     It is very important that the City Plan is based on adequate, up-to-date and relevant evidence about the economic, social and environmental characteristics and prospects of the area.

1.18     A large number of evidence studies have been completed as part of the JCS process and are directly relevant to the GCP.  This includes for example the Housing Needs Assessment, Retail Study, Economic Forecast, Infrastructure Delivery Plan, Green Infrastructure Strategy and Landscape Characterisation Assessment & Sensitivity Analysis.

1.19     However, some of this evidence is not locally specific enough to fully consider the issues relevant to Gloucester City and for this reason other important studies have been completed and include for example a Playing Pitch Strategy and a number of site specific heritage assessments.

1.20     At the time of writing there are also a number of studies that are outstanding and are either currently being undertaken or will be prepared or commissioned shortly.  These are currently evidence base gaps and will be reviewed and applied to policy in time for the next stage in the plan-making process.  Outstanding evidence base studies include:

  • Economic Development Strategy
  • Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (Level 2)
  • Parking Strategy
  • Townscape Character Assessment
  • Historic Environment Assessments – for some remaining sites
  • Transport Assessment and Modelling
  • Infrastructure Delivery Plan
  • Biodiversity Assessments – for some remaining sites

1.21     A ‘Topic Paper’ has been prepared which set out in detail the background behind each of the policy topic areas.  They set out the relevant evidence that underpins that topic area, the relationship and context with regard to the NPPF, JCS and other key plans and strategies, and commentary on what we have been told through previous consultations.  ‘Ward profiles’ have also been prepared, which provide a detailed analysis of the strengths and opportunities facing each area of the City.

1.22     All existing evidence base studies can be downloaded from the GCP homepage at www.gloucester.gov.uk/cityplan

Sustainability Appraisal

1.23     Every Local Plan must be informed and accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal (SA).  This allows the potential environmental, economic and social impacts of the proposal to be systematically taken into account.  The SA plays an important part in demonstrating that plans reflect sustainability objectives and ensures that the best possible options are being taken forward.

1.24     The SA incorporates Strategic Environment Assessment, Habitats Regulations Assessment and Equality Impact Assessment, all of which are European Union requirements.  It also incorporates Health Impact Assessment which, whilst not a statutory requirement, is a priority for the City Council.  Together, they are referred to as an ‘Integrated Assessment’ (IA).

1.25     Integrated Assessment is an iterative process and emerging policies have been amended as a result of the assessment process.  This process will be ongoing as the City Plan progresses and will factor in consultation comments and new evidence.

1.26     The full Integrated Assessment report as well as a range of background information is available to download at the GCP homepage at www.gloucester.gov.uk/cityplan

Call for sites

1.27     This consultation document sets out a range of potential site allocations for the City.  However, given the constrained nature of Gloucester’s administrative area, the City Council is interested to hear of any other potential development sites that may exist.  These will then be factored into the next iteration of the Council’s Strategic Assessment of Land Availability.  We ask that when a site is submitted for consideration, it is accompanied with a completed proforma, which is available to download from the City Council’s website.

Duty to Cooperate

1.28     Under the Localism Act 2011, local authorities are required to take a lead in strategic planning and tackle issues that impact on a ‘larger than local’ area and cut across administrative areas.  The JCS was taken forward on this principle, with the three authorities working constructively and positively to address the strategic needs of the authorities.

1.29     The City Council is continually working together with neighbouring authorities and other organisations to ensure that matters of a strategic nature are properly considered and addressed, within the context of the ‘Duty to Cooperate’.  To formalise this relationship, each of the Gloucestershire district Councils has signed up to a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’, which sets out when and how they will ‘cooperate’ on strategic planning matters – this document is available to download from the City Council’s website.

What’s happened so far?

1.30     The City Council has already written and consulted on three parts of the City Plan. These are:

    • The Scope (2011): The ‘Scope’ set out the context of the City Plan and the key issues for Gloucester. It sought views on types of planning policies that should be included in the plan and the areas that should be identified for development or protection.
    • City Plan Part 1 (2012): Part 1 took the Scope further, setting out in more detail the issues that Gloucester faces and sets out 13 ‘key principles’ that the City Plan would seek to deliver.
    • City Plan Part 2 - Places, Sites, City Centre Strategy (2013): Part 2 focused on the development needs of the City and started looking at potential site allocations as well as a draft City Centre strategy, including for example a proposed Primary Shopping Area.

1.31     At each stage comments from local residents, businesses, organisations and national bodies were sought and their views reported in a response report. All of the comments made on the plan so far, and copies of the various response reports, can be found at www.gloucester.gov.uk/cityplan

What will happen next?

1.32     This document will be subject to a 6 week public consultation running from Monday 16th January 2016 until Monday 27th February 2017. Representations must be received no later than 5pm on this day. The consultation will be carried out in accordance with Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012.

1.33     The responses to the consultation will be collated and considered by officers, and where appropriate the policies will be amended. The Plan will be reworked to form the ‘Pre-Submission City Plan’.  This will be subject to one further round of public consultation before it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.  This will then be subject to an Examination in Public before it can be adopted by the Council. The exact timescales for this have not yet been finalised.

How do I make comments?

1.34     You are strongly encouraged to respond via the Council’s dedicated online response system. This can be accessed at www.gloucester.gov.uk/cityplan. Using this system saves time and cost for the Council when processing the comments.

1.35     However, downloadable response forms are also available to download from the web address above. These should be completed and either emailed to cityplan@gloucester.gov.uk or hard copies posted to:

Planning Policy and Heritage Team
Herbert Warehouse
The Docks
Gloucester
GL1 2EQ

1.36     Hard copies of the consultation document and response form have also been made available at the City Council offices, all Gloucester libraries and the Guildhall.

1.37     If you have any difficulties in making a response please contact a member of the team on 01452 396825.

Structure of this document

1.38     The Draft GCP is structured as follows:

  • Section 2 sets out an overview of ‘Gloucester today, Gloucester tomorrow’;
  • Section 3 sets out a range of draft development management policies, arranged by key theme. A summary sheet, taken from the topic papers, provides at overview for each of the themes;
  • Section 4 sets out all proposed site allocations in the City;
  • Section 5 sets out information in relation to the delivery, monitoring and review of the plan; and
  • Section 6 provides a glossary of all of the technical planning terms that have to be used in this plan.

1.39     In addition, the following maps have been prepared:

  • Key diagram: this shows the strategic context of the City Plan.
  • Proposals map: this relates directly back to the development management policies, showing the areas / locations to which the designations and constraints apply. Given the extent of these within the City Centre, a ‘central area inset’ is also provided; and
  • Development map: this shows the location of the proposed allocations identified at section 4, as well as the location of all existing sites with planning permission for different types of development.