BCP Council will consider its response to the current Planning Policy Reforms consultation, and the implications for the delivery of its new Local Plan, at a Cabinet meeting next week.
BCP Council’s proposed response to the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to national planning policy open consultation, recognises that the current method used to set housing targets for local authorities is outdated, and current figures aren’t achievable for the BCP area. The reforms significantly provide new clarity and protection for local Green Belt, as it will no longer need to be reviewed to meet housing-need targets.
Councillor Philip Broadhead, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Development, Growth and Regeneration, said: “We absolutely welcome these proposed new reforms, which will be incredibly positive for the BCP region. Government have listened to the concerns of local authorities, and this is clearly reflected in this open consultation.
“These proposals will provide a clear way forward for us to deliver the first Local Plan for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. I’ve always been incredibly passionate about protecting our Green Belt, especially when the housing targets for this area were so unachievable, so that’s why these reforms are so welcome as they will mean punctual delivery of a Local Plan that will really work for our residents and communities.
“Unlike many areas, we’re incredibly lucky to have 15 miles of coastline, and significant areas of protected Heathland and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), but this also provides an additional challenge and does restrict development opportunities. These new reforms will allow the Planning Authority for this area to consider the true local picture and decisions will reflect what is right, and achievable, for this conurbation.”
The proposed reforms also provide a greater emphasis on protecting the character of an area, whilst also stressing the importance of quality development. This will provide Local Authorities more powers to refuse development if it doesn’t meet locally set standards.
Cllr Broadhead, added: “We know locally that there is a need for new homes in this area, but this change in reform will not only protect our Green Belt, but will also secure better quality urban development. The challenge for us now is to set policy which will protect existing family homes and the character of well-established family streets and provide new family homes and family-friendly apartments.
“We continue to engage with local communities on the development of our Local Plan, but I’m confident that these reforms strengthen our position to deliver a timely, and much-needed, single Local Plan for this area.”
BCP Council expect to publish a Draft Local Plan in Autumn 2023, which will be open for public consultation and examination, with full adoption expected around December 2024. You can find out more about the development of a new Local Plan, and join a mailing list at www.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/LocalPlan