1. INTRODUCTION

1.1.

Purpose of the Local Plan

This Local Plan sets out the vision and strategy for land use and development in Rother District. It includes specific planning policies and proposals that will be applied to manage development and change up to 2011.

1.2.

The Local Plan has been prepared by Rother District Council1 as the Local Planning Authority. It is intended that the adoption of these planning policies, and their sensitive application by all parties involved in the development process, will make a significant contribution to the quality of life of people living and working in Rother District.

1 Rother District Council is subsequently referred to as “the Council”. 

1.3.

The Council has a duty to prepare this Local Plan. In fulfilling this, it is also obliged to meet certain housing and other development requirements placed on the District. The Local Plan sets out how these, as well as the reasonable development needs and aspirations of local people, will be accommodated in the most sustainable way.

1.4.

The overall scale of development to be accommodated, and the broad policy framework for distributing it has already been determined by the East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Structure Plan 1991-20112. A key function of this Local Plan is to translate its provisions into site-specific proposals and, where necessary, detailed policies for different types of development.

2 This is subsequently referred to as “the Structure Plan”. 

1.5.

Context for the Local Plan

Local needs - for economic prosperity, social cohesion and environmental protection - are core considerations in shaping the Plan. These have been identified, notably through the feedback received to the earlier draft Local Plan documents, reference to the Council’s stated aims and priorities and to the Community Strategy. Such factors are highlighted in Section 2.

1.6.

Local Plans also need to be consistent with national and regional planning policies, as determined by Government and the South East Regional Assembly respectively, as well as with the Structure Plan. These factors are elaborated upon in Section 3.

1.7.

Preparation of a Local Plan is guided by legislation3. Figure 1 below illustrates the main
stages and associated timescale.

3 The Planning and Compensation Act 1991; The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and related
Regulations. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

Figure 1 Local Plan Process and Timetable

 

1.8.

Government urged local planning authorities to expedite the adoption of local plans,notwithstanding the recent reforms to the planning system. Under this new system, local plans will be replaced by “local development documents” that closely relate to new community strategies and new “Regional Spatial Strategies”. Countywide Structure Plans are abolished although approved Structure Plans can be ‘saved’ for a period of 3 years.

1.9.

The Council’s priority was to have in place a proper planning framework for managing development and change as soon as possible. Accordingly, it progressed this Local Plan to serve as a vital decision-making tool in the short-medium term in a manner that reflects the principles of the new system as much as possible. This approach followed discussions with the relevant Government Office. The next step will be for the Council to progress the elements of its Local Development Framework, including Supplementary Planning Documents, in line with its published Local Development Scheme.

1.10.

Scope and Structure

The Local Plan focuses on land use matters and, hence, on changes to the physical environment. Such changes seek to contribute to the broader economic, social and environmental aims of the Council.

1.11.

This Plan also fully takes on board Ministerial advice to keep plans as brief as possible, to avoid duplication of national, regional or Structure Plan policies, to focus on the overall “spatial strategy” for the District and to show a clear link to the community strategy.

1.12.

Central to the Local Plan is a spatial strategy for the overall distribution of development. This is elaborated upon through strategies and policies for individual settlements and sites. These are complemented by policies setting out general planning criteria that all developments must meet as well as policy frameworks for certain specific types of development. All policies that have a spatial expression are shown on the Proposals Map.

1.13.

The Local Plan should not, and does not, repeat national, regional and Structure Plan policy guidance. However, it is important to be aware of this as it may be critical in the determination of certain development proposals. Section 3 highlights critical policy documents for completeness. Also, details of the availability of those references, including web access, are given in Appendix 1.

1.14.

Use of the Plan

Realising the Local Plan’s vision and development strategy will be achieved by applying its policies in the determination of planning applications, as well as by informing and coordinating both public and private sector programmes and investment decisions, particularly on infrastructure schemes. 

1.15.

Legislation requires that planning applications be determined in accordance with the adopted Local Plan’s policies, together with those of the Structure Plan and the Regional Spatial Strategy, and its constituent parts, “unless material considerations indicate otherwise.” Material considerations can include more up-to-date national and regional planning guidance, as well as the particular circumstances of a site or the details of a proposal. Hence, although it is not the sole consideration, the Local Plan is a key reference for anyone seeking to ascertain development potential.

1.16.

All existing statutory development plans are formally superseded. These are:

Bexhill Local Plan (Adopted1985)
Camber Town Map 1958
East Sussex County Development Plan 1958 (applying to that area not covered by Bexhill Local Plan and Combe Haven Valley District Plan)

The North Bexhill Strategic Framework 1993, which was approved as Supplementary Planning Guidance, is also superseded.

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