Residents will be aware that, at the Full Council meeting on 18th October, Basildon Council published its Local Plan. This, along with supporting documents, will now be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination on behalf of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. This is called the ‘Regulation 19’ consultation – referring to regulation 19 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 – and it concludes when a report to the Local Planning Authority (Basildon Council) has been issued by the Planning Inspector.
During the examination, an Inspector will assess whether the Published Local Plan has been prepared in line with the relevant legal requirements (including the duty to cooperate) and whether it meets the tests of ‘soundness’ contained in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The public consultation on the Local Plan and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) launched yesterday (1st November 2018) and will run for just over 6 weeks, closing at 5pm on 17 December 2018.
How can people find out more information on the Revised Publication Local Plan?
Basildon Council has sent out circa 8,500 letters and emails to people and businesses who previously registered to be kept informed about the Local Plan. Some of your friends and neighbours could, therefore, have received a direct letter, whereas others will not; it will depend upon whether or not they have previously registered with the Council and asked to be kept informed.
Adverts have been placed on the Council’s website homepage and there will also be advertising through the local paid and free press to promote the consultation locally. The Council and local councillors will also be promoting it through their Facebook and Twitter accounts. For the business community, the Council also has a stand at the Basildon Business Expo – being held at the Holiday Inn on 22nd November 2018 by Essex Chambers of Commerce in partnership with Basildon Council. For areas like ours in Billericay, which is also parished, Basildon Council attended the recent Local Council Liaison Meeting on 30th October to provide a briefing to Billericay town councillors and other parish councillors. Local Plan consultation documentation has also been despatched to parish clerks.
To find out more immediate information, anyone can:
a) Read it online
You can find out more information about the Revised Publication Local Plan, Frequently Asked Questions and what the Local Plan is proposing in our area by visiting the special website: www.basildonlocalplan.co.uk. The Revised Publication Local Plan and all of its supporting documents can be accessed via this website.
b) Visit a Borough Library or The Basildon Centre
The following documents were delivered by courier today to the main library at Basildon and also Billericay and other town libraries around the Borough and will be available for public inspection until at least the close of the consultation:
1. Revised Publication Local Plan (including Policies Map)
2. Sustainability Appraisal incorporating the Strategic Environmental Assessment (2018)
3. Habitats Regulations Assessment (2018)
4. Service Impact Assessment (2018)
5. Core documents which make up the Plan’s evidence base
Reference copies will also be available to view on request at Customer Services in The Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon, during its normal opening hours throughout the consultation period.
The Local Plan and supporting documents are available to view via www.basildonlocalplan.co.uk and are available for inspection during normal opening hours, throughout the consultation period at the following locations*:
The Council Officers: The Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon, Essex, SS14 1DL; Mon-Fri, 08:30-17:00; Sat, 09:00-13:00
Basildon Main Library: The Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon, Essex, SS14 1DL; Mon-Sat, 09:00-17:00
Billericay Library: 143 High Street, Billericay, Essex, CM12 9AB; Mon-Sat, 09:00-17:00
*Also at Wickford, Fryerns, Laindon, Pitsea and Vange libraries
How can people respond to the consultation?
We realise that the format of this consultation and the way it is asking people to comment is not as straightforward as the previous Regulation 18 consultations. Regulation 19 is a far more technical consultation and, when you submit comments, you will need to outline whether or not you agree that the plan is ‘legally compliant’ and whether it meets the ‘Tests of Soundness’. As a reminder of what these terms mean:
Legal Compliance – For a Local Plan to be ‘legally compliant’ it must have been prepared following the correct procedures and processes as required by European Directives and national legislation. The relevant core national legislation is the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended), the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012, and the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998.
The Test of Soundness – The Tests of ‘Soundness’ are set out in Government policy called the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). For a Local Plan to be sound it must be positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy.
People can respond:
Online – To support you in understanding how you can convey what you want to say, in respects of the two categories of legal compliance and the Test of ‘Soundness’, and to ensure that comments are submitted in a format required by the Planning Inspector, I would strongly encourage constituents to provide their comments securely online via www.basildonlocalplan.co.uk.
