Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Local Plan?
A Local Plan is a district-wide plan which identifies the vision and aspirations for the future of an area, planning policies, and allocations identifying the sites or areas which can be developed and those which should be protected. Our Draft Local Plan will help shape future development in Epping Forest District over the next 17 years up to 2033 and sets out the level and distribution of growth, including new homes and businesses. It will also set out sites and areas of the district that must be protected from development over the Local Plan period.
Finally, it will include the development management policies which are proposed to be used to assess planning applications as they come forward, to ensure that they deliver a high standard of development.
Why do we need a Local Plan?
Having a Local Plan is a necessary part of creating a robust planning framework to support the future development of the District. Without it, the Council would lose the ability to secure and co-ordinate the development and infrastructure that are needed.
The Government has made it clear that if we have not prepared a Local Plan by early 2017 they will do it for us, and re-charge the Council the costs. All local authorities across the country without a new Local Plan have been given the same deadline. Government has also indicated that it will hold back various grants the Council receives from Government, affecting our ability to cost effectively provide existing Council services.
Doesn’t Epping Forest already have a Local Plan?
The Council’s current Local Plan was adopted in 1998. In 2006 the Council adopted the Local Plan Alterations, which replaced parts of the 1998 Local Plan. Most of these policies are still in force but since the National Planning Policy Framework was published in 2012 some are now out of date, and cannot be used. We now need to develop an up-to-date Local Plan to meet Epping Forest District’s future potential, planning for the next 17 years.
Will I have the opportunity to provide my feedback on the Local Plan?
Yes. On 18th October 2016 Epping Forest District’s Full Council approved the Draft Local Plan to proceed with the Regulation 18 Draft Local Plan consultation. The consultation was held from 31st October to 12th December 2016. We received over 3,000 representations from a wide range of stakeholders. A copy of the representations will be made available to view shortly.
The District Council has analysed the comments received and a summary of key issues identified was included as an appendix to the report considered by Cabinet on 11th July 2017. We are continuing the progress with the Local Plan and related Evidence Base in preparation for the publication of the Regulation 19 Pre Submission Local Plan. The local community and stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide representations on whether or not the policies and the Plan as a whole is sound, legally compliant, and adhered to the requirements of duty to co-operate. All representations received will then be considered by the Council and by the appointed Planning Inspector during the Examination-in-Public.
What does 'soundness' of a Local Plan mean?
The National Planning Policy Framework 2012 sets out 4 Test of Soundness against a Local Plan, which is assessed by the appointed Planning Inspector. These 4 tests of Soundness are:
- Positively prepared – the plan should be prepared based on a strategy which seeks to meet objectively assessed development and infrastructure requirements, including unmet requirements from neighbouring authorities where it is reasonable to do so and consistent with achieving sustainable development;
- Justified – the Plan should be the most appropriate strategy, when considered against the reasonable alternatives, based on proportionate evidence;
- Effective – the Plan should be deliverable over its period and based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic priorities; and
- Consistent with national policy – the Plan should enable the delivery of sustainable development in accordance with the policies in the Framework.
What does 'legally compliant' mean?
A plan is considered legally compliant when it complies with the legal requirements under section 20(5) (a) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.
What is the 'Duty to Co-operate'?
The duty to co-operate is a legal test that requires cooperation between local planning authorities and other public bodies to maximise the effectiveness of policies for strategic matters in Local Plans.
The Local Plan-making process
What stage are we at now and where do we go next?
We have completed the Draft Local Plan consultation stage and are currently working towards the Pre-submission of the Local Plan. Once this work is completed the Local Plan that the Council would like to submit for external examination will then be published for a six week period. There will be an opportunity at this stage to make representations on the ‘soundness’, of the Local Plan, i.e whether the Council has followed the correct procedures and stages as set out by Planning legislation.
The Council will then submit the Emerging Local Plan to the Planning Inspector for Independent Examination, and subject to any alterations required by the Inspector, we aim to adopt the new Local Plan by Autumn 2019. A complete timetable on the development and proposed stages of the Local Plan can be viewed within the District Council’s Local Development Scheme.
What consultation has Epping Forest District Council done so far on the Draft Local Plan?
We have held three public consultations so far on the Draft Local Plan at previous stages of the process, the results of which are available online via the links below.
