Hastings Local Plan Consultation Draft (Regulation 18)

Ended on the 24th March 2021
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1. Introduction

1.1 Hastings is located on the south coast of England and is home to around 94,500 people 1 . As a town we are experiencing a renaissance with a vibrant cultural and creative economy which is steadily growing along with new employment opportunities. We are developing a new Local Plan to continue to support this renaissance. The Local Plan will cover the period 2019/20 to 2038/392. It explains our strategy for managing development in a way that helps deliver our vision and will be used to assess planning applications for new development or changes of use of buildings or land in Hastings.

1.2 This document is a Draft Local Plan and not the final version. It is intended to provide a basis for conversations about what our strategy for the future development of Hastings should be and the policies we need to deliver it. This document is in five parts:

Hastings in Context: An overview of the important features of our town.

Development Strategy: Strategic Policies for managing development and which identify the types of uses planned for different parts of our town.

Focus Area Policies: Strategic policies for parts of the Borough where higher levels of development are anticipated.

Development Policies: Policies which explain our expectations for the design of individual developments and measures required to mitigate potential impacts.

Monitoring and Review: Our initial ideas for how we can measure the impact and progress of the delivery of the Local Plan.

1.3 Maps illustrating areas identified in draft policies are included in this document. We have also included lists of key terms and references at the back of this document.

1.4 The next draft version of the Local Plan will be accompanied by a larger scale 'Policies Map' showing the full extent of these policy designations. It will include the location of the final proposed 'Site Allocations' for development; details of potential Site Allocations are included in Appendix 1 of this document.

Why is the Council developing a new Local Plan?

1.5 Hastings is at a critical turning point in its long history. A new generation of entrepreneurs, investors and cultural institutions are creating new opportunities for local people. There is still however a way to go before this journey is complete and we achieve our vision for our town by 2039. The long-term impact of climate change is being felt, and the current challenges presented by Covid-19 and Brexit, are major complicating factors in this. The strategy for the future development of Hastings will therefore need to be capable of responding to some of the most significant socio-economic and environmental challenges we have seen this century.

1.6 Though challenges exist, Hastings, by virtue of its location, character and development opportunities, is ready for this challenge and in a prime position to draw in and maximise investment. We are developing a new Local Plan to enable and encourage that investment to happen. We know we need to deliver more high-quality homes and create new job and business opportunities whilst protecting and enhancing what is special about the town.

1.7 What is the right kind of investment for Hastings? We believe it is development that responds to the needs of existing and future residents and business and recognises that well-designed, environmentally sustainable development can deliver positive returns over the longer term. This includes encouraging the design and use of buildings that create active, healthy places where people want to be. We want to expand upon, not replace, the unique atmosphere and vibe of Hastings whilst continuing to celebrate our beautiful coastal setting and rich heritage.

Laws and national policies on how plans are prepared

1.8 A huge amount of research, data capture, analysis and thinking goes into the making of a new Local Plan. It can take considerable time to ensure the evidence upon which the Plan is based is accurate and robust. The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government's planning policies for England and how these should be applied. It provides a framework within which locally prepared plans for housing and other development can be produced.

1.9 National policy requires us to use a nationally determined method to calculate the housing needed in our area and through the Local Plan try and meet or exceed the delivery of this. For Hastings this requirement is 430 homes a year, double our current planned provision (more on this in Part 3: Development Strategy). We are also required to make sure our Local Plan is realistic and 'deliverable'. This includes ensuring that developers can meet our policy requirements whilst delivering commercially viable development3.

1.10 There are changes to national policy ahead. In August 2020 the Government published a Planning White Paper setting out a series of reforms to planning including the way Local Plans are prepared. The early proposals suggest the Local Plan will have a role in granting "in principle" permission(s) and will adopt a simpler format which categorises land for growth, renewal or protection supplemented by masterplans and design codes. The proposals also advocate shorter plans in digital form with more visual presentation and stopping repetition of national policy in Local Plans.

1.11 This Draft Local Plan has been prepared under the current system of plan making. The format has however been influenced by the emerging national proposals. We hope this will allow us to adapt our Draft Local Plan to the new format in the future.

Your views

1.12 National policy sets some clear limits for what we can and cannot do with a Local Plan – it needs to address housing need and be justified by clear evidence that it is deliverable and sustainable. Developers need to be willing to invest in new homes, businesses and cultural and leisure facilities to deliver our vision.

1.13 Our Local Plan needs to be 'local' too and reflect our collective ambitions for the way our town is developed. We are inviting the views of everyone on the Draft Local Plan including our resident and business communities, our 'Town Deal Board' and potential neighbourhood planning groups. We want to hear from developers too. Alongside this, we will continue to engage with East Sussex County Council, Rother District Council, infrastructure providers as well as national bodies which provide specialist advice on plan making including Natural England, Historic England and the Environment Agency. We will also be sharing our Draft Local Plan with academics and researchers and others working on urban planning and economic recovery projects to help us strike the right balance between national objectives, local viability challenges, our priorities for change, and define a Local Plan that will deliver our vision for Hastings.

1.14 Take a look at the Draft Local Plan and tell us what you think. More details on how to get involved in helping us create our new Local Plan, are available on the Local Plan pages of our website. For more information, or to speak with an officer, visit the Local Plan pages on our website, email fplanning@hastings.gov.uk or call 01424 451102 to speak with the Planning Policy Team.

Next steps

1.15 This document is a draft Local Plan (which will be published under Regulation 18 of the Local Plan Regulations 2012 (as amended). We will use all relevant comments to develop and identify further new policy options or to refine the options presented in this document. These new options will all be subject to a Sustainability Appraisal which is a legal requirement for plan making and considers any significant environmental, social and economic effects our Local Plan may have. We will also continue to develop the Local Plan evidence base. This will include transport modelling to consider potential capacity issues on the local road network and identify how these can be mitigated. We will also investigate the housing needs of specific groups including the Traveller community. This further evidence will be used to make sure our Hastings Local Plan is an appropriate and deliverable strategy to support the sustainable development of the town.

1.16 The next version of the Hastings Local Plan (which will be published under Regulation 19 of the Local Plan Regulations 2012 (as amended) will be published in 2021 for final comments. This will be reviewed should changes in national policy mean that it would be more efficient to move to a new style of plan making as directed through legislation and policy. We will submit the next version of the Hastings Local Plan (Regulation 19) and all supporting evidence to the Government, along with any comments we receive on it, for an Independent Examination prior to adoption.

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