Key points in the South Warwickshire Local Plan Call for Sites

May 2021 marked the publication of the South Warwickshire Local Plan (SWLP), accompanied by a call for sites. As a practice which has successfully been involved in the promotion and development of sites in the areas covered by the Plan and elsewhere, we thought we would have look behind the headlines and consider the detail of the document.

What is it? – It’s a scoping document, a very early stage of the Local Plan, setting out what the emerging issues are and what development strategies are being actively considered.

How’s it structured – the SWLP is anticipated to be a two-part plan. The current consultation focuses on Part 1 issues, dealing with the big decisions about housing numbers and strategic directions for growth. This means that there will follow a Part 2 Plan, providing detailed site allocations and development control policies. This is disappointing, two-part development plans often lead to delays and rely on out of date housing targets, tying Inspectors hands at Local Plan EiPs. This is because Part 2 Plans have to be in conformity with the Part 1 Plan, offering the Inspector and the development industry as a whole no opportunity to review housing targets or development strategies.

Plan Period – The Plan proposes to run to 2050, picking up from the adopted Local Plans’ end date of 2031.

Housing target – The document anticipates a housing target of 35,000 homes to be provided over the plan period at 1,230 dwellings per annum.

Options for Growth – This is the most important part of the document. The SWLP is canvassing views on 7 development options for growth. Essentially, these options are designed around the existing settlement hierarchies put forward in both the Stratford and Warwick Plans. However, the Options presented look at different focal points, based on:

Rail Corridor Focus

Bus Corridor Focus

Road Corridor Focus

Enterprise Hubs

Socio Economic Change

Main Urban Areas

Dispersal Strategy

In looking at development sites, the key issue will be understanding where your site fits with the Options listed.

Will there be a Green Belt Review? – This is a complex political issue, as there are major areas of Green Belt in the north of the SWLP area, covering a number of sought-after towns and villages. Embedded in the SWLP is a recognition that there could be a need for a green belt review, depending on the outcome of the full review of the evidence base supporting the plan.

Next Steps – The Plan and Call for Sites is on consultation until 21 June. In making representations and promoting sites it is essential that the link between a site and the development options outlined above is clearly understood and communicated. It also marks a major opportunity to start to engage with communities about their future and attitudes towards development. We can help you with this, ensuring that the chances for a site are maximised, drawing on our considerable experience in this field and would welcome the opportunity to discuss your aspirations further.