Between November 2010 and January 2011 Epping Forest District Council ran a Community Visioning consultation, which was designed to help us better understand the priorities the community felt were important for the Local Plan to address. You can view the full consultation report and results here:
- Consultation summary – http://www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/index.php/home/file-store/category/109-community-visioning
- Report given to the Local Development Framework Cabinet Committee – http://rds.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/documents/s27769/Community%20Visionsing%20Rpt.pdf
Following this consultation, and an evidence gathering process, we held the Community Choices (Issues and Options) consultation between July 2012 and September 2012. This consultation sought to discuss the viable options available for the Local Plan and seek views on each of the options. You can view the full consultation documents here:
After further work on the Local Plan and related evidence base, the District Council held the Regulation 18 Draft Local Plan consultation from October 2016 to December 2016. This consultation was an opportunity to comment on the Draft Local Plan before the Council submits the final version at the Regulation 19 Pre-Submission Emerging Local Plan stage. You can view the full consultation documents here:
How to get involved
How can I get involved in the Local Plan consultation process?
We have published the information regarding the Draft Local Plan on this website. Once the current work on the Emerging Local Plan and related Evidence Base is complete it will be presented at Full Council for approval to move forward with the Regulation 19 Pre-Submission Local Plan publication. At this stage the Emerging Local Plan and related documents will be published on the website along with a feedback questionnaire.
How long will I be able to provide my feedback for?
The District Council has a statutory obligation to allow residents and stakeholders a minimum of six weeks to comment on the Local Plan. The District Council will be welcoming feedback on the emerging Local Plan in early 2018, once the District’s full Council has approved the Local Plan to proceed with the Pre-Submission Local Plan. The dates will be posted on this website.
How can I provide feedback on the emerging Local Plan?
There are a number of ways that you can provide comments and feedback on the emerging Local Plan. The quickest and easiest way is to read the Local Plan (which will be available on this website once completed) and provide feedback via this site. The District Council will be preparing a simple feedback form which is easy to use and can be completed and submitted on-line.
If you are unable to access a computer, you can call the Council on 01992 564517 (between 10am and 4pm on weekdays, or leave a message outside these hours), or write to the Planning Policy Team, Civic Offices High Street, Epping, Essex, CM16 4BZ.
The dates when the District Council will be accepting representations will be posted on this website in early 2018 once the dates have been determined.
How can I make a Group Response (a response from more than one person) to the consultation?
If you want to make a response from more than one person, for example if your whole family want to sign up to one response, or yourself and your neighbours, then please complete one questionnaire, and submit it via email or post along with a Group Response Form, which will be available on this website (and in hard copy and via email on request).
Choose one person to be the main ‘Group Contact’, and their contact details go at the top of the form. You also need to a choose group name, e.g. ‘the Taylor Family’ or ‘Residents of London Road’ etc. Every person who wants to sign up to the Group Response needs to put their full name, address and signature on the Group Response Form (and also email address if they want to); so that we can ensure that all signatures are valid.
Why should I comment?
The Local Plan is an important place-shaping document, everyone living, working or visiting the District could be affected by it and so everyone should contribute – it is therefore important to engage in the preparation of the Local Plan.
This will be the last chance to comment on the emerging Local Plan, and so we encourage as many people to take part in providing representations as possible. Your comments on the Local Plans ‘soundness’ will then be considered by the independent Planning Inspector as part of the Local Plan Examination process. Anyone can respond, you do not have to live in the District to give your comments.
Have responses to the previous consultations been taken on board?
Yes, responses to previous consultations have been considered, and along with other evidence and national policy. Work is currently being undertaken on the Local Plan and site selection as a result of the previous Draft Local Plan consultation.
Why are comments necessary? Can my previous comments be applied?
Previous comments on past consultations have helped inform the Council’s emerging Local Plan and how Epping Forest District should develop to 2033. We now need to know whether the Local Plan is ‘sound’, meaning whether the Council has followed the correct procedures and stages as set by Planning legislation. If you have commented on the Draft Local Plan, new comments should be submitted during the Regulation 19 Pre-Submission Local Plan feedback period.
What happens if I miss the deadline for the consultation?
Representations (responses) on the Draft Local Plan need to be made within the consultation period. Please make sure that you take note of the Pre-Submission Local Plan period once it has been determined and submit your responses before the deadline.
Do I have to give my personal information when making a comment?
It is also important to appreciate that the Council is obliged to make all duly-made representations available for public inspection on its website.
