Agenda item



  1. The PPM provided a verbal update on the draft Local Plan, the aim of which was to submit early in the New Year. He advised that the Regulation-19 consultation exercise had taken place earlier in the year and that the team were generating a condensed document detailing responses. Such documentation would be provided as soon as possible, with ample time for Members to fully consider ahead of its inclusion as an Agenda Item.  The PPM stated that complications had arisen as a consequence of Nutrient Neutrality (NN) guidance but that he had taken the view that it was in the best interest of the Authority to submit the Local Plan for examination within this administration. He contended that the Council were in a better position with NN than it had been 6 months prior and that there was greater understanding of the boundary and consequences. Importantly, cost impactions were better understood which would aid in the creation and implementation of mitigation strategies. The PPM stated that whilst in abeyance with NN the team were continuing to update the viability assessment across the district including the cost assessment, green infrastructure strategies, NN mitigation, elderly person accommodation and others which would have a significant impact on the cost of development. Additional costs for labour and materials had largely been offset by building value increases.


  1. The Chairman considered the implication regarding settlement development distribution was reasonably fluid due to NN, she expressed some concern about housing delivery.


  1. The PPM stated that he felt it was the right strategy to submit the draft Local Plan and affirmed that he felt the plan was sound. He acknowledged that if Members contended that changes were required following receipt of representations that growth in one areas was too much, but that the overall housing delivery figure was correct, modifications could be made to redistribute. Critically, issues would arise if significant changes were requested by Members, which would affect the timetable of delivery and would result in the need for further consultation.


  1. Cllr J Punchard expressed his support to process with submitting the draft Local Plan within the current administration. He considered that serving Members were more knowledgeable of the process and that new Members would likely require extensive training to become more cognizant. Cllr J Punchard asked if the dates specified in the plan could be pushed back, rather than concluding in 2036.


  1. The PPM stated that the moving of the plan period was theoretically possible but would need to be grounded within a received representation, which it had been. He noted that in pushing back the end date, the data used to inform decisions was less reliable.


  1. Cllr N Dixon enquired when the examination period would take place, as he was mindful of election period in 2023.


  1. The PPM stated that should the submission of the plan occur early 2023 that he would reasonably expect an Inspector to be appointed and for preliminary hearings to start by September 2023. He advised that most examinations of sound plans took between 12 and 18 months.


  1. Cllr N Dixon agreed with submitting the draft Local Plan within the current administration. He contended that costs for labour and materials were still increasing and that the cost implications of NN were still unclear and in need of refining. Further, Cllr N Dixon contended that there was still a significant issue around site viability and delivery.


  1. The PPM agreed that there would be a residual risk of NN if the draft Local Plan was submitted within the specified timeframe, and that a mitigation strategy and full costings would be a work in progress till around May 2023, at the earliest. He stated that following revisions of the NN affected catchment map, areas of substantial growth were now not affected by NN, and those which were would be revisited through redistribution of development. He stated that he did not see the value in delaying submission.


  1. Cllr N Dixon expressed the need to ensure appropriate checks and balances.


  1. Cllr V Gay requested that if the Regulation 19 responses document was to be lengthy, that Members were ensured enough time to read properly.


  1. The PPM agreed that the document would be circulated with plenty of time and that the team would condense the information to key issues, avoiding duplications. He advised that the submission Local Plan would need to be agreed by Full Council.


  1. Cllr J Punchard enquired where NNDC were at in comparison to other Local Councils.


  1. The PPM stated that all where at various stages, and noted that Greater Norwich had submitted their plan but were struggling to get it through examination due to issues surrounding NN and travellers. He did not consider that the outcome from the Greater Norwich plan would be received before submission by NNDC, and therefore there was nothing to gain by waiting and obtaining additional information.