Understanding the spatial strategy and the Sustainability Appraisal.
The next main stage of Local Plan preparation is to draw up options for the spatial strategy. As we mentioned earlier, this identifies broadly where development should be located to meet local needs. Possible options might include:
This is a key stage to make comments and have an influence on the plan - once the spatial strategy has been decided the remainder of the process is about the detail. If you have limited time and resources, make sure you comment at this stage. See the our example letter here.
Local Plans are required to be subject to a process known as Sustainability Appraisal. This considers the likely social, environmental and economic implications of the plan, and whether these are likely to have positive, negative, neutral or uncertain effects on sustainability objectives. The sustainability objectives are informed by locally important issues which are normally identified in the Sustainable Community Strategy. Sustainability objectives might include:
The flow chart below shows how the Sustainability Appraisal feeds into the Local Plan process - it provides a way of testing and challenging the plan, and of comparing options for where development should be located, or alternative policy responses to issues or problems.
A key requirement of the Sustainability Appraisal is to consider options or alternatives at each stage in the preparation of the Local Plan - and to explain clearly why the chosen option has been selected, and others rejected.