It is a national requirement of the Local Plan process that comments can only be deemed legitimate (in Planning terms this is “duly made”) if they are received in a written format (i.e. by email, online or by post) with a name and address supplied. Comments made verbally or anonymously cannot be accepted.
It is also important to appreciate that the Council is obliged to make all duly-made representations available for public inspection on its website, so your response will be made public. However, it will only have your name (and company name if you have one) on it, and not have any of your contact details (email address, postal address, phone number etc.).
How do I keep up-to-date with the Local Plan process?
Once registered via the consultation portal you will be notified of any future information about the Local Plan. Should you choose not to submit your comments online, you can sign up for updates via your submitted questionnaire.
If you do not wish to comment on the emerging Local Plan, but want to receive updates, please contact the Council on 01992 564517 (between 10am and 4pm) or email LDFconsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.
It is difficult for me to come to the Council Offices or to any of the information points. Can I still participate in the Local Plan process?
Yes. You can contact the Council on 01992 564517 (between 10am and 4pm on weekdays, or leave a message outside these hours) or email LDFconsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk about receiving information and feedback forms to respond to the Local Plan.
Next steps and timescales
When and how will I see the results of this consultation?
We have reviewed all comments received during the Draft Local Plan consultation period and are currently making amendments, where appropriate, to take these views into account. The Council will publish the emerging Local Plan with the amendments as a result of the 2016 consultation, and seek representations on whether the Local Plan is sound (currently anticipated early 2018), ahead of Submission to the Planning Inspectorate for Independent Examination.
When will the Local Plan be adopted?
We anticipate that the new Local Plan will be adopted in Autumn 2019, subject to approval by the Secretary of State, as outlined in the District Council’s Local Development Scheme. Once the new Local Plan is adopted, it will be the statutory development plan for the District, and will be used to decide planning applications. As the Local Plan progresses and before it is adopted it will start to be used as a material planning consideration in the determination of planning applications
I have a question that is not answered on this page. Can I get an answer to my question?
Yes – our dedicated Planning Policy team can help find an answer to your questions about the emerging Local Plan. Please contact the Council on 01992 564517 (between 10am and 4pm on weekdays, or leave a message outside these hours) or email LDFconsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk and we will be happy to help.
We will also publish your question and answer on this website in case other people have similar questions.
Can I get a copy of the document in an alternative format?
Yes. If you need copies of any of the documents in large print, Braille or in another language, please contact us on 01992 564517 (between 10am and 4pm on weekdays, or leave a message outside these hours) or email LDFconsult@eppingforestdc.gov.uk.
The emerging Local Plan can be downloaded and printed from the this website once completed.
The emerging Local Plan
My area is already overdeveloped and our infrastructure cannot cope with new homes. Why can the new development not go somewhere else?
The proposed level of housing and employment development in the emerging Local Plan must be supported by the appropriate level of infrastructure, such as new schools, GP surgeries and road improvements. A separate Infrastructure Delivery Plan is being prepared to make sure that the infrastructure will be in place to support growth in all areas of the District.
The Council is required to plan for enough new homes and jobs in the District to meet future needs as part of the new Local Plan. It is proposed that about a third of new residential development will be focussed around Harlow and that the remainder will be accommodated in other settlements in the District. Feedback from the Community Choices consultation clearly showed that people wanted an even distribution of new development across the district and close to services including transport hubs.
What is the ‘Duty to Co-operate’, and why do we have to work with neighbouring authorities?
The Duty to Co-operate was first set out in the Localism Act 2011 (which amended the Town and Country Planning Act 2004) following the abolition of regional planning and places a legal duty on local planning authorities to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis with other nearby Councils and relevant organisations to ensure that Local Plans are prepared to take into account cross-boundary matters. Whilst the Duty to Co-operate is not a duty to agree, Councils should try to secure necessary cooperation on strategic cross boundary matters before they submit their Local Plans for examination.
How have you taken into account emerging Neighbourhood Plans?
We are aware that a number of Parish and Town Councils within the District are preparing neighbourhood plans for their areas. Whilst the Council will support the preparation and production of these plans, they must be in general conformity with the strategic policies contained in the Local Plan and in line with national planning guidance. Once made by the Council (following successful examination and referendum) Neighbourhood Plans will be used to determine planning applications, alongside the Local Plan. Further details on Neighbourhood Planning in the District can be found here.
Where is new development being focussed?