If you have not registered before, you can register yourself online and then submit your comments through the website. If you received a letter from the Council, however, it confirms you already have a consultation account with the Council and they will have included their username in the letter so you can log on. If you have forgotten your password you can easily re-set it yourself on the consultation portal.
In-Writing – If, like me, you’re old school and prefer to write to the Council, instead of responding online, it would be extremely helpful if you could use the Council’s specially designed Consultation Response Booklets. These are available for you to pick up from one of the Borough’s libraries, or the reception area at The Basildon Centre. Copies can also be downloaded by visiting www.basildonlocalplan.co.uk.
The benefit of the Consultation Response Booklets is that they contain integrated guidance notes to ensure they are completed correctly. The booklet is divided into five Parts – Part A to E. Each booklet contains five Part Bs – which are the individual comment forms. Each representation submitted must only cover one issue/topic or concern one part of the Local Plan. If you wish to make more than five separate representations, they must use additional booklets and submit them all together.
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to provide your responses in a Consultation Response Booklet (or online), I must stress that you will need to be VERY CLEAR in your written response/email whether your comments relate to the Test of Soundness or Legal Compliance. The Planning Inspector will also need to know whether you would like to speak at the Examination in Public, so do please include your name and contact details in order for your response to be deemed admissible.
Whether representations are submitted online, or using the Consultation Response Booklet, all MUST be received by the Council no later than 5pm on Monday 17 December 2018.
Responses must be submitted by one of the following ways:
Post: Local Plan Consultation, Basildon Borough Council, The Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon, Essex, SS14 1DL
Late responses will not be accepted, so please do ensure that you leave enough time for postage.
Can people get assistance with providing responses to this consultation?
Absolutely! I am very keen to ensure that as many of my constituents that want to respond to the Regulation 19 consultation are given every opportunity to do so. The Council will be running Local Plan Advice Sessions at The Basildon Centre on specific dates and times between Tuesday 13th November and Thursday 6th December 2018. Sessions are available during afternoons, weekends and Saturday mornings. These are One-to-One sessions with Council officers and are designed to assist people who want to respond to the consultation but are unsure of how to do so. Sessions can only be booked in advance by visiting www.basildonlocalplan.co.uk or by contacting the Planning Policy Team on 01268 533333 (Option 5). Alternatively, if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I will help in any way I can.
What happens next?
After the consultation has finished on 17th December 2018, all comments will be processed. These, along with the Revised Publication Local Plan and all supporting documents, will then be submitted to the Government as approved by Council on 18th October 2018. It will pass them onto a Planning Inspector for consideration as part of the Examination in Public. The Council’s agreed timetable is that this will occur by the end of March 2019. This is the stage where the Inspector will review the Local Plan, including holding some local public hearings, and determine whether it is acceptable for the Council to adopt it and bring into effect. It is currently anticipated that the Examination will commence from April 2019 and last much of the remainder of the year.
What else is the Council consulting on?
The Council has also published for consultation its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule. This is the first stage in preparing a CIL, which the Council wants to charge on development in the future to help invest in the costs of new and upgraded roads, schools, healthcare facilities, green spaces, etc, that are needed to support the new homes and businesses set out in the Local Plan.
The CIL Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule and information about the consultation will be available online. Reference copies of the CIL Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule will also be available in the borough libraries and at The Basildon Centre.
To provide comments online please visit www.basildon.gov.uk/CIL. Alternatively, one of the Council’s CIL Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule Consultation Response Booklets can be picked up from the borough libraries or The Basildon Centre. To avoid confusion with the Local Plan Consultation Response Booklets, the CIL Consultation Response Booklets have been printed on blue paper. Copies can be downloaded from the aforementioned website.
Should you wish to respond to the CIL consultation, responses must also be received by the Council no later than 5pm on Monday 17th December 2018 by one of the following ways:
Post: CIL Consultation, Basildon Borough Council, The Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon, Essex, SS14 1DL
Late responses will not be accepted, so, again, please do ensure you leave enough time for postage.
I trust this information is helpful but if anyone has anything else they need assistance with, please feel free to get in touch with me or come and see me at my monthly surgery, which is held on the last Saturday of every month (except December) at Billericay Library from 10:30am to 12 noon. The next surgery will be Saturday 24th November 2018.