Wealden Local Plan – Update note regarding the timetable for plan production – 16 March 2023
As you may recall, in December 2022, we confirmed that we would pause work on our forthcoming Local Plan consultation (the ‘Regulation 18’ consultation) that was, at that time, due to commence in January 2023. The delay resulted from confirmation that the Government was to consult on the ‘Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to national planning policy’ which covered a package of proposals for the reform of the planning system in England. The consultation sought views on the Government’s proposed approach to updating the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It also sought views on its proposed approach to preparing National Development Management Policies, how it might develop policy to support levelling up, and how national planning policy is currently accessed by users.
That consultation has now closed. The Council has set out its formal response to the consultation, which can be accessed here – Response to National Planning Changes – Wealden District Council – Wealden District Council
The Government has indicated that they will respond to this consultation by spring 2023, publishing the Framework revisions as part of this, so that policy changes can take effect as soon as possible. Whilst we wait for further clarity in relation to plan-making, we will also continue to test and refine the local plan strategy and draft policies. We will also seek to complete further key studies alongside our plan production that were programmed either later in the process or would require to be undertaken alongside the Local Plan.
Whilst we do not yet know the outcome of the consultation, we wait in anticipation for the detail of the policy changes. We feel it is prudent to plan for the basis of an updated NPPF in late spring. Once we hear from central Government on the above critical matters, we will expedite our work to test and refine our strategy in accordance with the latest housing requirement and any other matters that will be critical to our local plan.
As such, whilst we still need to formally update the timetable for the local plan, via a formal report to our Local Plan Sub Committee in due course, we are aware of significant speculation around the likely timeframe for the plan production. As matters stand, we are likely to publish our Plan for consultation in late summer/early autumn 2023 which will cover both proposed site allocations and development management policies. This is, of course, subject to the actual timing of the NPPF updates and extent of the final changes and so remains uncertain. We will write again following the publication of the NPPF changes to confirm our timetable ahead and hold a round of Planning Parish Cluster meetings to answer any questions on the reforms and our approach moving forward.
If you would like to receive updates about the Draft Local Plan and take part in the consultation process, please register using our consultation portal. If you are already registered and would prefer not to receive information, you can remove your details using the same link.