Over the plan period the Council needs to provide for approximately 11,400 new homes and 10,000 new jobs in the District. In order to meet this level of growth the Draft Local Plan seeks to allocate a number of sites across the District. The proposed development will be focused around Harlow and in and adjacent to the other settlements in the District.
How did you assess all the potential sites that have been suggested for development?
The Draft Local Plan assessed all of the sites suggested to be at least 0.2 hectares (about half an acre) in size, and for sites suggested for residential use, they also had to be able to accommodate 6 or more dwellings.
Once this threshold had been applied, the remaining sites were assessed against a wide range of criteria, which included things like impact on Epping Forest (an Internationally Protected Site), the level of harm to the Green Belt, access, traffic impact and landscape sensitivity.
The Site Selection Report used a total of 33 different criteria to assess the sites put forward. Not all of the criteria applied to all sites – certain criteria only applied to sites assessed for housing use, and certain criteria only applied to sites assessed for employment use.
A full list of the criteria, and which land uses they applied to, can be found online here.
You can read an overview of the Site Selection process.
The Planning Policy team is progressing with the District’s Local Plan process, which includes further site selection work. As a result the methodology has been update to:
- Take account responses received from the Regulation 18 Consultation;
- Take account of more recent evidence base documents that were prepared after the methodologies were developed;
- Take account of the proposed amendments to the NPPF identified in the Housing White Paper, ‘Fixing our Broken Housing Market’; and
- Outline in more detail the process that will be followed to identify proposed residential, employment and traveller site allocations in the Regulation 19 Pre-Submission Local Plan
Why has so much emphasis been placed on development in and around Harlow?
For a number of years Harlow has been recognised as an area for growth and development. Harlow’s continued aspiration to support economic growth and regeneration within its core town centre requires housing to support it. There have been ongoing discussions with Harlow Council and other nearby local authorities as to the best location for this growth in and around Harlow. The sites proposed for allocation in the Draft Local Plan are as a result of rigorous technical assessments and discussions with partner Local Authorities.
Why are the Epping tube station car park sites being built on? Where will people park?
The emerging Local Plan includes proposals to develop a number of car parks across the District to provide additional housing. The development models applied to the car park sites would mean that there would be no net loss of parking spaces. The Council will complete further work on parking standards and requirements for new developments associated with car park sites.
How did the Council decide how much development should take place in each settlement?
The Site Selection Report shows which sites have been assessed for each settlement, and the proposed capacity of these sites. The final ‘totals’ for each settlement were arrived at by looking at the number of suitable and deliverable sites in that settlement, and what was considered the best fit for each settlement, taking into account the findings from previous consultation. Other evidence documents, including the Green Belt Review, Settlement Capacity Study and Accessibility Planning Study informed our decisions on what scale of development was suitable for each settlement.
What is the justification that resulted in Waltham Abbey’s reclassification as a small district centre rather than a town?
This classification refers to just the Town Centre rather than the settlement itself. The classification of Waltham Abbey’s Town Centre as a ‘Small District Centre’ is based on the Town Centres Review (September 2016) which concluded that, based on the size of retail units, services and facilities provided, the centre currently operates more as a Small District Centre. The settlement of Waltham Abbey is still considered to be a Town within the District’s Settlement Hierarchy, along with Epping, Loughton and Ongar.
Why is the Council proposing allocations for development on urban open space?
The proposed site allocations for residential development identified in the Draft Local Plan have taken into account the feedback from the Community Choices (Issues and Options) consultation in 2012, government policy set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and a thorough consideration of all the sites put forward to meet the identified housing need. On this basis the Council is proposing that housing provision should be spread across the District, with areas around Harlow (within the District) to be a focus for growth. In line with Government Policy the Council has then sought to maximise the potential for allocations within existing settlements focusing on land that has previously been developed and utilising open space within settlements where such selection would maintain adequate open space provision within the settlement. This is in order to ensure that there is a limited release of land in the Green Belt to provide for housing on the edge of settlements.
A small number of sites were put forward for assessment for development on land that is currently classified as urban open space within settlements. As part of the site selection process consideration was given to the impact of any loss of open space on the settlements in order that the Council could be satisfied that all new development sites would be able to meet the additional need for open space resulting from the increase in population. The site selection process concluded that a small number of sites which involve the loss of an element of open space should go forward as proposed allocations and all assumed that a minimum of 25% of the open space would be retained. This includes two proposed allocations on managed open space in Loughton and one in Chigwell. For more information see the background paper 3 on Open Space.
The Draft Local Plan is also seeking to ensure that as additional development occurs in the district so access to high quality public open space for new residents and existing communities is achieved – see Draft Local Plan Policy DM 4 and Draft Policy DM 5 which sets out the requirements of new development to provide open space.
How many new homes will be developed over the plan period?
The Draft Local Plan for Epping Forest District Council’s housing requirement is approximately 11,400 new homes over the Local Plan period from 2011 until 2033 (although this figure may change as a result of the on-going work on the emerging Local Plan and technical assessments). This figure has been established following work undertaken by external consultants (ORS) appointed by the Council, together with three of our neighbouring authorities (East Herts, Harlow and Uttlesford District Councils). The District Council is working towards the emerging Local Plan, involves further technical assessments, such as the current site selection work, which may lead to changes to the proposed housing requirement.
Will all of the new homes be built straight away?
No. They will need to be phased, together with infrastructure provision to support the development, across the plan period up to 2033. The Local Plan will also set out when individual developments are anticipated to commence and be completed.
Why do we need housing and employment growth in Epping Forest District?
The population of the district is increasing and changing. People are living longer, and the number of single occupancy households continues to increase, whilst the cost of housing continues to rise making it unaffordable for a significant number of people.
Like all local authorities, Epping Forest District Council is required to consider up to date population and household projections, which have identified the need for more housing, including affordable and assisted living facilities. There is also an identified need for the local economy to provide jobs and services for local residents, and for these to be close to where people live.
Where has the housing target in the emerging Local Plan come from?
The Council has worked closely over a number of years with three of our neighbouring authorities (East Herts, Harlow and Uttlesford District Councils) to produce a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) (2015). The assessment identifies the objectively assessed housing need taking into account population projections, affordable housing needs and jobs growth. The current figure for the SHMA area is approximately 51,100 homes, of which approximately 11,400 are proposed within Epping Forest District.
How did you decide where to locate the new homes?
The Community Choices (Issues and Options) consultation feedback told us that we should consider allocating sites in existing settlements, close to services and the transport network. The technical site selection work (Arup, 2016) identified which of the sites put forward in and around each of the settlements were appropriate for inclusion the Draft Local Plan. Further site selection (Arup, 2017) work is currently being undertaken as part of the emerging Local Plan process.
The strategic Harlow sites (within Epping Forest District Council’s boundary) identified in Chapter 3 of the Local Plan are proposed allocations for residential development and will contribute towards meeting Epping Forest District Council’s housing need.
How soon will these homes be built?
Throughout the Local Plan period from 2011 up until 2033. This means that a number of these new homes have already been completed and others are under construction or have already secured planning permission. The Draft Local Plan includes a Housing Trajectory which provides details of when houses are planned to be built. This information will be included in the emerging Local Plan once published.
Why can't all the housing be on 'brownfield' sites?
The Council recognises and supports the importance of pursuing sustainable development for the District. In line with National Planning Policy and good planning practice, the site selection work and other technical assessments looked at brownfield sites first for proposed allocations in the emerging Local Plan. However, in order to meet the housing and employment land needs, the Council must also consider Green Belt land because there are not enough brownfield sites available to meet the needs of the District.
How will the Council ensure that there is enough affordable housing in the District?
On sites which provide 11 or more new homes the Council will seek to ensure that a minimum of 40% of these are affordable. Affordable homes will include homes which are provided for affordable rent, and also intermediate housing which includes an element of rent and purchase.
Will employment sites also be considered for residential development?
Further work is currently being undertaken on site selection for employment sites. Where a site is being promoted for either employment or residential use, it will assessed for both uses.
What is the Strategic Land Availability Assessment (SLAA)?
The Council’s Strategic Land Availability Assessment (SLAA) provides an assessment of the potential for sites across the District to be developed. Importantly it is not policy, and does not determine whether or not planning permission will be granted on individual sites. The primary role of the SLAA is to provide evidence to help inform plan making. The SLAA assesses a wide range of sites which have been put forward to the Council by landowners since 2008 for potential inclusion within the Local Plan following a ‘call for sites’. The SLAA looks not only at potential land for housing but also at potential land for employment (including retail) and leisure.
Were all sites put forward through the call for sites exercise been included in the Draft Local Plan?
No. All sites put forward following the ‘call for sites’ were subject to assessment in the Strategic Land Availability Assessment (SLAA) to look at their suitability, deliverability and availability for potential development. Any new sites or updated information submitted after the 17 May 2016 cut-off date are currently being considered as part of the emerging Local Plan process.
Importantly the SLAA is not policy, and does not determine whether or not planning permission will be granted on individual sites. The primary role of the SLAA it to provide evidence to help inform plan making.
What about Gypsies and Travellers? Has the Council completed an up to date assessment of needs and are additional sites being identified in the Local Plan?
Technical assessments currently indicate that over the Local Plan period (from 2011-2033) the Council needs to provide an additional 38 pitches and one yard. To date 16 pitches have already been provided and a further four have planning permission so this leaves a requirement of 18 pitches and one yard. Potentially suitable sites have been identified in the Draft Local Plan to accommodate these. An Essex-wide Gypsy and Travellers Accommodation Needs Assessment has been completed and being reviewed which may result in the figures changing.
What is the Council doing about Starter Homes?
‘Starter Homes’ were introduced by the Government through the Housing and Planning Act 2016, to help younger people to buy a home. Starter Homes must be sold at a minimum of 20% discount from market prices and cannot cost more than £250,000 outside London, or £450,000 in London. Starter Homes are only available to first-time buyers below the age of 40.
The Council does not yet have a specific policy on Starter Homes because details of the requirements and regulations are yet to be made available by the Government. It is anticipated that the Council’s policy position on Starter Homes will be included in the next publication version of the Local Plan before it goes forward to independent examination.
What is the Council doing about self-build / custom build housing?
Local authorities are required to keep a register of individuals and associations who are interested in acquiring serviced plots for self and custom build housing. Epping Forest District Council’s register is on the Council’s website. Draft Policy H 1 in the Draft Local Plan includes the Council’s proposed policy for future housing mix and accommodation types, including for self-build and custom build housing.
Why are you proposing changes the Green Belt, and what is the reason for changes being in some parts of the district and not others?
The Council recognises and supports the importance of pursuing sustainable development for the District. In line with National Planning Policy, and good planning practice, the site selection work and other technical assessments looked at brownfield sites first for proposed allocations in the Draft Local Plan. However, in order to meet the housing and employment land needs, the Council must also consider Green Belt land because there are not enough brownfield sites available to meet the needs of the District.
The Council has undertaken a Green Belt Review as part of the preparation of the Local Plan. The Green Belt Review was undertaken in two stages. Stage 1 was a high-level, strategic assessment of all the current Green Belt land in the District. Stage 2 of the Green Belt Review was a more detailed assessment of the broad locations identified at Stage 1.
How much Green Belt land is actually going to be released?
The proposed alterations to the Green Belt to allow for the proposed site allocations have been kept to a minimum and will result in the loss of about 1.5% of the District’s current Green Belt (excluding the Green Belt release that is needed to facilitate allocation of employment sites).
What is to stop more of the Green Belt being developed after the Local Plan is agreed?
Government policy on the Green Belt, set out in the NPPF, is quite clear. Local authorities with Green Belts should establish Green Belt boundaries through their Local Plans. Once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances through the preparation or review of the Local Plan.
Is the Lee Valley Regional Park being protected by the Local Plan?
Yes. Through a number of policies the emerging Local Plan supports the delivery of the Vision for the Lee Valley Regional Park as set out by the Park Authority.
Does the Local Plan protect Epping Forest District’s historical artefacts and buildings?
Yes. The Local Plan promotes a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment seeking to conserve and where possible enhance the many historic assets that we are fortunate to have within the District.
Impact on the Communities
Has the Council undertaken a Sustainability Appraisal of the emerging Local Plan?
Yes. All new development plan documents need to be subject to Sustainability Appraisal (SA). This incorporates a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), which is required under European legislation for all plans which may have a significant effect on the environment/economy/society.
In 2010 AECOM (formerly known as URS) undertook a Sustainability Appraisal. An interim SA report was published along side the Issues and Options ‘Community Choices’ Consultation and the Draft Local Plan Regulation 18 consultation. Work on the Sustainability Appraisal has continued alongside preparation of the emerging Local Plan, and a further Interim Sustainability Appraisal and non-technical summary will be published alongside the Regulation 19 Pre=Submission emerging Local Plan publication.
Does the Council have a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) in place?
No decision has been made regarding CIL as of yet. Consultants are undertaking a viability assessment on the proposals and policies in the emerging Local Plan to see whether or not a CIL charging schedule will be viable and appropriate for our District. The Council will use the evidence produced to decide whether or not to progress with introducing CIL for the District.
Has the Council taken into account flood risk in producing the Local Plan?
Yes. In April 2015 the Council produced a Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment. A Level 2 will only be carried out if it is shown that the Local Plan process needs to consider potential development sites that are outside of Flood Zone 1. The Council has also carefully considered flood risk through the Site Selection process.
How is the Council providing for the ageing population?
The Council has used up to date evidence on housing needs, including careful consideration of future population projections to inform the production of the emerging Local Plan. The evidence considers the need for housing to support an ageing population, included assisted living, and care homes. The Local Plan will help to ensure that future development includes an appropriate mix of housing to meet the needs of the ageing population in the District, and that development is located in the most sustainable locations, supported by the necessary infrastructure.
Will you be providing additional school and doctor places to accommodate new residents to the district?
Yes, the Council recognises that it is essential to ensure that new development is served by the necessary infrastructure to an appropriate level and at an appropriate time. As part of the Council’s evidence base a Draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) has been produced in consultation with key infrastructure providers and delivery partners setting out the range, scale, location, funding arrangements and timing of the additional infrastructure needs to support the anticipated growth across the district over the plan period. This is being refined further before the Local Plan is submitted for Examination.
Can the existing drainage cope with the proposed new development?
Parts of the District currently experience flooding from a range of sources – it is clearly critical to manage flood risk in order to minimise harm to people and property. Therefore, the Council has sought to avoid development in areas at risk of flooding and ensure the provision of flood mitigation measures so as to manage water run-off. Prior to permitting any new development the Council will need to be satisfied that the water drainage and sewerage arrangements are satisfactory.
In many cases existing infrastructure can’t cope so how are we going to manage with all the additional people?
The Local Plan is clear that infrastructure requirements needed to support new development must be delivered at a rate and scale to meet the needs of proposed development. New development must be served and supported by appropriate on and off site infrastructure and services and promoters of schemes will be required to make appropriate contributions. As part of the supporting evidence base the Council has produced a Draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan which sets out the detailed infrastructure requirements.
Will there be more roads built in the District to cope with additional traffic from the development?
In preparing the Draft Local Plan the Council has worked closely with neighbouring authorities and Essex County Council to undertake transport assessments to support emerging Local Plans. Further detailed assessments will provide information on the need for transport improvements to support growth within our District. Proposing homes in sustainable locations and improving public transport and parking standards are also key in reducing additional traffic from new development.
Does the emerging Local Plan impact on car parking facilities in the District?
We have prioritised development in sustainable locations, and therefore we are proposing development on some car parks in the District. However, allocation of development on these sites would not lead to any net loss of existing parking spaces. Public parking will continue to be provided beneath or adjacent to residential housing.
What are you doing to encourage the survival of the town and district centres across Epping Forest District?
The District has a number of distinctive centres that serve their local communities and provide a good range of independent traders as well as national multiples. Through the Local Plan policies, the Council seeks to support the future vitality and viability of all the District’s centres, including by encouraging a range of town centre uses. The approach has been informed by the Town Centre Review. Chapter 5 of the Draft Local Plan sets out the vision and policies for each of the settlements within the District.
How many new jobs will be needed over the plan period?
Consultants have identified a need for between 8,800 and 10,010 new jobs in the District over the Local Plan period, which equates to between 400 and 455 new jobs per annum. The Council has undertaken two employment studies in 2015 to inform the Draft Local Plan. A Joint Economic Report was produced with neighbouring authorities to consider the needs of the sub-region, and a specific report was then also produced for the District.
How did the Council select the preferred Employment Sites?
The strategy for supporting the economic needs of the District will be delivered through retaining, and where necessary enhancing and renewing existing employment sites as well as allocating additional employment sites through the Local Plan. Further work is being undertaken on site selection for employment sites using a robust site assessment methodology (see the Site Selection Report).
What types of employment will be on these sites?
The Council is seeking to ensure a sustainable local economy providing jobs for residents, encouraging new start-ups as well as the growth of existing local businesses through providing a range of flexible and affordable business facilities The types of employment we should cater for in our District are outlined in the 2015 employment studies.